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In Conclusion, Both Sides Do It But Destroy the Democratic Party

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This is a good piece about Chuck Schumer’s impressive work as minority leader:

Yet Democrats give Mr. Schumer — song-belting, frequently badgering, endlessly frenzied — credit for his tireless attention to senators from every faction, and for quiet outreach to Republicans who he thinks could be partners down the line.

He has worked carefully — far more than Mr. Reid, many Democrats agreed — to be almost relentlessly inclusive, talking with them at all hours of the day, over every manner of Chinese noodle, on even tiny subjects, to make them feel included in strategy. Recently, as he sat in a dentist’s chair waiting for a root canal, he dialed up Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut to talk about a coming judiciary hearing concerning Donald Trump Jr.

“I think he makes it look easier than it is,” Mr. Blumenthal said about Mr. Schumer.

Zero Democrats voting for any version of TrumpCare in either house might look inevitable in retrospect, but it’s harder than it looks.

And let’s give the individual red-state senators their due credit, too. Heidi Heitkamp represents a state Trump won by 36 points and was steadfast in opposition to TrumpCare. Joe Manchin represents a state Trump won by 42 points and is up for re-election in 2018 and was rock solid against TrumpCare from day 1. It’s easy to say that this should have been easy because TrumpCare would be particularly devastating for West Virgnia, only the state’s Republican senator didn’t give a damn. TrumpCare would have been really horrible for Nevada, too, and Heller is up in 2018, and he still folded like a $10 lawn chair. As you may have noticed, party polarization is substantial and accelerating, and every election counts.

In conclusion, the Republican Party should be ceded 70 or so votes in the Senate until people who agree with Brooklyn leftists about everything can be elected in jurisdictions like North Dakota and West Virginia.

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  • randomworker

    Zombie TrumpCare shambles on…I think they are just trying to wear us down.

    • Deborah Bender

      Your cat photo cheers me up whenever I see it.

      • randomworker

        =)

    • cpinva

      yes they are, and will continue to do so until they are either successful, or are finally booted out of Congress. it’s what they do.

      “only the state’s Republican senator didn’t give a damn”

      make this a bumper sticker, give it away for free.

  • paulgottlieb

    And how about a little credit for old, washed up Nancy Pelosi, who has delivered over and over again

    • carolannie

      You forgot scheming witch

      • Pat

        We need more scheming witches in the House…

        • Hogan

          And pretty much everywhere else.

    • stepped pyramids

      I’ll never forget how in 2002, when Pelosi was elected Minority Leader, the reaction from the media was basically “the Dems have committed suicide by picking this San Francisco Liberal to be their leader in this Center-Right Nation!” She was a founding member of the Progressive Caucus. The fact that she’s now in many ways a very middle-of-the-road Democrat says something about how the party has changed in the last 15 years.

      I guess the purity types started hating her for not considering impeachment against Bush and they’ve never let up since then.

      • ChiefOfStaffCaptainHowdy

        The calls were to also impeach Cheney, putting her in an impossible conflict of interest as the third in line. One notes that the purity types not infrequently lack an elementary school level understanding of civics.

        • Kaveh

          So should she not support impeaching Pence for the same reason if the Dems retake both houses of Congress in 2018?

          • ChiefOfStaffCaptainHowdy

            Now that is a quandary. There is not yet the same drive to impeach Pence, unless (or until) he is found to be complicit in Kremlingate, corruption or obstruction; whereas Cheney was seen as equally as culpable or more culpable than Bush.

            • Bitter Scribe

              Yeah, dumb and complicit doesn’t equal high crimes and misdemeanors.

            • mattmcirvin

              People saw Cheney as Bush’s puppetmaster. There was speculation that Pence was being groomed for that role, but I don’t get the impression that he is–instead, Trump has all kinds of people pulling his strings in different directions (Bannon and Kushner and Ivanka and the Russians…) and producing total chaos.

      • keta

        I guess the purity types started hating her for not considering impeachment against Bush and they’ve never let up since then.

        The malcontents were/are quite clear that she lacks balls.

      • EliHawk

        It also says a lot about how party caucus leaders aren’t really about their own ideological preconceptions but about their caucus. Just like Reid and Daschle didn’t lead the Senate Caucus like the Conservative to Moderate Senators they were in their early years (reflective of their states), neither was Pelosi the flaming San Francisco Liberal of her early years (reflective of her District).

    • joel_hanes

      San Francisco values!

    • BaronvonRaschke

      What has she delivered, pray tell?

      • NobodySpecial

        The ACA, for one. You’re welcome.

        • BaronvonRaschke

          The Heritage Foundation Eube Goldberg contraption you have mentioned was drafted in the Senate by Baucus’ WellPoint VP aide Liz Fowler. Try again.

          • NobodySpecial

            And it magically passed the House with no effort because?

            You sound dumber with every syllable. Stop trying.

            • BaronvonRaschke

              YOu are a pluperfect moron without any basic comprehension. If a thought ever entered your mind, it would die of loneliness.

            • BaronvonRaschke

              It passed the House because they had to look like they were doing something unrelated to health care. It was and remains a bad law, but it is better than nothing. If she had pressed for the public option or for something closer to single payer, I might have praised her. I’ll save my praises for actual legislative accomplishments not bad laws that are better than nothing.

              • Scott Lemieux

                The House literally passed a bill with a public option in it, you dumbshit.

                • BaronvonRaschke

                  As I was lobbying the Finance Committee on healthcare, wellness and tax matters at the time, I also know that it was pretty clear that the public option was going nowhere, and that was the only reason it survived the House. No one lobbying on the bill that eventually became the PPACA thought Obama’s WH was interested in a public option. Itwas viewed as a negotiating chit because he was never going to fight for it. What the heck, maybe you know better from your perch at Saint Rose. Pity the students who have to listen to an arrogant clown like you. The only thing you are missing is the rubber nose and the big shoes, though for all I know you are wearing them now.

                • joel_hanes

                  an arrogant clown

                  O wad some pow’r the giftie gie us …

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Your non-sequiturs and personal attacks don’t hide the fact that you lied about Pelosi and have no idea what you’re talking about.

                • stepped pyramids

                  What the heck, maybe you know better from your perch at Saint Rose.

                  Oh, it’s this horse’s ass again. Didn’t he get banned?

          • Shantanu Saha

            Fully half of ACA was an expansion of Medicaid. That is a SINGLE PAYER INSURANCE plan, you drooling idiot.

            • BaronvonRaschke

              You are a pluperfect moron without any basic comprehension. If a thought ever entered your mind, it would die of loneliness. Even a jerkoff like you cannot possibly think the ACA resembles single payer. Do you know what single payer is? Hint, it is in the name itself.

              • “It is in the name itself”

                That is not as clever a remark as you seem to think. By that literal definition, many Republicans believe in “single payer” (that single payer being the patient). And if you mean there is only one payer in the entire health care system, then 1) It’s not in the name and 2 ) No such system exists in any capitalist country, unless you think drugs, eye care, dentistry and the like are not health care.

                • Veleda_k

                  It’s especially ironic, given how many people say “single-payer” when they mean “universal healthcare.”

          • SamR
            • Damon Poeter

              But Social Security is not pure undistilled anarcho-syndicalism so it is therefore worse than land barons with twirly black mustaches stomping on the faces of peasants and tying pretty girls to railroad tracks

          • stepped pyramids

            Oh fuck no. You come here and try to sell that Heritage bullshit? Everyone here knows that’s a lie. Nobody’s buying.

            • Souris Grise

              It’s time to create a permanent front-page alert. “Don’t Even Try with That Heritage Blather.”

            • BaronvonRaschke

              You could try to ascertain that for yourself. The concept for insurance exchanges came from a 1993 Heritage prototype. http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2013/nov/15/ellen-qualls/aca-gop-health-care-plan-1993/

              • stepped pyramids

                The 1993 Chafee bill was not the Heritage plan. If you take the time to read the article you linked, the Heritage Foundation opposed the Chafee bill:

                More hard-line senators such as Phil Gramm, R-Texas, House Republicans and the Heritage Foundation saw the Chafee bill as an unacceptable compromise. What they wanted was outright defeat of the president’s approach.

                The Heritage plan came out in 1989 and does not include exchanges. It features an individual mandate for catastrophic insurance, elimination of the employer health coverage tax deduction (thus pushing most workers into the individual market), tax credits to cover said insurance, health savings accounts (since the plans available would be very high deductible), voucherizing Medicare, eliminating Medicaid nursing home/hospice coverage and transferring that responsibility to the states, cutting Medicaid significantly, etc. It does not include community rating, guaranteed issue, or essential benefits. In fact, it outlaws state-level essential benefits laws.

                That is: it has two elements generally in common with the ACA (an individual mandate and tax credits to subsidize insurance) and otherwise is completely different and in fact goes the opposite direction for many policies. This has been covered in detail here before. The Heritage report on this is not particularly long or complicated, so you should go read it before you keep on repeating a bunch of debunked horseshit.

                Or you can go and ascertain yourself.

            • Paul Krugman still begs to differ.

          • Nick056

            You’re clearly a tiresome jackass, and not that it will matter at all to you, but Fowler was on Baucus’s staff BEFORE going to WellPoint, and she left largely because a) Baucus lost some influence among Dems after voting for Part D and b) the Dems lost their Senate majority. After Dems regained their majority, Fowler went back to work for Baucus.

            It must suck for people like you when you run into somebody who knows more about your talking points than you do.

            And people aren’t praising Pelosi for writing the ACA, but for getting the House to approve the Senate bill and then pass some changes that the Senate could pass under reconciliation rules.

            • BaronvonRaschke

              I am well aware that Liz Fowler left and came back. That does not change the fact that she was a WellPoint executive when she returned to work for Baucus, who himself was a drunken old corporate hack. This bill was written as a sloppy wet kiss to the insurers, and she did exactly as WellPoint wanted. It speaks volumes about Obama that he did not try for anything better and even more about the current Reps that they cannot even live with such a weak advance in health care coverage.

              As for my knowledge, I have forgotten more than you will ever know.

          • spencer_e9876

            Heritage Foundation

            Oh, so you’re an idiot. Okay then.

          • Scott Lemieux

            The Heritage Foundation

            So you don’t know what you’re talking about — good to know.

          • The Heritage Foundation designed a plan that taxes the rich to pay for a Medicaid expansion and subsidies allowing millions of Americans to access health insurance? Or are you taken in by superficial resemblances?

      • efgoldman

        Lilly Ledbetter
        Inadequate (because RWNJs) but real stimulus

        • BaronvonRaschke

          Lilly Ledbetter is something, but it ain’t a major achievement. The stimulus was inadequate and did not do much, though that is Obama’s fault. She gave us important bank reform. Oh wait …

          • Shantanu Saha

            If you’re a leftist who calls himself a Baron, shouldn’t you be advocating for yourself to be rounded up and sent to the guillotine?

            • BaronvonRaschke

              Why not? (Baron Von Raschke was a famous wrestling heel in the old AWA.)

              • Hogan

                I saw you go up against Cowboy Bob Ellis many times. Are you still doing the Prussian Sleeper on neoliberals?

          • What have you and your ilk delivered, aside from Trump and his ilk?

            • BaronvonRaschke

              That is one way of looking at it. Another way is that the Democratic Party was so blinded in 2016 by its arrogance and delusions of grandeur that it tried to cram a stinking pile of manure down our throats. It failed and is now blaming the voters for its failure, which is the classic losers gambit. In my view, and I realize you disagree, it is the Democratic Party and its intellectual bankruptcy that gave us Trump, not voters like me. To paraphrase Rummy, you go to the polls with the voters you have not the ones you want. Te voters do not like or want HRC. That has been obvious for 25 years, but by all means nominate her and then blame the voters.

              • stepped pyramids

                I promise you the Democratic Party will not nominate Hillary Clinton again. It will probably nominate someone who supported her in 2016, though. Like that neoliberal Clintonite Bernie Sanders.

              • Many of the voters are idiots. Perhaps Hillary should have lied to them and appealed to their racism to get elected.

          • Emily68

            Lily Ledbetter is major if you’re being discriminated against because of your gender.

            • Shantanu Saha

              But because it benefits those without a penis, it is low on the Baron’s list of achievements.

          • btfjd

            In The New New Deal, Michael Grunwald relates that one or more DINO Senators would not support a stimulus greater than the amount of the bailout, i.e. about $800 billion. Obama wanted more, but this was all his own party would give him.
            And as for doing nothing, read Grunwald’s book. The stimulus was far from nothing.

            • BaronvonRaschke

              Sorry for the hyperbole. The stimulus was definitely something, though even Summers believed at the time that it was too small. I never had the sense that Obama fought for a bigger stimulus package, but I cannot know that for certain. (I only have second hand information, and those parties have their particular political axes to grind.) In any case,arguments over the size of stimulus are quibbles. The sin was not prosecuting banksters and making no effort to shrink the TBTF banks. I believe those sins are a large part of the reason that the Democratic Party got creamed in 2016, and its “brand” polls worse than even a charlatan like Trump. It is also the reason I like what Loomis writes here a lot more than Lemieux’s writings.

      • paulgottlieb

        Unanimous votes nearly 100% of the time. That’s what a leader is supposed to do

      • Her plan to nationalize the banks will be announced at the Party Conference on Monday

        • Nigel Tufnel

          As you know, the Minority Leader loves surprises.

  • addicted44

    I don’t understand why some dems, leftists, professional leftists, sanders supporters, whatever we are calling them today, don’t understand some basic political math that even the stupidest Republicans do.

    Vote the leftmost viable candidate in the general. Leave the arguing for the primaries.

    • DAS

      And people need to vote in those primaries!

    • mausium

      Revolutionaries have to smash the system to replace it, and it’s literally impossible to have something worse than what you had before! IMPOSSIBLE.

      • ChiefOfStaffCaptainHowdy

        Heightening the contradictions is progress!

      • BaronvonRaschke

        Straw man. I don’t think that improving the Dems by avoiding the Clintonites is tantamount to destroying the system. Better than the Reps is not exactly inspiring.

        • Shemp Marx

          I don’t know about you, but most of the purity ponies I encounter are adamant the Clinton stink is attached to every sitting legislator, and so we have to burn down the entire village first.

          • The part of this post by Howie Klein where he lists the EVIL prospective 2020 Dem presidential candidates is an almost-parodically pure exemplar of the strain of fuckery.

            • Damon Poeter

              He’s even down on Jerry Brown?

          • efgoldman

            most of the purity ponies I encounter are adamant the Clinton stink is attached to every sitting legislator,

            99% have never run for anything, never participated except for deigning to vote, maybe, once in a while; have no idea how or why politics work, don’t know how to spell “consensus” or “compromise” or “negotiate”; and have managed to elect only one shouty old senator in one very small state.
            They need to grow up and join the real world.

            • BaronvonRaschke

              Spare me the condescension. My wife and I have worked as campaign managers for state delegates and county Supervisors in NoVa. I know damn well how politics work. I also know that Dems have been neoliberal by choice, not due to compromise. If anything, the problem is that there are too many entrenched, old candidates in these positions as well as the local Democratic Party who are past their sell by date. BTW, the candidates come to us, not the other way around. My wife can pick and choose who she helps. Hint, it will not be anyone aligned with the Clinton faction. I am done with this foolishness.

            • Wojciech

              Basically, they’re left-wing Teabaggers. We need them like we need a hole in the head, regardless of whatever problems the Democrats currently have.

          • BaronvonRaschke

            I am not interested in purity, but I expect better than the crap from 2014 and 2016. That is a dead end politicalky for Dems. The base is more progressive. This is not 1992, and Third Way bullshit won’t work.

            • spencer_e9876

              “I am not interested in purity”

              And yet you tried to sell that Heritage Foundation bullshit line earlier. That may not quite be the center square in Purity Troll Bingo, but it’s close.

            • Scott Lemieux

              This is not 1992

              You’re the only person in this thread who fails to understand this.

          • It takes a burnt village to raze a Clinton!

        • stepped pyramids

          Who are the Clintonites?

          • BaronvonRaschke

            The Clintons, Obama, Perez, Pelosi, schumer, Hoyer, Podesta, Begala, Brazile, Geithner, Rubin, and others too numerous to mention. The DBC leadership is mostly leftover DLC hacks.

            • JSC2397

              So IOW, basically every successful Dem politician in the past decade?

              • SatanicPanic

                Holy shit! It’s ALL of them! Oh noes

              • BaronvonRaschke

                Is the 2016 election what success looks like to you? If so, I do not want your definition of failure. Their leadership and policies drove it into a ditch and left it irrelevant. The politicos i mentioned are corporate hacks and a dead end for the party going forward..

                • ColBatGuano

                  Rubin? Is this the golden oldies playlist?

                • stepped pyramids

                  In 2016 the Democrats gained seats in Congress and won the popular vote for the Presidency in a year they were disfavored statistically (third term for an incumbent). I’d like to do better but the burden of proof is on the insurgent parts of the party to make a case they can do better.

            • SamR

              Obama ran against Hillary Clinton for a nomination she wanted and beat her.

              Chuck Schumer released a statement this week that blamed Hillary Clinton for the 2016 loss.

              Several of the others, yes, sure. But using those 2 makes as much sense as when rightwingers describe anyone to the left of Mike Lee as socialist.

              • TopsyJane

                Schumer never would have done it to a man. Oops, identity politics.

            • stepped pyramids

              OK, you including Obama (who became POTUS by defeating Hillary Clinton), Perez (who is Obama’s guy), and Pelosi (who comes from the liberal wing of the party that the DLC overran in the ’90s) in that list is sufficient information for me to not bother paying attention to you anymore. I appreciate it.

            • btfjd

              I’m not going to address this entire list, but I want to know why you included Perez, other than because Hillary and her friends supported him. Perez was a stalwart champion of civil rights as a lawyer in the DOJ. And he was the best Secretary of Labor since Robert Reich, maybe since Frances Perkins. I practice employment law and deal with DOL constantly, so I know a little about this and he was a tireless advocate for unions, and for workers’ rights.

              So if a guy like Tom Perez isn’t progressive enough, whom do you propose? I’d like it to be someone with some reasonable chance of being elected.

              • Joseph Slater

                Seconded re Perez. Note: this is not to be taken as any form of agreement with Baron Von R. — a much more entertaining heel in the AWA than this poster is here — about any of the other names).

          • Shantanu Saha

            Anyone who has a foot grounded in the real world, apparently.

          • Who are the Clintonites?

            First things first. Who are the Rosicrucians?

        • Shantanu Saha

          And electing Trump is?

          Autoerotic asphyxiation may “inspire” you, but I’ll pass.

        • Worse than the Democrats is not progress. Sounds like a simple concept but yet . . .there you are.

        • brewmn61

          You’re also on record here trashing Pelosi as ineffective. So don’t pretend you’re just anti-Clinton.

        • mausium

          “Straw man. I don’t think that improving the Dems by avoiding the Clintonites is tantamount to destroying the system.”

          If by avoiding the Clintonites you mean removing every single Dem from power and replacing with whatever the fuck the Underpants Gnomes were selling.

          You don’t want reform, sell that revolutionary shtick when you have something worthwhile to offer.

          “My wife and I have worked as campaign managers for state delegates and county Supervisors in NoVa.”

          Regardless, you appear utterly clueless and idea-barren on the national level.

    • Wojciech

      Of course, the leftier-than-thous don’t handle primary losses very well (when they can be arsed to get involved at all).

    • Paul Thomas

      And conveniently, in some states (hint: California), if you do the primary right, you can actually create a general election where being leftier-than-thou is not an electoral disadvantage!

      This seems like low-hanging fruit.

      • joel_hanes

        Ro Khanna primaried Mike Honda out of his seat.
        I’m not sure I think that Khanna is leftier.

        He’s certainly less well-connected to pragmatic reality.

        • DonN

          Honda wasn’t primaried by Khanna. He was beaten in the november general election after Khanna and Honda were the two left running after the primary.

          Don N.

          • joel_hanes

            Honda was the long-term Dem incumbent.
            Khanna twice mounted a serious Dem primary challenge to Honda, and both candidates were running as Dems in the general in which Honda was defeated.

            Maybe you don’t call that “primarying”. I do.

        • TopsyJane

          Khanna is more business friendly, presenting himself to GOP voters as a better option for them than Honda. He’s also said nice things about Sanders.

      • Deborah Bender

        Both major parties in CA opposed the initiative that created our current general election law. IIRC, it passed handily, at a time of gridlock.

        So far it seems to be working out all right for the Democrats. It has made it more difficult to be a spoiler candidate. No doubt it has had other effects that the voting system mavens can explain.

        • Hob

          It enables a different kind of spoiler campaign, which is discussed here and here. Basically: if Party A has far more overall support, but also far more candidates—whereas Party B has less support, but enough discipline to throw all its weight behind exactly two candidates—B can claim the top two spots if A’s voters can be encouraged to spread their votes around.

          And that scenario is unfortunately a good fit for California, where the Dems are in the majority but also are more diverse and more supportive of real grassroots efforts.

    • sanjait

      To be fair … the leftiest lefties don’t find that satisfying because they usually lose primaries. It’s a lot easier to accept the outcome of primaries when you aren’t losing most of them.

      Not that I am in love with all or even most non-leftiest left Dems … but I’m also not a self-identified part of any particular faction of the left, so I have no hope or expectation that “people on my team” will get elected.h

      • twbb

        “The superdelegate system is used by the ESTABLISHMENT to crush the more popular TRUE leftist candidate, so we should totally…oh wait, Bernie’s losing the popular vote in the primary? As I was saying, the superdelegates should throw their support to Bernie, no matter what the popular vote says!”

        • sanjait

          Right. And the primaries are obviously RIGGED. That’s why the states with normal ballot elections went mostly to Hillary while those with weird caucus jamborees went mostly to Bernie.

    • ASV

      To be fair, the stupidest Republicans think Trumpcare didn’t pass because of the 60-vote cloture threshold.

      • stepped pyramids

        Including the bill’s namesake.

      • SatanicPanic

        The stupidest = the president :(

      • Ithaqua

        “think” seems a little optimistic here.

    • BaronvonRaschke

      I agree about leaving the fights in the primaries, at least in 2018 and 2020. Otherwise, I want the Clintonites away from the levers of power in the party. They have no answers and drove us into a ditch. Lesser evilism has failed as an electoral strategy as have DLC and Third Way wanking. I am hardly a leftist, but the Clintons and Obama have not addressed the needs of the working class. That is why poor turnout in Dem strongholds in WI, MI and PA killed HRC

      • Hogan

        Which particular Clintonites and which particular levers?

        • The phrases “the Clintonites” and “the levers” impliy that the answer to both questions is: “all of them”.

          • Hogan

            Probably. I’d settle for five examples of each.

            • BaronvonRaschke

              Podesta, Begala, Brazile, Perez, Schumer, Pelosi, Hoyer, DWS, and most of theSNC.

              • NeonTrotsky

                I’m not saying I disagree with everything you’re saying, but Perez was one of the most liberal secretaries of labor we’ve had in years, and all of his achievements are going to be reversed, entirely because Trump was elected instead of Clinton. The Democrats are far from perfect, but throwing elections to Republicans directly hurts working class people.

                • Perez didn’t endorse Bernie. This makes him an apostate in their eyes.

                • BaronvonRaschke

                  My principal opposition to Perez is that he was Obama’s choice, and Obama is a dead end. Maybe he will turn out to be a decent DNC chair, though I am unimpressed so far. (His speaking tour with Bernie was an embarrassment. Perez was vague and inarticulate.)

                  In any case, I do not want to throw elections to the Repukelicans, and that is what drives my desire to see the Democratic party reform itself. The Dems need to offer a strong jobs program (e.g., a government jobs program) not a tax credit to businesses for ob training. We had such a tax credit in the 1970s and 1980s, and it failed (other than being a giveaway to business). People, including Trump voters, want a chance at dignity. The Dems used to be good at that, but they have lost their way, mostly due to the Clinton, DLC types.

      • “I want the Clintonites away from the levers of power in the party.”- that might be a problem, since if we define “Clintonite” as “those who supported Clinton in the primary”, that’s a majority of the party membership and an even larger majority of its elected officials.

        “Lesser evilism has failed as an electoral strategy”- I’m not sure what this even means. No one’s going to win an election on the basis of enthusiastic, full-throated support alone. Had Bernie won the nomination, plenty of voters would have voted for him, not because they particularly liked him or his policies, but because, despite their reservations, he would have still been preferable to a Republican. Either that, or he’d have lost in a landslide of McGovernite proportions.

        • BaronvonRaschke

          Lesser evilism has been the Dem strategy since 1992. It says that you should vote for us because Repukelicans are worse. It is not exactly a rousing message which is the reason the Dems have to ask for premission before ordering lunch.

          • Shantanu Saha

            Boy are you dim. In 1984, Walter Mondale ran on an explicit promise to raise taxes to fund all sorts of social welfare programs. He lost in a landslide.

            • BaronvonRaschke

              Nonsequitur at best. Last time I checked this is 2017, not 1984. Don’t you understand that people want jobs and universal health care? Which Dem other than Liz Warren is pushing for it? Where is the jobs program? You are so clueless I can’t believe I wasted my time responding.

              • Obama’s 2010 jobs bill is still bogged down in the Senate awaiting a vote.

          • jmwallach

            That’s a strange arbitrary point, wasn’t there a primary about insufficient leftness like 2 years before that? Someone from a political dynasty and a sitting president or something?

          • “You should vote for us because the others are worse”, which is simply another way of saying “vote for us because we’re better than them”, is every electoral strategy, and not just since 1992. It is hardly unique to Democrats.

            • That was the mantra in Germany in the 30’s. How did that work out for the neo liberals then?

            • BaronvonRaschke

              That is demonstrably untrue. FDR and LBJ, just to name two had broad, hopeful agendas. So did JFK. In a way, Nixon had an agenda, and parts of it were not awful. If the Dems cannot articulate a vision for a better America, than a charlatan like Trump can paint them into a corner and beat them. Can’t we demand better from the party than its leadership is willing to offer?

              • Marduk Kur

                So did Obama. So did Clinton. You live in a fantasy land.

                • Oh, but our dear friend the Baron defines an agenda as “Whatever I agree with”. Since he does not like Clinton or Obama, by definition they had no hopeful agenda.

              • As I recall FDR won largely on saying that Hoover’s attempts to handle the Great Depression were a shambles, and LBJ hammered Goldwater in 1964 for being unfit to be President. The dichotomy you set up between “lesser-evilism” and “visions of hope and glory” is simplistic at best. Political candidates do both. They try to mobilize supporters around hopes and ideas and then scoop up the doubters by saying “even if you don’t fully subscribe to what I’m proposing, you know it’s better than what my opponent’s offering”.

                Any half-decent politician who knows the game can articulate a “vision”, at least in broad, platitudinous terms. It may be mired in cliches and trapped in patriotic mythology, but such things have been known to resonate (remember Ronnie Reagan?). Whether or not it resonates at a particular moment in time is quite another matter. The Dems do need to find a way to articulate a vision for this moment in time, but your notion that this is going to be accomplished by internecine bloodletting purging the party of “undesirable elements” is…fanciful.

          • Evil over imperfect is so much better.

            • Of course. Why settle for a lesser evil when you can have a greater one?

              • MAGE Make America Greater Evil.

              • Ithaqua

                You do know that’s the catchphrase of Cthulhu for President, I hope? … or, more precisely, just “Why settle for the lesser evil?”.

      • efgoldman

        You either voted for whacko Dr Jill or didn’t vote at all, right?

        You’re definitely a BIG part of the problem.

        • BaronvonRaschke

          I wrote in Bernie. You don’t understand this democracy thing. It is not up to me to vote for the heaping mound of dung you nominate. It is up to the Dems to nominate a good candidate, not a mound of manure like HRC. As long as the Dems keep punching progressives, they will remain irrelevant. BTW, I used to be a staunch D and even worked as campaign manager for a state delegate and count Supervisor. If you alienate people like me, it becomes harder to win elections.

          • Shantanu Saha

            If you wrote in Sanders, it’s clear that YOU do not understand democracy in the American context, and from the drivel you keep spouting here, it’s plain that you will never learn.

            • efgoldman

              S/he's much, much too pure to sully the essence with a candidate who (1) might actually win and (2) might have some way to accomplish good things other than shouting and repetition.

              You go play and let the grownups talk.

            • BaronvonRaschke

              I understand democracy very well. I choose no longer to vote for the lesser of two evils. I voted for a hack like Mark Warner as one of my senators. I voted for Gore and Kerry. I no longer wish to vote for the lesser of two evils. I want a good candidate, one who cares about the plight of the poor and the working class, not one one who is less bad than the Repukelican. HRC was not that, and she lost. End of story.

              • And I want a pony! Where’s my pony? I will settle for nothing less! You may offer me anything else, but I will exercise my alienable right to refuse food, water, shelter, health care, until I get my pony. And then when I am dying, with my last breath I will say “You should have given me my pony. This is on you!”, and the shame will be on you, for you will have killed me by your obstinate refusal to give me exactly what I want.

                For democracy is an atomistic exercise of personal will and nothing more. It is worthless to consider collective consequences of electoral outcomes because such considerations dilute the potency of my pure personal choice! My choice! My desire! No, you’re the neo-liberal!

                • There was a girl named Abigail
                  Who was taking a drive
                  Through the country
                  With her parents
                  When she spied a beautiful sad-eyed
                  Grey and white pony.
                  And next to it was a sign
                  That said,
                  FOR SALE—CHEAP.
                  “Oh,” said Abigail,
                  “May I have that pony?
                  May I please?”
                  And her parents said,
                  “No you may not.”
                  And Abigail said,
                  “But I MUST have that pony.”
                  And her parents said,
                  “Well, you can have a nice butter pecan
                  Ice cream cone when we get home.”
                  And Abigail said,
                  “I don’t want a butter pecan
                  Ice cream cone,
                  I WANT THAT PONY—
                  I MUST HAVE THAT PONY.”
                  And her parents said,
                  “Be quiet and stop nagging—
                  You’re not getting that pony.”
                  And Abigail began to cry and said,
                  “If I don’t get that pony I’ll die.”
                  And her parents said, “You won’t die.
                  No child ever died yet from not getting a pony.”
                  And Abigail felt so bad
                  That when she got home she went to bed,
                  And she couldn’t eat,
                  And she couldn’t sleep,
                  And her heart was broken,
                  And she DID die—
                  All because of a pony
                  That her parents wouldn’t buy.
                  Authors Note:
                  (This is a good story
                  To read to your folks
                  When they won’t buy
                  You something you want.)

              • Rand Careaga

                The classics never go out of style, do they? I refer to Tbogg’s “Epistle to the Purity Ponies,” which I have only faint hopes of being able to retire:

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

                “You don’t live there.

                “Grow the fuck up.”

              • stepped pyramids

                I voted for a hack like Mark Warner as one of my senators

                Just want to point out to everyone here this means Virginia, which is a swing state.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  I wonder why he will vote for Warner and Kerry, but not Hillary, although Hillary is to the left of the latter and way to the left of the former. I can’t imagine what the difference might be.

              • EliHawk

                “I voted for Gore and Kerry and Mark Warner. But, you know, they had penises so I sucked it up even though their opposition (while terrible) was far less terrible than Trump. But I wanted a good candidate. You know, one who cared about the working class, with their penis. And whose penis deeply cared about the plight of the poor. Basically, No Bitches.”

                • BaronvonRaschke

                  I have no idea where that came from, but help yourself. You can call me other names too, if you so desire

                • Well…..It does seem a little odd that you supported the others, but when it came to the first female candidate you thought to yourself “The Line Must Be Drawn HERE!”

              • Scott Lemieux

                Shorter BaronvonRaschke: “If a Republican Supreme Court for 40 years is the price I have to pay to live out my pathetic wank fantasies, well, come to think of it it’s not me who pays the price.”

                • Joseph Slater

                  Including but not limited to what anyone who knew about labor unions was an absolute certainty going into the election: A Trump victory would mean a Supreme Court decision making the entire public sector “right to work,” thus crippling the U.S. labor movement even further. I mean, even True Leftists who disparage “IdPol” and don’t care about abortion rights, LGBT rights, voting rights of minorities, etc., etc. should still maybe care about unions, right?

          • jmwallach
          • I bet you would have wrote in your cat in the 1932 German election also if you had the opportunity.

          • Marduk Kur

            Thanks for Trump, asshole.

          • msdc

            “BTW, I used to be a staunch D and even worked as campaign manager for a state delegate and count Supervisor. If you alienate people like me, it becomes harder to win elections.”

            …except in Virginia, where we beat Trump (and improved on Obama’s 2012 margins) without your beautiful vote for a candidate who wasn’t even on the fucking ballot.

            Somehow, the voters never quite agree with your absolutely perfect ideas, do they?

          • Veleda_k

            Next time, save yourself effort and achieve the same result by staying home and masturbating.

      • Terok Nor

        And I thought making it easier to afford health insurance benefited the working class. Silly me.

      • mds

        the Clintons and Obama have not addressed the needs of the working
        class. That is why poor turnout in Dem strongholds in WI, MI and PA
        killed HRC

        And yet, Obama won in 2012 in all of those Dem strongholds. Odd, that.

    • I’m generally a proponent of this POV but two things given me pause:

      1) Corbyn in the U.K.
      2) what’s happened to the Republican caucus.

      While Corbyn did better than I certainly feared in the last GE, his lock on the party membership is not proportionate to his strength even it has traditional Labour voters. And he’s not a coalition builder, nor does he need to be. This seems unhelpful.

      (Due caveat: I hate Corbyn for his Brexit everything. But I also strongly prefer Labour to Conservatives even if they are both brexitters.)

      Re Republicans, even if we put forth the caveat that they lost winnable seats by preferring right wing ness to viability, we’re still seeing a caucus which is being disciplined from above and below to the point that they can’t govern. Now their extremists are evil and bonkers which makes things worse, but there’s still a lot more democrats to my right than to my left. If I become the median Democrat, my guess it’s because we lose a lot to my right.

      In the end, we want to win the argument, not just the primaries.

      At the moment, I don’t think we’ve reached any danger point with the primary hard strategy. But, for example, I think the Shumer current strategy is to try to get Ryan and McConnel to of all Bohner, that is, pass legislation with democratic votes. Thus it will be much more left than would pass with R votes alone but much much more right than any of us will be happy with.

      I don’t think that strategy or enacting is a primary worthy offense.

      • sk7326

        True – but if you have a Democrat in a powerful seat … you can at least HAVE the argument.

        • Yes. Any democrat is better than any republican in the day and age. If only for the leadership vote.

      • SamR

        Corbyn in the UK is an interesting example. The UK is more leftwing than the US, but Corbyn, despite overachieving media expectations, did not win.

        There’s a weird Corbyn-Trump May-Hillary linkage too, the bomb-throwing old white dude who makes his own party uncomfortable vs. the more centrist woman who’s (unfairly?) seen as being an insider to a corrupt system.

        • The problem with the analogy is that May is way less centrist than Hillary was. She’s pretty much governed as a right wing nut job and very right on Brexit.

          I don’t get the feeling that people see her as esp corrupt, but that she really fucked up the campaign including calling it in the first place. She ran a historically awful campaign. You really had to see it. From the manifesto to her refusal to debate to just her manner on the trail. She seemed woefully unprepared for a campaign *that she called*.

          This did not play well. She still got the largest vote share and by far the most seats.

          • EliHawk

            Right. She played it terribly, and it did worse for her in part because nobody thought Corbyn could win so it was easy for them to vote opposition to Punch the PM. And even then w/ the collapse of UKIP/Lib Dems and the return of Two Party Politics she got a higher percentage of the vote than anyone since Blair in ’97.

  • sharculese

    Scott, I don’t think you understand. Schumer is a neoliberal, and that’s Very Very Bad.

    • Deborah Bender

      There is a term from the Sixties, corporate liberal, that probably applies to Schumer.

      • Senator From New York would probably suffice.

        • efgoldman

          Senator From New York

          Unless he's from hipster parts of Brooklyn, or a farm commune upstate, it doesn't count. Corporate shill!!

  • Joe Paulson

    I generally found Schumer somewhat unpleasant as a person [Sen. Al Franken in his book notes lots of people find him likable, in a somewhat goofy way, so ymmv] but always found him very good at his basic role — serving the ideological advancement of his party.

    So, it makes sense he is good in this role. As senators go, NY has a good pair.

    • stepped pyramids

      Every time I’ve seen him interviewed or the like he seems like a chummy, avuncular guy. My issues are with his policy priorities, but a good legislative leader weights their party’s needs over their own or their state’s. Reid did. Schumer so far is.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        Wall Street is commonly seen as a jobs issue in NY State (in the Great Recession, tens of thousands of support personnel lost their jobs), so a NY/ NJ leader (cough! Booker!) has to listen seriously to Wall Street. As Majority Leader, he has to balance his state’s concerns more with his party’s.

      • Murc

        I’ve met Schumer a few times. He’s absolutely an avuncular, chummy guy when pressing the flesh.

        • twbb

          I still hold him in high esteem for the way he beat Al D’Amato for that Senate seat.

          • Rand Careaga

            On the night Schumer defeated D’Amato, I was at a small dinner party that included, among the guests, a Swiss lesbian. She practically got up and danced on the table out here in Oakland when the result was announced.

          • Drew

            That was truly a public service, kicking that fucking slug out of the Senate.

            Also, thanks a lot Javits. You were a one of the last good Republicans and then you helped stick us with that fuck.

        • Deborah Bender

          I will probably never meet the man, but I would have a hard time with this because I would be certain that it was completely insincere and I would be struggling not to be rude.

          OTOH, Schumer is someone I can imagine getting slightly drunk with.

      • He’s the sort of guy who shows up, unannounced, at college graduations in New York, and gives an impromptu speech to the graduating class. Or so I’ve been told – he didn’t show up at mine, but I was told there was something like a 70% chance that he would.

        • Pat

          He showed up at my niece’s graduation, told a couple of funny stories, was cheerful and friendly and then took off.

        • twbb

          He was my commencement speaker but it was planned.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I’ve seen it. The speech is anything but impromptu, but I find it charming.

          • Well, fair enough – what political speech is ever truly impromptu?

      • Drew

        That was my impression as well. I seem to recall him on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show a few times. Seemed to have a good personality if nothing else.

  • Who are these people this blog is always ranting against who think the parties are identical and want to deploy hardcore purity tests on red state Democrats? I hang around with a lot of Brooklyn leftists and don’t really encounter that attitude much. I see plenty of calls for a farther left economic agenda in those areas, and occasional talk of primarying those red state Dems in order to get that done, but that’s pretty far from the straw man of “we need candidates who agree with Brooklyn leftists on everything.”

    • Paul Thomas

      This is still nonsensical. It’s blue state moderates (particularly ones whose nams start with F and end with “einstein”) who need to be primaried. Start there.

      • And that of course is where their focus is (howling for Cuomo’s blood in particular in New York), but that’s not exactly mutually exclusive with liking the idea of primarying right wing Democrats elsewhere as well.

        • EliHawk

          The thing is the people howling for Cuomo’s blood have zero chance of actually getting him. He’s popular among actual Democrats, even if lefty Twitter despises him. The poll cited yesterday about DeBlasio’s recovered poll numbers also showed Cuomo with higher approvals among New Yorkers and New York Dems than him. It’s the same people who insisted Bernie was going to win New York because he was beloved among white Brooklyn Hipsters. He got crushed by actual Brooklyn residents and minorities (same as Teachout did).

          • Drew

            Plenty of rank and file Dems are not huge fans of Cuomo. He is a much better politician thank de Blasio though, which isn’t saying much.

            • EliHawk

              I mean, last poll I saw had him 80-15 approval with NYC Dems. So they exist, but that’s not a really huge cohort. (And again, better than Blas’s 74-18).

              Basically, I get annoyed at the subset of Left Twitter/Commentariat that’s sure that he’s totally super vulnerable to a primary because their Twitter feed hates him and the WFP is grumpy.

          • So when someone wants to primary red state Dems they should shut up and focus on blue state moderate Dems, but when they want to do that it’s a ridiculous “lefty Twitter” move?

            It is indeed horrifying how popular Cuomo has managed to stay, but a candidate of equal or higher quality to Teachout could certainly have a good chance against him. Teachout did okay for primarying an incumbent given that she got no institutional support from anywhere. If the Working Families Party manages to learn from their mistakes and back a challenger along with the general left infrastructure that’s been growing since 2018 there’s no reason to think Cuomo’s safe.

            • Tom in BK

              A lot of NYers, especially this summer, have soured on Cuomo because of the whole MTA being a disaster thing. To be fair, he inherited the dysfunction in Albany, and I haven’t followed NY state politics as closely as I used to since I moved out last year.

              • From your lips to god’s ears. Cuomo’s even worse than you imply though – he’s deliberately stoking dysfunction in Albany for his own gain. He loves being in the middle of complex deals involving Senate Republicans, Assembly Democrats, and the IDC, rather than being put in the position of opposing a united Democratic legislature from the right.

      • joel_hanes

        You need a better grasp of reality.

        There’s a BIG difference between “needs to be primaried” and “could conceivably be successfully primaried”. DiFi got a golden ticket when Harvey Milk was murdered, and has steadily increased her power and leverage ever since — I’m pretty sure that the consensus among CA politicians is that she’s unassailable until she steps down.

        In 2012, Feinstein claimed the record for the most popular votes in any U.S. Senate election in history, having received 7.75 million votes.

        But I truly wish she’d retire. Her seniority in the Senate and mastery of its twistly little byways have long been an asset to the Dems, but she’s no longer the woman she was, and I think she’d be irresponsible to run for re-election in 2018.

        • Deborah Bender

          Because the state legislature is term limited, there will be a lot of politicians interested in running for that seat. Whoever gets the nomination is close to a lock, because the GOP will nominate someone who is too conservative or a multimillionaire with no political experience who can self finance.

          It will be a very expensive primary, but crowdfunding might even things up a little.

          • djw

            Given California’s idiotic, appalling top-2 primary, it’s likely that no Republican makes it to the general, as in 2016.

            • Deborah Bender

              I gather that it’s obvious to you what’s wrong with the top-2 primary, but could you explain it to me? Not being sarcastic; I want to understand.

              • ChiefOfStaffCaptainHowdy

                One thing is that, this being California, both candidates will usually be Democrats, which is not really how a two-party system works.

                • Deborah Bender

                  California’s primary system has been weird before. From the Wikipedia article on cross-filing:

                  “In 1909, California introduced the direct primary election in its elections. The state’s requirement that candidates in primary elections certify that they had supported a particular party in the previous general election was struck down by the California Supreme Court in 1909, in a case involving the Socialist Party of America. While the California State Legislature attempted to institute a looser test in 1911, by 1913, there was no longer any restriction on candidates filing in multiple primaries.[1] The cross-filing provision was added to a previously debated primary bill by members of the administration of Governor Hiram Johnson, who had previously run (on separate occasions) as a Republican and with the Progressive Party.[2]

                  In 1917 and 1919, the legislature barred a candidate who lost his own party’s nomination from running as a member of any other party, and allowed the state committee of the affected party to fill any vacancies on their ticket.[1] In combination with statutes that placed the incumbent first on the ballot and designated him by his title, these ballot rules gave a heavy advantage to incumbents.[3]

                  In 1946, Governor Earl Warren, eight other state officials, twelve of the state’s twenty-three U.S. representatives, and approximately three-quarters of incumbent state legislators seeking re-election were elected by winning both major primaries through cross-filing.[1] In 1948, US Representative Richard Nixon, facing no Republican primary opponent, cross-filed and defeated Stephen Zetterberg in the Democratic primary.[3]

                  In 1952, incumbent Republican US Senator William Knowland won the nomination of both parties. This marked the low point of post-war Democratic political fortunes in California, and brought into sharp focus the results of cross-filing. Though the majority of California voters were registered Democrats, there had only been one Democratic Governor in the 20th century, and Republicans held majorities in both houses of the Legislature and 111 of the 162 elective partisan offices in the state.[4]”

              • Wapiti

                We have a top-2 primary in Washington State. The upside is we often get a choice of Democrats – do we want the centrist or the one further to the left. The downside to a top-2 primary, is when you have a ton of candidates. If 11 Dems run, and 2 Repubs, the Repubs could get both places in the general because of split votes between the Dems. I blame weak party organization; some of those 11 Dems should drop out, but without a party primary, who decides?

                • Deborah Bender

                  That’s a fair point.

              • djw

                This is probably worth a post, as I don’t think I’ve bothered to put one together on this. (Although I think Erik has, my hatred of the system overlaps with his but probably ventures into different territory.)

            • DocAmazing

              A choice between two Democrats! How awful!

        • Free Fries

          Sometimes Dems just have to pull the trigger like Cory Booker did with Frank Lautenberg. CA has a pretty good bench – Reps Lee, Waters, Spieier, Schiff, Lieu, Swalwell are the ones I’m most familiar with but I’m sure there’s more as well as state legislators. Obv maintaining high profile in a safe House seat is easier than a statewide CA run but I think the top 2 primary makes her the ‘safest’ Dem to challenge.

          • joel_hanes

            pull the trigger like Cory Booker did with Frank Lautenberg

            Frank Lautenberg died in office, of pneumonia.
            Booker won the special election to fill Lautenberg’s vacant seat.

            IMHO, none of Lee, Waters, Spieier, Schiff, or Lieu will ever primary Difi.
            Some Dem voters have no respect for her, but I believe that all those Dem politicians I’ve named do; on her own turf, she is formidable.

            Swalwell I don’t know; I’ll read up and start watching.

            • Free Fries

              He started preparing a 2014 challenge before Lautenberg announced he wasn’t running in early 2013. Lautenberg died in June 2013. http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/278407-booker-hits-early-bumps-on-road-to-senate-nomination-in-new-jersey-

              • nacorwin

                Lautenberg was 127 years old in 2013. He was considering retiring before he died. It is not crazy for a serious candidate to start preparing for an election.

                • Free Fries

                  Are you disputing my original point which was Booker came out and said he was running for Senate in 2014 without waiting for Lautenberg to announce if he would run or retire?

          • Drew

            Booker probably should have, but that’s not what happened.

            Wonder when that Menendez trial is going to start. Wonder if Christie is going to get a chance to name a replacement. Or maybe we’ll get Fulop. That’s a seat to watch.

        • SamR

          I think DiFi’s more vulnerable than people think. This state has become more left and I think the process is continuing.

          In the Sanchez v. Harris Senate race, both were Democrats. Sanchez marketed herself to Republicans and as the state’s first Latina Senator, probably figuring that combining Republicans, conservative Democrats, and an outsize share of Latinos would be enough to beat Harris.

          She got crushed. Harris won all but 4 counties, and received 62% of the vote.

          I think Barbara Lee could give DiFi a run for her money.

    • Wojciech

      You should meet some of the people in my Facebook feed (some of whom are Brooklyn hipster lefty types). Maybe I’ve got a particularly rotten and insufferable batch, but too many live down to every stereotype lampooned on LGM.

      • In the sense of actually having the attitude of “both sides do it but Democrats are worse” as so frequently posted here?

        • Wojciech

          Yes. Including a few bona-fide Jill Stein supporters.

          But note my caveat: I may have a particularly rotten and insufferable batch in my Facebook feed.

          • Hob

            My own FB friends list is mostly limited to people I know personally and consider to be decent and non-stupid… and I’ve still run into a fair amount of this in the last few years. Gave up arguing with some of them; unfriended a few (including one guy who not only is one of the smarter people I know, at least intellectually, but can’t be accused of being an armchair ranter since he actually ran for Congress twice) when their rhetoric became so venomous toward me (sellout, no standards, in love with the status quo and corrupt elites, etc.) that I really couldn’t see wanting to have a regular conversation with them again for a long time if ever. And I don’t think my experience is uncommon among people I know—not counting people who are totally apolitical. In other words, I don’t think your batch is an outlier.

            I think Quite Likely’s personal experience is plausible too, though. First, we’re talking about loudmouths on the Internet—which naturally amplifies such attitudes—not necessarily what people will tell you to your face. And second, though Scott did use the phrase “Brooklyn leftists” in a snarky way, he was referring to them being used as an unrealistic standard for politicians in conservative areas—not saying that they themselves were pushing that standard. It’s the same as if he said “the idea that every Congressional candidate in every district should literally be Michael Moore”; that wouldn’t mean Moore was the one trying to make that happen.

          • my feed is full of that stuff, too.

            it’s gotten better since i’ve blocked all of the idiotic sites my friends like to link to, but i know they’re still spreading that shit as best they can.

          • N__B

            Have you tried aerial spraying?

            • Origami Isopod

              I’d suggest a mix of equal parts borax and cocoa powder, to be sprinkled around the edges of one’s FB wall.

          • I mean I cast a protest vote for Stein myself from the safety of New York, but that of course doesn’t imply anything so ridiculous as thinking the Democrats are worse than the Republicans. I’ve literally never seen that attitude and genuinely don’t believe it exists on the left. Any article or post you could point me to where a lefty actually says the dems are worse?

            • The problem with a “safe” protest vote for Stein is that it is a vote for *Stein*. She is so genuinely awful.

              • I mean we can get into the merits or lack thereof of Stein if you want (flawed but I would far prefer her as President to any recent Democratic nominee), but I’m just trying to say that voting for her is not in the same ballpark as thinking that the Democrats are worse than the Republicans.

                So should I take it that there aren’t any real world examples of the “Dems are worse” strawman seen on this site?

                • david spikes

                  Then you are what you claim to have never encountered-a batshit Brooklyn boy.

                • I guess that’s my point, I’m the demographic being disparaged, but the particular insults being levelled are inaccurate.

                • Are you not a boy or are you not from Brooklyn?

                • Not from Brooklyn. But what I’m getting at is that neither I nor any Brooklynites I know, regardless of how much they dislike the Democrats, think that the Dems are worse than the Republicans.

                • Chet Murthy

                  *cough* worse? Uh, no, what I’ve seen (here and elsewhere) is “not a dime’s worth of difference”. Cf. Kaveh in this thread: ” Democrats really have acted much like Republicans”. And I suspect if you were to look in the archives, e.g. for good old deBoner and HAHA Goodman, amongst others, you’ll find lots of examples of that.

                  And just to be clear: “Dems are just as bad” is just as bad as “Dems are worse” — it demoralizes likely Dem voters.

                • Kaveh

                  Bravo, that is a totally reasonable take-away from what I said and not at a total misrepresentation of the view I expressed.

                • Origami Isopod

                  You may wish to remember which Disqus account you’re signed in under when you reply to a comment.

                • Do you not read this blog or something? “Both Sides Do It, But the Democrats Are Worse” is literally the title of an ongoing series of posts.

                  http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/05/sides-democrats-worse-ongoing-series

                • If you prefer Stein to recent democratic nominees, just on leftist grounds!, then something hasn’t gone wrong with your judgement. If you add in governance and competency grounds, it’s not even funny. She’s a kook. You shouldn’t prefer kooks even if they mouth vague policy proposals that are nominally congruent with your preferences.

                  As for your second paragraph, I wasn’t addressing that issue with my comment so your silly inference remains silly.

                • Objectively speaking, my cat would make a better President than Stein. He is more principled, indifferent to Putin and and relatively fine with vaccinations.

                • Does the fact that the “Stein is an anti-vaxxer” thing that you apparently believe is objectively and obviously untrue make you rethink your disdain for her at all? Like maybe you have a bit of a bias, or consume media with a bit of a bias against her?

                  http://www.snopes.com/is-green-party-candidate-jill-stein-anti-vaccine/

                • Even if she shared the same position on vaccines as my cat, I would still prefer my cat.

                • So you’re saying that you are indeed just mindlessly anti-Stein and throwing out whatever arguments come to hand?

                • JMP

                  Bullshit. Stein flirted with the anti-vaccine nutcases throughout the campaign; that lying article is proof that snopes can’t always be trusted. To claim that Sein is not anti-vaccination is an utterly ridiculous lie, it is obviously and objectively true that she is one.

                • You’re saying snopes is in the tank for Stein? The worst you can possibly say about Stein’s vaccination stance is that she’s trying to be sympathetic to the concerns of the anti-vaxxers rather than loudly condemning them. But she is very consistently pro-vaccine. If you don’t trust snopes feel free to supply any source of your own, but you’re just not going to find any evidence for Stein opposing vaccinations.

                • JMP

                  If she’s sympathetic to the concerns of the anti-vaccination crowd, then she is not consistently pro-vaccine. She plays nice with the child murders of the anti-vax crowd, as you admit. That makes complicit with them.

                • Ah, the goalposts keep on moving. So your problem with Stein is not that she’s anti-vax or ever has or is likely to take any action discouraging vaccination, but instead that she’s too nice to people on the wrong side of that issue?

                • ColBatGuano

                  I would far prefer her as President to any recent Democratic nominee

                  Thanks for letting me know I never have to consider your opinion.

                • What is it exactly you think she would have done that’s so much worse than Obama or either Clinton to make up for her clearly far superior policy preferences?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  I would far prefer her as President to any recent Democratic nominee

                  This is just insane.

                • What is it exactly you think she would have done that’s so much worse than Obama or either Clinton to make up for her clearly far superior policy preferences?

                  It’s really not tough to be a better option than any modern Democrats.

                • Hogan

                  So should I take it that there aren’t any real world examples of the “Dems are worse” strawman seen on this site?

                  Well, there’s . . . Jill Stein.

                  http://www.rawstory.com/2016/09/jill-stein-insists-trump-is-less-dangerous-than-clinton-and-attacks-bernie-sanders-as-a-dc-insider/

                • Origami Isopod

                  flawed but I would far prefer her as President to any recent Democratic nominee)

                  So you’d have preferred an anti-vaxxer with an M.D. and a Putin stooge to an accomplished and honest, if certainly not perfect, politician whose policy has moved further and further to the left.

                  Okay then. Thank you for letting us know how seriously to take you.

                • Are people really still pushing the “Stein is an anti-vaxxer” thing? http://www.snopes.com/is-green-party-candidate-jill-stein-anti-vaccine/

                  Not even going to get into the nonsensical “Putin stooge” conspiracy theory that’s 100% based on a picture of her at a dinner.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Oh, the Snopes article written by a Stein partisan? Uh huh.

                • When someone starts claiming snopes is in the tank for their enemies I start doubting that person’s integrity more than I start doubting snopes.

                  But please, lost whatever evidence you think trumps it.

            • Why didn’t you just vote for yourself, did you think you were too much of a neo liberal sellout also?

              • Eh, I have some vague preference for voting for people who are actually running. Then you can get statistics like “Green party got X%” of the vote rather than having to dig into what all the random write-in candidates were.

                • You had the same change of being elected as Stein.

                • It’s a protest vote in a safe state, it’s not about who’s getting elected. It’s about demonstrating that there is support for a left alternative. Getting a bunch of people to vote for the same candidate who then shows up in the polls and media coverage is a better way to do that than writing in myself or Karl Marx or whatever.

            • msdc

              “Who are these lefty protest voters this blog is always ranting against? I doubt they exist”

              “I mean, I voted for Stein myself, but…”

              • I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. I’m not disputing the existence of protest votes, I’m disputing the existence of people on the left who think the Democrats are worse than the Republicans. You’re doing the exact conflation of any disloyalty to the Democratic Party with “Both sides do it but Dems are worse” that I’m describing.

                • I have no loyalty to the Democratic Party. My support for the Dems in elections is pragmatic, based on the fact that they are immensely preferable to the alternative. So “loyalty” is beside the point.

                • Yeah I’m pretty much with you on that stance. And there are some people out there who are more pro-third party than that who I think are being a bit silly. But literally none of them think the Democrats are worse than the Republicans, and it’s a pretty nasty slander to say that they do.

            • Veleda_k

              Stein? I have little respect for protest voting, but if you were going to cast a protest vote, why not maintain some shred of dignity and vote for someone more competent, like the moldering corpse of Bozo the Clown?

        • solidcitizen

          Yes, because Dems are “supposed” to be socialists/Marxists. Republicans might as well not exist (unless they are claiming that Trump is still better than Clinton on trade, foreign policy, and the environment). So, if a Dem comes out in favor of ObamaCare, then they are betraying what should be the true stance of all Democrats – ObamaCare is a sellout of the insurance companies and we need Canadian-style health care yesterday.

          I got guys who are right now, today, blaming the Dems for doing nothing on student debt and calling for a third party.

        • Marduk Kur

          Hang out at Booman Tribune sometime. About 20-30% of his commenters are totally batshit.

          • ChiefOfStaffCaptainHowdy

            At Huffington Post, at least during Obama’s first term, the non-RW troll commenters were 80+% batshit, at least. It was very difficult to be pro-Obama.

            • Shemp Marx

              That still pisses me off. After the primaries in ’08, there was so much excitement at the blood Obama was sure to spill against the former admin and Rs in general once he got into office. Of course, if you were listening to any of his speeches, he made it very clear he was going be exactly the kind of center left conciliator he ended up being. A lot of purity ponies are upset for the simple reason that they did not pay attention during the campaign.

              • DocAmazing

                I listened to his speeches, and heard Cesar Chavez’s “Si se puede” translated in English, and the phrase “we are the people we’ve been waiting for”, iifted from the SDS. Obama was gunning for the left vote, as well. He just didn’t feel compelled to repay it.

                • nacorwin

                  Besides using most of his political capital getting a health care bill passed. This was a dream for my SDS mother since her 1960’s Berkley days.

                  Let me second the claim that he governed exactly as he said he would during the campaign.

            • Ithaqua

              Yeah, I had to stop going there after a while, the stupid was killing my brain cells faster than the rum needed to get through the comments sections was.

          • Drew

            Particularly one commenter whose name rhymes with Schmarthur Schmilroy. Absolutely bugfuck, to the point where I wonder if it’s performance art.

            Longman posts solid content. Why does he seem to get a disproportionate amount of fuckheads?

        • Hob

          Besides my other comment and what everyone else said, I also don’t think “hating on the Democrats no matter what” is necessarily part of the same attitude as “we need candidates who agree with Brooklyn leftists on everything.” You can have the latter without the former, even if that doesn’t seem to make sense. The number of combative factionalist assholes in my community is relatively small (though still far too large)… but there are a *lot* of people who *think* of themselves as reasonable people standing in solidarity, but also think that “why don’t the Democrats run a solid progressive candidate in every district—if they’re losing there already, surely it can only help!” is a reasonable position that’s being unfairly dismissed. (They also tend to think that that’s what Howard Dean did.)

          • mattmcirvin

            I see lots of “the two – party system frustrates me so people should vote third party.” No thought as to why there are two parties other than people being willfully stupid.

            • jmwallach

              Multi party systems are great in parliamentary systems. You don’t need to use game theory to see why our form of government really makes it possible to accomplish anything by sorting in to two groups.

              • mattmcirvin

                I recall a discussion of third-party voters on one of these blogs (maybe here!) in which someone speculated that a lot of them have an understanding of democracy in which they have an absolute moral obligation to vote for whatever candidate they think is closest to their views, and if that produces a perverse outcome in our system, that’s the system’s fault and not theirs–they did their duty.

                I think that applies to a lot of people I’ve talked to, including one guy who wrote in Jim Webb for president in November and thinks people should thank him for it.

                • mattmcirvin

                  …And, you know, I think our voting-system wonks would say that’s an indication that our system is seriously broken, because really that attitude is better than many and shouldn’t be penalized.

                • jmwallach

                  Dastardly Obama used his time machine to go back to the constitutional convention and then mind wiping powers so that nobody remembered him being there. But his signature IS on the long form version in the National Archives….

            • 3rd parties are sell outs. Vote 4th party or to be on the safe side, 5th party.

      • twbb

        “some of whom are Brooklyn hipster lefty types”

        Let me guess, if you ask them where they’re from, they say Brooklyn even though they just moved there recently from [insert whitebread suburb here]?

        • Wojciech

          Well, to be fair a few of them have lived in Brooklyn for close to 10 years now. But yes, none of them are Brooklyn born-and/or-raised.

          • benjoya

            i’m pretty anti-establishment, pro bernie (pro-dean, pro-bradley, pro-brown, sigh). my mother and i were both born there.

            • benjoya

              it’s tatooed on my friggin arm

      • Abigail Nussbaum

        I have some of those on my twitter feed as well. Maybe not to the extent of wanting to primary vulnerable Democrats, but certainly characterized by the belief that the Democrats are useless and seeming to possess a greater interest in castigating that uselessness than having anything to say about Republicans. I remember last week, after the MTP vote, a lot of them seemed significantly angrier at the Democratic senators for applauding McCain’s goodbye speech than at the Republicans for their healthcare shenanigans, or indeed at McCain for his vote. These are also the same people who seem convinced that Cuomo is a lock for the 2020 nomination, or that Chelsea Clinton is getting into politics (and on that last one, that there is something wrong with that).

      • ThresherK

        Heh. The ones in my FB feed are just as insufferable, and none of them are from Brooklyn. Or Portland.

      • Doug Kirk

        My feed is full of that stuff, but they’re all “independent” (republican 90% of the time) assholes. If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “I hate the republicans, we should take down big business but I have to vote for them because democrats want to take away my guns/kill our babies/take my money and give it to lazy black people (side note: they do not say “black people”) I’d by CNN and plug the media coverage gap for lefties. Granted, Much of that may be due to living in one of the most conservative areas of the country, coincidentally the place that basically handed herr trump the election, West Michigan. Still, most actual liberals I know are very far left politically but also pragmatic if fatalistic.

    • EvanHarper

      It’s a barely concealed dig at Chapo my dude

      • Scott Lemieux

        It’s not — did the Chapo guys say that people shouldn’t vote for Clinton, even in swing states? (They might have, but I don’t know that.)

        • EvanHarper

          Felix Biederman, who is the least worst of them, endorsed voting for Clinton in swing states. Matt Christman, who is the worst worst, claims to have spoiled his ballot. In Ohio.

          I don’t think that even Biederman sotto voce endorsement outweighs the torrent of wildly overdone complaining & outright slander, though. The model here is actually Noam Chomsky, who for all his questionable takes was always crystal clear, and vocal, about the need to vote for Hillary in swing states. He even tried to push back on some of the loopier criticisms of HRC, saying she’d been “demonized” by much of the left and was fairly “dovish” on foreign policy. IIRC I think he actually ended up voting for her in Mass. on the basis that the supposed alternatives were a sad joke, but I can’t find confirmation of that.

    • stepped pyramids

      I saw this post as responding more to the attitudes displayed here.

    • ChiefOfStaffCaptainHowdy

      Use the internet much?

    • Kaveh

      Lemieux wants leftists to get with it and realize the Democratic Party has moved left in the last 15 years, also kind of acts like Bernie Sanders is Ralph Nader. I mean, I guess there are actual leftier-than-thous out there who say things like this, but there are also actual neoliberals in the Democratic party.

      • Veleda_k

        Lemieux has never acted like Sander is Nader. He correctly points out that some of Sanders’s fans are the same kind of jerks who loved Nader.

        • Kaveh

          Ok, fair enough, but I would exclude most of the Dems’ critics from the left in that category. Who really cares about ‘some people’?

          • when those “some people” spend all their energy bad-mouthing the Dem candidate, i care.

            that shit has an effect. it turns off marginal lefties, which helps elect Republicans..

            • sanjait

              It also feeds the opposition.

              There was a remarkable alignment between the talking points of Trump about “corrupt Hillary” and those of many Bernie fans, which were echoed also by the very Midwestern WWC voters who had never been hugely loyal Republican partisans but nevertheless became activated this cycle and swung to Trump.

              I mean, if you think Hillary really was all that they said she was, that might seem justified, but what is crazy is to call Hillary corrupt and then vote for Donald Trump. Also, most of what was said about Hillary was crazy in and of itself.

              • Kaveh

                That’s true, but maybe a bit too reliant on hindsight–we’re talking about rhetoric mainly used during the primary. I wonder, what rhetoric could Bernie fans *have* used that Trump couldn’t have repeated a few months later? I mean, he pretended to have opposed the Iraq War.

                • they haven’t stopped using that rhetoric.

                • sanjait

                  If it had all but stopped after the primary, then we’d now be listening to the lefty left’s continued insistence that President Hillary isn’t a True Progressive and fighting about that assertion.

          • When roughly this world view is part of the house view of potentially significant left oriented media franchises such as the intercept or jacobian, the it’s worth taking seriously. At least as seriously as the anti unionist/uncritically globalist tendencies of places like Vox.

            Whether Scott’s mocking approach is the best way to push against these mistaken views is debatable, but the need for such push back seems clear.

            • Kaveh

              I actually used to enjoy this particular line of mocking! I just think it’s stale. I also have been under the impression that Greenwald is not on the same page as the rest of the writers at the Intercept, also, neither they nor Jacobin generally say anything close enough to ‘Dems are worse’ for the line to sound more like good political wit than like lazy/malicious misrepresentation.

              • I agree that it’s not the whole of their world view but it’s there.

                I think you’re conflating your experience with general utility. It’s important to remember that even if you are convinced to death and have seen it a thousand times, this isn’t necessarily true of broader audiences. Over the past few months I had several occasions to point back to Scott’s comparison of the ACA and the Heritage plan which was a genuinely revelation to various well informed people. I knew where those articles are and was able to dig them out. But that hit only a few people in specific conversations.

                Repetition is often a virtue.

                • Just to illustrate: today a good friend on FB posted this piece of Reich nonsense from last year:

                  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/10/democrats-working-class-americans-us-election?CMP=share_btn_fb

                  Democrats have done nothing for the working class if you ignore all the things they’ve done or tried to do for the working class.

                  Perfect, no. Abandoned the working class and unions? Also no and no just by comparison.

                  You have a major party with no restraints, with ridiculous passes given to it by so many major institutions waging all out war on the working class. This party is the Republican Party. The Democrats by and large oppose them. They are close to the only remaining major institution in the US to do so. And no institution is uncompromised (cf unions meeting with trump).

      • ChiefOfStaffCaptainHowdy
    • ChiefOfStaffCaptainHowdy

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says he doesn’t know whether Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff, who came in first Tuesday in a closely watched Georgia special election, is a progressive.
      “I don’t know,” he said Tuesday in Louisville, Ky., The Wall Street Journal said Wednesday. “If you run as a Democrat, you’re a Democrat.”
      “Some Democrats are progressive, and some Democrats are not,” the 2016 presidential candidate added.
      http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/329559-sanders-i-dont-know-if-ossoff-is-progressive

      • Kaveh

        Did Ossoff ever describe himself as progressive? (Serious question.) Wasn’t he very intentionally running as a centrist?

        • Hob

          Ossoff ran as “not interested in ideological labels,” but yeah, I think he was pretty clearly positioning himself as a centrist.

          The reason people got upset about Sanders’s remarks there wasn’t that they thought Ossoff was super progressive; it was because Sanders had been asked to endorse Ossoff, and seemed to be saying that he wouldn’t do so because Ossoff was just a Democrat rather than a progressive; he also said he didn’t really know anything about Ossoff, i.e. he didn’t give enough of a shit about the special election to have checked out the candidate at all. He made a later statement that was an unambiguous endorsement, but you can see why at the time a lot of people were like “wtf, man, maybe you think you’re helping but…”

          • Wojciech

            That, and Bernie thought that some pro-life candidate in Nebraska running around the same time as Ossoff was still sufficiently progressive to give his blessing.

            • clearly we need to make this man the leader of the Party

            • Veleda_k

              Yes, Sanders supporting Mello while declining to support Ossoff was what really incensed me.

              • Abigail Nussbaum

                While explicitly saying, at that point and later, that being anti-choice shouldn’t disqualify Democratic candidates.

                Note: I am aware that there are certain constituencies where it might be necessary to make that calculation, but it’s a far cry between acknowledging that privately, and making public statements that implicitly categorize reproductive justice as a special interest that progressives should consider merely “nice to have”.

                • NeonTrotsky

                  Eh, If the Democratic party made abortion rights a litmus test then a bunch of people in Louisiana wouldn’t have healthcare. Not saying we shouldn’t also support people like ossof, but I find the willingness of the Democratic party and it’s officials to draw lines in the sand over social issues while being much more willing to flex on economics to be pretty obnoxious and not at all helpful.

                • Paul Thomas

                  This is what really chaps my ass. Like, it’s okay, or even mandatory, to have idpol litmus tests, but if you ask for an economic litmus test– even a rather innocuous one like “don’t give buckraking speeches congratulating zillionaires on how much better they are than the proles, because it makes us look like fucking hypocrites”– you’re automatically dubbed a hipster doofus.

                  (To be clear, I think any kind of litmus test is a moronic concept.)

                • FMguru

                  “idpol”

                  Dipshit spotted.

                • Paul Thomas

                  Really adding some value with this comment, here.

                • Hob

                  Actually, yes. FMguru was efficiently letting you know that if someone comes around here trying to out-left everyone, but simultaneously drops the word “idpol”—which is almost exclusively used by assholes who are happy to piss on generations of left political activism in a manner that’s indistinguishable from the far right, if they think they can pick up some pseudo-Marxist cred that way—they’ll never ever be taken seriously, and rightly so. That would be a valuable thing for you to know, if you cared.

                • Paul Thomas

                  I have no interest in “out-lefting everyone” (or anyone). If you dislike my verbiage, you are, of course, eminently free not to listen to it. Filling up threads with insults, however, is just a waste of everyone’s time.

                • Hob

                  You can’t plausibly be unaware that using the term “idpol” comes across as an insult to the ideals of many/most people here. If some wingnut walked in going on about “welfare-check-grubbing” or “bra-burning”, the message of reactionary contempt would be very clear even if he didn’t call anyone here a dipshit. Same thing. If that’s not what you want (and from your other posts, I’m genuinely unsure if it is), rethink your words.

                • JMP

                  When your verbiage is saying that you think the Democratic Party should throw women, minorities, and LGBT people under the bus, of course decent people will dislike it, and take it as a clear proof which i is that your opinions are worthless.

                • david spikes

                  These guys-how are we supposed to tell whether its Bernieolatry-more incense there please-or just CDS or some particularly horrible combo for which there’s no cure but complete isolation.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Paul Thomas = Punditus Maximus?

                • jmwallach

                  Abortion isn’t something like lapel pins, it spans from bodily autonomy to economic opportunity

                • sanjait

                  That’s an insanely slanted interpretation of what Clinton actually did with her paid speaking engagements and far from innocuous.

                  It would be innocuous if it were merely one among many factors used to evaluate candidates in the primary. Calling it a litmus test is sign that people were willing to manufacture reasons to dislike Hillary. Failing to drop it after the primaries was misguided and consequential.

                  Trying to defend the view that that is a justifiable litmus test to reject HRC when we are now 6 months into the Trump administration … “doofus-y” seems not an unfair description.

                • Paul Thomas

                  Let me just take a second opportunity to reiterate here that I think all litmus tests are a terrible way to evaluate candidates. People should be evaluated on the totality of their views.

                  It remains true, however, that there is a significant double standard, where people who are terrible on economics but decent on social issues are allowed into the Democratic tent, while people who are the reverse are told not to bother.

                • stepped pyramids

                  This really isn’t true. How many national Democrats do you know of who advocate eliminating the estate tax, cutting or eliminating the capital gains tax, right-to-work laws, mass deregulation, or other standard Republican economic policies? How many Democrats talk about “job-killing taxes”, “job-killing regulations”, “welfare dependency” (since the ’90s ended), and so forth? How many Democrats demagogue about welfare cheats with color TVs eating steaks and lobster?

                • Paul Thomas

                  Our fucking Vice Presidential nominee supported Virginia’s union-freeloader-protection laws.

                  While I’m on that particular subject, anyone who complains about the use of the term “idpol,” then proceeds to use the nakedly fascist propaganda term “right-to-work” unironically… fuck me, I can’t even.

                • stepped pyramids

                  Oh, fuck you. I’m using the common term for the law in a context where everyone knows that term is deceptive. There’s no commonly understood shorthand that’s more accurate. Don’t compare that to you and your kewl slang term for how it’s stupid to give a shit about anyone but white men. And don’t bother replying to me again because you’re blocked.

                • dcavea

                  Um, stepped only used “right-to-work” because that has become a shorthand. From what I can tell, he sure doesn’t approve of those laws.

                • stepped pyramids

                  idpol

                  Oh, the slang term you people made up for “treating non-(white males) as humans with equal rights” so you can pretend that’s not what you’re talking about. Get bent.

                • FMguru

                  It marks you out as exactly the same sort of person who uses “SJWs” or “(((globalists)))” unironically.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Uh, social issues are economic issues. If you can’t get the abortion you want, your quality of life is going to take a sharp nosedive. The same if you’re a PoC and/or under the LGBT umbrella and facing housing or job discrimination.

                • Phil Perspective

                  While explicitly saying, at that point and later, that being anti-choice shouldn’t disqualify Democratic candidates.

                  Bob Casey is anti-choice. Thankfully, he hasn’t pulled a Bart Stupak. Yet.

            • Free Fries

              I still don’t understand WHY Sanders team thought Mello endorsement was a good idea. During the whole shitshow, I perused Mello’s website, ZERO mention of:
              -$15 min wage
              -Single payer/medicare for all
              -Free college

              caveat I didn’t check every interview/statement given so it’s possible these topics were addressed at some point

              • Hogan

                If I were running for mayor of Omaha I wouldn’t put those things on my website either, and I think they’re great ideas.

                • Free Fries

                  No kidding. Why does he get Mr. Progressive’s stamp of approval though? It’s one thing to say Heath Mello is the right choice for Omaha – it’s another to call Mello a progressive.

                • david spikes

                  Because he endorsed Bernie, which of course automatically makes him as progressive as all get out.

            • Kaveh

              Sure, and a ringing endorsement from Bernie may not even have helped Ossoff with GA-06 voters. Now, these were likely bad political calculations on Bernie’s part, but not indicative of a more general tear-down-the-party approach.

              • DocAmazing

                Tell us about Ossoff’s outreach to his district’s African-American voters.

              • david spikes

                You are coming perilously close to ” Bernie cannot fail-he can only be failed.”

                • Kaveh

                  Or I could have been saying that Bernie just wasn’t that important here.

              • Veleda_k

                Sure, and a ringing endorsement from Bernie may not even have helped Ossoff with GA-06 voters.

                As opposed to the good citizens of Nebraska, who were just desperate for socialism?

    • Chet Murthy

      “occasional talk of primarying those red state Dems” …. uh, precisely this? It seems pretty clear that Manchin&Heitkamp were outperforming even before the Putinfluffer admin, eh? maybe somebody dropped on their head as a baby would talk about primarying them. But a rational person? no. [And shit, McCaskill has been all kinds of strong, eh]

    • Kaveh

      What I see as the bigger issue here is that on some issues, particularly Middle East policy (more specifically, the US’ relationship w/ Israel & Saudi Arabia), Democrats really have acted much like Republicans, and pretty much the only time I see people say the Dems aren’t much better, it’s about those issues (like Dems voting for Iraq War). So I fear there’s a bit of a bait-and-switch here where apologists for the Dems want to paint this picture of lefties who won’t be happy with them no matter what they do, when they actually have pretty legitimate reasons for saying this in certain contexts.

      • FlipYrWhig

        But that’s a _particularly_ quixotic criticism. On Israel-Palestine, Democratic voters and Democratic politicians are pretty well aligned with one another, meaning the left critique can only become “but that sucks!” rather than “they’re out of step with the party/the party’s base/etc.”

        • Kaveh

          Dem voters are widely supportive of selling arms to Saudi Arabia? I doubt this is true–it seems rather absurd on its face, no? Even on Israel, things have been in flux for a while.

          • sigaba

            The fact that we need to prop up the Saud family, because their internal rivals would glass Israel, is something the Democratic base would rather not talk alot about, or simply deny is true.

            Basically every crooked deal we make in the region is to either lock in oil or run interference for Tel Aviv. If you wanna abandon those objectives that’s a legit topic of conversation (absolutely!) but when we have this discourse we usually decide against it because nobody want to see Israel destroyed by pan-Islamists/Arab Nationalists/Iran on a bad day or $10 oil.

            • Kaveh

              This kind of mystification of Middle East politics is, I suspect, part of why Dems have seemed so weak on foreign policy. Our choices in the primary were Bernie ‘let’s talk about economic inequality instead’ Sanders and Hilary ‘we would obliterate them’ Clinton. It sounds like Sanders started investing in FP people more seriously after the primaries were over. His weakness there was symptomatic of a larger weakness throughout the party.

              • sigaba

                It’s not like Republicans are any more realist. david is right, popular majorities are generally in favor of less wars because they don’t understand the consequences and will inevitably throw out the government that gives them what they want.

          • FlipYrWhig

            Fair enough, I was focused on the I/P part.

          • Hogan

            Dem voters are widely supportive of selling arms to Saudi Arabia?

            Are they widely opposed to it? Or is it just not that salient an issue>

            • david spikes

              American voters are widely supportive of things they know nothing about. Spend half an hour doing intensive background questions and results might mean something.

        • Phil Perspective

          But that’s a _particularly_ quixotic criticism. On Israel-Palestine, Democratic voters and Democratic politicians are pretty well aligned
          with one another, ..

          Proof? Because this is absolutely not the case.

        • david spikes

          Honestly, most Americans support Israel but most Americans also wish the whole mess would just go away.

          • Kaveh

            I’d suspect most Americans would rather not get off into the weeds on most issues, but for people who spend a lot of time talking about/doing politics to act like the US’s empire in the Middle East is a distraction from ‘real ‘Murican’ (i.e. economic, or other racial/social/gender-related) issues is inexcusable.

            • AMK

              I don’t get this. People can and should prioritize issues.

            • david spikes

              My point being that other than casting the occasional vote, the vast majority of Americans neither think think nor do anything about politics and certainly not the politics of the ME.

        • EliHawk

          Also, the idea Dems = Republicans on Israel/Palestine isn’t really true? The last two Dem Presidents have been aggressive on the peace process, even if it’s largely been for naught. The Clintons and Obama can’t fucking stand Netanyahu and both worked to try and defeat him politically (Bill, successfully).

          I suppose you could say W was too, but I don’t think he invested as much as Clinton or John Kerry. HW Bush certainly did, but he was also a very different GOP President on Foreign Policy than his successors.

      • Chet Murthy

        smh. Truly smh. On what planet can the illegal war that GWB got us into, be compared with the (still deplorable) foreign excursions of Dems in the last (oh …. half-century)? [it seems you gotta to back to Tonkin Gulf to get a parallel?] And sure, lots of Dems voted for it. Perhaps you remember, at the time, that to do otherwise was painted as traitorous? And still, there was vigorous debate by Dems in Congress. Vigorous debate.

        You leftists expect that our tribunes are some sort of perfect god/esses. And if they’re not perfect, why, they’re Satan personified. It’s embarrassing.

        One last thing: you spent 8hr beating up Obama for drone strikes. Along comes Putinfluffer, and he’s already unleashed the military to kill far, far more civilians than Obama ever allowed. Really, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

        • The thing with DROOOOOONEZ is: While better than direct invasion by a fair margin (and much better than his successor), Obama’s drone policy was still rather awful: Poor transparency, too high an error rate, and great at spreading paranoia.

          Of course, in the arms of foreign-policy bros (Greenwald, Sirota, Friedersdorf), appraisal of the policy went too far in the other direction, to argue – at least implicitly – that Obama/Democratic foreign policy wasn’t significantly worse than its Republican counterparts. So the issue isn’t so much that Obama’s drone policy has taken a lot of heat so much as DRONEZ has been overused as just a cudgel.

          And my experience has been that whatever the positions of congressional Democrats, the Saudi Arabian state has always been universally loathed among the left/liberal spectrum.

          • Chet Murthy

            Re: Drones: guess what? I agree with you. And still: what was he supposed to do? unilaterally stop all overseas military ops? And if there were a terrorist attack on US soil (or any of our allies), the blame would come to land where? He did what he could to reduce the madness. But really, there’s a limit to what he could do, given the madness of our polity.

            And again I’m forced to note: work thru the various choices, and you’ll figure out that if his overriding priority is to be elected, so he can govern, then his moves were somewhat forced.

            Me, I give him enormous credit for having backed away from the Syrian “red line”. That took guts, serious guts.

            ETA: “guts? it takes guts to -not- attack someone?” Yes, in this crazy, really bad equilibrium in which we find ourselves, it’s gutsy to -not- order a military solution.

            • I mostly (like 80%) agree with your view of Obama drone policy here; Aesop’s “The Ass and its Masters” is particularly relevant in this case. Also co-sign the rest of your comment full-heartedly.

          • Kaveh

            Not loathed enough to make seriously changing our relationship a policy.

          • Hogan

            too high an error rate

            Compared to . . .

        • Kaveh

          Lots of people warned the Iraq War would have been a complete disaster, so she (rather, they) should indeed have considered that. And within 2 years (2004) Dems were running against it, and the “flip-flop” was a liability for Kerry. This was not at all unforeseeable in 2002-3, and yes, they should have voted on principle. Their “realistic” approach didn’t work, w/ not a small chance it cost them the White House in 2004. And FFS, probably a million people died. That’s not the kind of thing that just magically appears out of the blue, and the Democrats were not without ability to shape the discourse in 2002-3. Their complicity is part of what made the war seem inevitable.

          • jmwallach

            I absolutely agree that there was no shortage of people who actually knew about Iraq that said it would be at best disastrous. But I think it’s a bit far fetched to say it is the reason that Kerry lost in 2004.

            • Kaveh

              Nor did I say that–just that it was *a* factor.

    • Gwai Lo, MD

      The Facebook comments section of “The Intercept” accompanying a Glenn Greenwald article is a reliable source. That entire publication scratches a particular itch for me, but close contact leaves me with a rash.

    • NeonTrotsky

      Its mostly people who voted for Jill Stein, plus a few vocal Sanders supporters on the internet, but yeah it’s certainly not everyone on the left. Honestly the bigger problem is lefties not voting because they think it won’t matter, or that by voting for a Democrat they’re condoning foreign adventurism. Harm minimization and talking about the importance of judicial nominees don’t seem to be as effective arguments for these people as they are for people on the far right.

    • Chet Murthy

      Who are these leftier-than-thou leftists? Why, we have an example right here, from what they’ve written — “Kaveh” seems to fit the bill nicely. Unable to see that PBHO’s prosecution of the GWOT was a systematic attempt to dial back from GWB’s lawlessness. Unable to see that PBHO had limitations on what he could do, based on domestic politics. But hey, as a friend of mine used to say, “not a dime’s worth of difference”. A-yup.

      • Paul Thomas

        Obama: Only Half As Many Obvious War Crimes!

        …somehow this slogan doesn’t seem like the greatest.

        • Chet Murthy

          Lemme help you.

          Obama: I’m trying to -hold- -back- the werewolves, not -egg- -them- -on-!

          • Paul Thomas

            Since I can’t follow the plot of your comment, this isn’t too helpful.

          • david spikes

            Shorter Paul Thomas-someday I will find a Democrat as perfect as me and then I will gladly vote for them-unless of course Bernie is running.

        • JMP

          Considering that it is mathematically impossible for the number of war crimes Obama committed, 0, to be half of anything, that statement makes no sense.

          But then the fauxgressives who can’t stand actual elected Democrats need to make up some sort of lies to justify their hatred of a very liberal and successful President.

          • Paul Thomas

            Yes, extrajudicially murdering civilians, some of whom are your own country’s citizens, for expressing opinions you disagree with is clearly authorized by… what is it, the third Geneva Convention? Fourth? Gotta be lying around here somewhere.

            • JMP

              Well that’s a complete non-sequitur.

              • Paul Thomas

                You asserted that the number of war crimes committed by Obama is literally zero– a pretty absurd assertion, frankly, but I didn’t make you do it.

                The extrajudicial murder of civilians is, notwithstanding my jape above, a war crime. Obama authorized such murders on numerous occasions, most notably Anwar al-Awlaki; hence, the number of war crimes he committed is not zero.

      • DocAmazing

        Yet still, a lot of drone strikes. Yet still, the beginnings of our current out-of-control ICE.

        Obama was not Bush, but that’s pretty much the definition of “damning with faint praise”.

  • It’s interesting that he’s seen as more intra caucus friendly than Reid.

    I also wonder how much of the McCain vote was based on Schumer glad handing him. This would explain him squelching the applause (not to spook McCain into switching back).

    • Also fascinating is how personally these guys take stuff. McConnell being pissed off about the D vote on Cho is just fucking bizarre esp given Mitch’s own relentlessly awful behavior.

      It reminds me about Gingrich going ballistic because of a perceived seating slight by Clinton. Or Leiberman’ revenge tactics. Lives are on the line! Rise up above this crap.

      (And really, Bill’s failure to keep it in his pants stands out. You’re the fucking president. Infidelity has been a problem spot. Go on 100% lockdown already.)

      • Hogan

        “Nice thong, Monica. Is it Monica? Come back in three or four years.”

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        All of McCain’s comments of “we need a new way of doing business in the Senate” we’re clearly shots aimed right at McConnell. And I think he spoke for a lot of other (R) Senators who’ve felt sidelined by McConnell’s changes to Senate procedures.

        • efgoldman

          I think he spoke for a lot of other (R) Senators who’ve felt sidelined by McConnell’s changes

          The older, senior senators – Hatch, Grandpa Walnuts, maybe Grassley. The younger, more recently elected, fire eating ideologue RWNJ types – Tailgunner Teddy, Cobra Cotton, all the big mouths – not.

          • david spikes

            Hatch, Grassley, Shelby have been some of the biggest supporters of this crap. And to make it worse, people hear them on TV and say “Can this nice old man be a crazed wingnut?” Which of course is what they are. We need to be glad that Collins and Murkowski were there on the ACA but pretending that there are any Repub. moderates in the Senate is just wrong.

        • Burneko’s political writing had generallyv been draining (albeit very well-written) reads throughout the last two years, but his pegging McCain here as a “Lawful Evil/Neutral” has the Senator dead to rights.

          • Drew

            I have found him insufferable but unlike many of his colleagues he has some redeeming qualities. Case in point-last Friday morning.

            • Stepped guessed that Burneko’s bitterness during the campaign cycle was an obvious result of depression. Anyway, he’s become much less of a chore to read and Pareene’s reverted to his Salon-era mean, but Tim Marchman is still a fucking idiot (and his political writing during the election was unreadable pigshit even compared to nihilist Albert & Alex).

              Also: What’d he do on said Friday?

              • Drew

                I was talking about McCain, sorry about the ambiguous pronoun use. That said I don’t disagree with anything you said just now.

        • Drew

          Those R senators seem to have done fuck all though. Good on McCain for sticking his thumbs in Mcconnell’s eyes. If it inspires anyone else in the caucus to do the same than McCain truly is an American hero.

      • hypersphericalcow

        I think it makes more sense if you consider that half the members of Congress have delusions of grandeur that they can become President – and therefore, see everyone else as a potential enemy who may need to be defeated one day.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I forget where, but I saw someone attacking Dems for hugging McCain before his speech. Like, pundits and politicians have different priorities! if there’s even a 1% someone will flip, flatter them — that’s your job.

      • Veleda_k

        But how can you maintain your perfect purity that way?

      • stepped pyramids

        Also, uh, he’s been their colleague for years and has probably terminal cancer.

        • I assume that, if Ted Cruz keeps his Senate seat as long as McCain has kept his, then comes down with terminal cancer, even his fellow Republicans (if the party hasn’t simply changed its name to the Dominionist Party by then) will refrain from hugging him.

          As I mentioned elsethread a few minutes ago, I have a naturally charitable disposition; if I hadn’t, I would have replaced everything from “keeps” to “his,” with “next week”.

          • Geo X

            Considering that there are three instances of “his” in the first sentence, that would be either:

            A. …if Ted Cruz next week his Senate seat as long as McCain…
            B. …if Ted Cruz next week, then comes down with terminal cancer…
            C. …if Ted Cruz next week fellow Republicans will refrain…

            I mean I suppose I’m just being gratuitously dickish; it’s not that I don’t understand the general idea. But boy, I spent WAY too long trying to follow what exactly the alternative you would’ve said WAS.

          • EliHawk

            I mean, it is within the realm of possiblity that a Ted Cruz that somehow managed to hold his Senate seat as long as McCain has at this point (30 years) would have mellowed or moderated enough to actually have his colleagues not react in cheers at the prospect of Terminal Cancer.

      • david spikes

        Granted comity, collegiality and all that crap but until the last moment there was every reason to believe McCain came to Washington to fuck the ACA-so no, I don’t blame the people who slammed.

      • Drew

        And in that vein, the people who immediately pivoted to dreading McCain going on the usual Sunday shows for his tongue bath. If another tongue bath is the price we have to pay, it was very much worth it!

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yeah, I have a post going up tomorrow that links to a blow-by-blow of the McCain vote, but Schumer immediately waving to stop the applause said a lot about Schumer. He played this beautifully.

      • Deborah Bender

        And he got instant obedience.

    • Drew

      That almost violent arm wave was one of the first things I noticed. Now there’s a leader.

  • Breadbaker

    Accepting this argument means accepting that the Democratic caucus, which includes both Elizabeth Warren and Dianne Feinstein, knows more about what the fuck they were doing when they unanimously backed Schumer for the job than the average commentator to this blog.

    • Sly

      For various reasons related to the structure of the Senate, Sanders is also a member of the Democratic Caucus (as is Angus King) and he also voted for Schumer to lead it.

      • mattmcirvin

        And, by the way, Warren seems to do a lot of joint appearances and cooperation with Sanders — which is one of the things that inclines me to go easy on bashing Sanders. He has some asshole fans and blind spots but most of the time he’s on the right side.

        • Sly

          This is probably because they both got spots in the caucus leadership back in November. Sanders is now co-chair of the Steering and Outreach Committee with Amy Klobuchar and Warren is Vice Co-Chair of the Caucus with Mark Warner.

  • sleepyirv

    “Zero Democrats voting for any version of TrumpCare in either house might
    look inevitable in retrospect, but it’s harder than it looks.”

    I dunno, I think it’s very easy when the House bill is incredibly unpopular, Donald Trump is incredibly unpopular and indifferent to policy, and the other party is openly hostile to any bipartisan solution. I mean, the Democrats “won” this round, but that’s mainly because the Republican Party is a toxic waste dump incapable of governing. I don’t see what Schumer’s leadership has to do with it at all.

    • sanjait

      The unpopularity of the bill though is at least partially a function of the skill with which the Dems played their hand.

      Specifically, they exercised message discipline and refused to give the GOP any rhetorical leg to stand on in their quest to tear apart ACA.

      Ok, actually … Dems still were a bit mealy mouthed about ACA, with all the “Of course it has so many big problems .. blah” prefaces that Dems habitually mouth when discussing the subject, but taking it as a given that Dems will do that, they otherwise exercised good message discipline.

      The opposition to Trumpcare was largely organic but the Dems did their part too.

      • sleepyirv

        “Somewhat good message management” is hardly the most soaring compliment for someone’s leadership abilities.

        The rank-and-file of the Party was against the bill from Day 1, it would be suicidal for any Democratic Senator to come out for a bill that they had no input, destroyed Obamacare, and killed constituents.

        We’re at the point complimenting Democrats for not self-immolating.

        • stepped pyramids

          You think Manchin and Heitkamp couldn’t have gotten some mavericky news coverage for loudly bemoaning how liberals like Schumer were refusing to participate in the process of fixing Obamacare, which is not popular in their states?

          They didn’t have to support any specific bill. There was a lot they could do to weaken the Democrats’ overall position in exchange for a lot of press coverage.

          • Wojciech

            There’s been a Lieberman-sized void on the Democratic side of the aisle since 2013, into which a sufficiently twisted Senator with delusions of faux-moderatism could step if s/he chose to do so.

            Thankfully, this has not been a vacuum that nature has abhorred enough to fill as of today. Perhaps the rise of McConnell has made it moot.

        • sanjait

          “…it would be suicidal for any Democratic Senator to come out for a bill that they had no input, destroyed Obamacare, and killed constituents.”

          I don’t think the reality is as clear as you say.

          Trumpcare is deeply unpopular nationally, but its support is more middling in deep red states.

          And its not just a question of keeping Dems from supporting specific bills, but also of keeping any from offering rhetorical ground in the discussion surrounding the bills.

          If wayward Dem Senators, for example, were out there grabbing attention for themselves by echoing Republican talking points about how its so important to remove the mandate, or limit “regulations,” or enhance “choice” in the marketplace, or some other shit, that would have given cover to wobbly Republicans. The news cycle would have shifted from being purely about GOP infighting about how many Medicaid patients to kill toward stories about “bipartisan” negotiations or something like that.

          Yes, it does seem like party message discipline should be no tougher than wiping ones own butt and putting pants on each day, but because the Democratic party is a coalition widely different persons representing vastly differing populations, it isn’t really so easy.

          • david spikes

            And, the Village being what it is, the headlines would have all switched to Democrats in disarray.
            There are just some people out there who refuse to give credit to any Democrat whose last name isn’t Sanders.

      • Uncle_Ebeneezer

        I truly don’t understand why it’s so hard to say “The ACA is imperfect because GOP governors and the Conservative arm of SCOTUS have repeatedly knee-capped it from working the way it was intended. Wanna fix the ACA, ok, let’s start the conversation there.”

        • Paul Thomas

          The problem with going down this hyperpartisan road is that it’s a transparently self-serving and incomplete explanation for many of the ACA’s more obvious failings. GOP governors and the conservative arm of SCOTUS have done nothing to cause counties in eastern Washington to have one or no exchange participants.

          As I understand it (though I’m no expert), the failures of the exchanges are largely the result of the absence of either a public option or a robust reinsurance program that ensures that insurers who participate in rural areas won’t lose their shirts. To be sure, on the rare occasions that anyone bothers to ask the Dems what they want to do to fix the exchanges, these are the proposals that are put forward.

          • stepped pyramids

            Marco Rubio pushed through an amendment in 2014 that eliminated risk corridor funding, a major stabilizing component of the ACA that led directly to insurance companies pulling out of the exchanges.

        • sanjait

          Frankly, I think even that overstates the failings of ACA.

          That’s because it implies ACA created substantial new problems, when almost every problem commonly attributed to it actually was worse before ACA or would today be worse if not for ACA.

          The right framing I think would be to say not that ACA has major flaws, but rather our healthcare system has major flaws, and ACA was only partially successful at fixing them. I’m sure there is some quibbling way this isn’t true but it’s an accurate big picture summary.

          • malraux

            The family glitch though. I mean I get your bigger point, but the aca does actually have some issue. But as noted, the big problem isn’t that the act was flawed, as all legislation has some issues, but that republicans have blocked fixing the problem.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Trump’s not unpopular among likely voters in West Virginia or North Dakota.

  • Hogan

    How quickly people went from “Of course Manchin and Heitkamp will cave, it’s inevitable” to “Why should we give Manchin and Heitkamp any credit for voting no? It was inevitable.”

    • stepped pyramids

      I had an excruciating argument with someone elsewhere who basically made this flip in the middle of a thread. “Democrats will always surrender!!” “But they didn’t this time” “What, you want me to give them a cookie for not surrendering?!”

      • D_J_H

        Scorn is the best reward, after all. Whenever someone does something I like, I am sure to heap plenty of scorn on them. I’m not sure why no one ever does anything for me anymore, though.

        • sanjait

          I do that, and people work for me, but they are masochistic sycophants who have short tenures. I went to the Donald Trump school of Managing like a Real Businessman ™. I’m still paying off the credit card debt I incurred to pay tuition.

      • Murc

        To be entirely fair, this isn’t intellectually inconsistent. A sensible person with a modicum of humility would admit “I am pleasantly surprised, yes” but it isn’t actually inconsistent to hold the belief of “I don’t think this person will step over the incredibly low bar” and “if they do, they don’t get an especial pat on the head for doing so.”

        Like… I don’t expect to be congratulated for getting to work on time in the morning. That’s a baseline requirement of my job.

        • stepped pyramids

          It’s absolutely intellectually inconsistent to say “Dems will always surrender” after a notable incidence of them not surrendering, and then when that is pointed out to say that you’re not going to praise them for not surrendering. The problem is that nobody’s asking you to praise them, just to not attack them for something they didn’t do.

          • Murc

            This is true, yes.

        • Hogan

          But that’s not the full context.

          “He’s always late to work!”

          “Actually he’s been on time every day for the last month at least.”

          “What, I’m supposed to pat him on the head for being on time?”

          “No, asshole, you’re supposed to stop shouting about how he’s always late.”

          • eclare

            Also, the analogy is imperfect, because red state Dems have at least perceived incentives not to meet what we would consider the minimum standard of behavior. If I was someone’s boss and I knew that for whatever reason it was extra difficult for them to get to work on time every day, I absolutely would thank them for that effort.

          • so-in-so

            Yours is way more entertaining!

          • david spikes

            And there is the fact that many of those people, several of whom are on this thread, refuse to believe that any Democrat who isn’t named Sanders could possibly do anything worthwhile.

        • sanjait

          [“…it isn’t actually inconsistent to hold the belief of “I don’t think this person will step over the incredibly low bar” and “if they do, they don’t get an especial pat on the head for doing so.”]

          We could now call this the McCain Exclusion Principle.

        • david spikes

          Yes but the baseline of A Senator’s job is not to vote for any particular bill, supposedly it’s to do what they think is right for the country. Schumer and his team keeping every Democrat thinking the ACA is best for this country is pretty amazing.
          In the same way that many dems in 2009 voted for ACA despite knowing it might end their careers, about 10 Senators voted knowing that it’s not going to help them in ’18.

      • Hob

        And the flip side, which happened here quite a lot: “Literally every single Republican in Congress will always fall in line with the party on everything! So only a sucker would waste time trying to influence them!” [vote happens] —”…Uh, so, about those few who didn’t fall in line… I guess we weren’t entirely suckers?” “Oh I guess you want to give them all cookies?! Who cares, they should’ve done so much better!”

        (I mean, yes, of course that last part is true, the Republicans should’ve done much better and are still a disgrace. But the constant pivot from “there’s absolutely no hope” to “you’re a sellout if you even acknowledge that the pressure slightly worked” is still exhausting.)

  • hypersphericalcow

    A lot of intra-caucus political work is invisible from the outside (especially in the Senate), so it’s easy for people to dismiss. But Schumer keeping everyone together is damn impressive. Maybe not as impressive as Reid’s work in 2009, but still pretty good.

    • sanjait

      The right way to look at it might be to mark this as a data point. It’s just one point, that doesn’t prove or disprove anything.

      But if it becomes part of an apparent trend, then we can become more confident in drawing inferences.

    • Free Fries

      Agreed especially since Reid often had to wrangle 60 votes from a group that included Lieberman, Nelson, Baucus, Bayh, Johnson, Landrieu + BOTH AR Sens.

  • pseudo-gorgias

    Amen. So let’s hope the dems follow a course of action different from the one that has led to their being completely locked out of power.

    • that was decided in 2010. when “the left” went to sleep and let the GOP gerrymander the fuck out of the country.

      • Rob in CT

        2010 still pisses me off so much. And sure, you can wish bolder things were done prior to that election (nuking the filibuster and passing more & better stuff), but the failure there is as much about voters/non-voters as anything. And it was *so* harmful, due to redistricting.

    • Origami Isopod
  • apropos of everything: http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19310:Wall-St.-Democrats-vs.-Working-Class-Democrats

    Schumer is bad, in cahoots with Trump. the Dems are bad and to blame for everything. the only way forward is to follow the guy who couldn’t beat Clinton.

    • efgoldman

      :::sigh:::

  • CrunchyFrog

    Just adding that I agree entirely with this. In my long experience in business I know it’s the groups that function without evidence of any internal strain or strife that have by far the best managers. This doesn’t happen easily – in fact it is the hardest thing for any manager to do. I literally know managers who tell me their job is simply to “set direction” – all of those are miserable as managers.

    I have the utmost respect for Schumer, and I totally did not expect to when he took over for Reid. Infucking Amazing performance to date. Yes, it is easier to have a vision when Trump is the opposition – if ever we are lucky enough that he has to craft actual policy we’ll see how well his coalition holds when there isn’t a unifying dark lord enemy – but at the same time we haven’t seen the Dems this united ever in history.

    • Nanker Phledge

      I have a huge problem with Schumer and his position on Israel.

      Otherwise, good job

  • sk7326

    Another issue which I think helped was given all of this power across Congress – Trump did not pick either of the issues which could have boxed in Democrats. (infrastructure, middle class taxes) Instead of picking an issue which could have splintered Democrats and gotten him a victory (because taxes by their nature are easier to chop up and microtarget for individual congressfolk) – he picked the one issue the entire caucus had already stood behind. Furthermore, by being such a dick about it – and talking about the disaster of Obamacare, and the general need to wipe himself on Obama’s legacy – it definitely hardened some resolve. The Democrats played this very well. Trump helped.

    • FMguru

      That wasn’t so much Trump picking that particular fight as it was Trump deferring to Reince Priebus and Paul Ryan, both of whom convinced Trump to start his administration with Ocare repeal which would be both 1) a snap and 2) necessary to do the tax cut stuff they wanted later.

      The great irony of the Priebus firing was that it was, on the merits, entirely justified. His one real job – as the representative of Establishment Republicanism in the White House who was charged with setting and leading legislative strategy – was a complete botch. Trump managed to stupidly and cruelly stumble into an actually smart management decision.

      • sk7326

        it was baffling – a trained seal could have told you taxes or infrastructure would have been much easier … there were so many ways to buy off, say Manchin or whomever. Instead, they picked something which worked, and which was impossible to do in a way which could be horse traded with any effectiveness.

        • FMguru

          it has the bonus side effect of souring the relationship between Trump and the GOP Congress/Establishment, where he will do whatever he wants and disregard any advice or guidance from seasoned Washington hands (shades of Hitler vs. his Wehrmacht generals). I suspect the real shitshow hasn’t even started yet.

          • Hogan

            “I said from the beginning you should have gone with Plan A!”

            [Plan A fails]

            “I said from the beginning you should have gone with Plan B!”

            [Plan B fails]

            “I said from the beginning you should have gone with Plan C!”

            [Plan C fails]

            “I said from the beginning you should have gone with Plan A!”

        • david spikes

          That really isn’t true, because finances. Ryan and Yertle won’t do infrastructure because if they’re going to run the deficit it’s going to be for tax cuts.
          And the House won’t go for tax cuts without revenue enhancements, which means cut the ACA. Keep repeating this to yourself-this whole show was about getting the revenue for major tax cuts. And it’s why they refuse to give up. No ACA kill, no easy way forward on taxes.
          It is going to be very interesting to see where tax reform goes now.

          • blackbox

            No ACA kill, no easy way forward on taxes. It is going to be very interesting to see where tax reform goes now.

            Military spending? [laugh track]

            • stepped pyramids

              I think the smart money is on them going to a 15, 20, 30-year window on the deficit rules (as opposed to the current 10-year window) and then passing a “temporary” tax bill with such a long duration that it might as well be considered permanent. Of course, the Democrats would then have leeway to reverse that finagling using the same rules.

  • postpartisandepression

    I met with an ex republican friend that voted for Obama twice but is still anti dems and believes much of the republican mantra. He told me he kept telling his friends that they should support Obama because he was really a moderate republican. That is exactly the argument I kept having with my republican friends and of course they laughed in my face. Not because it wasn’t true but because his name was Obama and he was black – how could he be a moderate republican?

    I would argue that the person most responsible for the destruction of the democratic party is Obama. He came in as the hope and change candidate and then did NOTHING for the 98%. Sure the economy recovered but all the gains went to the top 1%. He bailed out the banks but then did not allow any prosecutions of the people who brought on the destruction. Why do you think the tea party originally started? Yes it morphed into hatred of Obama but the original drive was to punish the banks. Then there was the loss of the House in 2010. How does Mr. Hopey Changey who turned out so many voters not work to keep the house of representatives? How could any leader worth his salt not recognize that the midterm is crucial to your success.

    That allowed Obama to almost gut social security and medicare by making a deal with the repugs. Every day I thank god that Mitch McConnell was too stupid t take any of those deals. From what I remember even of his signature law Obamacare that the democrats complained constantly that he was not really involved or particularly helpful. Was he bad on everything? No I agree in many ways with moderate republicans ie environment is usually someplce where we find common ground. But Obama also finally realized that unlike in the Illinois legislature the republicans in the congress were NEVER going to embrace him.

    So the white middle class and union guys in this country gained nothing after 8 years of what they perceived as democratic rule of this country ( of course minorities of the working and middle class also gained nothing). No wonder some were ready to embrace a demagogue like Trump. No wonder there was a turn to a Bernie Sanders – a true progressive. And that is why Hillary Clinton who could not very well run against the democratic incumbent( because most African americans who are such an important voting block in dem circles would not tolerate those criticisms) barely lost this election in the electoral college which was also helped by Russian interference and messaging.

    That is why Trump won and we are fighting for our lives.

    • “Gained nothing” ? How odd then that the Repubs’ attempts to “repeal and replace Obamacare” to fund tax cuts for the wealthy made people think they had something to lose!

    • Hogan

      white middle class and union guys

      This is what we call a tell.

      • Joseph Slater

        Plus, “union guys” got a President who appointed Justices who voted against making the entire public-sector “right to work.” They would have gotten that also with Hillary. With Trump, they got a Justice who predictably is going to be the 5th vote to make the entire public sector “right to work,” a huge blow to the entire labor movement. And that’s not even getting into the huge differences between Republican and Democratic National Labor Relations Board and Department of Labor Appointments. I mean, even if you want to just ignore women’s rights, minority rights, LBGT rights, etc. and pretend to care just about (white?) union “guys” — there’s still an overwhelming difference.

  • subnumine

    You know, if I were advocating Clintonite moderatism, I wouldn’t use West Virginia as an example of my policy’s wide appeal.
    https://twitter.com/mcimaps/status/807669924118327297

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