Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This is rich, as you'd expect

So RSN's Galindez, after promoting lies and fever dreams through the primaries (e.g., claims that the polls were skewed, that Hillary was "stealing" the election, etc.), now says that all that matters is a shared agenda, not how you achieve it.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz was nearly subhuman... but that critique wasn't about "tactics," no. The superdelegates were an abomination to democracy... but that wasn't "tactics," either. But the "Revolution"'s staff that walked out en masse because Jeff Weaver is a bully and liar... oh, they're taking their eyes off the prize.

And that shared agenda? The fact that Hillary and Bernie voted together 93 percent of the time? The fact that the Democratic Party platform represents major concessions to the "revolutionaries"? Well, er, let's move along, citizens. Nothing to see here.

No matter what the topic...

... the real one is always "Clinton scandals." What nonsense.

Monday, August 29, 2016

When you read something like this...

... you wonder how the polls have him as close as they do.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

I love Nate Silver, but...

... this is silly. Just because someone reported that Hillary's campaign is planning to run out the clock doesn't mean they are doing so. Was the Reno speech running out the clock? Is the aggressive advertising running out the clock? Is the nationwide ground game running out the clock?

Indeed, is "declining to respond to recurring controversies even at the risk of seeming unresponsive" running out the clock? I don't think so. I think it's choosing to play offense rather than defense, and I think it's smart.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Alternate reality

Want to see what faux intellectualism looks like? Viciousness dressed up as smirky satire? Nativist xenophobia justified as tribal loyalty? Racism and misogyny treated as insignificant sideshows? Want to see what the modern id looks like?

Purity - updated

Glenn Greenwald has posted a lengthy and fairly thoughtful critique of the Clinton Foundation. But it contains a couple of important lacunae.

First, how did any U.S. policy during Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State change as a result of contributions to the Foundation? Let's look at the five Mideastern regimes he cites (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Emirates and Brunei). Is it even slightly reasonable to argue that the U.S. would not otherwise have maintained its support for these regimes? One can, of course, argue that we shouldn't support them at all, because of their misogyny, anti-gay and exploitative policies -- but that's a different argument. If we were committed to supporting them before the Foundation ever received a check from them, what difference did that check make? And if the check made no difference -- which is really the essence of the quid pro quo argument -- then all that remains is the argument that these are evil regimes and the U.S. should never have supported them.

Did prior Administrations and prior Secretaries of State support these regimes? Has the Obama Administration under Secretary Kerry continued to support them? If so, where's Hillary's "corruption"? Is it not the case, rather, that within the real world of international relations -- where the U.S. is going to provide support to some repressive regimes when we deem it in our national interest -- the Clinton Foundation was simply going about its business of extracting money from people who have it and giving it -- in the form of, say, AIDS treatment -- to people who don't have it?

Take this question one level deeper. Did the State Department under Hillary Clinton increase or decrease its advocacy for women and girls around the world -- including in these five countries? Did it increase or decrease its advocacy for LGBT people around the world and in these countries? What about other important progressive agendas? I don't know the answers to those questions, and if there's evidence that she cut support for such goals in those countries -- or anywhere else -- and if that can be persuasively tied to their donations, I will stand corrected. My general impression is that the reverse is the case -- but I admit my ignorance.

But here's the main point: The argument about global policy is one thing. But unless one can show that Bill and Hillary personally profited from these states' donations -- either economically or politically -- I don't see how there's any cogent argument that the Clinton Foundation was or is corrupt.

What I will accept is the argument that Bill and Hillary Clinton were getting those donations because people hoped not only for access but for favorable treatment. They have certainly played the game -- the only game in town -- in that way. And when it comes to things like the Goldman Sachs speaking fees, they have clearly benefited directly. I suppose one could also say that they've received reputation benefit from the Foundation -- though right now, it would be more than ironic to argue that.

Bill and Hillary Clinton are not purists. They are not outside the system. They are of the system. We can all agree on that. Having said that, who else would any reasonable person expect to attain power within the system? And what have they done with that power? Is their record, overall, one of progressive policy and helping people? Do we believe that Hillary Clinton will, when President, pursue, say, the policy objectives in this year's Democratic Party platform? Is there anyone else with a real-world chance of becoming President who is more likely to enact a more progressive agenda?

In other words, a defense of the Clinton Foundation isn't just some overly legalistic demand for unobtainable "proof" of corruption, based on a Republicanly standard of such proof. Greenwald's argument, for all his legal training, pretty much comes down to guilty until proven innocent. To defend the Clinton Foundation isn't to defend the current geopolitical situation, nor to defend all the policies of a center-left establishment government. What it is to defend is the effort to operate, within that reality, in such a way as to take a lot of money from rich people and put it to use for good -- even for good that those rich people would not and/or do not otherwise pursue. If selling access to Bill and Hillary Clinton is the price paid for that, and if that access doesn't materially block a progressive governing agenda that moves us forward, saves lives and helps empower more people... that's fine by me.

Update: This gets it about right. The question is: Would we rather all that money had not gone to help people around the world?

Update 2: Well, perhaps I stand corrected. I don't know enough about the facts to make a judgment on the truth of this critique of the Foundation, but it does make a big point I hadn't considered.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Amazing Grace

I'm not even bothered by the fact that complaining about the ungraciousness of Donald Trump's opponent -- even if that opponent were Andrew Dice Clay -- is ipso facto absurd. I'll grant that Brooks is looking beyond the race, and to her presidency.

Even then, this is a joke. Hillary Clinton has been treated more, er, ungraciously than any public figure in our -- Brooks's and my -- lifetime. She is some kind of walking emblem of grace under pressure -- not just the pressure of world-shaking events, but the pressure of vicious misogyny and personal betrayal and humiliation. The most astonishing thing about her, among her many remarkable qualities, is her emotional and moral core. David Brooks is polite. Hillary Clinton is grace and strength personified.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Say what?

So the Times says the Dems running for Senate this year are weak? They all but predict that they won't take it back? How about checking their own data gurus' prediction that they will -- or Larry Sabato's, for that matter.

There's obviously a legit story about state legislatures and governorships -- and it's pretty clear that the DNC in the Obama era has been asleep at that wheel. That's what many of us Hillarybots predicted back in '08.

But Russ Feingold is weak? Tammy Duckworth? Maggie Hassan? Evan Bayh? Ted Strickland is weak because he's old? Katie McGinty is weak because she's young?

Friday, August 19, 2016

As I said... - updated

This was the obvious logic of Trump's "candidacy" from the get-go. I called it awhile ago, and offered a deeper explanation than the obvious commercial one.

I do think he came to believe his own bullshit and seriously entertained the possibility of winning -- but if that fantasy is now crashing to earth, it makes sense that he would return to the original plan.

Update: No doubt many others will endorse this meme, as Neil Gabler did today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Clown car

Of course, Trump himself is the Clown in Chief. But it's worth noting, in passing, one of our own. Michael Moore now says Trump never wanted to win -- when just a couple of weeks ago he was assuring us Trump was a lock to win. The difference? The polls have changed.

Some analyst. Some thinker.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

How she should proceed when she's president

Currently, for very good political reasons, Hillary is talking about her ability to work across the aisle. She wants to attract as many Republican and Independent votes as possible. And she does, in fact, have real skills and a record in doing so.

However, this piece is probably correct about the prospects for that. So once she's in, she should govern by executive authority in some key ways -- while continuing to pay lip service to bipartisanship.

The Fed should float a $1 trillion -- maybe a $2 trillion bond, which would provide the money to fund the infrastructure bank Hillary has promised, and more. It should pay for the doubling of America's corps of teachers, so that no classroom has more than 15 students. It should fund a new New Deal of programs to employ people and rebuild America for the 21st century. All of it done within the Administration, none requiring Congressional approval. And when the resulting economic growth and emotional renewal makes her re-election sure, then the 2018 midterms can look very different from the norm.

Yes, there will be wails about an imperial presidency -- as there were regarding FDR. Hillary should, as he did, welcome their hatred.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fire in a crowded theater

Wow. Just wow. Donald Trump has suggested that gun owners shoot Hillary Clinton and/or the judges she will appoint. He's inciting assassination.

The Secret Service says they are "aware" of his remarks. Okay, and?

Good to see this called out

US Uncut was a shameful sink of anti-Hillary lies and conspiracy theories. Glad it got called out here.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Unuseful idiots

WTF? The Times thinks Hillary should seize this moment by... confessing she was "extremely careless"?? Apart from the fact that she wasn't -- that Comey has since admitted that none of the emails was marked confidential -- this is a non-issue that has passed. Not only are her poll numbers vs. Trump rising, but her favorables on issue after issue are, too.

The NY Times editorial board is, as the man said, a idiot.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Still holding my breath - updated

But this is certainly heartening.

Update: Breathing a bit easier now. She jumped 10 points in 538's polls-only forecast in one day -- and now leads the asshole by more than 20 points. Obviously, it's too early to count chickens, but this is excellent news.

Update 2: The hits just keep on coming. Now the likelihood is up to 66% for 538, and 74% for the Times.

Update 3: As of noon on Aug. 4, 78% and 77%, respectively.

Update 4: Outlier? Or harbinger?

Update 5: I guess this post has become a running tally of the state of the race. Hence, this today.

Update 6: The state of the race on Aug. 7.

Update 7: She keeps rising -- 86.6% likelihood on Aug. 8.

Update 8: Later on the same day, 87.5%

Update 9: It's moved up and down a couple of points over the past few days, seemingly dependent on how the model rates Arizona and Georgia. This morning, Aug. 12, it's 87.3.

btw, that's the polls-only forecast. The polls-plus forecast is 77.1, and the now-cast is 88.9.

Update 10: Sweet dreams.

Update 11: The state of play as of Aug. 16. Steady as she goes.

Update 12: Aug. 18. She seems to have plateaued, for now. In a good place.

Update 13: Aug. 22. The state of play.

Update 14: Aug. 25. Moving in the wrong direction, but only marginally so.

Update 15: Aug. 26. Fishing for more appealing predictions.

Update 16: Aug. 31. This post is buried by now, but I might as well keep it going -- this time with analysis, not just numbers.

Update 17: Worrisome.

Update 18: There's this, but then there's this and this. So... very worried -- or not?

Update 19: Sept. 8. Is the worm unturning?

Update 20: Sept. 14. Serious panic.