Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Good point - updated

Big Tent Democrat puts it well: Either Bernie disavows Sarandon's narcissistic folly or he's endorsing it.

Update: She may have done a mitzvah, unintentionally. The reaction to her idiocy -- see this and this and this -- is helping Hillary.

Friday, March 25, 2016

At long last

Eight years ago, the 'Bama Bro speechwriter Jon Favreau infamously posed with a life-size cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton, holding a beer and cupping her photo-breast. I was outraged. I thought Obama should fire him summarily. I still think he should have.

But as with so many other encounters with sexist nasties over the course of her life and career, Hillary let it roll off her, and wasn't a bit diminished. She went on to be a remarkable Secretary of State for the man who had fostered that kind of misogyny during their epic contest.

And now, the frat boy has finally apologized. Good.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Case for Hillary - Updated

Jacob Hacker -- he of The Great Risk Shift -- has co-authored the best argument for Hillary in this cycle, along with a Berkeley Poli Sci prof named Paul Pierson. This is important. The campaign should spread this far and wide -- and Hillary should join them on their upcoming book tour for American Amnesia. I'm gonna order my copy.

Money quote:
"The fiercest attacks come from the right: In apocalyptic terms, conservatives attack government as an enemy — not an essential complement — of markets. Yet the left has its own sources of skepticism. Calling for a “political revolution,” Mr. Sanders casts government as so captured by powerful interests that only a popular upsurge will right the situation. This stance may not have the same anti-government tenor as conservatives’, but it sets up an impossibly high standard for reform and slights government’s continuing achievements (including the much-maligned Affordable Care Act, which has broadened coverage without driving up health prices)."
Update: I came upon the piece from earlier in the cycle that bears the same title as this post, and it bears re-posting.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bern Out - Updated

Subhed: She Kicked His Ash.

Of course, god forbid her extraordinary night -- bringing her vote total to 1 million more than Bernie's, and sweeping, it looks like, all five states (Missouri still being too close to call, but moving her way) -- should be the subject for celebration.

Eight years ago, of course, when Hillary was much closer in delegate count to Obama -- and that was before Michigan and Florida were stolen from her -- the air was full of exasperated cries for her to accept reality and drop out. In fact, "exasperated" doesn't really capture it. More like "vicious." This despite the facts that she went on to win big victory after big victory... that she wound up with more votes than he... that her candidacy had as legitimate a claim to historical significance as his.

Where are those cries for Bernie to quit this time around? Double standard, folks?

Tomorrow's carping, petty NY Times editorial reminds me of one of my favorite D-movie moments, which came in Joan Crawford's last picture, Trog. She's a scientist at some provincial British clinic, and she discovers a long-frozen troglodyte, whom she teaches to speak and read. The local townspeople, led by a village skeptic played by veteran character actor Michael Gough, demands a hearing to find out what kind of monster she's keeping. She brings Trog to the hearing, makes an impassioned plea for science and progress, and then Trog says a few words. The sneering skeptic, standing in the back of the courtroom, folds his arms and says, his voice dripping with derision, "So the monster speaks."

Update: This guy Tom Cahill of U.S. Uncut is the new Baghdad Bob -- a comic performance artist from whom we can expect progressively (pun intended) deranged flights of delerium. Anybody who posts his drool on Facebook unironically is a fool.

Update 2: More grist for The NY Times is Pathetic file. Someone objective -- say, a journalist -- might have noted that she swept all five states, putting an end not only to Bernie's candidacy but to the meme that nobody loves her, everybody hates her, she should go eat worms. That's what a journalist would have done. What the NYT did was to posit some equivalence of loathsomeness between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Oh, wait, I forgot. The Times is in the can for Hillary Clinton. Sorry, I'll try to keep these things straight.

Saturday, March 5, 2016


This piece about American authoritarianism on Vox is getting a lot of play on the intertubes, and it is of some value. But it begs as many questions as it illuminates.

It does help frame the devolution of the GOP from a national party to a Congressional and local party. It adds some helpful nuance to the picture of the fracturing Nixon/Reagan coalition.

But it acts as if the Civil War had never happened, as if race were not America's primal sin, and as if this had not happened before to the Democrats -- remember the Dixiecrats?

Yes, the GOP is dissolving, and will probably not win the presidency for awhile. And yes, fascism is always a political possibility. But we don't need the latter to explain the former.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Rank amnesia

I find Reader Supported News a valuable service, but it does mean being subjected to the CDS corners of the left. Scott Galindez, one of their staffers, is its current torchbearer, and his latest post is yet another demonstration of blinkered hypocrisy.

To parse his question:

First, "establishment media": What do you mean by that? Do you mean Nate Silver's 538, which has dutifully and with solid analytics examined the likelihood of the outcomes of electoral races for the past several cycles? When the likelihood -- based on polls and other carefully considered factors -- of Hillary's winning the primaries for the following states are as high as this...

Michigan - 98%
Florida - greater than 99%
Illinois - greater than 99%
North Carolina - 94%
Ohio - 94%

... and when the only reason other big upcoming states aren't yet predicted is Silver's rigorous caution about waiting until we're closer to the event (with the most recent polls giving Clinton large leads in every one of those upcoming states (Maryland, 30 points; Pennsylvania, 21 points; California, 11 points)... except Wisconsin, which at the moment looks like a dead heat)...

... then what do you expect the "establishment media" -- or any reporting -- to report?

To claim that the "establishment media" is in the tank for Hillary is a very bad joke. They are in the tank for a horserace, and have aggressively trumpeted Bernie's prospects far more than has ever been realistic. And if anything, the "establishment media" has been a knee-jerk slimer of Hillary Clinton for decades now. Read your Somerby.

Second, what you mean "red," paleface? The people in Southern states who vote in Democratic primaries are black, not Confederate racists. What these primaries have demonstrated is that African Americans are overwhelmingly rejecting Bernie Sanders and enthusiastically embracing Hillary Clinton. Not just old African Americans, either. Bernie has won lily white progressives, period. And there aren't nearly enough of them to carry a general election.

Third, one could have asked the same question about the 2008 primaries. In fact, one did. Barack Obama won the nomination by sweeping states the Democratic candidate would never carry in November, and by gaming the caucuses. Hillary Clinton, in contrast, won all the big blue states, by healthy margins. Did progressives like Galindez complain then? Quite the contrary -- they celebrated his gamesmanship and called it a political revolution. What's consistent isn't the logic, but rather the antipathy to Hillary Clinton. People like Galindez adjust their argument to produce the outcome their biases dictate.

Hillary Clinton won the primary contest in 2008 -- she had the most popular votes, and the most electoral votes -- but the DNC at the time, Howard Dean and Donna Brazile's DNC, put their thumb on the scales and egregiously disenfranchised the voters of Michigan and Florida. This time, the DNC is at least being even-handed. And the result is again demonstrating the strength of Hillary Clinton as a candidate.

That's what the "establishment media" is reporting, because that is the obvious fact. The reality of what is happening in this campaign is very clear. Bernie's theory of the case -- a political revolution-- is not happening, at least on the left. (A revolution on the right does seem underway, and it is shattering the establishment Republican Party. But the Democratic Party remains a functioning and very unified institution.) Bernie Sanders is a vanity focus object, a piece of political pornography for progressives to jerk off to. He isn't remotely a serious candidate to be president of the United States. If he really meant the stuff he says, he would actually have done something about it over the past 40 years. He is an appealing performance artist who found a theater -- aka the state of Vermont -- where his schtick could run for decades, because the people have such a comparatively nice life that they don't actually need political action. His run against Hillary was always another piece of performance art, and it has had its maximum (and very salutary) effect -- pulling the race to the left, and freeing Hillary to go there herself.

So, thank you, Bernie. And fuck you, Scott.