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Those Contradictions Won’t Heighten Themselves!


As with the previous and no doubt future Salon articles urging people not to vote for Hillary Clinton, Shane Ryan’s article is so stupid its stupidity cannot be encapsulated by even a lengthy block quote. Erik highlighted the heighten-the-contradictions nonsense at the core of the article. I will just observe again that this kind of argument is much more likely to be advanced by affluent white guys living in major urban centers than the people upon whom the contradictions will be most heightened. “I have a ludicrously implausible fairytale about how four years of Republican rule will mean a president and a median vote of both houses of Congress who are to the left of Bernie Sanders. I’ll take a tax cut and you can take no health care or civil rights enforcement or safe abortions, and we’ll see who’s right.” Ryan says he’s be accused of “cutting off my nose to spite my face.” To be clear, I am in fact accusing him of wanting to cut off other people’s noses in service of his self-congratulatory wank fantasies.

The whole thing is equally horrible, though:

Others have already written extensively on the issues that make her a deeply unattractive candidate to progressives; on how she’s not just dishonest — a description that applies to even the best politicians — but strikingly dishonest

Calm down there, tiger. Watch about five minutes of any Republican debate and you’ll feel better. Yeah, invoking 9/11 to dodge questions about Wall Street was offensive, but as a reason to throw the elections to Republicans it’s a long way from “threadbare.”

on how she has tacked leftward merely to combat Sanders’ progressive momentum — going against a lifetime of pro-Wall Street, pro-business action — and not because she actually espouses any of her shiny new positions;

In part because of Sanders, and in part because of the leftward trajectory of the party as a whole, Clinton has tacked to the left. This is supposed to be a bad thing because…I have no idea. It might be a good reason to vote for Sanders over Clinton in the primaries, but anyone who thinks it’s bad news for evaluating Clinton as a general election candidate is a clown. Also, Clinton is in fact “espousing” these new positions; the question is actually whether she believes them. (I hope Salon takes whatever revenue this dreary clickbait generates to hire some editors.) Although in fact when evaluating candidates for public office this is also a largely irrelevant question. Presidential candidates lead coalitions and operate in particular historical contexts with particular political possibilities. Had Lyndon Johnson become president in 1952, I’ll guarantee you wouldn’t think of him as a progressive giant on domestic policy.

However, it is worth reiterating that to Sanders supporters like myself, the two candidates are not separated by a matter of small degrees, but by an ocean of philosophy and behavior

Even comparing them in a vacuum, this is dubious. But comparing them as potential presidents of the United States in 2016, the assertion is laughable. The amount of major progressive legislation a Republican House would pass under either would be “none.” Their judicial and most of their executive branch appointments would be fundamentally similar. There would be some differences — probably more law enforcement directed at the financial sector, for example — but the idea that they constitute an “ocean” worthy of letting Ted Cruz and a Republican Congress run the country is insane.

Among Clinton’s predominantly liberal supporters, male and female alike, we see a lot of projection — people who seem to be mistaking her for Elizabeth Warren — and not a lot of introspection.

Ah, so Ryan is indeed the poor man’s Henwood, and again let me say [cites omitted.]

It would be disingenuous to deny that Hillary’s campaign inspires negative emotions, but this decision ultimately comes down to tactics and policy, not spite.

Haha, yeah, keep telling yourself that buddy. I’m reminded of a certain one of our regulars who switches between Sarah Palinesque arguments that criticizing someone’s arguments about how to vote are anti-democratic because people have the right to cast votes as an act of irrational onanism if they want and arguments that a plan of 1. Republicans win election 2. ?????? 3. ?????? 4. ??????? 5. ?????? 6. Democrats smash the military-industrial complex and institute Danish political economy! represents immensely sophisticated 18 dimensional chess you are too dumb to understand, sometimes within the same paragraph.

And finally, why I couldn’t resist writing about this:

On the other hand, there is a good strategic reason not to vote for Hillary, and it boils down to this: If progressives fall in line, it shows the DNC and the party’s structural elite that they can have our loyalty for nothing. It sets a terrible precedent for the future. To steal a crass expression, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

Well, Republicans have shown that trying to get your candidate in the primaries and then pulling the lever for whoever wins can work just find to push their party rightward, so this is not true at all. But my favorite part is that someone advocating a substantial risk of Roe v. Wade being overruled choosing to use an egregiously sexist metaphor to make the case. I’m guessing this guy isn’t much of a poker player.

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