No, Hillary Clinton Is Not Costing Democrats Anything

I finally read that nonsensical article complaining that Hillary Clinton is Not Happy About Having the Election Stolen from Her. The article’s author is mad Clinton has the unbelievable gall to point out this a bit in her various speeches.  Which of course means she will destroy the Democrats’ chances on November 6, 2018.

What utter crap.

Michelle Cottle acknowledges that Clinton hates the media and then goes on to show exactly why Clinton is 100% justified in this.

Cottle doesn’t cite any studies, any polling, anything really other than a few politicians who are as tired of the media harping on Clinton as she is.  Instead Cottle focuses on what the Republicans will do.  After all they are the sole arbiters of reality these days for the media.

The Republicans have decided to run against Hillary Clinton. She isn’t on the ballot anywhere. She doesn’t endorse candidates. She does hold fundraisers but usually she does so well away from the news. She has a PAC that does not even give to candidates. Instead it is a clearing house for various groups so that way no candidate runs the risk of being seen with her. (Granted plenty of the women running would be thrilled if she showed up.)

What will the Republicans run on?  Partly on tying their primary opponents to Clinton.  The other part? Abusing their power as much as they possibly can against her. Once again, Clinton will be investigated to the nth degree while every part of it will be leaked to the press. The press, which has not learned a damn thing since 2016, will endlessly repeat whatever is leaked ignoring how it is a gross abuse of power.

After all, it is Hillary Clinton.  It is perfectly okay to treat her like shit.  You might get some push back from her fans on Twitter.  Some emails.  This article calling the author a jackass.  But nothing like the “have to go into hiding because she said something bad about Republicans or Bernie Sanders.”  I have rarely heard of Clinton fans threatening to kill someone for being a jerkface to Clinton.

But in addition to Ms Cottle being a jackass jerkface, Ms Cottle is wrong.

Let me show with some actual evidence.  In December of 2017 there was a hotly contested Senate race.  And for the first time in almost 40 years, a Democrat was within reach of winning a seat in ALABAMA. Not simply because he was running against a child molesting crook who was forcibly removed twice from elected office for flouting the law but because he was focused on local issues and helping his people out.

Clinton gave speeches and interviews from December 1 to the 12th.  She even edited a copy of Teen Vogue. The very day of the election she had a book tour stop.

Doug Jones beat Roy Moore in one of the best wins in a very long time for Democrats in the South. Hillary Clinton going all over the place and talking to people and saying things the press loves to twist wrong, her doing so had no impact on the race.

Hillary Clinton is not a factor in any general election race anywhere in the country.  Even though the media and the Republicans dearly wish she was.

 

A Final Word on 2016 (I Hope)

Again and again the media makes the claim that Hillary Clinton lost the easiest election ever.  By Damon Linker (twice).  By ostensibly professional Democratic partisan Jon Favreau. Chris Cillizza of course. They often do this because they assume her campaign was terrible and she did nothing right.  They often do not not explain exactly what her campaign did that was so terrible except that she did not go to Wisconsin. After all, Cheato was the worst candidate in history therefore it must be her fault.

But this isn’t true.

The Fundamentals Were Against Her From the Start

When it comes to any given election, there are a group that will always vote Democratic and a group that will always vote Republican.  The rest of voters are what need to be persuaded.  In the 2016 election many of these were individuals who had voted for Obama but were ready for something new.

This is what is called third term fatigue.  Generally, a third termer can win when the opponent is one of two things: bland and boring, or simply bad at campaigning.  History gives us three examples.

In 1940, Republicans nominated as a surprise candidate when their convention deadlocked a former Democrat Wendell Willkie.  He was a tough campaigner, but he was indistinguishable from the Democrats based on what he was proposing.  He lost.

In 1948, Republicans nominated a very bland but popular governor of New York who was an extremely lazy campaigner who did not even endorse his party’s platform.  But he was beloved by the media (sounds familiar) and they gave him all sorts of advantages in the press.  Meanwhile Truman was barnstorming the country and giving rip-roaring speeches.  In the days before real mass media like TV, he was a good in person entertainer.  He also was the current president who in a masterful stroke, called the majority Republican Congress back into session to pass their priorities as listed in the platform.  They failed.

In 1988, Democrats nominated Michael Dukakis.  He was a passionless fellow who had a couple of problems. First, he had no passion. Second, he was governor of state where a black guy was given a furlough and killed a woman.  George H.W. Bush seems like a sad old man now but he okay’d using a racist ad against Dukakis and it won him the election. (Racism will return again and again in this story.)

Donald Trump Was A Formidable Candidate

Next, the fallacy that Cheato was somehow a terrible candidate.  He didn’t do what he needed to do of course. He didn’t fundraise. He only did one event a day. He was and is extremely stupid. He had to fire two campaign managers mid-campaign. (Lewandowski and Manafort)

He was a formidable candidate for other reasons-he was entertaining as a clown often is. Because of that, he got almost 5 billion dollars in free advertising. Much of it was negative but all of it was free.  Hell, his podium got more airtime than Clinton even when she was making major speeches.

He had the clear assistance of Russia. From direct help in the form of stolen information, active interference on social media, and of course indirect assistance by way of pouring money into the NRA, the entity that spent 30 million dollars for Cheato’s win.

Russia is also the group that handed Wikileaks most of the non-Clinton emails to be dropped for the media to blather relentlessly and pointlessly over.

He was not a normal politician so didn’t care about the general.  Remember, before the general, Cheato had to face 15 Republicans, some of whom were extremely good politicians.  Despite Rubio’s whining, he has been elected numerous times in Florida.  He even won re-election in 2016 while complaining about how much he hated being a senator.

John Kasich was no joke when he ran. Kasich is one of those smiling Republicans who gut you while you are complimenting them on how nice they seem. He won re-election in 2014 by thirty points. Even now he is above 50% as governor despite Ohio’s economy not being that great.

Ted Cruz was another major contender who had no reason to suspect he would lose.  He had, after all, been the guy who gave one of history’s biggest political upsets with his surprise win in 2012 in the Texas Republican primary. David Dewhurst, his then opponent, had what appeared to be an insurmountable lead after the initial primary in May when he got 10 points over Cruz but was flipped by the runoff election in July. That is a shift of over 10 points in two months.

Jeb Bush was always going to suck.

But with those three other opponents, it should have been simple for them to beat Cheato.  Why didn’t they?

I believe a large part of it was Cheato simply didn’t care enough to moderate his tone for the general.  Republicans had been playing with fire since 1972 and the invention of the Southern Strategy. They use racist policies that they paper over so those who have zero interest in dealing with it can pretend that no, the Republicans are not the home of white supremacy.  Their news organizations (Fox, Sinclair, and others) go to a great deal of effort to magnify racial tensions by overreacting to the slightest expansion of rights of non-whites while steeply underreacting to real world racist results.  In addition, Republican state legislatures have been openly racist for years with the North Carolina legislature being so racist a court took extreme measures to point this out.

The national politicians (including Kasich, Cruz, Rubio, and Bush) had long been playing cute, so they usually were using dog whistles to hide the racism.  2016 and Cheato blew past the dog whistles and gave the Republican base what they wanted-a racist candidate who was happy to play up all the same conspiracies that they had been fed for years by Fox News.

But wait! What about the fact that many voters voted for Obama before they voted for Cheato?  Racial resentment plays a large part in this. It is dressed up as “cultural anxiety” but it is plain ol’ racism.

“I voted for Obama but Black people didn’t stop demanding things.”

A co-worker said that to me.  I don’t know why it is weird that they would demand to not be shot but then I try to actively work on my privilege.

Let’s Talk Sexism

The 2016 election was one of the ones where cultural issues hold great sway.  Why?  The economy was humming along okay, the world was mostly at peace, and there wasn’t a sense of urgency like there had been in 1992 and 2008.  Both of those years had pick ups by Democrats because the US was worried about the economy. 2008 was bad enough that a guy named Barack Hussein Obama won in a landslide.

The 800 lb gorilla in the room that is rarely spoken about except by Hillary Clinton fans like myself is the sexism.

It is extremely hard for a woman to run for President of the United States.  Here is a table of only the national party candidates who got at least on the nominating ballot at the convention.

evidence 276

Of the 10 women who have run for the national parties, only Margaret Chase Smith, Shirley Chisholm, Hillary Clinton, and Carly Fiorina have been taken seriously enough to win delegates. And of those four, only one has made it to the general election.  Every other woman has been a third-party candidate who was there mostly for symbolic reasons.

Gee, looking at it like that shows it is kind of hard does it not?

Further, we have numbers to back up the fact it was sexism and not simply Hillary Clinton being somehow uniquely unlikable. We also have confessions from Republicans.

Let us look at the numbers for Hillary Clinton and her “likability”:

Evidence 275

 

If she was not running for anything and was a subordinate to another person, Clinton was popular for a politician.  She hit a peak of 60% in 2011.  But then Benghazi happened, and she decided to leave office, which the media assumed was so she could run for the White House.  The Republicans, as confessed here by Kevin McCarthy, decided to abuse their power once again to try to stop her.

Note that word in there: untrustworthy.

Lies, Damn Lies, and the Truth

Clinton is not much of a liar.  She has had very few outright lies-31 in ten years.  (I disagree with some of Politifact’s characterizations of her statements since obviously some of them were hyperbole that all politicians fall prey to but whatever.)

Barack Obama had 71 in that time frame.  Donald Trump set the webpage on fire. Mitt Romney (they stopped tracking him after 2012) had 32.

In fact, if you want honesty out of a politician, go ask a Democrat.  They usually will tell you the truth.

evidence 277

Yet she is assumed to be lying all the time.  Why?  Women tend to be more honest than men but Clinton has been called a liar since William Safire’s column on her being a congenital liar in 1996 despite her generally being honest.

Which means it isn’t about Clinton’s actual honesty.  It is about the people who lie about her.

Republicans have been doing that since she showed up on the national scene as Bill Clinton’s wife (prior to that, she was her own person but when Bill ran for the presidency, things changed a wee bit.)  The media has usually and gleefully joined in.  This has happened again, and again, and again, and again.

(A good example of this is Judicial Watch who were the ones who sought her emails from her time at State and repeatedly made up claims about them that the media swallowed whole scale. Judicial Watch is not a clean actor.  They have a vendetta against Clinton and the media has never particularly cared.)

Because of this, Clinton spent most of 2015 and 2016 being as precise as possible in her speaking.  She obviously failed since multiple times she had to go back and explain something when it was distorted by the press (who then distorted what she explained.)  She is still having to do that when the brouhaha flared up over her accurate statement in India about where she won and where Cheato won and why.

Yet even though she is no more of a liar then say Obama, she is treated much worse by the press. Even her husband isn’t treated as badly as she is. It is why he is at 45% and she is at 36%. Part of the reason is of course that Fox News has been acting like she is currently President despite her repeated attempts to resign as their President in Fake.

There is also some other data that show it was about sexism that is little looked at.

I have used this before to explain why Clinton lost and I think it is important to look at. Firefighters are one of the last main bastions of white masculinity. The group is mostly white, mostly male.

evidence 266

They voted for Obama at barely more than 50% in 2008 and less than 50% in 2012.  But they dropped to 27% for Clinton. The only thing that really explains both (since they voted for Bill Clinton at a much higher rate) is racism for Obama and sexism for Clinton.

They don’t even hide it. The president of the Firefighters Union flatly stated that they didn’t like Clinton or Democrats being focused on minorities and college educated whites instead of them.

James Comey

And finally, the last part about sexism is James Comey.  He of the impeccable reputation that somehow viewed his women bosses as less than reasonable.  First up is Loretta Lynch.  He thought she had a credibility gap.  Why? There was no reason to assume it this time. He had to use a doctored email that was thoroughly debunked by his own team to assume she was going to be discredited by the partisan press.

Yet the entire time he could have gone to Sally Yates about his concerns because he may have thought that Lynch was not impartial enough. Never went to her. Didn’t go to her again when he found out about the email messages that were on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Didn’t go to her when she was acting AG with Cheato’s behavior after the election.

(This probably should not be a surprise since the mostly male FBI has a bit of an issue with the sexism against Hillary Clinton being as obvious as the ones against Lynch and Yates:

“Besides, as one bureau official after another has made clear to me in recent months, Comey never expected Clinton to lose. He saw The Letter as the politically expedient thing to do to help bolster the legitimacy of her victory – and preserve the FBI’s apolitical reputation. “The worst-case scenario [in his mind] was she was going to be really pissed [at him],” one executive told me. “But then we’d sit her down and tell her it was her fault we were in this position.”)

Summary

The 2016 election is one that still rankles for so many reasons that we aren’t going to finish grappling with them any time soon.  There are many actors who refuse to take a hard look at their behavior. From the media refusing, almost to a person, to look at what they obviously did wrong;  to average Americans who do not want to admit they were acting in sexist and racist ways; to the lack of caring by Republicans as they have been turned into traitors for Russian money.

Even I have not admitted my errors.  While I was active online campaigning I did little in person and even less phonebanking.  I had reasons. My loss in 2014 made physical campaigning extremely painful, but I should have done more.  That is on me.

Clinton looked at her behavior in What Happened which was a bit self-serving as all memoirs are, but she did look at what she did wrong. She admitted she screwed up.  As far as I can tell, she is the only one who has admitted their screw-ups. Amy Chozick comes somewhat close in her memoir Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, And One Intact Glass Ceiling however the excerpts posted online are extremely clueless and self-serving.

There is a great deal to be learned from the 2016 election.  Some has been with Eric Holder’s group to combat gerrymandering. DNC’s efforts to quietly help campaigns get the vote out. But the problems of racism, sexism, Russia, and the media’s right wing behavior have not gone away and will not any time soon.

Portents of Doom…For Republicans

Another special election has occurred that, more than anything, shows what is building for the upcoming November election.
In the soon to be redistricted out Pennsylvania 18th district, Conor Lamb won the seat as a Democrat for the first time since 2002. Representative-elect Lamb (results are not certified yet) showed that if you match the district to the candidate, you can win. But he needed help along the way.

Republican Help

Republicans gave him that help repeatedly.
First by having the former Congressman have to resign due to not simply having had an affair (practically de rigueur for Republicans these days) but
pressuring the woman to have an abortion. As is the norm with anti-choicers, only abortions that don’t affect them are bad. So his pressuring her caused him to have to resign because her abortion didn’t affect the rest of the Republican caucus. That leaves voters distasteful of Republicans to start.
Then they nominated a fairly boring uninspiring candidate which would normally have won the race because he followed the party line to a T(ea party, yes he was a tea partier first running in 2010 where he barely beat his Democrat opponent twice). When your opponent comes off looking like a dynamic, fresh, and talented guy you would like to see marry your daughter, well, it doesn’t help.
They tried to tie Lamb to Nancy Pelosi. Lamb said he wouldn’t vote for her as the leader (most likely with the party’s blessing). Pelosi’s no fool; she knows Republicans use her as a boogeyman like they have anytime there isn’t an equally competent woman *cough* Hillary *cough* around to bash.
Then the Republicans in the House passed the ACA repeal. Among the many things it did was show how precarious the state of health insurance for people was. Lots of voters didn’t like that.
Then the Republicans passed a giant tax giveaway — The Great Tax Scam Bill of 2017 — to corporations and the rich that took money from the middle class in the form of higher health care premiums. The Great Tax Scam Bill was designed to be signed in 2018 so it would make it politically unfeasible for the Democrats to reverse anything. Instead, the mentally failing Cheato signed the bill right away — in 2017. This caused automatic cuts in popular spending programs like Medicare, which (unsurprisingly) ticked off all the old people.
Finally, in the days leading up to the final vote, the Republicans in the House released the “final” report on the TrumpRussia issue. To no one’s surprise, they freely admitted they are trying to cover up what happened by saying nothing occurred between Russia and Trump’s campaign. Democrats then released a comprehensive list of what the Republicans refused to do. (Now many of the Republicans on the committee are backtracking.)
You could say that the final factor was actually Cheato himself. But he’s an eternal problem that was there back in the early days of special elections.

Democratic Help

Additionally, Lamb benefited from the rage that is still in many Democratic voters who realized that they were too complacent in 2016. We know, now, that the election was likely stolen. The party has started instituting quiet reforms. And there is a great deal of effort to register, ID,verify, and vote among Democratic activists. All of the Democratic committees and subcommittees are working to get our likely voters registered and verified to vote.
We also are donating in small but consistent amounts. While Lamb had plenty of large contributions, 50% of his financial support came from small donors of $200 or less. There are over a thousand candidates generating excitement (in the case of California, too many candidates because of its “top two” voting system) in the congressional races.

The Takeaway

It’s hard not to see Lamb being helped more by the Republicans than the Democrats. Lamb’s opponent, Republican State Representative Rick Saccone, ran as “Trump before TrumTrump before Trump was Trump.”  This might seem like a stupid move, but Sacone didn’t have much choice.
The Republicans have put themselves in a bad situation. Trump is extremely unpopular. But in the Republican Party, he’s very popular. So if Saccone had abandoned Trump, a bit chunk of his Republican voters would have abandoned him. That’s especially true in a special election where it is very easy to decide to stay home.
But this is a problem that Republicans face everywhere. And it will be just as true November 6, 2018. And the Republican Party is freaking out.

The Problem With Ohio

Vox had an article out about how Ohio is trending Republican. They did this boogity boogity thing where they said that without winning the Senate seat this year, Democrats will lose the state in 2020 because Clinton was defeated by 8 points in 2016 while Obama won by 3 points.

Vox is Wrong

Ohio has been a presidential flipper before.  While Obama won both in 2008 and 2012, it went for Bush in 2004 as well as 2000.  In all of those results the numbers were fairly close-2008 Obama won by 5 but otherwise it was around 2-3% for the other three times.  Why they call it part of the blue wall, I don’t know.  Probably due to the fact that Ohio was a fairly heavily union state until the 1990s when it has made the slow decline due to offshoring of industrial jobs.

That hasn’t been the case though since the 1990s.  It does have a long history of very masculine work industries from steel manufacturing to cars and still is dominated by those industries despite their declines.  That type of workforce has an impact on certain things such as how gender is viewed.

It is a very white state-82% of the state is white although the population is 51% female.  Religion isn’t as important as it was as only 44% of the state has people who consider themselves religious. But it has a fairly high married rate at 50% of the population.

Racism in Ohio

Despite the fact that the state vote for Obama twice, it has a racism issue like many predominately white states.  Even in 2012 there were out and proud racists happily talking to the media. As recently as 1999 they had continuous KKK rallies including a big one in Cleveland who had a black mayor at the time.  And there have been no small issues when it comes to policing and the Black community.

With these problems, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the Obama to Trump voters trend happened in Ohio.  While Obama himself was low key for the most part on racism, the very existence of a Black man in the White House caused a lot of white people to have issues that was expressed in 2016.  Part of the reason they were so expressive was because Hillary Clinton was one of the few national candidates to say to whites “We need to check our own behavior.”  Her private speech calling people who were racists deplorable was another factor because it was pretty obvious she was talking about the racists.

Sexism in Ohio

What is less talked about is the role that sexism played in the 2016 election in the state and elsewhere. While a white woman might consider voting for a Black man because after all she doesn’t want to be seen as racist–voting for a white woman who was telling her that wasn’t good enough was going to make her angry.  Add in all of the other ways that women tend to internalize misogyny against one another and you have the 2016 results.  Clinton only won 39% of white women in Ohio per the exit polls. (She won 92% of Black women because they know better then to take any risk.)

Those twin factors are not going to occur in 2018 with the Sherrod Brown race. He is a white male and while Dems are definitely trending away from white males as candidates, he’s their incumbent and they won’t vote for any primary challengers.  He also isn’t really vocal on the issue with racism.  With him, economics will help.

Why Vox is hyperventilating over this I don’t know.  Ohio wasn’t viable for the Democrats because we don’t shy from confronting racism and while we still have a major problem confronting the sexism on our own side, we are looking like the sane option more and more as Republicans continue to have the stench of corruption all over them.

That, more than anything, will be why we win in 2018 as well as 2020.

What I Didn’t See at the Democratic National Committee Meeting

As a Democratic activist and a host of a political podcast, I have keen interest in the current situation of the Democratic Party. Like any active Democrat, it’s been impossible to ignore reports of the constant infighting between the so-called Bernie Wing and the rarely called Clinton wing.  But I’m also skeptical of these reports.  In the in person meetings I’ve attended in the past, the focus has been on how to better engage with voters to ensure they have what they need to vote.  So, when DNC made the decision to hold their quarterly meeting in Las Vegas, I decided to drive up from my home in Phoenix.

This morning, as I write this, the DNC is holding their general session where they, the entire committee of the Democratic National Committee, will vote as a single body on many of the things that have been brought up by the Resolutions Committee.  Naturally, the media narrative has already been set.  Leading the way is Buzzfeed:

Evidence 78

To only read the Buzzfeed article or this one from the Huffington Post , is to believe that the meeting was full of histrionics and people feeling betrayed.  That attendees were skulking in corners whispering behind their hands to each other, eyes darting around the room to ensure that the evil mastermind of Tom Perez wasn’t listening of their planned coup attempt.  And that Keith Ellison would be sitting all by himself crying into his free drinks because this is Vegas.

Thursday, October 19th

The Native American Council had enough members to become a caucus.  This is important as it gives Native Americans a bigger voice in how the Party is run and provides an opening and opportunity to increase fundraising for Native American candidates like Debra Haaland, who is seeking to become the first Native American woman in Congress.  I attended the Native American Council caucus in place of a colleague who wasn’t able to attend.  There was no drama, even for the election of the chair, but some nice speeches including from Deputy Chair Ellison.

Across the convention area, which looks literally like every other convention area in the US, there were small groups of three to five people huddled talking.  While at the time, it didn’t seem exceptional, I later learned that there were elections abrewing and these people chatting was actually focused on hustling votes.

The elections were for positions in the various caucuses that the party has.  Democrats have a lot of caucuses.  They are the four regional, LGBT, Native American, Hispanic, Black, Women’s, Asian American and Pacific Islander caucuses. And they all had elections.

The second meeting I went to was the Western, which is specific to where I live and vote. I live tweeted it poorly.

There were 9 spots to be elected-the ones I caught were chair, male and female vice chairs, secretary, treasurer, at large committee spots.  While I had a preference towards the former executive director of my state  Luis Heredia, being elected caucus chair, honestly, both candidates Luis and Jess Durfee were awesome and would do a good job of herding cats.  I mean, Democrats, amirite.

So what was the drama? There were some mix-ups with proxies.  Two of the proxies that were supposed to have been counted weren’t apparently counted.  One of them was Representative Maxine Waters.  Woops!  The upshot was that the two candidates for chair of the Caucus were too good and there was an even split between the votes so they had to do a coin toss. Luis Heredia who HAD won before the proxies were appropriately counted lost the coin toss and the other candidate, Jess Durfee, was elected. They shook hands after and wished each other well. That’s about as dramatic as it got.

Everyone else was just “I’m BORED AND WANT TO GO GET DRUNK” after the fourth vote.  Which is normal.  Having been to dozens of Democratic meetings in the past from the district level to the national, it is common that after a period of time most people are tired of business and want to find something more enjoyable.  Especially when in a fun place like Las Vegas.

One of the highlights was being able to talk to the highly entertaining and extremely competent Chair of California Democratic Party, Eric Bauman. A transplant from the Bronx to California, he has a New Yorker’s knack for easily cutting straight through any noise to the main issue and get things moving. If it wasn’t for the fact that running California’s Democratic Party is a more than full time job (he had an actual assistant!) I would have supported Bauman for chair of this meeting.

Reason to Hope

While the media paints the DNC meeting as a super dramatic week for the Dems, it wasn’t.  The attendees are the chairs and top members of their state parties.  They aren’t going to be throwing fits, they aren’t going to be acting like divas.  They were there to network, share ideas and figure out how to win as many seats as possible, at every level of government.

The state chairs may not be happy with all the decisions of the officers obviously since no one wants to lose but they weren’t going to storm out. If there is one thing that Democrats know, it’s compromise.  There were a lot of great ideas, as well as positive news of getting farm teams of city council and state legislative candidates, efforts to do more in depth person to person canvass and a lot of energy.

Getting those farm teams is important.  By having these positions filled by Democrats you have experienced candidates who have learned to do the basics of governing: talking to voters, holding meetings, voting on laws and ordinances that have the greatest impacts on people’s lives.  Those that do well are able to raise their name ID and move onto larger offices.  Don’t forget that our last Democratic President was a former State Senator.

That’s what I saw at the meeting.

Additional observations: Keith Ellison appears to be a night owl, way more hyper in the evening then in the mornings.  But he most certainly wasn’t sitting crying, drunk in the corner.

The Abusive Press

To what seems to be a few years ago but turns out is about 13 years, I was going through an All Things Molly Ivins phase.  This was shortly before she passed away from breast cancer, that continuing scourge of women in the United States. She had released multiple books with collections of her essays and one essay was titled “Sex, Death and Media Ethics” which discussed the behavior of the press.  The media published multiple stories about a man named Michael Dorris who ended his life rather than have what happened after his death happen.

She notes two rules: 1) “is there any good reason to print this story?” and 2) is there any good reason not to print this story?

Most of the time the answer to the first question is easy and most of the time the answer to the second is not so easy.  The media has a lot of power in this country.  What is reported can instantly cause total destruction of people’s lives.  The wrong story told at the wrong time can cause people untold misery while at the same time the right story at the right time can spur action and make lives better.

I start this essay about that because I am going to talk about the abusive press and Hillary Clinton.  In her recent book she talks a lot about how bewildered she was over the press’s treatment of her emails, her statements about literally anything that could be twisted and her unhappiness at never being able to break through the wall of hate they had for her.

Clear Cut Examples

There are hundreds to choose from but one recently got treatment in Vox which is one of the few media outlets that treated her fairly during the 2016 election.  At least after Ezra Klein sat down and went “holy shit, this woman I have been bashing my entire career actually fucking means she wants to make life better.”  They are also the only mainstream media entity that laid out the Clinton Rules. (By the way, even Vox isn’t perfect since the guy who wrote the Clinton Rules also is the jackass behind Shattered: How the Media Still Doesn’t Admit They Fucked Up 2016.)

In the example Clinton’s attempt to talk to people in West Virginia about how she doesn’t want to forget about helping them since they are going to have their livelihoods destroyed when coal entirely goes away.  But she didn’t say the right thing at the right time and the media pounced.  First it was the right wing media and eventually it was the rest of the media.  But it took her trying to say the truth and twisted it into something to hurt her about.

Another clear example was the reaction of the press to Clinton’s fainting spell on 09/11/2016.  She was powering through like all candidates do at the tail end of a campaign and got dehydrated and fell ill.  But the way the press reacted was as if she had been hiding a diagnosis of cancer crossed with TB and ebola.  All of which we would have noticed by that time yet the press was in hysterics.   They reacted like the only way to avoid being treated like she was literally being carried to the grave was to shove a camera in her face as she drank some water, rested and took some medicine.

This Isn’t Reporting, This is Harassment

It goes back to two those first two questions Molly Ivins brought up-the news did need to report on both her less than perfect delivery of her statement to the coal miners and her illness.  What the news didn’t need to do was act as if she had committed a major crime in not being whatever it was that they wanted from her.  Time and again they would do this. Even those sympathetic to her. There would be something that was a mild hiccup and the media would go insane over it with endless stories about every aspect.  Then, once that was thoroughly dissected, they immediately would jump into if she reacted the right way. “What, you mean she DID try to make amends to the coal miners?  She can’t do that.  We already decided she was forever guilty of somehow hating the coal miners!”  “wait, she didn’t apologize for getting sick?!  How dare she?!  Did she apologize for not letting us shove cameras in her face while she recovered?  No?  THAT BITCH.”

That’s how the media acted again and again.

Everything she did was wrong. If she didn’t hold a press conference it was bad.  They even created timers.  If she did hold a press conference, she didn’t answer anyone’s questions the way they wanted.  She literally could not do a thing right to them.  And they wouldn’t let up on her for an instant.  Instead of saying “wow, it sucks that she was sick” it was “wow, how dare she not tell us in triplicate that she was ill?”

Walking On Eggshells

There are a few signs someone is abusive:

  • Telling the victim that they can never do anything right
  • Showing jealousy of the victim’s family and friends and time spent away
  • Accusing the victim of cheating
  • Keeping or discouraging the victim from seeing friends or family members
  • Embarrassing or shaming the victim with put-downs
  • Controlling every penny spent in the household
  • Taking the victim’s money or refusing to give them money for expenses
  • Looking at or acting in ways that scare the person they are abusing
  • Controlling who the victim sees, where they go, or what they do
  • Dictating how the victim dresses, wears their hair, etc.
  • Stalking the victim or monitoring their victim’s every move (in person or also via the internet and/or other devices such as GPS tracking or the victim’s phone)

Many of these things have nothing to do with Clinton (I left out the sex stuff for instance) but the media told Clinton she could never do anything right, they insulted her, dictated how she could dress, demanded all access at all times to watch what she does and in one thing left off that list-always changed the rules so she could never comply while not enforcing anything like rules for others.

So Clinton tried to thread the needle thin walkway they shoved her on while also not showing the obvious frustration one feels at being treated this way.  Along the way, her speech suffered because she was naturally worried about another coal miner treatment.  She tried to not say anything remotely controversial.  She tried to not be too ecstatic that this was the first time women were going to take on the role of President (after all, that meant the media would assume women were only voting for her because she had a vagina.)  She tried to accommodate their insane demands for access.  She tried so hard to do exactly what they wanted so the abuse would stop.

But it never did.

If being president means you must take unwarranted abuse, she showed that she was capable of it with the way they treated her and continue to treat her.  The difference is as I noted on Twitter recently, she doesn’t have to care anymore what they say about her.

She’s free.

What Happened The Contest

So @ahumorlessfem made a boo boo in ordering her eleven hundred million copies of Hillary Clinton’s awesome new book What Happened.  She got one too many copies so that means YOU the eager listener/reader/foot massager get to put in to win the extra copy!

The Contest Should You Chose To Accept It

Write up your most awesome Hillary memory and then your chosen candidate to help get elected in 2018.  It can be anyone-state house, school board, coroner, etc. But it has to be a seat that you are working to flip from red to blue.   Write a blurb why you are supporting them and what you plan to do to help them.

Send your little essay to humorlessrants@gmail.com

Time of Contest

This will go for one week and at the end the best essay will be splashed all over the media world as in it will be posted here for us and probably tweeted about a few times.  Okay, once.  With FEELINGS. Okay probably a few times but still, ONCE will have FEELINGS.

 

Why I Don’t Like Bernie Sanders

A while back someone asked me to explain why I don’t like Bernie Sanders. So here is my best attempt to explain why I dislike him.

First Findings About Sanders

The first thing I remember hearing about Bernie Sanders was his appearance at Netroots Nation’s conference in Phoenix during the summer of 2015. Friends of mine who went said they were unimpressed with how he handled it.  I was willing to give a bit of a pass because I hadn’t been there but it was a preview to what was to come.  Sanders does not like being challenged by anyone. Ever.

I had other friends who thought he was the bee’s knees. But they didn’t really seem to have a lot of information about him outside a few pat phrases.  For instance, when asked what he has done, I was told he was the Amendment King.  Essentially, he didn’t introduce a lot of legislation but he did get a lot of amendments added to other bills. And it is judged true by Politifact. That does not however tell me what these amendments were or how much they helped other people. That’s not helpful if you are trying to persuade people to vote for your guy.

Back when I was a big Deanaic, I could and still can rattle off a list of his accomplishments: he got nearly universal health care in Vermont by expanding Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance, he instituted a nurse’s visit to new mothers to help them recover from birth (very important in light of our worsening maternal death rate), he signed the civil unions bill being one of the first governors in the US to expand marriage equality while at 35% in the polls and went on to win the next election, he had started his career as a man who wanted a bike path and became governor when his predecessor died while fixing a pool.  That’s what I expected from the Bernie people and to this day, never get.

However they assured me Bernie was better than Clinton because he hadn’t voted for the Iraq war and was anti-bank.  Also she gave speeches to a few Wall Street banks and he hadn’t despite the fact that it wasn’t legal for him to do so anyway as a member of Congress.  That made him better. Also he got lots of small donations so that made him a lot better.

I was not convinced.  After all, Howard Dean rode a wave of people power/small donations and failed to place in Iowa high enough and eventually dropped out of the Democratic primary.  I honestly thought this was simply the same thing.  A guy from Vermont who is fresh and new and everyone jumps on board only to leave later on.  No harm no foul.

The Harassment Campaign

But then I started seen some disquieting things.  Ta Nehisi Coates did an article on Sanders and caught living hell until he finally said he was going to vote for the man.  Many other writers or media figures did the same thing after a wave of harassment.  To me that isn’t persuasion, that’s bullying. That’s making someone do something not because they want to but because they have to in order to stop someone’s treatment of them.

Other people started getting bullied for supporting Clinton: Representative Jim McDermott was harassed multiple times over this leading to two arrests.  One Sanders supporter put together a hit list.  There was a literal gauntlet for Clinton supporters to have to walk through in Los Angeles. The infamous threats that the Nevada Democratic State Party Chair endured after the last caucus meeting.  On and on and on.  But hey, those Bernie Bros don’t exist right?  Even though many people pointed out they do by their own personal experience.  And the Bros themselves announced they believed they had the right to treat people this way because they are “discomforting the establishment Democrats.”  I witnessed it first hand.  First with my friends who had to ultimately unfollow or unfriend on Facebook because their hatred for Clinton was so out of control they were blaming her stuff she literally had nothing to do with. Then with people on Twitter and other online spaces.

That didn’t make me want to support Sanders.  That made me want to avoid anything to do with him.

Data Breach

I am going to briefly go over what I thought at the time was a tempest in a teapot but turned into something much darker by the Sanders campaign.  I am talking about the data stealing that Sanders allowed to happen on his watch.

The Sanders campaign was suspended from using the website that most of the campaigns in the Democratic Party use because of the fact that they went into the Voter Access Network (VAN) and stole data from the Clinton campaign.  It wasn’t a long suspension and it was well before the start of the actual voting yet the reaction by Sanders and his team was eye-opening to say the least.

First they did the right thing-they fired the person responsible and supposedly held other people accountable.  And that was sufficient for the DNC to restore access.  It was apparently not good enough for Sanders and his team since they immediately filed a lawsuit for access. The lawsuit dragged on until April of 2016 when they finally withdrew the lawsuit long after access was restored and any possible damage was gone.

His campaign screwed up and he should have taken responsibility and left it at that.  Instead he let a lawsuit drag on for months for no reason.  That isn’t the actions of someone I want anywhere near my party.

The Behavior of Sanders Himself

That might have been the end of it.  After all, I was pretty nasty myself by the midpoint of the campaign towards people.  Clinton wasn’t that responsible for my behavior and Sanders wasn’t that responsible for his online hordes following him.  Especially since there was plenty of Russian troll armies doing things to whip it up.  He was responsible for his own behavior however.  And that behavior started out great. Then he started losing and lashing out.  This is a common trait with him by the way.  When he is running against a woman and loses he acts like the way he did with Clinton.  He immediately claims he is better than the person running on their top issue. That is why he claims he was better for civil rights than Clinton (despite voting for the crime bill, he got a pass from much of the media and his supporters while Clinton was held fully responsible for the bill while having neither written or signed it.) and his lack of actual effort over the past forty years for civil rights.  But did you know he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Then when he lost or didn’t get endorsements, he started insulting the organizations that didn’t endorse him.  When Planned Parenthood stood with the woman who had always stood by them, he called them establishment which by then he had defined to mean anyone who isn’t me.  There was push back of course but the damage was done.  Then he didn’t bother to pay any attention to an article written up with a pretty bad headline. Clinton never said she thought he wasn’t qualified, she said she thought he hadn’t shown he was ready.  But clickbait has to clickbait and Sanders immediately claimed she wasn’t qualified despite her clear record being qualified based solely on the headline and doubled down until the wave of outrage pushed him back slightly.

He started making claims that the party was being unfair to him.  He even wrote a letter to Debbie Wasserman Schultz making that claim and threatened a floor fight at the convention if he didn’t get his way.  This started setting up a certain general election candidate to say similar things against Clinton.  There were countless examples of these petty, mean-spirited things he did.

And he never reigned in his surrogates until absolutely forced to.  As an example, when Dr. Paul Song called Democrats corporate whores Sanders didn’t have his team yank him off stage and it took more than a day to get Sanders to say anything disavowing this. Meanwhile his supporters started throwing dollar bills at Clinton at a fundraiser and he never disavowed that.

The New York Daily News Editorial Board Meeting

Now we come to one of the most horrible interviews with an editorial board meeting since I was in one for an endorsement from the AZ Republic.  The NYDN meeting with Sanders was horrifying.  He knew nothing.  He remembered nothing.  There were times I was cringing while reading it because I couldn’t believe someone running for President could give these answers.  Hell *I* could answer them better and I don’t know a damn thing about running a country.

They asked him questions directly in his wheelhouse too.  For instance:

Daily News: And then, you further said that you expect to break them up within the first year of your administration. What authority do you have to do that? And how would that work? How would you break up JPMorgan Chase?

Sanders: Well, by the way, the idea of breaking up these banks is not an original idea. It’s an idea that some conservatives have also agreed to.

You’ve got head of, I think it’s, the Kansas City Fed, some pretty conservative guys, who understands. Let’s talk about the merit of the issue, and then talk about how we get there.

Right now, what you have are two factors. We bailed out Wall Street because the banks are too big to fail, correct? It turns out, that three out of the four largest banks are bigger today than they were when we bailed them out, when they were too-big-to-fail. That’s number one.

Number two, if you look at the six largest financial institutions of this country, their assets somewhere around $10 trillion. That is equivalent to 58% of the GDP of America. They issue two-thirds of the credit cards in this country, and about one-third of the mortgages. That is a lot of power.

And I think that if somebody, like if Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, he would look at that. Forgetting even the risk element, the bailout element, and just look at the kind of financial power that these guys have, would say that is too much power.

(Clinton’s interview was a lot more detailed but then, this is Hillary Clinton, the woman does her fucking homework which is what I should be doing.)

This is a terrible answer.  He doesn’t talk about where the authority is (which is mostly under Dodd-Frank more details here) He doesn’t talk about the repercussions to the markets, to the local and global banking economy, he doesn’t mention what happens to those people no longer working at JP Morgan Chase.  He doesn’t answer the questions at all because he doesn’t know.

When I brought this up with the one of the few remaining Bernie supporters I could stand, he said was absolutely okay to give these non-answers that showed Sanders has no idea what he is talking about because that’s what staff is for.

I was appalled.  You should know something of what the law can do so you can effectively review what the staff brings you as ideas. You can’t just let them do everything because how do you know that person is giving you useful information or feasible policies?  We see it now with the Trump Administration since none of them know what they are doing besides Elaine Chao and Nikki Haley. (Interesting the only two who are competent are the women.)

The DNC Convention

We come to the end of the race and Sanders refuses to drop out.  Why did he refuse to drop out after he had lost so decisively?   After all he lost it by 12 points, 977 delegates, by open primaries, closed primaries, caucuses and whatever you call Nevada.  But he didn’t drop out until July 12th.   Which is odd since the last primary was June 14th.  He kept going and even kind of promised a floor fight unless he got his way on the platform and other things he wanted.

Yet despite all of the pleading for unity, he didn’t do squat until after a certain press conference that was bizarre in of itself.   A week after that, he endorsed Hillary Clinton tepidly in New Hampshire.   He immediately then went on to work on his book Our Revolution and skipped campaigning for her until the end of August.

To his credit he did a lot of campaigning in places like Wisconsin and Michigan.  But during the DNC convention, he addressed his supporters a single time on their behavior and ignored their repeated efforts to drown out the speakers on every night of the convention.  His facial expressions said it all.  He was miserable to be there and angry he didn’t win.

Sanders v Clinton

After the Election

Since the election, which he immediately blamed on Democrats not paying attention to the white working class despite there being next to no evidence of that being why Clinton lost (racism and sexism explain it and was pretty obvious right from the start), Sanders has returned to being an independent.  As Clinton pointed out in her new book, this isn’t a smear, it is what he says.  He has taken that perch to spend as much time bashing the Democratic Party as he can.  Here, here, here and on and on.

This despite the legislative victories the Dems keep racking up. They stopped the health care bill in the Senate (although zombie like it keeps coming back), they completely won on the most recent budget deal, which isn’t the first time and continue to do as much as they can to stop the Republicans in their tracks for all of the Republican priorities.

As we enter the 2018 election which starts around 01/30/2018, the Democrats are already starting to pick up seats in the state legislatures (these two and then these two) and have been running about 10 points in their favor for most elections.

But Sanders can’t help himself I guess.  When you get lots of love from the media, that’s what you stick to.  His endorsement is the kiss of death (none of the winners were endorsed by him) and his PAC that he started Our Revolution is more focused on scoring cheap political points than winning elections (they have won one seat, the NY seat which while listed on the candidate’s website, she barely mentioned when campaigning.)

Am I being petty? Somewhat but I am deeply angry.  2016 was a terrible year for me in a lot of ways and one of the key ones was the fact that an old man from Vermont did everything he could to make it miserable for those of us ecstatic to finally have our turn as women at the head of the table because he didn’t win.  So I don’t like Sanders.  He had some ideas I agree with (most of which were thought up by Democrats previously-single payer system, college, doubling the minimum wage which was Truman again as well as increasing taxes.)  But his behavior has made me pretty much hate him.  He can go back to being the backbencher he has always been.  I am tired of his shtick.  Tired of the insults, the petty sniping at people trying to stop the Trump Administration and the lack of respect for others.

So that’s why I don’t like Bernie Sanders.  You’re welcome.

 

 

Season Two, Episode Two: No Pardon For Old Men

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-qbcrb-71c11a

It’s time for Kevin and Elizabeth to not stop blathering about legal crap from the dismissal of the DNC lawsuit to the defiance of the military to Cheeto.  They also meander their way through the pardoning of ex-Sheriff now convicted criminal Joe Arpaio.

Books that they mention at the end:

The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

 

 

Neoliberal Shills and the Documents That Bind Them

Over on the Twitterverse, there was a bit of a kerfuffle when Professional Troll(TM) Nomiki Konst decided to bring up this chestnut from the long ago days of 1983 when the Democrats were facing their biggest crisis in years as they had lost a lot of elections and were feeling kind of bruised. (Sound familiar?)

She, of course, misrepresented it.

evidence 64

I went ahead and read the manifesto because unlike Konst, I like to know what I am talking about when it comes to critiquing 34 year old policy papers.

Blaming Unions

She first states that he blamed Unions.  Well no. He didn’t.  He did point out a small problem.  Unions weren’t very good about changing to the economic times that changed around them.  On one hand, most of the time the reason that the various different businesses were (or are) having difficulties was because management was pretty freaking stupid.

But on the other hand, sometimes there needs to be some give from the workers so new workers can share in the prosperity and unions don’t always understand this because they are protecting their current workers.  In the article, Charles Peters points this out and offered a solution that is definitely neo-liberal as I understand the term.  Paul Tsongas, a Senator from Massachusetts, came up with a compromise for the Chrysler auto bailout in the 1970s when the workers asked for a pay raise during the negotiations for the bailout.  He disagreed with the notion that they should have an increase when the company was being rescued but he also believed that they shouldn’t suffer if the bailout worked.  So he proposed what became the Lugar-Tsongas bill that gave the workers stock instead of money.  Peters approved of this and recommended it for other situations.

I don’t know if I agree with that.  I get the compromise and why it occurred but stock instead of money?  Seems like deferring the problem down the road while at the same time ignoring the real problem of workers getting the shaft when business leadership fucks up.

Means Testing Social Security

She claims he says that Social Security is wasteful.  That isn’t what he says.  What he does say is that not means testing Social Security is wasteful since people who don’t need the money get money when those who need more (like say my mother) have to make do with less.  Further we could use the extra money elsewhere to help more people.  It is a terrible idea.

While the article I link to gives a lot of discussion of the nuts and bolts as to why it is a terrible idea, my reason to oppose it is simple: it turns a well loved program into a welfare program that opens the door to what happened with Aid to Families With Dependent Children (ADFC/welfare) or what is now Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF or Fuck the Poor.)  TANF is a block program that has the same level of funding as it did in 1997: $16.5 Billion dollars.  Which is why most states have been able to boast their welfare rolls have dropped.  Because there literally is no money for more people to receive assistance. Arizona, for instance, has 10,215 families receiving assistance that they only can get for a year.

I don’t want that to happen to Social Security.  Yes it does seem to be wasteful but if the idea that giving workers an ownership in the company makes it more likely they will work harder for the company…why isn’t the converse true for those who receive funding through Social Security?

Over-reliance on Credentials

I am not sure where she gets the idea that he was declaring a war on public schools.  He does recommend being better able to remove incompetent teachers from schools while broadening the scope of people who can teach from those who have degrees.  Which Arizona recently did. I understand some of what he is saying as a way of getting those who do have the ability and experience in the classroom to teach young miscreants I mean children things that are of value but at the same time, especially now, we don’t need people who have no idea what they are doing with kids to try to handle 40 of them at once to get them ready to navigate a complex shifting sand world.

The Really Offensive Stuff

Weirdly she doesn’t mention his offensive suggestion we return to patronage to handle civil service. We already are seeing what a disaster it is when the person picking people is doing so solely for the fact that they did a favor to him. Without the apolitical civil service corps enduring the incompetence from the top, we would be in a much worse situation with the current disasters all over the country (Harvey, the wildfires, Irma, Trump.)

That is a terrible idea that thankfully has hit the dustbin of history.  I do like his idea to increase public service and have always liked Bill Clinton’s solution of Americorps, it isn’t the same thing.  And even then there were problems like with any program with the Americorps.

There Are Very Few Neoliberals These Days In the Democratic Party

Based on this article, if this is what a neoliberal is, there aren’t many in the Democratic Party.  Most members, and especially elected members, are in favor of the things outlined in the Democratic Party Platform of 2016. Most of the bills being introduced don’t talk about using the free market to the extent this does.  In fact the electeds are going in the opposite direction towards more government control of economic units through heavier regulation and expanded government programs like Medicare Buy In.

That won’t stop the Rose Brigade from accusing their opponents of being neoliberals because those opponents are understanding that getting to something like the Medicare Buy In takes time and winning elections in bulk. It does however give us a reason to point and laugh at them.  Well besides the usual reasons.