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Useful Candidate Evaluations Are Holistic, Not Ad Hoc Searches For Arbitrary Dealbreakers

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Martin Longman’s response to Ryan Cooper makes a point I think is important:

The reason I’ve been putting “the left” in quotes throughout this piece is because it’s absurd to suggest that the vocal opponents of Harris, Patrick and Booker have sole ownership of the term. And they must know that they can’t forge a truly left-leaning takeover of the Democratic Party without making deep inroads with people of color. Moreover, David Axelrod is correct that the early primary schedule could favor a talented, charismatic African-American candidate who has the official or unofficial blessing of the Obama team.

So, what Cooper should try focusing on, at least for a while to see how it looks, is how “the left” can avoid marginalization on the basis of perceived racial insensitivity. In my opinion, neither side can avoid their fates here. “The left” will attack these black candidates as a group for their Wall Street connections no matter how many allies advise them that this will be unwise and self-defeating. But, if you’re trying to be constructive, you might consider that the best way to protect “the left” from charges of racism is not to insist that they have a point, even if they do. It might be better to do what is expected by decent people, and that’s to be fair and focus on the strengths of these candidates and the fullness of their records rather than lumping them together and dismissing them as sell-outs.

I think the criticisms Cooper raises of Harris, Booker, and Patrick are in themselves mostly fair. Unlike Longman, for example, I think Patrick’s decision to work at Bain Capital is a very serious concern — even if we assume arguendo that his buckraking is just bad optics, well, this is politics: optics matter! (I would indeed assume that Patrick’s not running.) Booker’s rhetorical closeness to Wall Street is a serious concern for the same reason. Harris’s meh record as AG is certainly something that should be counted against her.

But if we’re serious about evaluating candidates, weaknesses have to be assessed along with strengths. The fact that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Booker’s record as a senator and Elizabeth Warren’s also matters. Putting the arbitrary dealbreakers side-to-side is often instructive, showing the electoral equivalent of the “ACA is worthless neoliberal crap and repealing it would be a catastrophe” contradiction. If Harris’s squishiness on criminal justice issues is worthy of mention but Booker’s excellent record on them as a senator is not, for example, then we’re not really evaluating candidates based on criminal justice — we’re just finding pretexts to clear the field for your preferred candidate.

Criticism of potential candidates is not merely fine but necessary, and people will have different priorities. But useful comparisons of candidates examine their records and strengths and weaknesses as a whole, both in terms of policy and politics. (Patrick’s decision to work at Bain is a serious if not necessarily dispositive drawback; the same is true of the fact that Bernie would be 79 on Inauguration Day in 2021.) Cherry-picking the records of candidates you have decided ex ante you don’t like and ignoring problems with candidates you do is not going to be very illuminating.

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  • Davebo

    Cooper lost me with the ” shamelessly leveraged Islamophobia ” BS.

    • Sly

      You at least got past “Hey, Kamala Harris is no Jeff Sessions, but…”

  • NicknotNick

    Does anyone here remember Fafblog’s warning that the terrorists might win, and presentation of their positions on a variety of issues?

    • weirdnoise

      Reality has come to resemble the hyperbole we used to snark with…

  • sleepyirv

    1) It was foolish for Cooper to adopt the framework he was criticizing (“leftists hate Booker, Harris, and Patrick”) instead of putting it in a context of leftists hating a bunch of white dudes too. If the article had a different title and had Biden and the Maryland banker dude who already announce in the photo array, the whole kerfuffle wouldn’t have happen.

    2) The Left biggest problem is that they’re stuck trying to tear down Booker and Harris, who are generally popular figures right now among Democrats vaguely politically aware instead of propping up leftist candidates. The “correct” response to hero celebration of Harris is to celebrate some Leftist figure. Alas, the poverty of the Left’s bench leaves very few options. And that’s their problem they should be focused on, not starting twitter flamewars.

    3) Cooper makes a reasonable argument, and people reacting in bad faith who should know better should be taken to task for that.

    4) The Left lives to marginalized itself.

    • ColBatGuano

      in a context of leftists hating a bunch of white dudes too

      How did Kirsten Gillibrand manage to avoid Cooper’s wrath?

      • kindasorta

        I suppose we could mention that Gillibrand is as white as Cooper, but of course that would be reductive and unfair of me.

        • david spikes

          See above-liberals are just as racist as, well, just about anybody.

      • Because if he included her, he wouldn’t get the chance to play “who, me racist?” – at least not to the same extent.

        • farin

          Surely there’ll be a companion piece to this explaining why Harris and Gillibrand are as bad as Hillary but we would totally vote for Elizabeth Warren!
          (This assumes Warren isn’t running; otherwise throw in her being a Republican from Nebraska instead)

          • Stella Barbone

            Worse. Oklahoma.

            • farin

              WHY IS THE NEOLIBERAL WARREN LYING ABOUT HER BIRTHPLACE

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yeah, the absence of Biden — who has sent out much clearer signals about running than Patrick — from the piece is pretty glaring.

    • Also: John Delaney is currently THE ONLY GUY OFFICIALLY RUNNING.

      • dcavea

        Well, the only official Democrat.
        Trump has already filed for re-election

      • Dwayne J. Stephenson

        Even talking about Delaney is a waste of time.

    • liberalrob

      Alas, the poverty of the Left’s bench leaves very few options.

      As opposed to the howling desert of the Right’s bench…I mean, where do they go from Trump?

      Compared to that, having a bench of Harris, Gillibrand, and Booker seems like Maris, Mantle and Mays…

      • kfreed

        You all might like to begin listening to Trump supporters (NOT in the sense of courting them) in order to determine just how much lower they’re prepared to go: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/

  • Mike in DC

    Holistic approaches are for corporatist neolib….sorry, can’t finish, even in jest.
    Maybe a holistic approach might tend to highlight imperfections of “purer” candidates, as well as strengths of “impure” ones.

    • Philip

      Say what you mean. Since you’re putting purer and impurer in quotes, do you think the things raised about Harris are bad but irrelevant, bad but not disqualifying, or not bad?

      • humanoidpanda

        I’d say some things, like her record in criminal justice, are function of her previous job, and she can redeem herself in Senate. The Mnucjin thing is a bigger problem

        • Philip

          I think this cedes too much, a) because “it was my job” doesn’t really excuse doing bad things imo, but b) because things she had flexibility about (eg targeting sex workers) she *chose* to do.

        • dcavea

          Well, from the actual details of the case I’m not sure about the Munchin thing being as simple as her critics have led people to believe. Agreed about the Senate, though. AG’s often have to do rather dubious things.

          • brewmn61

            This. These cases are notoriously hard to win. Being the loser in a high profile case doesn’t usually translate into enhancement of one’s electoral viability.

      • Mike in DC

        At worst, bad but not disqualifying.

      • kindasorta

        The things raised about Harris are mostly bullshit by people determined not to understand what role an Attorney General should play, especially with regard to how much a prosecutor should open her mouth in public about an investigation that doesn’t lead to an actual prosecution.

        • Philip

          I mean, the conversations I’ve seen have often come down to “AGs are not our friend, stop running them for higher office.” People know what AGs’ jobs are, they just think it’s bad to do those things. Plus Harris had leeway on e.g. treatment of trans people and sex workers, and chose not to use it.

          • kindasorta

            If by “treatment of trans people” we mean representing the state corrections department in court where a trans inmate requesting surgery in addition to hormone therapy and counseling is the other litigant, then no, she did not have “leeway.”

        • The Lorax

          The anti-trans surgery charge really was an issue as to when the surgery was done because it would have had an effect on the prosecution of the person; it doesn’t appear to be against the surgery per se. And she went after Backpage, which is a notorious vehicle for trafficking.

          The Larsen case is more troubling, but it’s the sort of thing that may well have a benign explanation. Not that I see one at this point.

      • brewmn61

        Since Cooper implies that Black Lives Matter is on the anti-Harris side of the left, maybe he could have provided some evidence, say a quote or something? Or at least a link?

  • Llywelyn Jones

    Isn’t it striking how the Bernie Left’s candidate purity tests are structured in a way that inevitably leaves the Democrats with only one sufficiently pure candidate?

    • Kevin

      Well, as I say below, they aren’t going after Biden or Warren or Gillerbrand as much, and I suspect it’s because they know Bernie’s Achilles heel is black southern voters. So they are cynically trying to poison the well against any potential black Democratic candidate, thinking Bernie is fine against a white person in the South.

      It’s going to backfire. It already is driving a wedge online with black people.

      • Hogan

        But but but we’re the ones who destroyed Keith Ellison!

        https://twitter.com/davidsirota/status/893120556597338114

        • NonyNony

          Did I miss something? I thought Ellison was Deputy Chair of the DNC. Did something happen?

          • DEPUTY Chair. “Dep” from “not really” and “uty” meaning “good enough to be”.

          • sibusisodan

            He got better.

            • Dalai_Rasta

              I could have sworn it was just yesterday when we were marching through the smoking, bombed-out ruins of Keith Ellison.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Not just Deputy Chair, but the de facto co-chair.

        • MariedeGournay

          Gods Sirota just drips with smarm.

          • DN Nation

            Imagine a teenager saying “did you know that the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, Roman, nor an Empire” and then accusing anyone who doesn’t find that terribly interesting of being a tool of the neocons. That’s Sirota.

        • The Lorax

          This is absurd and tone deaf in so many ways.

          • Brien Jackson

            That should be Sirota’s epitaph.

      • I noticed they stopped going after Gillibrand as soon as Harris became more popular.

      • rfm

        I imagine they’ll be coming for Gillibrand soon enough. “She’s a Blue Dog!” will be the “But her emails!” of 2020 if she’s the nominee.

        • Or cycling between Gillibrand and the three Congoloids “neoliberal AA tokens.”

        • brad

          Gillibrand even voted against TARP as a Rep, but somehow that’ll be transmuted into a negative.

          • Manny Kant

            Voting against TARP was, in fact, bad.

            • brad

              I don’t entirely disagree, but in terms of political utility it’s hard not see as a net plus.

      • efgoldman

        Bernie is fine against a white person in the South.

        I will be the nominee before Bernie will.

        • Kevin

          I’d vote for you. I like your crotchety vulgarity.

          • He’s 71 years old!

            • Stella Barbone

              Younger than Bernie!

              • efgoldman

                Younger than Bernie!

                We’re both too old. So is HRC, so is Jojo Biden. They should all semi-retire and devote themselves to raising money and campaigning for Dem congress and senate candidates.

      • Bernie’s Achilles heel is that he is ninety kazillion years old.

        • liberalrob

          “I’m full of piss and vinegar! Before, I was just full of vinegar…”

    • fd2

      I hear a lot of critiques like this, as well as critiques along the lines of “Isn’t it convenient how Bernie Left purity tests only seem to focus on AA politicians like Harris and Booker”, both of which seem to ignore the fact that “the Bernie left” was and is very enthusiastic about Nina Turner and Keith Ellison.

      • Ithaqua

        For President?

        • fd2

          Yes.

          • Ithaqua

            I wonder if those aren’t straw man suggestions – the idea that someone (Nina Turner) who has never risen above Ohio state senator, and got crushed running for Ohio secretary of state, should actually run as the best Democratic candidate for President – and plausibly win – seems like it’s a really poorly thought out idea. But as a “look! I have a friend who is black! But unfortunately, she’s just not quite there yet, so… Bernie should be our candidate!” suggestion it becomes much less strange.

            • Shemp Marx

              This bugs the hell out me. Purity leftists seem to completely forget that running for President in the US requires a certain amount of name recognition. Some random state senator might be the second coming of Liberal Jesus, but until that person has elevated their Q rating, you’re just wasting your time.

              • efgoldman

                until that person has elevated their Q rating, you’re just wasting your time.

                And the time and energy of potential voters and supporters.

      • AlexSaltzberg

        Their litmus test is “Supports Bernie”. We will rapidly find out how Ellison sold out and is working for the DNC if he endorses someone else.

        • Philip

          It’s really not. The BOBers were tiny even within the left. Now, a good chunk of the left didn’t vote top ticket for other stupid reasons, but it wasn’t some sort of Sanders-worship.

      • efgoldman

        “the Bernie left” was and is very enthusiastic about Nina Turner and Keith Ellison.

        Which proves once again that the purer-than-thou have no fucking idea at all what makes a popular, winning candidate.

        • Aaron Morrow

          Besides not supporting Clinton fast enough, or not winning statewide, what’s wrong with Ellison?

          • Manny Kant

            Nothing’s wrong with him, but he’s not a particularly plausible presidential candidate. And Turner is an absurd one.

            • saraeanderson

              I had never heard of Turner until this thread.

              • Bluesmank

                Right.

                Nino Brown has a better chance at President, and he’s dead.

              • I envy you and the dead.

            • dcavea

              Eh, after the clown that just got elected, I’m not sure we should dismiss Ellison right off the bat. He is by all accounts a rather compassionate, studious, and serious representative, and I think he could easily make a good run at it.

              Turner, on the other hand, is a complete clown.

              • SpiderDan

                While I’m sure it’s possible to go from the House straight to the Presidency, I doubt Keith Ellison is the person to accomplish such a task. Let him prove he can win a statewide election before we anoint him the Chosen One.

                • dcavea

                  a. He actually has the opportunity to win statewide before 2020, if he wants to get into the Minnesota governor’s race.
                  b. Did I say we should “anoint” him? No. Did I even say I would support him? No. I merely said that IF he ran in 2020 he MIGHT do well.

                  And look, Ellison, unlike Nina Turner, is not a lefter-than-though. That is all I was trying to say. Honestly, I think your (understandable and deserved) anger at those folks is clouding your judgement.

                • SpiderDan

                  I have no problem with discussing whether Gov. Keith Ellison should run in 2020. Discussing Rep. Keith Ellison is a waste of time.

            • efgoldman

              he’s not a particularly plausible presidential candidate. And Turner is an absurd one.

              Right!

          • mnuba

            Would love to see Ellison run for MN Governor in 2018. Don’t think he’s interested though, which is a shame.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Here in Oklahoma, the gubernatorial candidate of the “Bernie Left” is former State Senator Connie Johnson, who is the only woman and only person of color in the Democratic primary field.

        • liberalrob

          There are still Dems up there? I thought all the Oklahoma Democrats got sent to the death camps here in Texas…

    • Drew

      Including pure of melanin, coincidentally.

  • Kevin

    This is what infuriated me with the primaries. All of Hillary’s weaknesses were disqualifying, but any mention of Sanders were met with “well, he’s from Vermont, you can’t be anti-Gun there”. Or “Sure, he voted for that bill that Hillary wasn’t even in office for, but we are using against her, but he gave a speech against it, so reasons!”.

    Evaluate all candidates. No one is sacred. But strengths and weaknesses must be considered. For me the Bain thing doesn’t matter, just as Hillary’s speeches didn’t. But for others they do. Great, But put them in context of everything, don’t cherry pick.

    Also, if you are going to bust out your hit piece on 3 Dems…and they are all black, and you leave out guys like Biden (far more centrist), or Gillerbrand, or Warren, you kind of reveal that you are more afraid of black votes and think you have to destroy any black candidate, because it helps Bernie. That’s…not a good look.

    • Dr. Waffle

      The “nuance for me, but not for thee” approach that (some) leftists have adopted is extremely frustrating, and telling. How is, say, working for Bain disqualifying, but voting to dump nuclear waste in Sierra Blanca not? How is saying “superpredator” disqualifying, but actually voting for the fucking bill that that comment was referencing a-okay?

      And don’t get me wrong: I don’t think the less-than-stellar parts of Bernie’s record should prevent him from running, or people from voting for him. I’m just so sick and tired of the double standards.

      • Llywelyn Jones

        “nuance for me, but not for thee”

        I love that. Explanations for Bernie’s non-progressive voting record — or even non-progressive opinions — are readily endorsed by his rabid fan base. The same explanations applied to non-Bernies? Not so much.

        • Kevin

          Yup. And you know what? Bernies position on guns does matter! Because now a whole generation of young leftists are OK with not having that debate in public. Clinton was great on this issue, but Bernie helped make it a third rail. Of all the people to be weak on guns it had to be him…

          • DN Nation

            Brooklynite leftists cosplaying as gun-totin’ salt of the earth is just as preposterous as when, say, Kathleen Parker does it.

      • kindasorta

        I can’t wait for Bernie to run so that another primary candidate with no shot can upend the barrel of oppo which Hillary Clinton refused to employ herself. Why, I might even give that person some money and a few hours of my time phone-banking.

      • The Great God Pan

        “nuance for me, but not for thee”

        My current favorite manifestation of this tendency is: Opposition to abortion for Elizabeth (and Matt?) Bruenig, but not for Democratic candidates running in places where the large majority is anti-choice.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I saw that Elizabeth Bruenig actually tweeted that Gillibrand was unacceptable to “the left” because she had represented a tobacco company as a lawyer. YOU’RE AGAINST ABORTION RIGHTS FOR CHRISSAKES AND THIS IS YOUR DEALBREAKER? I mean, really.

          • EliHawk

            I mean, Matt Bruenig tweets shit like this out. Fuck him. (And Weigel retweeting it is yet another example of how he’s also the fucking worst these days.) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8bdc23b4586cffae805046ae8ba6d7325593aa074d81edad2c955d08da500661.jpg

            • dcavea

              I have to admit, I really don’t see how anyone could view THAT conversation and come out thinking Miller got the better of Acosta

              • david spikes

                Start with the idea that all them libs. are just evil and it works out really well.

              • Hogan

                It makes sense if you think of conversation as a dominance display.

              • Pete

                Well, I despise Stephen Miller. And I oppose Trump’s immigration policy. But a little knowledge of American history and the history of American immigration policy might suggest that Acosta’s heart-rending grandstanding based on a poem doesn’t show that Trump’s policy is some kind of departure from the American norm. And the simple fact that Lazarus’ poem was not originally part of the Statue of Liberty is indeed relevant to any debate over what that statue represents.

          • Tom in BK

            I don’t even know why I follow her on Twitter anymore. I once got her to engage when I made fun of something stupid she tweeted, but there are just so many stupid things.

          • Origami Isopod

            Fucking Elizabeth Bruenig. She’s not as awful as her husband but she’s insufferable.

    • MariedeGournay

      It’s as if they don’t know what politics is.

      • oh they know, they just think it’s beneath them.

        the self-evident correctness and purity of their preferred solutions is enough that politics is just pollution.

        • Brien Jackson

          Nah, they’re just bad at it because they lack the patience, discipline, and empathy to do it well.

          • Shemp Marx

            It can be two things.

        • As Davis X. Machina memorably summarised it:

          Get the parties out of politics!
          Get the politicians out of politics!
          Get the politics out of politics!

          (Of course, Bernie is exempted from being considered a politician for some reason.)

        • efgoldman

          the self-evident correctness and purity of their preferred solutions is enough that politics is just pollution.

          Is that Cleek’s corollary?

    • efgoldman

      and you leave out guys like Biden (far more centrist), or Gillerbrand, or Warren

      OK, from now on, any mention of any possible Dem candidate who is over 70 costs the commenter a ten buck fine.

      • wjts

        I’m not going to bother checking, but I’m pretty sure Mike Gravel is still alive and America’s rocks aren’t going to throw themselves in a pond.

      • Kevin

        Well, he is making noise about it…but i agree, he’s fucking 74 today. Him and Bernie should not run. I mean, why not Gore while you are at it? He’s only 69, practically a baby compared to Biden, Sanders and Trump!

        • Yeah. It would be nice to see a politician actually animated by an issue.

        • liberalrob

          Gore 2020: Get it right this time!

        • david spikes

          Oh, you know, I think there’s going to be a lot more talk about climate change in 2020.
          It’s taking a while but by then people are going to realize it ain’t going away.

      • randykhan

        WaPo had a big feature article on the Bidens this week the gist of which was (a) he can afford a beach house now; and (b) he might be running. Just saying.

        Also, the house looked nice.

        • a beach house

          A good place to watch sea levels rise.

    • FluxAmbassador

      I had more than one friend who was sort of newly introduced to politics in 2016 where we kept going in circles about the Superpredator speech and Sanders’ vote on the bill that speech was supporting. Every time I would get one of them to the point of “Yeah, she said an unacceptable phrase, but he voted for the damn thing, which is worst?” they would sort of sheepishly acknowledge that the vote is what mattered, but they still intended to vote for Sanders in the primary (which was fine, I did the same, but Christ I hate dishonest reasoning) and then within days bring the speech BACK UP and be surprised by the Sanders vote as if we didn’t just talk about it.

      I know the tendency for people to take in what confirms their biases/choices and reject that which doesn’t is universal and certainly isn’t unique to Bernie’s supporters, but it was still immensely frustrating. And I’m also seeing that purity quest start to infect voters here in Virginia, some of whom are saying they’re willing to at best not volunteer for Northam and at worst not vote for him because of his squishy position on the ACP.

      • Brien Jackson

        And, incidentally, this is part of why they’re going to be shocked when the field/landscape is different and it terms out that a big chunk of those Sanders 2016 voters aren’t actually committed Berniecrat socialists, but just supported him because he was the not-Hillary candidate.

        • SpiderDan

          I think people vastly underestimate how many of them are Ron Paul voters.

        • efgoldman

          it terms out that a big chunk of those Sanders 2016 voters aren’t actually committed Berniecrat socialists, but just supported him because he was the not-Hillary candidate.

          I predicted around the time of the convention that, if Bernie runs again as a Dem, he’ll get several million fewer votes regardless of who the other candidate(s) is/are.

          • Deborah Bender

            I supported him in the primary because I thought he would move the conversation to the left. He did. No reason to donate any more money to him.

            • SpiderDan

              When Bernie declared, I supported him and intended to vote for him.

              It was when he started beating the “Hillary is corrupt and the primary is rigged” drum that I left him. The Nevada state convention “chair brandishing” event was the last straw.

    • Drew

      I thought I read that Leahy had a better record on guns. If my memory is correct then Bernie really has no excuse.

      • EliHawk

        Leahy also has a 43 year record of accomplishing things, something that may never have happened if Sanders had gotten his wish and Nadered him in 74. Leahy was the first Democratic Senator in modern Vermont history, and his margin of victory in the Watergate landslide of 74 was less than Sanders total number of votes.

    • Veleda_k

      The thing about the ostensible left is that it isn’t about policies, or actions, or voting record. It’s just about who’s been labeled an enemy and who’s been labeled a hero.

      The left, even the ostensible left, cannot be considered in favor of Guantanamo. And yet it doesn’t seem to bother the ostensible left that Bernie Sanders voted against closing Guantanamo twice. Nor was there ever much interest in his votes to fund the Iraq war, or his voting for the Clinton crime bill.

      My point isn’t that Sanders is uniquely horrible. It’s the opposite. Every politician is going to have some votes or actions you consider repellent. But Hillary Clinton’s vote for the Iraq War made her the devil, while Sanders’s votes to keep Guantanamo open barely even came up, if they ever did.

      If Clinton had faffed around with her tax returns the way Sanders did, not just the left but the mainstream media would have eviscerated her. But Sanders got away with it.

      If this had stopped at the 2016 primary, that would be one thing. But it hasn’t. So, the ostensible left tried to make the pro-Assad Tulsi Gabbard their darling, but Kamala Harris is the enemy.

      • Deborah Bender

        Good God. If I had known about the Gitmo votes, I wouldn’t have sent him a penny.

        • dcavea

          The problem with that is that the Senate vote was something like 90-6 against closing Gitmo. So practically every Democratic senator would be off limits, then. (Which is why I do not blame Obama for failing-the margin there shows how much of a political risk he was taking to try and close it in the first place)

          But it is absolutely the case that Clinton’s Iraq War vote, while concerning, is not anything like sufficient reason to demonize her. And it is also true that the vast majority of Senators will at times make questionable votes for various reasons.

          The Gabbard fandom on the part of some Bernie Bros is particularly reprehensible. Yes, she is progressive some economic issues, but she is also an Islamophobe in addition to being pro-Assad, and is rumored to be friendly with both the BJP and Steve Bannon. If she was in a red or purple state I might be more forgiving. But given that she is from Hawaii, Tulsi is an excelent candidate to be primaried in my view.

          • Anna in PDX

            Thanks for called her out. As a Muslim it’s upsetting to me that people gloss over that and her BJP connections

          • motherfucker

            The reason almost all the Democrats voted against closing GItmo (including even for example Feingold) was because that plan would not have ended indefinite detention not because they were in favor of it. http://www.salon.com/2012/07/23/the_obama_gitmo_myth/

  • AlexSaltzberg

    My understanding is that you can discount candidates on their “good” issues by saying they don’t really believe them.

    • Shemp Marx

      Yeah, I’ve had many an argument where Hillary’s shittier decisions are proof of her evilness, but anything good, done or promised, was handwaved away as convenience, or a choice “forced” upon her, or a promise she would ditch the minute she was in the WH. I just don’t fucking get these people.

    • david spikes

      Some guy here the other day wrote that you can’t trust Gavin Newsom’s seven years of policy statements because he doesn’t think Newsom is “sincere”.
      Newsom might get a lot of play as the non-woman, non-AA, non-doddering candidate.

      • Deborah Bender

        Newsom comes across as slicker than Brylcreem. I don’t have anything specific against him. Definitely not doddering, looks good.

      • Hob

        I have no reason to think Newsom isn’t sincere; I don’t like him because I don’t think he’s particularly smart or hard-working, so I’d rather not see him in higher office.

        But he’s definitely an interesting case study in how hard it can be to define sincerity. His first campaign for mayor of SF was pretty disgusting in its pandering to the right; you may think there’s no right wing in SF, but there’s a little wingnut corner of many people’s hearts that lights up when the subject turns to, for instance, public homelessness. If you looked at the third-party billboards that his business supporters put up for him, his message was basically “throw the bums off of welfare, they’re all disgusting drug addicts.” Now, Newsom himself, based on his behavior in office, wasn’t that kind of asshole— he meant well and had the spirit of a reformer, if not the creativity and patience required to actually be one. But he was surely smart enough to understand that no matter how much he talked up his reform ideas a lot of his support came from people who didn’t care if those ideas worked and really just wanted him to get rid of the bums. That’s always seemed like a blot on his character for me, especially in light of how quickly he lost interest in most of his job once things turned out to be harder than he thought.

        • Origami Isopod

          you may think there’s no right wing in SF

          Tech bros.

          • Hob

            Sure, but there’s also a certain amount of Archie Bunkerism among longer-time residents of the city who aren’t techies. Anecdotally it seems to me like it’s correlated with owning a house or a small business. And often accompanied by disclaimers about how they are the real liberals because liberalism meant something else 20/30/40/50 years ago but now it’s all about giving arts grants to drug dealers, etc.

        • david spikes

          There are lots of people out there with that lack of talent and creativity who still want to be taken for reformers.
          The main reason I didn’t, and couldn’t, support Sanders is, oddly enough, single payer. After !8 years of saying the words and introducing the always ignored bill he still has no details on implementation, has quite obviously no idea how it might actually work, has built no congressional support for it-the only thing he has is the shamelessness to pose as a reformer.

    • dcavea

      The neat thing about that argument is that it is completely unfalsifiable.

  • Kevin

    it’s also so dumb to be focusing on that election instead of next years midterms, and any other elections in between.

    • zoomar2

      I’m all for postponing the inevitable toxicity of this debate for as long as possible. At least until someone declares. It’s gonna be brutal.

      • Philip

        So we can instead get “why are you running a negative primary, this will only hurt us in the general?” Come on.

        • njorl

          If the primary is close, it will be negative. Nothing said in the next 2 years will change that in any way.

    • Downpup E

      This x1000. 2 Senators and an ex-governor, none of whom are candidates for anything else, do not need to be talked about now as if they are running for president in 2020 or after the LA Olympics.

      Most of Cooper’s articles seem to have a point. This one is just shitstirring.

    • Justin Runia

      I think this points to the overall smallness of the left flank; they can only muster critical conversational mass when discussing nation-wide races.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      This, above all. Let’s focus on 2017 and 2018 and worry about 2020 after that.

      • dcavea

        On the one hand, I absollutely agree. On the other hand, I also have a sinking feeling that absolutely everyone in the media is going to start talking about 2020 in a few weeks. It starts earlier every cycle.

        In fact, at this rate the first 2020 primary debate might actually be before the midterms!

        • david spikes

          They can talk but it means almost nothing. The frenzy will begin after the mid terms and most of it will also just be mental masturbation.
          As my contribution I will say that I think(fee) that the nom. will be a woman.

  • Sly

    If “closeness to Wall Street” is a dealbreaker, we’re basically excluding Democrats with national prominence from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. In other words, three Democratic Party bulwark states, because that’s just part of the deal with tristate area politicians and has been for, well, forever.

    Maybe “the left” should first figure out why that is and what to do about it, considering a lot of them seem to live in Brooklyn anyway and are in a better position than most to effect the political culture of the state party that they despise.

    • Philip

      The NJ Democratic party put Christie in power by electing a slimebag Goldman guy, and not having learned anything they’ve now nominated another Goldman guy to replace Christie. I’m pretty fine with excluding the NJ Democrats until they learn anything at all from their mistakes.

      • Craigo

        Do you know anything about the record or positions or, you know, name of “another Goldman guy” or are you engaging in exactly the sort of thought-free dismissiveness that Scott is talking about?

      • randykhan

        Corzine’s problems as Governor had very little to do with his tenure at Goldman, and he previously had been elected to the Senate from New Jersey. So perhaps he’s not the best example.

      • fd2

        Corzine was a Goldman guy who parachuted into politics directly into the governor’s race and the NJ Dems let him because they were dazzled by the prospect of self-finance. Phil Murphy had put months and months of work into local campaigning and building relationships within the party before most other candidates had even decided they were running. I don’t particularly like the fact that he’s an ex-Goldman employee, but he’s definitely not Corzine v2.0.

        • Philip

          I’ll grant that Murphy is no Corzine. But what I’m getting at (I’ll admit kind of flippantly) is that the party doesn’t really seem to recognize why “ex-Goldman” is a mark against somebody in the first place. It never felt like there was much deep self-examination over losing to Christie. And I think it’s partly because, thanks to North Jersey, the party really is concerningly heavy on socially liberalish finance types.

          Plus the baseline staggering corruption of New Jersey politics, obviously. I miss NJ, but the NJ politicians, not so much :)

          • Taylor

            North Jersey has guys who will have connections to Wall Street. Northern NJ is greater NYC, and NYC’s business is finance. It’s unavoidable.

            South Jersey has people like Norcross who run the place like their own personal fiefdom, and from whom Stevens get his marching orders.

            South Jersey Democratic Party gave us Christie. They rolled over for him.

            I’ll take the guys who want to do the right thing, whatever the bullshit about their connections to the local industry, over the people who want to make sure they get their share of the take.

            I am so sick and fucking tired of hearing about people’s GS connections. More and more, I think I’m picking up a dog whistle.

            • Philip

              Maybe you don’t see finance as deeply corrupting, but lots of people do for reasons that have nothing to do with antisemitism. If you want economic leftists to engage with you on social left issues, you’ve got to be willing to at least meet halfway rather than just dismissing it as “connections to the local industry.”

              • Taylor

                I never heard about Corzine being “corrupt” because he used to work for Goldman Sachs. I heard plenty about Torricelli’s corruption, which oddly enough came out after he exposed CIA activities in Guatemala. I heard plenty about Florio’s connections to Norcross.

                The whole Goldman Sachs thing is sloganeering for people who are too lazy to think. Someone might be corrupted by links to Wall Street, or they might not. Are we going to dismiss Gillebrand as a candidate in 2020 because her husband works for GS? Really?

                • Philip

                  I mean, he’s been repeatedly taken to court over what he did at MF. That’s post-gubernatorial, but it’s hardly “free of corruption.” The stuff with Katz also wasn’t exactly a *great* look.

                • Hogan

                  You can be taken to court over things that aren’t corruption. Like fiduciary duty.

                • Philip

                  (quoting straight from wiki because I’m lazy)

                  MF Global’s stock price declined two-thirds in the final week of October 2011 and its credit rating was reduced making its debt high-yield debt following huge quarterly losses.[149][150] On October 31, 2011, trading was halted on shares of MF Global prior to the market opening, and soon thereafter MF Global announced that it had declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Shortly afterwards, federal regulators began an investigation into hundreds of millions of dollars in missing customer funds.

                  […]

                  Corzine was subpoenaed to appear before a House committee on December 8, 2011, to answer questions regarding 1.2 billion dollars of missing money from MF Global client accounts. He testified before the committee, “I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date”, and that given the number of money transfers in the final days of trading at MF Global, he didn’t know specifics of the movement of the funds. He also denied authorizing any misuse of customer funds.

                  […]

                  In June 2013, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed civil charges against Corzine for using funds from MF’s customer accounts for corporate purposes. “Corzine is charged with one count of failure to segregate and misuse of customer funds and one count of failure to supervise diligently”, a news report said. The commission drew on extensive taped Corzine phone conversations in filing the complaint. Corzine’s attorney Levander issued a statement contesting the charges when they were filed

                  […]

                  On January 5, 2017, Corzine and the CFTC agreed to a settlement order requiring Corzine to pay a $5 million penalty for his role in MF Global’s collapse. Corzine also agreed to be permanently barred from working for a futures commission merchant or registering with the CFTC in any capacity.

            • Drew

              Hey +1 on South Jersey sucking. Saw off everything south of Monmouth. PA can have it.

              • Hogan

                NOOOOOOOOOOO

          • Drew

            I was for Lesniak myself but he waited too long and even though he’s rich couldn’t match Murphy’s shitstorm of money.

          • SpiderDan

            It’s funny how “pro-Wall Street” is an indelible mark against tri-state politicians, but “pro-gun” is quite easily dismissed coming from, say, Vermont-area politicians.

            • david spikes

              Ah but you see, The Sage Of Burlington’s soul is so pure that no action, no vote, no position can sully it because pure.

        • Manny Kant

          Yes, the senior Senator from New Jersey did indeed parachute into politics directly into the governor’s race.

          • Justin Runia

            Hey, we wouldn’t want to find out that this GS guy was actually a very liberal senator, that would defeat the whole purpose of the GS pigeon-hole, wouldn’t it?

          • Drew

            Technically correct but senior senator is still a little misleading to describe someone who served less than a full senate term.

          • fd2

            You’re right, I forgot his part-of-a-Senate term, but the fact remains that A) Corzine went directly into high level politics with zero experience by carpet-bombing money, B) the fact that he was an ex-GS employee had nothing to do with why he was a lousy governor, and C) he and Murphy are not really comparable.

        • Drew

          Not directly into the governors race-he was a Senator first. He’s still a Goldman hack but thus far shown himself to be a better politician and less of a dickwad.

      • EliHawk

        Right now they seem to be learning that they’ll win the Governor’s mansion by 30 points, but, you know, Goldman is evil or whatever.

        • Philip

          Corzine polled as much as +20 in 2005, and won by +11 or something (I don’t remember off the top of my head). He still ended up handing the state over to Christie.

          Murphy is also running with a *huge* tailwind (the idiot in the white house, and Christie’s self-immolation over the last couple years)

    • Michael

      The Bernie Left are very much against “New York Values.” Now, of course they can’t be anti-Semitic in their beliefs, because Bernie is a jew!

      See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbgoAchOhEk

  • MariedeGournay

    Ryan Cooper is a lying sack of dog.

  • One thing I found just endlessly annoying about Cooper’s article was his presumption to speak for “the left”. That and the absolute lack of any data. Does he have polling to show any of his assertions? I didn’t see any.

    ETA: His article seems more an attempt to thought-lead than describe.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      So this. I largely don’t agree with Cooper. But many of the things written about Cooper’s piece have been unfair…largely because, whatever Cooper says, he is not “the left” or even the Sanders left, and responding to it with attacks on Sanders, Sanders’s supporters, or the left is, weirdly, granting Cooper too much.

  • i think “the left” might be overestimating its influence.
    and, really, all of this is moot. what matters to the outcome of the primary isn’t the specifics of voting records or ideological purity. what matters is how that candidate is perceived by the people who come out and do the actual voting.

    • farin

      No, he really won — Hillary isn’t president, right? That’s what the people attacking Harris right now wanted, so they have no incentive to change.

    • Sanders benefited greatly from being the only non-Clinton left standing after Iowa. All the ABC voters flocked to him because he was the only choice they had.

      If there had been a couple more legit candidates in the race, like Booker, for example, the anti-Clinton voters would have been split and he would have washed out a lot earlier.

      • EliHawk

        He also had TWO HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS, out spent her in most of the post-Super Tuesday states, and still lost pretty much all of them where it wasn’t a caucus: He got his butt handed to him in NY, PA, MD, CA, etc.

    • Michael

      This is why it’s so important for these folks to cling to the Trump-like belief that “the primary was rigged.” No less a figure than Chomsky recently claimed this is the reason Sanders isn’t president.

  • Denverite

    Is it really fair to call Patrick’s stint at Bain “buckraking”? He’s employed in private industry after a stint in government. What was he suppose to do, not work?

    This is entirely different than a politician going around and giving banal speeches for $200k a pop.

    • Bluesmank

      ‘This is entirely different than a politician going around and giving banal speeches for $200k a pop.’

      Yeah, I still don’t get this argument. If I had worked my entire life, was honored to serve as the SoS, and someone wanted to give me $200K for a rubber chicken speech about ‘leadership’…

      Let’s just say I would have ruptured a spleen to sign the contract.

      • sibusisodan

        I’ve never quite recovered from seeing the name of the current Archbishop of Canterbury alongside HRC on the list of GS speakers. This is a former oil executive whose thesis for ordination was ‘can corporations sin?’

        Justin Welby: Total Sellout. /s

    • NonyNony

      This is entirely different than a politician going around and giving banal speeches for $200k a pop.

      Wait what? Is that supposed to be sarcasm or am I misreading you something fierce?

      It would seem like “actually working for a vulture capitalist” would be a much bigger black mark than “getting a sack of money to give a banal speech to a room full of bankers”. Unless you’re the guy who goes in and turns the boatful of raiders into fishermen, the former is going to involve you participating in a hell of a lot more ugly stuff than the latter, which mostly involves separating bankers from their profits without hurting anyone else (a thing that, in the abstract, I tend to approve of).

      • Denverite

        The concern with speechifying as buckraking is that it’s just a way for private interests to put money in your pocket either in an attempt to buy access/curry favor once you’ve been elected, or to thank you for services-well-done while you were in office.

        That’s not going on with Patrick. He’s actually working at Bain. He’s generating money for them, either through his actual work, or by generating publicity for them. What they do might be distasteful, but it doesn’t give any appearance of an ethical conflict the way that traditional buckraking does.

        But, again, I go back to, what was he suppose to do once he left the governorship. Not work? If if he is allowed to work, I don’t really see any line between going and being a CEO for a nonprofit and making $150k, or going and being a partner at WilmerHale and making $800k, or going and being a director at Bain and making $7M.

        • The big difference is the relevant analogue of regulatory capture. Being a director at Bain acculturates you to Bain and their ilk.

          This is one reason for barring revolving doors…even above outright corruption or near corruption.

          (I’m not saying it’s a deal breaker, obvs. But I’m not sure whether buckracking is a bigger functional problem than capture.)

          • Denverite

            But Bain really isn’t operating in a super-heavily regulated industry. Certainly not like an insurance company or a health care company or the like. I’m pretty sure it’s not even a public company.

            [ETA: I’m sure *some* of its takeover targets do operate in a heavily-regulated industry. But not most, and I’m really guessing that Bain isn’t employing Patrick in the off chance that if they want to target an insurance company or health care company in the future that he might have some pull with those regulators.]

            • That’s why I’m saying the *analogue* of regulatory capture. The issue is that once elected he’ll be more naturally sympathetic to Bain and Bainlike entities than they warrant.

              • brad

                Exactly. And these are not entities whose orientation is towards public good. Besides which, I don’t think it’s unfair for someone on the left not to vote for someone who’s chosen to participate in and profit from such activities.

                • Denverite

                  Besides which, I don’t think it’s unfair for someone on the left not to vote for someone who’s chosen to participate in and profit from such activities.

                  I mean, fair enough (though I’m a LOT more tolerant of letting people make money than you are), but that’s still not “buckraking,” which is my topline point.

                • brad

                  It’s not that I object to making money, it’s very much the specific means, in this case. Bain may have been a little unfairly focused on thanks to Romney, but still, they ain’t good people doing good things. As has been mentioned, it’s just not a politically wise choice, and agreeing with your topline, and SL’s point in this post, doesn’t mean I don’t see many better choices in the probable field.

                • Downpup E

                  Orientation? Bain is evil. They bribe insiders to sell out their companies so that Bain can stripmine them.

                • brad

                  I was being understated, for once. I agree with you. To me it should be dealbreaker, in his case.

              • Denverite

                But what does that get them? Is there a movement to start regulating vulture capital funds a lot more heavily than they currently are that I not aware of?

              • so-in-so

                “Vulture capitalist” firm associated with a former GOP candidate for President isn’t a great look for a potential Dem candidate for Pres.
                But picking three AA potential candidates to rip in one article is a worse look for the left.

              • TopsyJane

                Also, Patrick’s crony Obama spent a lot of time attacking the vulture capitalists at Bain in 2008, although as some noted at the time, he wasn’t proposing anything to rein in said vulture capitalists. I’m sure there are some juicy sound bites the Republicans would find useful in any campaign against Patrick.

            • Hogan

              But Bain really isn’t operating in a super-heavily regulated industry.

              And they’d like to keep it that way.

        • NonyNony

          But – if the question is access then wouldn’t it be MORE problematic that he’s friends and golf-buddies with a bunch of moneymen instead of just someone parachuting in to give a speech?

          I mean Jesus – this sounds so arbitrary and in the wrong direction. Give a speech to the wrong group of people you’re disqualified but BE one of the people in that audience and things are fine and dandy? That seems f-ed up to me.

          As to what he could do – there are a lot of other jobs out there other than working for a vulture capitalist firm. And yeah – there is something better about someone working for a non-profit or even a company that actually makes something vs. a company that buys up other companies, squeezes money out of them by exploiting the employees, and then tosses them aside. One of them is “being a productive citizen” and the other is “being a pirate”.

          On the whole, it just seems odd to me that it would be worse to give speeches to pirates than to actually be a pirate. That feels not just arbitrary, but backwards.

          • Denverite

            On the whole, it just seems odd to me that it would be worse to give speeches to pirates than to actually be a pirate.

            That’s a horrible analogy. The better formulation would be: Is it worse for a politician or aspiring politician to give a bunch of speeches to (mostly) non-pirate bad guys that are regulated by the government, or is it worse to actually be an unregulated pirate? Well, if the concern is corruption, the former is worse.

            • NonyNony

              Well, if the concern is corruption, the former is worse.

              Wow. We are just going to have to disagree on this one because I personally think that this is insane. I think it’s far more likely for a politician to be “captured” by interests within their personal social network than it is for them to be bribed, and by working as a pirate your social network is going to be hella corrupt.

              • brad

                Yuppppp. Working as a pirate means finding ways to extract unearned wealth by any means allowed. It’s a predatory activity based on exploitation and taking advantage of regulatory flaws. Giving speeches means saying some boring routine shit then standing around having drinks with the same rich assholes any politician will see often anyway. I’m not actually trying to minimize the risks of the latter, there, but still. Being a pirate means participating in predatory actions which often should be crimes.

                • NonyNony

                  And having friends who are doing the same – meaning that you’re not inclined to see or understand them as predatory but just “the way business works” even once you’ve left that job behind.

                • Denverite

                  You guys are missing the “if the concern is corruption” qualifier.

                  Again, if you want to take the view that what Bain does is evil and you wouldn’t vote for anyone that worked at it, fine. I probably don’t agree with the bottomline sentiment, but it’s understandable.

                  But that’s not responsive to my initial point, which is that working for Bain isn’t “buckraking.”

                • ColBatGuano

                  Is corruption the major concern here or is it that someone who worked at Bain will be more sensitive to their concerns?

                  What is your definition of “buckraking” then because to me working for Bain is the epitome of it.

                • Denverite

                  What is your definition of “buckraking” then because to me working for Bain is the epitome of it.

                  http://www.dictionary.com/browse/buckraking

                  noun, Slang.
                  1.
                  the practice of accepting large sums of money for speaking to special interest groups.

                  https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/buckraking

                  (politics, pejorative) The practice of paid speaking before commercial interests, viewed as a potential source of conflict of interest.

                  Y’all come back now, hear?

                • brad

                  You also snarkily asked whether he wasn’t supposed to work at all, and seem to, and I don’t mean to put words in your mouth, correct me if wrong, feel a bit of hate the game, not the player, when it comes to Patrick cashing in via Bain.
                  I don’t think whether the word is being used correctly is what most are responding to.

                • Denverite

                  seem to, and I don’t mean to put words in your mouth, correct me if wrong, feel a bit of hate the game, not the player

                  This isn’t at all what I meant.

                  Successful people with law degrees from HLS and stints with biglaw (multiple times) and the USAO commonly take high-powered, well-paying jobs when they leave office. Frequently these jobs include big law firms, investment banks, hedge funds, and — yes — venture (and vulture) capital funds.

                  Even setting aside the technical definition of “buckraking” (and by that, Patrick clearly wasn’t buckraking, and there’s not an argument to the contrary), I broadly view it as distasteful when a politician sells his or her political celebrity status for undeserved money. I find it especially problematic when that politician does so in a way that presents ethical concerns.

                  Patrick didn’t do any of that. He took a no doubt obscenely-paid job with a highly distasteful employer, but he wasn’t cashing in on his political celebrity status and there really isn’t any ethical concern. If he wasn’t in his job, it would be someone else with his background, experience and credentials (minus the governorship).

                  Now, again, if you think Patrick’s choice of employer is a dealbreaker, then fine, that’s your prerogative. But unless your definition of “buckraking” includes (1) a former politician, (2) some sort of distasteful (to you) transaction where money changes hands, and (3) that’s it, then it’s not buckraking.

                • nixnutz

                  “he wasn’t cashing in on his political celebrity status and there really isn’t any ethical concern”

                  I
                  disagree on both of these points but I learned that “buckraking” has a
                  narrower definition than I thought it did. None of that is a
                  “dealbreaker” because in the context of a given field of candidates
                  those may be non-existent but working for Bain is a bigger negative than
                  anything I can think of for Clinton or Sanders and his political fame
                  was definitely not irrelevant to the deal he signed when he was hired.

                • david spikes

                  Oh sure, they wanted him despite the fact he’s been governor.
                  Do you realize how ridiculous what you just said is?
                  By that thinking, if HRC had actually taken a job with GS, that would be fine but giving speeches is criminal. sheeeesh!!!!!!!

                • ColBatGuano

                  but he wasn’t cashing in on his political celebrity status

                  Go on, pull the other one.

                • Bluesmank

                  ‘I broadly view it as distasteful when a politician sells his or her political celebrity status for undeserved money.’

                  Undeserved? So, having the unique experience of holding a cabinet level position, or House seat, or being a Senator, means that talking in front of a group for money somehow makes it ‘undeserved’?

                  Bill Gates is on the line and wants a word with you. Bezos is on line 2.

                • ColBatGuano

                  You think you’re very clever don’t you?

                • NonyNony

                  No, I was specifically responding to your last throw-away dig that I read as “giving speeches is something worse for a Dem candidate than working as a pirate.” Which, as I said, sounds insane to me.

                  The idea that “buckraking” is worse than predatory capitalism is what I find to be a bizarre worldview and I can’t wrap my head around it.

                • Denverite

                  My point was that if we’re specifically taking about corruption and ethical concerns, yes, giving a bunch of overpaid speeches to special interest groups that are clearly trying to buy access (successfully or unsuccessfully) is a bigger deal than piracy, which although murderous and chaos-inducing, isn’t as ethically troubling.

                  I’m not opining whether ethics and corruption are or should be bigger concerns than murder and pillaging on the high seas.

        • ColBatGuano

          I don’t really see any line between going and being a CEO for a nonprofit and making $150k, or going and being a partner at WilmerHale and making $800k, or going and being a director at Bain and making $7M.

          You don’t? “I could have been a nurse in a hospice, but I decided to work for Raytheon instead.”

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      There is a bit of oddness of a Democratic governor who, after supplanting his Republican predecessor, now works for the very same private equity fund said predecessor founded.

    • Scott Lemieux

      It’s not as bad as those speeches, but he also had plenty of options to learn a good living that didn’t involve working for finance parasites.

  • brad

    The dirtbag left is not the left, and their tactics ultimately just isolate them further. They won’t listen to other people, that’s the honest root of all this criticism, they simply demand all authority to set the agenda and the terms. And they neither deserve nor merit such privilege, nor will they even lift a finger to try to earn it.
    If anything they work at cross purposes to their stated goals. They shut down honest debate of the merits of potential candidates and force anyone who doesn’t buy into their framework to defend reality. It’s almost like they’re not entirely concerned with real world goals and outcomes, but of course that’s just the shitlib in me preventing the socialist revolution.

    • Sly

      “They won’t listen to other people, that’s the honest root of all this criticism, they simply demand all authority to set the agenda and the terms.”

      Without actually engaging in the rigmarole of retail partisan politics. Even Nina Turner of the Sanders campaign will freely admit that they should have tried to make bigger in-roads into the party’s southern black constituency, and the response from the white left that this constituency didn’t matter because they were all old Confederates (LOLOLOLOL!!) didn’t exactly help.

      • Philip

        the response from the white left that this constituency didn’t matter because they were all old Confederates (LOLOLOLOL!!) didn’t exactly help.

        Please, please, please stop ascribing more influence to the idiot CTH wing than they actually have. It just makes it harder for the people trying to push back on them from within the left.

        • stepped pyramids

          Seconded. I try to make it clear who I’m talking about when I talk about them, because I identify myself as being of the left and I don’t think these dirtbags speak for me.

        • dcavea

          Part of the problem is that while the CTH wing is by all accounts a minority on the left, they can be a very loud minority and often have influence beyond thier numbers.

          On the other hand, it is also very much in many people’s interest to conflate the CTH people with the left as a whole.

        • EliHawk

          I mean, this wasn’t just those idiots though. Dismissing HRC’s wins in the South as not mattering because Confederacy came straight from Sanders’ own mouth,

  • NicknotNick

    I wonder if it is at all meaningful that the last 4 presidents elected have been basically new on the scene — Clinton, Bush II, Obama, and Trump all had very limited national political experience. Clinton a regional governor basically unknown before winning New Hampshire, Bush II a two-term Texas governor, Obama a one-term Senator, Trump a famous jackass. People with the experience and name recognition of Bush I, Reagan, Nixon, LBJ, etc., haven’t been president for quite a while.

    Maybe this is how politics work in the age of the Internet — long records, like HRC’s, become anchors.

    • MariedeGournay

      And thus expertise is banished.

      • NicknotNick

        Though in fairness, I can do without a lot of the expertise mentioned in my original post . . . But look at the 2016 Republican primary, for example — that was a murderer’s row of idiots, with an un-famed governor (basically the equivalent of Bill Clinton) being the Pericles of the lot.

        Edited to reflect Hogan’s point above . . .

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Not entirely. There are forms of relevant expertise that can be gained working outside of the federal government. And this is an older phenomenon than the 1990s. Both Carter and Reagan had no federal governmental experience, though Reagan had over a decade in the national political spotlight in a way that Carter didn’t.

        In a way, I feel like returning to a point that Scott makes in the post: optics matter. And it’s entirely possible that looking like a member of “the establishment” (whatever that murky term means) looks terrible to many voters. Certainly the result of all but one presidential election since 1976 suggests as much.

    • Hogan

      Are there governors who aren’t regional?

      • NicknotNick

        Ok, TECHNICALLY maybe that’s a little redundant . . .

      • Aaron Morrow

        New York, Maryland and Virginia governors are treated as vice-vice-presidents by the press.

        • Hogan

          In the Northeast.

          I mean, I see the point–governors from different states have different levels of profile. I can probably name a dozen NY governors off the top of my head; other than Clinton I couldn’t name one for Arkansas.

          • malraux

            Huckabee

            • NicknotNick

              You’ve just convinced me that the suppression of traumatic memories is, in fact, real.

            • wjts

              Orval Faubus.

              • Hogan

                OK, smart guys, now do Wyoming.

                • wjts

                  …Casper?

          • Aaron Morrow

            The national political press is dominated by the DC press.
            I’ll consider Virginia Northeast once UVA joins the Big Ten.

          • rea

            Not even Huckabee?

      • Stella Barbone

        Jerry Brown is the current governor of the state that represents about one sixth of the country’s GDP.

    • Reagan was a two time CA governer.

      Clinton and Obama both had key speeches at the prior convention which marked them as potential candidates (Clinton esp).

      Bush I’s record is *much* thinner than people give him credit for. His biggest job was two term, quietist VP under Reagan (Gore redefined the modern VPship). Nixon and LBJ I grant you, but even Eisenhower had no “dealing with a legislature” experience.

      I’m not sure what “national political experience” means. Is being a House member a big deal? Are we talking governance or electioneering?

      • Hogan

        Clinton’s convention speech was widely derided at the time

        For the nomination, Clinton endorsed Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. He gave the nationally televised opening night address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, but his speech, which was 33 minutes long and twice as long as it was expected to be, was criticized for being too long[49] and poorly delivered.

        http://www.salon.com/2012/07/30/when_bill_clinton_died_on_stage/

        • True, but the fact of the speech was significant.

          • Hogan

            Well, yes, the memory of it was an obstacle he had to overcome in 1992.

      • Deborah Bender

        Director of the CIA is a small job?

        • Hogan

          It can be, especially if you have it for less than a year.

        • Yes. Esp. as Bush did it:

          In 1976 Ford brought Bush back to Washington to become Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), replacing William Colby.[36] He served in this role for 357 days, from January 30, 1976, to January 20, 1977.[37] The CIA had been rocked by a series of revelations, including those based on investigations by the Church Committee regarding illegal and unauthorized activities by the CIA, and Bush was credited with helping to restore the agency’s morale.[38] In his capacity as DCI, Bush gave national security briefings to Jimmy Carter both as a Presidential candidate and as President-elect, and discussed the possibility of remaining in that position in a Carter administration,[39] but did not do so.

    • so-in-so

      Um, Bush II was a governor of Texas, so hardly an outsider to politics. Clinton was gov. of Arkansas, so also not a political newcomer really, although smaller and less influential state. Obama had only one term in the U.S. Senate and IIRC one or two in Illinois, so a BIT less experienced.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        I don’t think the issue is whether or not someone is new to politics but whether or not they’re new to most voters, who probably couldn’t name very many governors. Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, prominent Senators, previous serious candidates for major-party presidential nominations are all national figures. Governors of Arkansas or even Texas, CIA Directors, and the vast majority of members of the House of Representatives (other than the Speaker, Minority Leader and the handful of other folks who get a lot of national media attention) aren’t.

  • King Goat

    Does Booker have a position on the death penalty? I’ve heard Harris and Patrick are on record against, which is a politically tough position to take.

    • DN Nation

      He’s against it. Though I’m only finding that through his tweets, no official statement/speech/etc. But you know, tweets are as good as executive orders these days, so.

      • Craigo

        There’s not a lot of support for capital punishment, but not necessarily intense support – nothing like the 70s and 80s.

        • King Goat

          That kind of thing can always be brought back. All you need is some high profile killing around the election and the attack ad writes itself.

          • stepped pyramids

            Hey, I have a great idea. Why doesn’t the Democratic Party nominate Trump? That’s a good way to make inroads with Trump voters.

    • farin

      Harris was strongly against the death penalty as a prosecutor, even as DiFi tried to bully her into seeking it, which in a sensible world would make her a fucking hero to “the left.”

  • DN Nation

    Bernie will either do well (enough) in the early Southern primaries or he won’t.

  • And they must know that they can’t forge a truly left-leaning takeover of the Democratic Party without making deep inroads with people of color.

    I’m not sure why this is correlated. Being black does not automatically make one a leftie. Indeed, many, if not most, blacks tend to be rather conservative Democrats.

    • Craigo

      That’s not what he’s saying. No one can take over the Democratic party unless they have support of POC. Clinton did, then Obama did. “The left”, as of now, does not.

    • They can’t take over the Democratic Party without people of color, esp. Blacks. So they have to win over e.g., Black democrats to a leftish program. They aren’t going to do that by slamming pretty damn left prominent Blacks like Booker.

      • farin

        And Harris and Patrick…

      • I agree. My point is that black democrats are conservative by nature, so this is going to be more difficult than simply being nice.

        • dcavea

          I don’t think that is necessarily true. In fact, according to any number of opinion polls many blacks actually have more left-wing views on economics than most white Democrats. This is part of why a number of Sanders people were so frustrated that they did not vote for Sanders.

          From what I can tell, what they are is small-c conservative and cautious with regard to candidate choices-because they have seen so many more new and idealistic candidates flame out. Remember, quite a few prominent blacks were initially wary of Obama for this reason. Also they tend to trust politicians with a long record of working with them more-again because so many politicians have screwed them over. Clinton had that, while Bernie really did not-and frankly was rather tone deaf on a number of issues.

          But this does not necessarily mean that they are conservative.

          • Blacks are conservative by the fact that most have been raised since birth to keep their heads down unless they want to get shot or carted off to jail. They might be left-liberal, but not necessarily left-radical. They tend to frown on radicalism, especially white radicals, because white radicals come from a position of privilege, and black radicals tend to not live that long. As a white male, I don’t necessarily fear that I’m going to get shot or taken away if I protest.

            • Deborah Bender

              The political career of Tom Hayden is an example of that.

            • Technocrat

              It’s also possible that blacks and whites have a similar liberal/conservative spread, but that black *Democrats* are more conservative than white Democrats. Membership in the Republican party is strongly discouraged for black people (both by Republican whites and Democratic blacks). This would create a “crowding” effect on the right, where blacks who are ideologically Republican, would never *vote* Republican.

              The black Church may be the clearest example of this. Many of their views line up well with white Evangelicals (for obvious reasons), but they tend to vote and organize as Democrats.

              • dcavea

                That might also be the case. I certainly have met some African-Americans in the past who were more conservative.

                My understanding, though, was that the black Church, when it is politically involved, tends to be quite conservative on certain issues (such as gay rights, abortion, etc), but more liberal or even progressive on economic issues. Is this incorrect?

                • Technocrat

                  I haven’t attended in decades, but this was definitely my experience 20 years ago.

        • Will Stamped

          Sanders is not culturally competent with people of color. Those who are already further on the left will/did vote for him, but he will have/had trouble flipping persuadable voters. The Lee Fang tweet in Scott’s more recent post is a response to someone who interviewed him pointing that out.

          There was a forum during the primary where Clinton and Sanders were both asked about reparations and both dismissed it out of hand. It was clear Sanders had never thought about it for more than two seconds in his life, and it’s an issue a presidential candidate on the left should at least be able to talk about like they’ve heard of the issue.

          If there is good, empirical work about black voters’ preferences in the 2016 primary and general election, I have not seen it and it’s something I keep an eye out for.

          • dcavea

            I would agree with you there. I’m not sure Sanders is even going to run in 2020 (heck, he may not even be alive), but if he does, he almost certainly does less well than he did last year. He MIGHT, I suppose, do slightly better with black voters, if only because it would be hard for him to do worse. But even that is stretching it.

            I would also like to see some empirical work in this area.

          • Sanders’ issue (other than being an old white guy) is that he spoke of economics in general terms, as if restoring jobs would simply fix the issue. But blacks (and people of color in general) are not interested in simply restoring a system in which they will still be disenfranchised. They want an economic system that benefits everyone, especially them. Sanders did not understand (maybe later) that simply restoring the system is restoring a system of privilege.

            Reparations is a whole can of worms in and of itself.

            • dcavea

              I would also agree with this

  • Dr. Waffle

    Lefties in 2016: “Coronations are bad.”

    Lefties in 2017: “How dare anyone run against Bernie.”

    • “Coronations are bad!

      Apotheoses, on the other hand…”

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Maybe Cooper is saying that. And there certainly are plenty of people cheering on a Sanders run. But a lot of lefties I know have responded to this whole discussion by hoping that there’s a crowded 2020 Democratic field with no obvious frontrunner, so that a leading candidate can emerge more organically.

      • Dwayne J. Stephenson

        Coronations are, in fact, bad. If 2016 isn’t enough evidence for people on that then I have no idea what evidence anybody would accept.

        • there was no coronation in 2016.

        • Origami Isopod

          Bernout sez wut?

  • NicknotNick

    I think Orwell mentioned once that leftists in Britain couldn’t deal very well with the fact that a lot of Russian revolutionaries liked to hunt. Hunting in Russia, with its giant open spaces filled with game and serfs, had a very different connotation than in Britain, a cramped land where hunting suggested full-on inbred Toryism — in other words, it symbolized something nasty, and even though it didn’t make sense, it had an effect. (note — I don’t remember this piece well, it’s possible that Orwell was making up this response and then using it to criticize the smelly Leftists of his day.)

    Wall Street is starting to do that in our discourse here. If someone makes a few hundred thou doing other work, more power to them; if they do it on Wall Street, that’s going to be an issue in a Democratic primary. How should we decide if this is a useful or a stupid shibboleth?

    • sibusisodan

      > Hunting in Russia, with its giant open spaces filled with game and serfs

      Wait: what were they hunting?!

      • wjts

        Yes.

      • NicknotNick

        Serfs are a species of Eurasian ungulate, right?

        If not, I may have committed a terrible misreading of Russian history.

      • Wait: what were they hunting?!

        Who cares? It was at fishing they excelled. Dead soles!

    • frankly, it’s bigotry to think you can tell anything about anyone from their bank account.

      • Philip

        I just rolled my eyes so hard I think they’re stuck like this

        • you can probably fix that with some hot sauce and sandpaper.

      • NicknotNick

        Er . . . “All great fortunes are founded on a great crime.” (or thereabouts)

        You can tell a LOT about someone from their bank account. And thinking so isn’t bigotry, dumbass.

        • your mental caricatures aren’t reality, dumbass.

        • sigaba

          The Roosevelt and Kennedy families’ bank accounts resemble this remark.

          • Deborah Bender

            I’ll take leaders who are bad people with good policies over the reverse, based on historical experience.

      • Aaron Morrow

        Biased, not bigotry.

        • bigot: one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

      • so-in-so

        Sure, I recall Ann Romney’s vivid account of their suffering through grad school. Why, they had to SELL SOME STOCK to make ends meet! Most poor people never have to do that…

        It isn’t the final say, but in our new Gilded Age we should view the rich with suspicion until they prove the point otherwise.

        • that fact that some assholes are also rich doesn’t mean that all rich people are assholes. right?

          if not, what’s the net-worth cut-off for people who acceptable for lefties to want to represent them?

          • farin

            How much is the least-wealthy Democrat in the race worth?

            That much.

    • Linnaeus

      Thing is, Wall Street has a lot of power and influence that a lot of other entities don’t.

      • Perkniticky

        Energy industry has lots of power and influence. Why aren’t they the left’s bugbear?

        • Hogan

          How can you prove your purity by railing at people who never give you any money?

    • Hogan

      One version:

      One of the big gaps in Dickens is that he writes nothing, even in a burlesque spirit, about country life. Of agriculture he does not even pretend to know anything. There are some farcical descriptions of shooting in the Pickwick Papers, but Dickens, as a middle-class radical, would be incapable of describing such amusements sympathetically. He sees field-sports as primarily an exercise in snobbishness, which they already were in the England of that date. The enclosures, industrialism, the vast differentiation of wealth, and the cult of the pheasant and the red deer had all combined to drive the mass of the English people off the land and make the hunting instinct, which is probably almost universal in human beings, seem merely a fetish of the aristocracy. Perhaps the best thing in War and Peace is the description of the wolf hunt. In the end it is the peasant’s dog that outstrips those of the nobles and gets the wolf; and afterwards Natasha finds it quite natural to dance in the peasant’s hut.

      To see such scenes in England you would have had to go back a hundred or two hundred years, to a time when difference in status did not mean any very great difference in habits. Dickens’s England was already dominated by the ‘Trespassers will be Prosecuted’ board. When one thinks of the accepted left-wing attitude towards hunting, shooting and the like, it is queer to reflect that Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky were all of them keen sportsmen in their day. But then they belonged to a large empty country where there was no necessary connexion between sport and snobbishness, and the divorce between country and town was never
      complete.

      • NicknotNick

        Thanks — I guess, reading that, a more succinct way of putting my original post might be that we should think about what an obsession with Wall Street money says about us, or the society we live in. It it an appropriate concern, or a red herring?

        • sanjait

          ” It it an appropriate concern, or a red herring?”

          It’s both, alternately. That’s what makes things complicated to sort.

      • Hogan

        Another version:

        Considering the age in which he was writing, it is astonishing how
        little physical brutality there is in Dickens’s novels. Martin
        Chuzzlewit and Mark Tapley, for instance, behave with the most
        remarkable mildness towards the Americans who are constantly menacing
        them with revolvers and bowie-knives. The average English or American
        novelist would have had them handing out socks on the jaw and exchanging
        pistol-shots in all directions. Dickens is too decent for that; he sees
        the stupidity of violence, and he also belongs to a cautious urban
        class which does not deal in socks on the jaw, even in theory. And his
        attitude towards sport is mixed up with social feelings. In England, for
        mainly geographical reasons, sport, especially field-sports, and
        snobbery are inextricably mingled. English Socialists are often flatly
        incredulous when told that Lenin, for instance, was devoted to shooting.
        In their eyes, shooting, hunting, etc., are simply snobbish observances
        of the landed gentry; they forget that these things might appear
        differently in a huge virgin country like Russia. From Dickens’s point
        of view almost any kind of sport is at best a subject for satire.
        Consequently one side of nineteenth-century life — the boxing, racing,
        cock-fighting, badger-digging, poaching, rat-catching side of life, so
        wonderfully embalmed in Leech’s illustrations to Surtees — is outside
        his scope.

        • NicknotNick

          I’ve sometimes suspected that if Orwell was alive today, we wouldn’t like him as much as we think we do — there’s a strain in his writing of strong criticism of people on the further left he found ignorant, or overly demonstrative, or ‘pansy’, or smelly, etc.

          • sigaba

            Chris Hitchens’s absolute worship of Orwell should be instructive.

            • NicknotNick

              Possibly, but I don’t let Hitchens determine my opinion on anything, in either a positive or a negative way.

              • sigaba

                Hmm Hitchens was a relatively consistent thinker who held relatively consistent opinions — he was a cynic. Orwell, Hitchens, and Menken for that matter, all had varying and complex attitudes towards class and socialism throughout their lives but the overriding belief was that the human prospect was doomed.

                It’s not just that Orwell had to be an iconoclastic left socialist, he had to caricature everyone else who called themselves a socialist in the most cartoonish and grandiose way possible between the Farm book and the reversed 1948 book. Animal Farm works because he uses a literary device that satirizes leftism in a way that makes leftists literally into sheeple. Orwell was the first Reasonoid.

                • NicknotNick

                  I didn’t think Animal Farm was about ‘leftism’ so much as totalitarian Communism?

                • DAS

                  I think it was about totalitarians hijacking populist movements in general. But what do I know? Perhaps it’s just about ethics in gaming journalism?

                • sigaba

                  Depends on how you interpret the Farmer.

                • dcavea

                  TBH, I don’t actually agree with everything Orwell said. But this is a rather egregious misreading of both Animal Farm and 1984.

                • sigaba

                  It’s a Hot Take but I’m on a one-man war to destroy the universal respect and admiration the world has for “1984.”

              • I let Hitchens determine my opinion on Hitchens ;)

              • DAS

                Was he picky enough in his choice of alcoholic beverages to take his opinions on booze into account?

          • Hogan

            Agreed. A lot of Orwell worship is based on reading a very limited selection of his writings.

          • LeeEsq

            Orwell had elements about him that both the Class Not Race Left and the Social Justice/Intersectional Left would find frustrating. He had a real hatred of the Far Left, so he would go after anybody he deemed to extreme. This could very well be BLM or some LGBT group. He might do some eye-rolling at the Enthusiastic Consent crowd. At the same time, BernieBros would be an easy target for him, he made fun of their ideological predecessors as bearded fruit juice drinkers in the Road to Wigan Pier, so that might make him popular. He would eviscerate the Internet Social Justice crowd to.

            • prplmnkydw

              This isn’t really right. He was most sympathetic to the very far left, i.e. the anarchists. He was against Stalin, and the totalitarians of any sort.

              • dcavea

                Eh, as I recall, he also had some of the traditional mores of his time and place. So he might well have been rather socially conservative on some things today, had he lived that long.

              • Hogan

                So he had to go to Spain to find a far left he could sympathize with.

          • DAS

            I actually think he’d fit right in with the bloggers here in his view of some on the left.

          • Matty

            Reading Road to Wigan Pier is incredibly instructive in this regard.

        • Scott P.

          Heck, Mozart’s son was a well-known rat catcher.

      • wjts

        One of the big gaps in Dickens is that he writes nothing, even in a burlesque spirit, about country life.

        Doesn’t he? I certainly don’t remember the country looming large in any of his books, but there’re bits about the Lincolnshire Wolds in Bleak House and Kentish villages in Great Expectations. Agriculture, though, isn’t something that I ever remember getting any attention.

        • LeeEsq

          Isn’t the country treated more as the places where the characters come from rather than anything significant. The descriptions aren’t overly bleak but they aren’t really that romantic either.

          • wjts

            Yeah, I mean he was a pretty urban (London) centric writer. So far as I know, he never wrote a “country” novel, but a few of his books do have significant (although relatively minor) scenes set outside of cities.

            • Hogan

              But I think they use the country as scenery rather than an integral part of the action. He doesn’t write about the lives of people who live there the way he writes about the lives of city dwellers.

              • wjts

                Largely true, but there are important characters who are members of the gentry who spend significant time in the country (the Dedlocks) and quasi-rustics like Joe Gargery.

      • Deborah Bender

        Orwell’s comments about middle-class radicals’ attitudes toward hunting and hunters apply pretty well to the comfortable coastal liberals and anti-meat countercultural leftists of today. If they are vegetarians, they think themselves morally superior to omnivores. If they eat meat, they think themselves superior to people who hunt for the table as much as those who hunt for sport. All of them exude class and cultural prejudice against people who like to hunt and know how to do it. Add to this the prejudice against all civilian gun owners and that’s a lot of people to despise.

  • Related note: Had there been any noise about a potential Duval run before literally this week? I take that Axelrod & Jarret promoting him means he may be one to watch…but from the looks of it that possibility was only raised literally this month, so making him a focus of this article seems intended primarily to start a fight.

    • Bluesmank

      After his convention speech, I thought he was in the running. Not unlike another convention speech I seem to remember some years ago…

      • Fair assessment, but my issue is that before August 1 the number of people making noises about “Deval 2020” ranged in the population of “jack” and “shit.”

        • Bluesmank

          Agreed.
          Plus, not sure a good-to-great convention speech is the proper way to choose a candidate. I suppose history shows it helps get in the conversation.

          • NeonTrotsky

            From what I recall it was one of the better convention speeches, charisma is at least worth something when it comes to candidate selection. For example Lincoln Chaffee is ideologically not too dissimilar from say Obama or Clinton, but I don’t think anyone would want him as a candidate mostly because he’s a boring speaker.

          • Eric K

            As Mario Cuomo well knows…

  • The Lorax

    I still don’t see the case for thinking Harris wasn’t a good CA AG. That Cooper piece certainly doesn’t make it.

    • Philip

      Define “good.” A lot of the left takes as given that a “good” AG is a bad person, because “good” AGs are people who effectively enforce racist, anti-poor, anti-sex worker, etc laws.

      • The Lorax

        I didn’t follow her super carefully here in CA. But my perception was that she really was trying to fight for the little guy. I’d like to know if I got that wrong.

        • farin

          She didn’t sent Steve Mnuchin to jail, so everything he does in this administration is 100% TOTALLY HER FAULT FOREVER.

          • The Lorax

            I don’t suppose anyone on the left has checked to see if there was a reason she didn’t? Maybe there isn’t and it should count against her. Maybe she dropped the ball. Much less likely, maybe she was responding to money and power and campaign donations. I’d be shocked if the latter were the case, as it runs contrary to everything else I know of her.

        • fd2

          The primary dings against her in her AG career that I’ve seen mentioned were fighting to block an inmate’s sex reassignment surgery, and declining to prosecute Mnuchin.

          • Philip

            She also did some really gross anti-sex worker stuff. That + the anti-trans prisoner thing are the biggest issues I have with her beyond the issues I’d have with any AG. Was she overall worse than most AGs? No, but I don’t want to have to vote for any of the others either.

            • Uncle_Ebeneezer

              She seems to be pretty supportive of trans issues nowadays based on her FB feed. I’d be curious to know if she her views and understanding have (hopefully) evolved in the past couple of years, though she definitely needs to be pressed on her past views.

              • Philip

                Yeah, that’s key. We’re 3 years out. Now is a great time to put this pressure on possible candidates and try to get them to commit to better positions. That’s how this is *supposed* to work.

    • Ithaqua

      Well, she did seem to view her job somewhat more as “I’m here to throw people in jail and keep them there” than many people would like. The Daniel Larson case comes to mind. Not a dealbreaker in and of itself, though, and I’d be running to the voting booth if it was her vs. Trump, no question about that.

      Also, being a mediocre AG =/= being a mediocre or worse President; different objectives among other things.

      • The Lorax

        That Larson case certainly is prima facie troubling.

    • kindasorta

      The case comes down to her failure to begin a civil enforcement action against OneWest Bank and its CEO, now Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. There is a supposed “smoking gun” memorandum which shows how much she is in the thrall of the big banks, because its first page literally says “Case NOT filed despite strong recommendations,” as if anybody with five minutes’ acquaintance with the law or politics would actually roll that into an internal memorandum at a state attorney general’s office. Once you get further into the meat of it, you see that OneWest did some things which were shady and possibly indicative of associated criminal activity, but actually probing that would have required: (a) litigation termed “novel” and “resource-intensive” by the prosecutors advocating it, (b) an estimated duration of 3-5 years, with maybe 12+ months of discovery, (c) ignoring a strong possibility that OneWest would file to remove the case to federal district court or the jurisdiction of the FDIC, meaning that hopes of a settlement were not well-founded. I should mention that nobody working for OneWest has actually been prosecuted for anything, the hundreds or thousands of violations allegedly discovered notwithstanding.

      tl;dr – Kamala Harris is clearly the bankers’ whore, if you know nothing about how law works or just assume that Harris should have ignored other, better-defined priorities as a servant of the California public to push this case.

      • The Lorax

        That was helpful. Thanks!

      • dcavea

        Yep. I mean I do have some criticisms of Kamala, but this particular case is a really thin read to criticize her for.

      • Michael

        An odd little detail I find ironic about this is that Greenwald is constantly at pains to suggest that everyone, including evil people, deserve effective representation in court, that it is of course the duty of counsel to vigorously represent their client, and that their duties as a lawyer should not be held against them.

  • randykhan

    This is a fine point, but the likelihood that the election will play out that way is exactly zero.

  • wait till the public gets a load of “the left’s” “we must destroy capitalism” crap.

    that’ll moot whatever they have to say about race or ‘neoliberalism’.

    • Philip

      Ah, some nice redbaiting to go with my lunch. Cheers!

      • Dr. Waffle

        “Redbaiting,” i.e. an accurate description of what the Chapo crowd actually believes.

        • Philip

          Look, if you want to argue that socialists, communists, and anarchists are *by definition* bad feel free, but I hope you’re not taking advantage of the 8 hour workday or the 5 day week they helped win for you.

          • Dr. Waffle

            Man, you must have done really poorly in the reading comprehension section of the SATs.

            • nixnutz

              I think he’s taking those next year.

            • the SAT is a tool of the oppressor class.

          • JMP

            “X is unpopular” is in fact not the same statement as “X is bad”.

          • Adam King

            8-hour work days and 5-day weeks are pretty much a thing of the past. Forced overtime and second jobs are where it’s at.

          • dcavea

            I don’t think they are by definition bad. I think most of them are probably good people, same as anyone else. I just feel they are gravely mistaken. (Well, depending on how you define socialism).

        • dcavea

          Seriously I have three questions:
          1. How do you define capitalism?
          2. What on earth do you want to replace it with?
          3. How can we make sure this particular attempt to replace it doesn’t end the same as the other attempts, ie. badly. And why should we assume it won’t?

          I have never gotten a satisfactory answer to either 2 or 3.

      • “redbaiting”?

        are you sure you know what that word means?

        i mean, i know it’s a go-to all-purpose defense of “the left” these days. but it has an actual meaning – one which seems completely irrelevant to what i wrote.

        • SpiderDan

          Redbaiting: any argument made against the electoral viability of an anti-capitalist position.

          So, for example, if you say, “I don’t think people are necessarily willing to give up their employer-provided insurance AND pay several thousand more in taxes per year,” you are merely redbaiting and your statement has no actual value.

      • dcavea

        If it qualifies as “red-baiting” merely to disagree with anti-capitalist leftists, than there are a whole lot of red-baiters around-even among democrats. Hell, some days I might qualify as one!

        • prplmnkydw

          bingo

    • Dr. Waffle

      You mean to tell me that the average American voter is not yearning for the destruction of capitalism? That a sizable portion of the electorate is reflexively suspicious of “big government” and anything that smacks of “socialism”? I don’t believe you. After all, there’s one poll that shows that single-payer is popular, and that really should be the end of all discussion on the matter.

      • SpiderDan

        Single-payer is extremely popular as long as it doesn’t cost anything extra. Once you include funding mechanisms, support “softens.”

        Kind of like how people love Obamacare’s guaranteed issue but hate the mandate.

        • Paul Thomas

          All the evidence in the world suggests that single payer would be vastly cheaper than our current system, but sure, keep repeating innumerate right-wing talking points. That’ll gin the base up!

          • dcavea

            Over time, yes it would be cheaper in the long run.

            In the immediate present, it would be much more expensive. I do not see how any possible single payer plan worthy of the name would not require substantially raising taxes. Let alone a plan as generous as say, Sanders’ or the one in California. And believe me, people will not like that even if they pay less in taxes than they would in premiums. Is this rational? Or fair? No. But it is how many people in the electorate behave-even in liberal states.

            Moreover, in order to control healthcare costs, you are going to have to squeeze both the insurance bureaucracy AND healthcare providers. The latter will be much harder and much less popular- and while it will probably be beneficial to people in the long run it is quite likely to hurt quite a few people for a number of years.

            • sibusisodan

              In order to bring US healthcare spending into line with other developed nations, you would have to redirect ~5% of GDP, in the world’s most complex and advanced economy.

              This is possible – but it’s going to be very, very difficult, and the political opposition will be huge. Wrestling with how to do that is not easy.

          • dcavea

            I mean, I am not opposed to single-payer in principle, and if the Republicans actually succeed in their absurd desire to destroy the ACA at all costs I definitely think it should be on the table as a possibility. But this is largely because some of the Republican bills are so insane that if passed, they could possibly wreck the entire health care system-effectively necessitating something like single-payer just to pick up the pieces. And I would not exactly rejoice if this came to pass, because it would mean enormous suffering and death in the interim.

            Absent that, however, I think the best way forward is to continue reforming and expanding the ACA, whether via a public option, stricter rules for insurers, or any similar measures.

          • All the evidence in the world suggests that until you elect a Congress packed full of people well to the left of the average American voter, “single payer” ain’t gonna happen.

          • SpiderDan

            When did I say it wouldn’t be cheaper? I completely agree that it would be. But that’s not the point.

            If I am currently spending $6000/year on health insurance, and a bill is offered that would eliminate that spending on my part but increase my taxes by $4000, that bill would be OVERWHELMINGLY UNPOPULAR. And this is exactly what is borne out when “single-payer” healthcare is discussed and we get to the topic of increasing taxes to pay for it.

            Find me a poll that shows people are willing to pay substantially higher taxes for a new (better!) single-payer healthcare program.

            • Paul Thomas

              The chief reason such a bill might be relatively unpopular is because of deliberate lies-by-omission like your original post. Few people realize that the “increased taxes” required to pay for single-payer would be more than offset, for all but the very richest, by decreased insurance premiums. Yes, there are a handful of libertarian nutcases who would rather pay more to the private sector than less to the government, but most people care about money in their pocketbook, not perfect ideological consistency.

              Of course, the claim that such a bill would be unpopular is itself another lie on your part; the popularity of single-payer is steadily increasing, as documented in Quinnipiac’s recent poll (https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2477), and at this point probably outstrips the popularity of status-quo Obamacare. (Whether it would outstrip the popularity of Obamacare-plus-bipartisan-fixes is an interesting question that is unanswerable at this point because we don’t know which of the proposed fixes is actually politically enactable.)

              • SpiderDan

                Lack of reading comprehension on your part is not a “lie-by-omission” on my part. I gave a specific number – $6000 – as the hypothetical current cost of premiums (i.e. “health insurance”) and proposed to eliminate that cost but replace it with $4000 in new taxes to fund the new single-payer system. I am saying that such a proposition would be wildly unpopular, because the voting public would rather pay $6000 in premiums than $4000 in taxes… even if the latter came with better care.

                Even more predictably, you then cited a poll that asks whether respondents would prefer to replace the current system with a single-payer system, with no mention of significantly increasing taxes to pay for it. And even then it only gets the slimmest majority approval of 51%!

                Lies-by-omission, indeed.

                • Paul Thomas

                  Your original post, which is all of about a page above, said “Single-payer is extremely popular as long as it doesn’t cost anything extra.” Only after I pointed out that this was a lie-by-implication and single-payer would not, in fact, “cost anything extra” did you switch to advocating the bizarre view that increases in taxes count but decreases in premiums don’t.

                  As long as we’re sealioning each other, I’d sure love to see a poll backing the crackbrained notion that fully informed people would rather pay more in premiums for the status quo than in taxes for single-payer.

                • SpiderDan

                  It’s like every single one of your responses is two replies too late. Direct quote: “When did I say it wouldn’t be cheaper? I completely agree that it would be.”

                  More to the point: you responded to a comment describing a hypothetical single-payer bill as unpopular… while intentionally ignoring the clear explanation for its unpopularity in the same comment, just so you could go back in time and accuse me of lies-by-omission in a previous comment.

                  As for a poll supporting the idea that support for [literally any new government program!] decreases if you tell the pollee that they will have to pay thousands of dollars of new taxes to pay for it… you’re right, I don’t have that poll. Maybe people will be as happy to pay the thousands in new taxes as they were for the insurance mandate that enables guaranteed issue! I can’t say.

                  But what I can say is that all of the polls that show support for single-payer invariably neglect to include “thousands of dollars in new taxes” as part of the poll. So when you talk about the “popularity” of single-payer, in order to avoid a lie-by-omission you should actually clarify that you are talking about the popularity of single-payer that doesn’t cost anything in new taxes.

                • Paul Thomas

                  Other obvious lies that aren’t being polled in these polls:

                  “Would you support single-payer including actual death panels?”
                  “Would you support single-payer if the law also required you to give your firstborn child to the government?”

                  Of course the polled popularity of a bill would go down if you lie about it and imply that the bill would hurt people in ways it actually would not do.

                • SpiderDan

                  Now I see the game: any poll that mentions that taxes will increase under single-payer is actually a Dastardly Lie. Of course it’ll poll well if you never tell them there will be extra taxes… the taxes are the least popular part of the plan!

                  Was it also a lie to tell people that their taxes will increase under Social Security or Medicare?

                • Paul Thomas

                  Jesus, you’re dense. It wouldn’t be a lie to say “people’s costs are going to go up, sure you still want this single-payer thing?” if their costs were ACTUALLY going to go up.

                  It IS a lie, on the other hand, to say “hey, look, your taxes are going up!!1one” while completely eliding the fact that their actual out-of-pocket costs are going to go DOWN because they won’t have to pay premiums anymore.

                • SpiderDan

                  The problem is that, for purposes of defending your position, you want to pretend that “your costs will increase” and “your taxes will increase” mean exactly the same thing and are interchangeable statements. This position is lunacy; it is patently absurd to believe voters see taxes as just another fungible cost.

                  But since you like to frame statements in the context of lies, let’s try this one: does your proposed version of single-payer allow citizens to opt-out and pay a fine that is the-same-or-less than the current mandate tax penalty? If the answer is no, then it is a lie to tell a person without coverage today that their COSTS (taxes or otherwise) will not increase.

                  Let me guess: since everyone will eventually need healthcare, and single-payer is expected to reduce the cost curve, it categorically CANNOT be a lie to tell everyone that single-payer will reduce their costs (because they will in the long run), and therefore anyone who ever mentions any sort of increased-money-outlays – in any form – is really just a dishonest hack who is deliberately deceiving the public. (But only if we are talking about single-payer, and not the ACA.) Did I get the gist of it?

    • Sly

      The 2016 election ultimately hinged on people who looked at a jumped-up huckster from Queens and said “Hey, that guy seems like he’s got a lot of money and he had his own TV show, so he’ll probably make a good President.”

      So America is clearly ready for expropriating the expropriators and all that jazz.

  • Micheál Keane

    Cooper is also one of the people at The Nation who has regularly pooh-pooh’d the Trump/Russia story.

  • dn
  • I would just like to add that anyone who invokes a corncob is an insecure douchebag who will die alone on the toilet. Al Giordano’s (bullshit) explanation somehow manages to be less pathetic.

    • Philip

      …….?

      Comparing people to dril is a longstanding tradition with nothing to do with politics. It’s just that a bunch of Very Important Media People are too lazy to learn the culture of spaces they shove their way into.

      • The dril tweet is where the “centrist corncobs” in this poster comes from.

        • Philip

          …how long have you been on twitter? Quoting the corncob tweet at people pulling the “actually I’m not mad, I think it’s funny” routine goes back years. It got turned into “corncobbing” when a Very Important Media Person flipped a shit about having it quoted at him. This is like claiming the candles tweet is antisemitic Because Hanukkah

          • NicknotNick

            I understand this discussion about as well as I can read Old High Hittite — what the hell are you talking about?

            • DAS

              I assume that among the bloggers and commenters at LG&M is at least one expert on Old Hittite. Or at least one person who can read it.

              • NicknotNick

                People who read Old High Hittite are NeoLib Sell-Outs

                I read Middle High Hittite like a good man of the far left

              • Concerning My Neighbors, the Hittites

                Great are the Hittites.
                Their ears have mice and mice have holes.
                Their dogs bury themselves and leave the bones
                To guard the house. A single weed holds all their storms
                Until the spiderwebs spread over the heavens.
                There are bits of straw in their lakes and rivers
                Looking for drowned men. When a camel won’t pass
                Through the eye of one of their needles,
                They tie a house to its tail. Great are the Hittites.
                Their fathers are in cradles, their newborn make war.
                To them lead floats, a leaf sinks. Their god is the size
                Of a mustard seed so that he can be quickly eaten.

                They also piss against the wind,
                Pour water in a leaky bucket.
                Strike two tears to make fire,
                And have tongues with bones in them,
                Bones of a wolf gnawed by lambs.

                   *

                They are also called mound builders,
                They are called Asiatic horses
                That will drink on the Rhine, they are called
                My grandmother’s fortune-telling, they are called
                You can’t take it to the grave with you.

                It’s that hum in your left ear,
                A sigh coming from deep within you,
                A dream in which you keep falling forever,
                The hour in which you sit up in bed
                As though someone has shouted your name.

                No one knows why the Hittites exist,
                Still, when two are whispering
                One of them is listening.

                Did they catch the falling knife?
                They caught it like a fly with closed mouths.
                Did they balance the last egg?
                They struck the egg with a bone so it won’t howl.
                Did they wait for dead man’s shoes?
                The shoes went in at one ear and out the other.
                Did they wipe the blood from their mousetraps?
                They burnt the blood to warm themselves.
                Are they cold with no pockets in their shrouds?
                If the sky falls, they shall have clouds for supper.

                What do they have for us
                To put in our pipes and smoke?
                They have the braid of a beautiful girl
                That drew a team of cattle
                And the engraving of him who slept
                With dogs and rose with fleas
                Searching for its trace in the sky.

                   *

                And so there are fewer and fewer of them now.
                Who wrote their name on paper
                And burnt the paper? Who put snake bones
                In their pillows? Who threw nail parings
                In their soup? Who made them walk
                Under the ladder? Who stuck pins
                In their snapshots?

                The wart of warts and his brother evil eye.
                Bone-lazy and her sister rabbit’s-foot.
                Cross-your-fingers and their father dog star.
                Knock-on-wood and his mother hellfire.

                Because the tail can’t wag the cow.
                Because the woods can’t fly to the dove.
                Because the stones haven’t said their last word.
                Because dunghills rise and empires fall.

                   *

                They are leaving behind
                All the silver spoons
                Found inside their throats at birth,

                A hand they bit because it fed them,
                Two rats from a ship that is still sinking,
                A collection of various split hairs,

                The leaf they turned over too late.

                   *

                All that salt cast over the shoulder,
                All that bloody meat traveling under the saddles of nomads …

                Here comes a forest in wolf’s clothing,
                The wise hen bows to the umbrella.

                When the bloodshot evening meets the bloodshot night,
                They tell each other bloodshot tales.

                That bare branch over them speaks louder than words.
                The moon is worn threadbare.

                I repeat: lean days don’t come singly,
                It takes all kinds to make the sun rise.

                The night is each man’s castle.
                Don’t let the castle out of the bag.

                Wind in the valley, wind in the high hills,
                Practice will make this body fit this bed.

                   *

                May all roads lead
                Out of a sow’s ear
                To what’s worth
                Two in the bush.

                [by Charles Simic; originally printed in the late, lamented kayak]

              • Adam King

                I can piece some of it together, given enough time and reference books. It’s an Indo-European language after all.

                • Adam King

                  (Dril, corncob, etc., not so much.)

            • wjts

              I know a few Hittite words, so this actually makes less sense to me than Hittite.

          • Which is why I said Al Giordano’s explanation was bullshit. I understand the synecdoche – it just strikes me less as an invocation of Danth’s Law than a Fear Of Getting Owned.

            • Philip

              Hm, I misread you a bit so sorry about that.

              Re: Danth’s law, it’s far from the only dril tweet people do this with, it’s a whole genre. It’s just the one somebody prominent happened to pick a fight over. I think it’s just a general form joke of “x-is-a-dril-tweet” rather than invoking Danth’s law.

              • Al Giordano’s (bullshit) explanation

                (bullshit)

                • Philip

                  “I would just like to add that anyone who invokes a corncob is an insecure douchebag who will die alone on the toilet” is where I’m confused

                • “I’m not the one who’s pretending not to be owned! You’re the one who’s pretending not to be owned!”

                  That said, upon seeing it as a metonym the statement above is partially revoked – though it’s still a stupid one that I think would be much better invoked as self-deprecation.

                • Deborah Bender

                  I’m not following any of this because i never heard of a dril tweet. However, the sentence you quote might be a reference to an important plot event on a previous season of Game of Thrones.

              • wjts

                Danth? Dril? Corncobbing? Say what you will about the Hittites, but at least they wrote in a language that was recognizably Indo-European.

    • JMP

      Corncob? What the fuck? I guess I Am Not Aware of All Internet Traditions. But seriously, that makes no sense.

      • This tweet is not supposed to make sense – it became more prominent Giordano et al. mistook it as a reference to sodomy a few months ago (using Urban Dictionary as a reference, because of course).

        • farin

          What kind of dumbfuck thinks dril tweets refer to things?

          • FMguru

            “This Whole Thing Smacks Of Neoliberalism,” i holler as I overturn my uncle’s barbeque grill and turn the 4th of July into the 4th of Shit

    • Drew

      Aren’t people usually alone on the toilet? I uh don’t mean to kink shame or anything but

      • wjts

        You’re never really alone on the toilet, because of the C.H.U.D.s.

  • tsam100

    Let’s have a look at 2018 and then we’ll worry about this shit, k?

    • Joe Paulson

      Heck 2017 has had and will have a few notable races.

      But, yeah, just a tad too damn soon to worry about 2020.

    • Hondo

      Let’s also worry first about Schumer “turning the page”. Seems that’s the immediate tactical error that will doom us to failure.

  • Brien Jackson

    Patrick is the name that really gives away the game here. If you know the first fucking thing about him as a politician these days, it’s that his wife HATES politics and he’s told just about everyone he’s done with holding public office forever. Then there’s one report that doesn’t even say he’s thinking about running, but that the Obama people *want* him to run, and Berniestans are ON IT! As someone else said in the thread, it’s pretty clear that the thinking here is that “leftists” have to tear down any potential non-white candidate or Bernie will get shellacked again.

    And the bigger problem is when you consider these hits against the backdrop of the broader intraparty/social media fights, where a lot of “leftists” are really waging war not just against black politicians who might run for President, but against black *voters* and activists in the Democratic Party in general. That’s been simmering since at least late 2009 or so, and now the white lefties who argued for their own specialness by calling themselves THE BASE endlessly just can’t contain it anymore.

  • Brien Jackson
  • dcavea

    Yeah.

    I mean, I can see how Booker and Patrick are suboptimal. Booker really does have some questionable stances on school “reform” and things of that nature, and Patrick was a rather mediocre governor. But Kamala Harris, in spite of some scattered issues, is almost certainly the best major contender progressives are going to get for a good long while. And I really don’t get what good preemptively dismissing any of them is going to do.

    (Of course, I’d still happily vote for Booker, Patrick, and even Cuomo if they won the nomination. Heck, against Trump I’d even be willing to back (crosses himself, spits), Joe Lieberman!)

    • And I really don’t get what good preemptively dismissing any of them is going to do.
      dismissing them is a way to demonstrate one’s True Progressive bona fides!

  • Paul Thomas

    Two main points and one minor one.

    1. I agree with the OP that litmus tests are an awful, awful way to evaluate candidates. But this cuts both ways; you cannot both agree with this post and complain about the Dems funding anti-abortion candidates in generally-red districts.

    2. Holy crap that Progressive Punch Senate link is depressing. If the Ds merely traded off all their “safe R” seats for every single “swing” and “lean D” seat, they would… gain zero seats. If the parties then further exchanged their “lean” seats, such that every “lean” seat was held by the favored party and all “Safe” seats by Ds, the Ds would… lose two more seats. If the Ds then lost half the 14 “Swing” states such that those were evenly split between the parties, the Republicans would have a 61-seat filibuster-proof majority. I try to psych myself up to keep fighting by saying that even if it’s hopeless we have to throw our bodies on the gears of the machine Mario Savio-style anyway, but man, we’re so fucked.

    Somehow we have got to put more states in play… which goes back to #1, I guess.

    a. Some people have somehow acquired the impression that I am some kind of Sanders diehard, which is hilariously wrong. This is really thrown into sharp relief for me by the juxtaposition of Sanders with Kamala Harris, who (whatever her flaws) I would easily pull the lever for in a hypothetical one-v-one primary between the two.

  • Dave Katz

    So the cautious-to-a-fault money middle has turned its gimlet eye on three centrists for 2020. The goal posts will stay where they are, of course. Shocking.

    • That’s the spirit that will help Keep America Great, Again!

      #RealDonaldTrump2020#SpreadTheDisease

  • Dwayne J. Stephenson

    “Cherry-picking the records of candidates you have decided ex ante you don’t like and ignoring problems with candidates you do is not going to be very illuminating.”

    I feel you here, but who the fuck are you kidding? This is what everyone does.

  • Well, this is why references to the evils of “lesser evilism” are so perniciously ridiculous. Fact is, you can probably find a dealbreaker in the record of any candidate if you want to, because any politician who’s worked in the system is going to have a less than perfect record if you see that system as not wholly benevolent.

  • Tim Reynolds

    Look, let’s be blunt here: nobody on the economic left cares what this blog thinks.

    Your arguments are about keeping your own people on the neoliberal reservation. They aren’t about convincing anybody.

    • “Nobody on the economic left cares what this blog thinks”.

      Wrong, I’m afraid. I’m on the economic left and Erik Loomis, one of the bloggers, most certainly is as well.

      Also, if you are on the economic left, and you don’t care what this blog says, what moves you to respond to it? Is this just for aimless fun, or do you make these claims because you care enough about what the blog says to attempt to discredit it?

      In short, your alleged bluntness is mere bluff.

    • one of these days, y’all will figure out how US politics actually works.

  • Wojciech

    I’m coming late to this thread. I’ve known of Cory Booker since 2002, my last year in law school and the year when he first ran for mayor of Newark (some of my law school friends volunteered for his campaign). So I think I have a good grasp of what he’s all about, and while on the whole I think he’s a good guy I am also aware of his political and personal flaws. Not just “school choice” and his over-fondness for certain financial sector players, but also his tendency to showboat.

    Thing is, I share many of the leftier-than-thous’s misgivings (as does Scott, apparently) and I’m not sure that Booker would be a good Presidential candidate. But the tactics and rhetoric of the Chapo Trap House crew about him are even more offputting than Booker’s conduct. I’m thinking specifically of how they ganged up on him the same day he was testifying against Sessions (an extraordinary event, as noted at the time). Their rationale was that he voted against that symbolic Sanders anti-pharma bill. But given the timing, all it really did was kneecap Booker when he was actually doing something good and progressive. Besides being offensive and tone-deaf wr2 racial justice issues, the Bernie Bro anti-Cory temper tantrum was dumb from a Poli Sci 101 viewpoint.

    • the Bernie Bros anti-Cory temper tantrum was are dumb from a Poli Sci 101 viewpoint.

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