Posted: February 9, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics
I didn’t realize that the New Hampshire primary is 100 years old this year. Maybe it’s time to let another state go first–maybe one with a more diverse population? But for now, New Hampshire is what we’re stuck with.
Lately, every morning I have to psych myself up all over again to deal with the sexism and misogyny against Hillary. I never thought it could get worse than it was in 2008, but it really is a lot worse. That’s why my posts are always late these days. It takes me awhile to get my equilibrium back after reading political news and commentary the night before and then checking the headlines in the morning.
I could stop reading the news, but I feel it’s important to keep up what what’s happening in real time. I have pretty much stopped watching TV though. Actually I never got back to watching TV much after I shut it off in 2008.
Maybe the fact that the misogyny is worse this year has something to do with the person at the top? As Michael Dukakis used to say, “The fish rots from the head down.”
Tom Watson tweeted about this today.
I’m going to share some of the things I’ve been reading, and get this thing posted. We will have a live blog tonight to discuss the NH results.
Yesterday, Dakinikat wrote about the recent pile-on over remarks by Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright. Last night, Jill Filipovic published an important defense of Steinem–not that it will have any impact on the Bernie bros.
Why Everyone’s Wrong About Gloria Steinem’s Controversial Comment.
Our feminist foremother has misbehaved. Gloria Steinem said young women only support Bernie Sanders because they want attention from boys. Can you believe it?
Don’t, because it’s not true. Despite media panting over feminist icons “scolding” young women,as the New York Times put it, and telling Sanders supporters “shame on you” (the Times, again), it’s not exactly the case that two batty old nags set out to wag their fingers at the sprightly young Bernie Babes. And those kinds of inaccurate, divisive characterizations do a disservice to honest political discourse about gender, feminism, and electoral politics.
Far from jumping on her soapbox to trash “kids today,” Steinem actually went on Bill Maher’s show last Friday to promote her new book, My Life on the Road, and had a bunch of good things to say about young women and feminism.
“I find the young women very activist and they’re way more feminist,” Steinem said. “We were, like, 12 crazy ladies in the beginning, and now it’s the majority. I do think that gratitude never radicalized anybody. I did not say thank you for the vote. I got mad on the basis of what was happening to me, and I think that that’s true of young women too. So they’re mad as hell because they’re graduating in debt, and they’re gonna earn a million dollars less over their lifetime to pay it back, they’re mad about what’s happening to them.”
Interesting how that context has been left out of the media reports, isn’t it? So what did Steinem really say? Again, the context matters.
Maher pressed her on Sanders versus Clinton, saying that young women “really don’t like Hillary.” Steinem responded that overall, women and African-American voters strongly support Clinton, and that, unlike men, “women get more radical as we get older.”
“Men tend to get more conservative because they gain power as they age, and women tend to get more radical because they lose power as they age,” Steinem said. “It’s not fair to measure most women by the standard of most men, because they’re gonna get more activist as they grow older, and when you’re young, you’re thinking, Where are the boys, the boys are with Bernie.“
It’s that last admittedly awkward line that got Steinem in hot water. Steinem “suggested younger women were just backing Mr. Sanders so that they could meet young men,” alleged the Times. According to Politico, “Feminist icon Gloria Steinem said that young women are supporting Bernie Sanders because they’re looking for boys.”
Bernie fans demanded an apology and Steinem did apologize–not that that will make the slightest difference to Sanders’ entitled, privileged followers.
Another great read: a case for Hillary Clinton written by Ohio State graduate student Zachary Leven. I learned some things I didn’t know about Hillary’s actions and votes around bankruptcy from this excellent essay. This is a long excerpt, but I hope you’ll still go read the whole thing.
The case for Hillary Clinton is mostly a matter of rebutting the case against her. Once that’s done, you’re simply left with the most qualified candidate, and someone who is, by all reality-based measures, progressive (ranked the tenth most liberal senator). And just as important, someone who is capable of achieving results (I’ll conclude with the case against Sanders, and there’s a very, very strong case to make against him). We’ll start with this specific example, which I think is illustrative of the sorts of attacks we see made on Hillary. It begins with this video of an interview with Elizabeth Warren that’s been making its rounds on the internet….
Warren tells a story about the bankruptcy bill initially supported by the Clinton administration in the 1990’s. Warren wrote an op-ed opposing the bill on the grounds that it offered deadbeat dads a mechanism for cheating their ex-wives out of child support, along with a few other issues. After the op-ed was published, Hillary phoned Warren requesting a meeting. They met in private, and Warren proceeded to educate Hillary on this issue. She said that Hillary was a “quick study” and really “got it.” Hillary returned to Washington, and by all accounts, single-handedly turned around the administration’s support of this legislation. When the bill reached Clinton’s desk, he vetoed it….
The second part of the interview is where it gets quite damning. According to Warren, First Lady Clinton became Senator Clinton of New York, and then things changed. The same bankruptcy bill came through congress, and this time Hillary voted for it. When Warren is asked what changed, she replies (paraphrasing), “Hillary started receiving all this money from Wall Street, and they became her constituency.” ….
Did Hillary vote for this bill because she became beholden to special interests on Wall Street? What excuse does she have? Here’s her explanation in her own words:
I rise today in support of final passage of S. 420, the Bankruptcy Reform Act. Many of my colleagues may remember that I was a strong critic of the bill that passed out of the 106th Congress.
While we have yet to achieve the kind of bankruptcy reform I believe is possible, I have worked with a number of people to make improvements that bring us closer to our goals, particularly when it comes to child support. Women can now be assured that they can continue to collect child support payments after the child’s father has declared bankruptcy. The legislation makes child support the first priority during bankruptcy proceedings.
This year, we have made more progress. The Senate agreed to include a revised version of Senator Schumer’s amendment to ensure that any debts resulting from any act of violence, intimidation, or threat would be nondischargeable.
Earlier today, this body agreed to include a cap on the homestead exemption to ensure that wealthy debtors could not shield their wealth by purchasing a mansion in a state with no cap on homestead exemption.
In addition, I was concerned about competing nondischargeable debt so I worked hard with Senator Boxer to ensure that more credit card debt can be erased so that women who use their credit cards for food, clothing and medical expenses in the 90 days before bankruptcy do not have to litigate each and every one of these expenses for the first $750.
Let me be very clear — I will not vote for final passage of this bill if it comes back from conference if these kind of reforms are missing. I am voting for this legislation because it is a work in progress, and it is making progress towards reform.
Now I deeply respect and admire Elizabeth Warren — but it seems she left out some important details from her account. Clinton, in fact, worked with other members of congress to include amendments that addressed Elizabeth Warren’s concerns. And the bill passed 83–15. So why didn’t Warren mention this? I really have no idea — I’d love to ask her. Maybe she became so locked into this anti-bankruptcy bill stance, she couldn’t free herself from an oppositional frame of mind. Maybe Warren didn’t feel these amendments went far enough (but if that were true, why not mention that?) For whatever reason, the story Warren tells in this interview is incomplete. Clinton’s position on this bill was no different than that uber-conservative, Barbara Boxer.
Here’s what happened next — the bill went to the Republican controlled congress, they stripped out those amendments, sent the bill back to the senate, the Democrats filibustered the bill, and Clinton voted to uphold the filibuster. Another version of the bill later passed that Hillary opposed. So that woman Warren describes in the first part of her interview — the woman who “really gets it” — turns out that woman never changed after all (and currently, Warren speaks very highly of Hillary).
Also well worth reading is Melissa McEwan’s take on the bankruptcy story: Sure, But What About the Important People Who Matter?
We’ve all noticed that Bernie Sanders knows very little about foreign policy. Now Wall Street expert William Cohan writes at Vanity Fair that: Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Know Diddly-Squat About Wall Street.
Sanders is right that Wall Street still needs reform. The Dodd-Frank regulations fail to measure up; Wall Street lobbyists and $1000-an-hour attorneys work away each day to gut the meager reforms signed into law by President Barack Obama in July 2010. It is also unconscionable that Wall Street’s compensation system continues to reward bankers, traders, and executives to take big risks with other people’s money in hopes of getting big year-end bonuses. Thanks to this system, which has been prevalent since the 1970s, when Wall Street transformed itself from a bunch of undercapitalized private partnerships (where those partners had serious capital at risk every day) to a group of behemoth public companies (where the risk is borne by creditors and shareholders while the rewards go to the employees), Wall Street has become ground zero for one financial crisis after another.
But Sanders never talks about the compensation system on Wall Street. In fact, he rarely mentions anything concrete at all. Instead, he dwells on bizarre and nebulous notions such as imposing “a tax on Wall Street speculation,” as he did during his speech on Monday night. This tax, Sanders noted, will generate “hundreds of billions” of dollars in annual revenue and help pay for his proposed program to make tuition free at public colleges and universities.
But what exactly is Sanders proposing and does it make any sense? The answer to the first question is: it is difficult to tell. The candidate’s website does not really flesh out the idea, other than to say that the tax “will reduce risky and unproductive high-speed trading and other forms of Wall Street speculation.” If one goes back to a bill that Sanders introduced in the Senate last May, there is slightly more meat on these bones; still, the proposed legislation seems to have very little to do with actually taxing “Wall Street speculation” and more to do with taxing every trading transaction—the buying and selling of stocks and bonds and derivatives—that Wall Street and hedge funds engage in. This, of course, makes no sense whatsoever—why tax the very behavior the system depends upon?—and it is probably why Sanders’s legislation went nowhere and why he doesn’t talk about it anymore.
Even if Sanders eventually elaborates on his plan more fully, does taxing Wall Street speculation even make any sense? That one is simple: nope, and it actually reveals the candidate’s ignorance about our banking system.
Please read the rest at the link.
I’m running out of space, so I’ll just share a few more links, headlines only.
Newsweek: The Best Historical Moments of the New Hampshire Primary.
Washington Post: A black Princeton professor says she was handcuffed to a table for her unpaid parking tickets. This woman has been tweeting that the cops are still harassing her, even calling her cell phone!
Ta-Nehisi Coates: A History of Liberal White Racism. How bigotry enabled progressive domestic policies of the early 20th century.
Huffington Post: #ItsNotOver: Why the One Year Anniversary of Natasha McKenna’s Death Matters. Natasha was tasered to death by police officers.
The People’s View: #DontBernMeBro: Why Sanders is Parroting GOP Talking Points on Obama’s Jobs Record.
Mike Konzal at the Roosevelt Institute: Why I (Still) Think Shadow Banking is Key to Financial Reform.
Alex Seitz-Wald at MSNBC: For Sanders, campaign finance purity not always possible.
Dana Millbank: Bernie Sanders is no revolutionary.
Hillary Clinton after winning the NH primary in 2008
Have a great day, Sky Dancers and don’t let the haters get you down. What stories are you following today?
Posted: February 6, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bernie Sanders, financial sector donors, Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton, ideology, Latinos, New Hampshire primary, people of color, polls, Veterans Administration, white majorities in Iowa and New Hampshire
So now it’s New Hampshire’s turn–a state that is even whiter than Iowa. Iowa is 92% white and New Hampshire is 94% white. Some interesting facts about New Hampshire from The Connecticut Post:
New Hampshire is even whiter than Iowa. Its largest “city” has 110,000 people in it.
Its population is slightly more educated and well off than the rest of the country.
Together, Iowa and New Hampshire tell us something about the voting behavior of white people who don’t live in or near large cities.
Blacks, Asians and Hispanics are basically excluded from the first two elections in the presidential nomination process.
This distorts results for both parties, but it especially affects Democrats because minorities vote in Republican primaries far less.
Hillary Clinton, for example, does far better than Bernie Sanders with minority voters in all the polling so far, so Sanders is lucky that Iowa and New Hampshire come first.
The big contest after the first two is South Carolina, which has a large minority population.
If Clinton wins big there, the Democratic race will suddenly look very different than it does today.
The U.S. is growing more diverse very quickly. For example, in 2012 there were 23.3 million Hispanic eligible voters; there are 27.3 million this year, making Hispanics the largest block of minority voters.
In 2014, there were four states where minorities make up the majority; by 2044, the U.S. will be majority-minority.
Some primary envy from The Detroit News:
The campaigns spent $40 million to sway Iowa caucusers; at the end, the spending hit a $6 million-a-week pace. Over the the past year, Iowa and New Hampshire residents had to be in hiding to avoid bumping into a candidate.
It would be one thing if these two states were microcosms of the nation. But neither represents the industrial or demographic diversity of America.
Fewer people live in Iowa than in Metro Detroit. Ninety-two percent of the population is white; fewer than 1 percent of businesses are owned by African-Americans. New Hampshire is even smaller and, at 94 percent, whiter.
Appealing to Iowa and New Hampshire voters requires different messages than would resonate nationwide. But if candidates fail to move the homogenous voters of these states, they’re at risk of seeing their funding dry up and their ambitions busted.
Presidential hopefuls should have to prove their appeal to a broader audience early on. The primary season should be revamped to force them to spend those early months demonstrating the resources to mount a national campaign.
The lack of diversity in the two earliest states has handed a big advantage to Bernie Sanders. We’ll have to wait for Nevada and South Carolina to see how much impact his “enthusiastic” support in Iowa and New Hampshire has had on voters in states that are more representative of the U.S. population.
And let’s not let voters forget that Sanders clearly stated in a debate that he considers white people to be the “general population” and African Americans and Latinos to be somehow outside the “general population.”
Sanders was asked about this exact problem at the debate Sunday night in Charleston. His answer:
“When the African American community becomes familiar with my Congressional record and with our agenda, and with our views on the economy, and criminal justice — just as the general population has become more supportive, so will the African American community, so will the Latino community. We have the momentum, we’re on a path to a victory.”
A little bit condescending, no? So we can only wait and see what happens on Tuesday and go from there. I don’t think it’s time for the Clinton campaign to panic just yet.
For a little deep background on the New Hampshire primary, here’s a great article from 1988 by the Washington Post’s Henry Allen: New Hampshire is a fraud.
New Hampshire is a fraud.
Which is to say that behind that idyll of white-steepled, sleigh-belled, town-meeting, republican-with-a-small-R America lurks a much realer and hidden New Hampshire — the souvenir hustlers, backwoods cranks, motorcycle racing fans, out-of-state writers, dour French Canadians and tax-dodging Massachusetts suburbanites who have conspired as New Hampshire has conspired for two centuries to create an illusion of noble, upright, granite-charactered sentinels of liberty out of little more than a self-conscious collection of bad (if beautiful) land, summer people, second-growth woods full of junked cars and decaying aristocracy, lakes howling with speedboats, state liquor stores that are open on Sundays and the most vicious state newspaper in America — the Manchester Union Leader, which recently greeted the birthday of Martin Luther King by describing him as a Communist dupe.
They sell the rest of the country maple syrup, lottery tickets and Yankee sagacity the way Indians on reservations sell moccasins, bingo and environmental wisdom. They never shut up about how closemouthed they are. They beat you rich and they beat you poor. They do this by taking a Calvinist pride in the riches from the high-tech boom in the southern part of the state, and then asssuming the smugness of Thoreau in defending the poverty of the swamp Yankees and shack people living back in the woods with yards full of mean dogs and broken snowmobiles. They exhibit the ethics of Switzerland and the shrugging shabbiness of New Jersey.
Or as Emerson wrote: “The God who made New Hampshire taunted the lofty land with little men.”
The question is not who they think they are, to be holding us hostage every four years with their presidential primary. Instead, who do we think they are, to let them get away with it, this white, tight and right smidgen of a place, this myth-mongering bastion of no-tax/no-spend conservatives with no minorities to speak of and a total of .43 percent of the American people? As Thomas Jefferson said, after New Hampshire town meetings had attacked his Embargo Act, “The organization of this little selfish minority enabled it to overrule the union.”
Read more at the link. It’s a long read, but a fun one.
The media is finally beginning to vet Bernie Sanders with some serious research. Some examples:
Michael Grunwald at Politico: Bernie’s Radical Dilemma: If we need a revolution, how does he explain that things are already getting better?
Now that Bernie Sanders is looking less like a quixotic left-wing protest candidate and more like a serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, a contradiction at the heart of his campaign is becoming more glaring. You can call it the Radical’s Dilemma, or the Revolutionary’s Quandary, or maybe just Bernie’s Obama Problem. Whatever you call it, it was on stark display at last night’s debate in New Hampshire, even though Sanders tried to gloss over it.
The conundrum boils down to a schizophrenic view of a nation where progressive change is impossible and where progressive change is simultaneously happening. On one hand, Sanders argues that the political system is hopelessly corrupt, that the economy is outrageously rigged, that nothing good can happen as long as Wall Street, drug companies and fossil-fuel interests own Washington. On the other hand, Sanders says President Barack Obama has done a “fantastic job,” that America is in “much better shape than we were seven years ago,” that there has been significant progress on financial reform, health reform and climate action.
This is not just a political problem, as Sanders tries to carve out space to Obama’s left without denouncing a president with a 90 percent approval rating among Democrats. And Sanders can’t wave away the problem by saying the progress under Obama has been impressive, considering the Republican opposition, but insufficient; Obama says the same thing. This is a philosophical problem for a radical candidate, a question he hasn’t figured out how to answer: If things are never going to get better without a political revolution to take power back from special interests, how is it that things are getting better?
Tim Mak at The Daily Beast: The Veterans Scandal on Bernie Sanders’ Watch.
Bernie Sanders’s tenure as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee was characterized by glaring neglect of his oversight responsibilities, allowing the 2014 VA scandal to unfold under his watch, veterans’ rights advocates argue.
Sanders has touted his work on veterans’ issues, most recently citing his involvement in “the most comprehensive VA health care bill in this country,” in a debate Thursday.
Left unsaid however, is that he was the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, responsible for overseeing the Department of Veterans Affairs, as the scandal erupted.
Posted: February 4, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: "hatred, CDS, culture of misogyny, exhaustion, haters, Hillary Clinton, Media bias, prejudice, Sexism
I’ve been struggling all morning over writing this post. I knew that if Hillary ran for president again we would face unprecedented sexism and misogyny from the media and from many people who claim to be Democrats. But I never imagined it would be this bad. It was bad in 2008, but in 2016 the CDS is magnified beyond belief.
Since I was a child I have had a difficult time understanding why people hate those who are different from themselves. It was around 1956 when I noticed the prejudice that black people have to deal with. I just couldn’t make sense of it. I was 8 years old.
Later I followed the Civil Rights Movement closely and again I was mystified by the hatred of Americans for their fellow Americans. I could empathize and feel rage at the injustice perpetrated against African Americans, but of course I couldn’t really comprehend what it felt like to be the targets of so much ugly, vicious hatred.
As someone who has dreamed her whole life that women might finally achieve equality, and who believes that electing a woman president would go a long way toward making that dream a reality, I am beginning to truly understand how it feels to be hated and reviled by the culture I live in. It is exhausting.
It requires superhuman strength and courage just to get up every day and keep trusting my inner voice no matter what other people say and do, and internally trying to counter the ugly attacks on the first woman to have a real chance to win the Democratic nomination and perhaps to become the first woman President of the United States.
The only thing that gives me the strength to keep believing is the the example set by Hillary Clinton. I don’t know how she does it, but I think she has the courage and the competence to keep fighting for us all the way to the White House.
Last night in the CNN Democratic Town Hall, I saw a woman who is comfortable with herself, who believes in her ability to pull this off, and who has truly found her voice as a candidate. I have never seen a better performance by Hillary Clinton in any debate or forum. She was magnificent.
But don’t expect the media to report that. They’re busy praising Bernie Sanders, the man who answered every question by returning to his boring stump speech far outshone the woman who following him (why does Bernie always get to go first, by the way?) according to the largely white male Washington press corps.
You know what? I don’t care. Hillary is speaking to the voters and I think enough of them will hear what she is saying.
Last night Bernie got mostly softball questions from Anderson Cooper and the audience. Hillary got mostly tough questions, and she rose to the occasion. She never whined or complained. She was humble and she listened carefully to what she was asked.
Bernie on the other hand did his usual nodding and waving–he doesn’t seem to listen to the questions at all. He makes up his mind what the question is while the person asking it is still talking. Hillary doesn’t do that. She actually cares about the person who is talking to her. It’s amazing that so many people can keep right on hating her even after they watch her be so open, so willing to listen, to learn, to get better as a person and a candidate. But that’s what hate is about–hence the cliche “blind hatred.”
Just for today I’m going to leave aside the many media arguments for why Hillary Clinton just isn’t good enough and why she can never be good enough in their minds. There’s another debate tonight, and I need to psych myself up; because I am determined to watch it no matter how exhausting it is to see the irrational hatred my candidate has to face.
First, a couple of positive moments from last night:
From a mostly negative article by Eric Bradner at CNN, a wonderful quote from Hillary Clinton after she was asked for the umpteenth time why younger voters like Bernie Sanders so much and why they are rejecting her (although I see so many young women and men on line and on TV who do like her):
“I’m impressed with them, and I’m going to do everything I can to reach out and explain why good ideas on paper are important, but you’ve got to be able to translate that into action,” Clinton said.
“Here’s what I want young people to know: They don’t have to be for me. I’m going to be for them,” she added.
Could Bernie Sanders have been that humble and non-defensive? Not from what I’ve seen so far.
From Maxwell Tani at Business Insider, here’s another sincere and humble moment from Hillary last night.
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton delivered a deeply personal answer to a question about how she stays self-confident while being conscious of her ego and staying humble.
Responding to a question from a rabbi at a CNN town-hall event, Clinton seemed to allude to damaging past public scandals, saying she kept a parable from the Bible in mind during tough situations.
“It’s not anything I’ve ever talked about this much publicly. Everybody knows that I’ve lived a very public life for the last 25 years. So I’ve had to be in public dealing with some very difficult issues,” Clinton said.
She continued: “I read that parable and there was a line in it that became just a lifeline for me. It basically is, ‘Practice the discipline of gratitude.’ Be grateful for your limitations, know that you have to reach out to have more people be with you to support you advise you. Listen to your critics, answer the questions, but at the end, be grateful.”
I thought that was straight from the heart. But it will be minimized and then brushed aside by the haters.
In Michael Moore’s Casual Chauvinism, Michael Tomasky writes about the endorsement of Bernie Sanders by the liberal icon. In a letter, Moore lists a series of historical “firsts” in the history of presidential campaigns. The first Catholic, JFK. The first president from the deep South, Carter. The first divorced man, Ronald Reagan, and so on up till the first black president, Obama.
But Moore never mentions women at all. He doesn’t think the first woman president would be important. No. He’s thrilled by the idea of the first socialist president–ignoring the fact that Sanders would also be the first Jewish president if elected. Sanders clearly agrees with him.
Here’s what’s weird and gobsmacking about this endorsement. In a letter that is almost entirely about historical firsts—it goes on to discuss how “they” used to say we’d never have gay marriage and other changes—Moore doesn’t even take one sentence to acknowledge that Clinton’s elevation to the presidency would represent an important first.
I mean, picture yourself sitting down to write that. You’re a person of the left. You are writing specifically about the first Catholic president, the first black president, the first this, the first that. You want people to believe that if those things could happen, then a “democratic socialist” could win too. Fine, if that’s your view, that’s your view.
But it’s also the case the other candidate winning would make history in a way that is at least as historically important from a politically left point of view—I would say more so, but okay, that’s a subjective judgment—and it’s not even worth a sentence? I wouldn’t expect Moore to back Clinton or even say anything particularly nice about her. But he can’t even acknowledge to female readers that this great progressive sees that having a woman president would be on its own terms a salutary thing?
I obviously have no idea whether Moore contemplated such a sentence and rejected it or it just never occurred to him. Either way, it tells us something. To a lot of men, even men of the left, the woman-president thing just isn’t important.
Please read this magnificent essay by Melissa McEwan at Blue Nation Review: I Am a Hillary Clinton Supporter Who Has Not Always Been One.
I am a Hillary Clinton supporter who has not always been one. She was not my first choice in 2008.
But it was during that campaign I started documenting, as part of my coverage of US politics in a feminist space, the instances of misogyny being used against her by both the right and the left, amassing a “Hillary Sexism Watch” that contained more than 100 entries by the time she withdrew from the primary. And it was hardly a comprehensive record.
I have spent an enormous amount of time with Hillary Clinton, although I have never spoken to her. I have read transcripts of her speeches, her policy proposals, her State Department emails. I have watched countless hours of interviews, debates, addresses, testimony before Congress. I have scrolled though thousands of wire photos, spoken to people who have worked with and for her, read her autobiography, listened to her fans and her critics.
And what I have discovered is a person whom I like very much.
Not a perfect person. Not even a perfect candidate. I am not distressed by people who have legitimate criticisms of Hillary Clinton and some of the policies she has advocated; I share those criticisms.
Is any person or candidate perfect?
What is distressing to me is that I see little evidence of that person in the public narratives about Hillary Clinton. Not everyone has the time nor the desire to deep-dive into documents the way that I have. If I hadn’t had a professional reason to do so, I may not have done it myself.
I may have—and did, before I was obliged otherwise—relied on what I learned about Hillary Clinton from the media.
Which, as it turns out, is deeply corrupted by pervasive misogyny.
The subtle misogyny of double-standards that mean she can’t win (even when she does), and the overt misogyny of turning her into a monster, a gross caricature of a ruthlessly ambitious villain who will stop at nothing in her voracious quest for ever more power.
Please go read the rest. I only wish I could quote the whole thing.
Emily Crockett at Vox: This awful Morning Joe clip shows how not to talk about Hillary Clinton.
MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday featured a tone-deaf discussion of Hillary Clinton’s tone, which you can watch in full here.
“She shouts,” journalist Bob Woodward said of Clinton. “There is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating, and I think that just jumps off the television screen.”
That kicked off an eight-minute, slow-motion train wreck of a conversation that used Clinton’s alleged problems with volume to support arguments about how voters find her untrustworthy — and even to suggest that Clinton doesn’t know or trust herself as a person.
“I’m sorry to dwell on the tone issue,” Woodward said later, “but there is something here where Hillary Clinton suggests that she’s almost not comfortable with herself, and, you know, self-acceptance is something that you communicate on television.”
Host Joe Scarborough compared Clinton unfavorably to 1980s conservative icons Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, both of whom were apparently self-confident enough to keep the noise down.
“Has nobody told her that the microphone works?” Scarborough said. “Because she always keeps it up here.” The “genius” of Reagan, Scarborough said while dropping into a deep baritone for emphasis, is that Reagan “kept it down low.”
The panel also included Cokie Roberts talking about how people think Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy and dishonest. Gee I wonder where they got that idea, Cokie?
I’m running out of space already. I’ll put some more links in the comment thread. We’ll have a live blog tonight for the MSNBC Democratic Debate.
Posted: February 2, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Iowa Caucuses, live blog, open thread
This morning I learned on NPR that Hillary Clinton has been declared the winner of the Iowa Caucus, but I can barely find anything on Google news about it. This is what we will face over the next few months if she continues to win primaries in more diverse states than Iowa and New Hampshire. The media will work hard to diminish or ignore any positive news for Hillary.
Bernie bros at Sanders headquarters were all class/s as they booed and yelled “you’re a liar!” during Hillary’s speech last night. Neither Clinton nor Sanders claimed victory in their speeches, but Rachel Maddow of MSNBC (in her new role as unofficial (official?) spokesperson for the Sanders campaign) claimed that Hillary had done so.
The media and Bernie bros seem to have completely forgotten that Iowa is far from representative of the rest of the country.
Michael Cohen of The Boston Globe with a twitter rant:
Still, I have to admit that I’m disappointed that Hillary didn’t win decisively. So it’s on to New Hampshire with a debate and a town hall forum before the primary next Tuesday.
Politico: Clinton ekes out win in Iowa against Sanders.
Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, according to results announced by the state Democratic Party early Tuesday morning — a dramatic finish to a race so close that the Associated Press declined to call it even after all precincts except one had reported results.
Clinton was awarded 699.57 state delegate equivalents, versus 695.49 for Sanders, Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire said in a statement. The results were the closest in state Democratic caucus history, and 171,109 Democratic voters turned out to caucus.
With 99.9 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton had 49.9 percent of delegates and Sanders had 49.5 percent, according to the Associated Press. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley received less than 1 percent then suspended his campaign. A single precinct had yet to report as of 5 a.m. Eastern time; that precinct, in Des Moines, is worth 2.28 state delegate equivalents.
Here are some more links to peruse this morning.
WaPo: Groundhog Day 2016: Punxsutawney Phil sees no shadow, predicts early spring.
LA Times Analysis: A dramatically reshaped presidential race drives into New Hampshire.
ABC News: Ted Cruz Credits Attack on Donald Trump’s ‘New York Values’ in Iowa Win.
Nate Cohn at NYT: Why a ‘Virtual Tie’ in Iowa is Better for Clinton than Sanders.
WaPo: Candidates arrive in New Hampshire, pitching a different set of voters.
Please post your links in the comment thread.
Posted: January 30, 2016 Filed under: Foreign Affairs, morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bernie Sanders, Eghazi!, Hillary Clinton
Has any other presidential candidate in history had to fight the corporate media in addition to attacks from the other party and her opponents for the nomination to the extent that Hillary has to? I don’t think so. In just two days, Iowans will head to the caucuses. What “bombshells” will the media find to hype against Hillary before Monday night?
Today it’s “Eghazi” once again. Yesterday, the State Department announced that some of Clinton’s emails have been retroactively deemed to be “top secret.” The emails were not sent by Hillary from her private email server. They were sent to her by other people using the State Departments unclassified email server, because the information was not classified at the time.
Unfortunately, someone in the “intelligence community”–presumably GOP partisan(s)–told the State Department they cannot release these emails, so now the Hillary haters can speculate to their hearts’ content. Some of these withheld emails were exchanges between then Secretary of State Clinton and President Barack Obama! But you know, “Benghazi!!” Eghazi!!
I’ll post just one corporate media article about this from eminent Clinton hater and Washington Post columnist Chris Cillizza: Hillary Clinton’s email defense just hit a major bump in the road. Seriously? Oh, and the article is accompanied by an unflattering photo of Hillary frowning.
For months, Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign have stuck to a consistent story line when faced with allegations of classified information on the private server she used exclusively as secretary of state: She was the victim of an overzealous intelligence community bent on categorizing information as top secret or classified when it was, in fact, neither.
That defense hit a major snag on Friday when the State Department announced that it, too, had found “top secret” information on Clinton’s server — 22 emails across seven separate emails chains. The information, the State Department said, was so secret that those emails would never be released to the public.
Suddenly Clinton’s narrative of an overly aggressive intelligence community or a broader squabble between the intelligence world and the State Department didn’t hold water. Or at least held a whole lot less water than it did prior to Friday afternoon.
The Clinton team quickly pivoted. “After a process that has been dominated by bureaucratic infighting that has too often played out in public view, the loudest and leakiest participants in this interagency dispute have now prevailed in blocking any release of these emails,” said campaign spokesman Brian Fallon.
Calling for the release of the allegedly top secret emails is a smart gambit by the Clinton folks since it makes them look as if they have nothing to hide while being protected by the near-certainty that the State Department won’t simply change its mind on the release because the Clinton team asked them to.
Still, the timing of the State Department announcement, coming just three days before the pivotal Iowa caucuses, and the nature of that announcement seem likely to further complicate a situation that has already caused Clinton and her campaign huge amounts of agita since the existence of her private email server was revealed almost one year ago to the day.
You can read more Cillizza lies and distortion at the link.
It’s not likely you’ll see the true story in the corporate media, so here are some calmer responses from people who actually know what they’re talking about. By the way Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon is one of those people. He was previously director of communications for the Department of Justice and dealt with classified material on a daily basis.
Why does the Clinton campaign want the emails released if they are show shocking? Because they’re not.
This from Sen. Dianne Feinstein:
So what is really happening? As far as I can tell, there is absolutely nothing new here. It’s all about politics and trying to keep Hillary Clinton from becoming POTUS.
Max Fisher at Vox: The Hillary Clinton top-secret email controversy, explained.
If it’s top secret, then it must be really sensitive, right?
Not necessarily. A large proportion of documents that our government classifies are not actually that sensitive — more on that below. So the key thing now is to try to figure out: Were these emails classified because they contain highly sensitive information that Clinton never should have emailed in the first place, or because they were largely banal but got scooped up in America’s often absurd classify-everything practices? [….]
According to a statement by the State Department, “These documents were not marked classified at the time they were sent.”
In other words, they do not contain information that was “born classified,” but rather fall into the vast gray area of things that do not seem obviously secret at the time but are later deemed that way — not always for good reason.
Go over to Vox to read about “America’s problem with overclassification.”
CLINTON US ETHIOPIA
Big Tent Democrat AKA ArmandoKos at Talk Left: eGhazi: Same BS IC story: different day. Check the links in the post also if you want to know more.
Josh Gerstein and Rachel Bade:
The furor over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account grew more serious for the Democratic presidential front-runner Friday as the State Department designated 22 of the messages from her account “top secret.” [. . .]
“These documents were not marked classified at the time they were sent [and they weren’t sent by Clinton imo – BTD my emhphasis] ,” Kirby said in a statement.
Sound familiar? It should because it is the same story I’ve been writing about since this nonsense started. See in particular State v. IC classification battles:
Now what does this mean? It means the Intelligence Community, represented here by the IC IG, disagrees with the State Department’s determination on the classification of certain information contained in the Clinton e-mails. In their opinion, the information should have been designated classified and should be so designated now. But State does not agree.
Now what were those “classified documents then? I reviewed some that got through. As you can see, the IC is full of crap.What about this batch? I think we can safely say that the bulk of these are news stories discussing drone strikes.
The messages deemed “secret” also vary widely. One from Feb. 25, 2012, appears to discuss U.S. drone operations in Pakistan.”This is hitting the news, with Taliban or HQN [the Haqqani Network] claiming responsibility,” State policy planning chief Jake Sullivan wrote to Clinton. The message originated with the U.S. Ambassador in In Pakistan, Dick Hoagland. Nearly all the text is deleted, but press reports that day described the crash of a drone in North Waziristan.
U.S. drones in Pakistan are operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, but the program is officially covert and therefore classified, even though President Barack Obama has acknowledged it publicly.
In short it is just more crazy crap from IC – news articles are Top Secret!! seems to be the theory.
But leaving aside the overclassification issue, there is just a little problem for those who want to take Clinton down with this nonsense – she didn’t transmit any of the information – just received it. And the issue is not a private server – after all the State’s unsecure email system would not be appropriate for “classified” material either.
As you have heard from me often, if anyone is in trouble, it will be career State officials like the current Ambassador to Bahrain, William Roebuck, Timothy T. Davis and William J Burns.
Addicting Info: Hillary Clinton Did Not Send ‘Top Secret’ Emails On Private Server.
- There are seven emails which the State Department says are now considered classified.
- The emails originated from inside the agency’s unclassified system.
- They were not marked ‘classified’ or ‘top secret’ when they were sent.
- The emails were not sent by Hillary Clinton, but were sent to her, along with a number of other people.
- One of the ‘top secret emails’ is likely a published newspaper article.
In other words, this is not the huge scandal republicans were hoping for. Instead, it’s just another baseless right wing attack on Hillary Clinton that falls apart under even the slightest amount of scrutiny.
Sigh . . . I’m already exhausted from this crap and the weekend is just beginning.
I’ll end with two Politico pieces, one on Bernie Sanders and his campaign’s “foreign policy advisers” and another on Sanders’ claims that he is more electable than Clinton.
Bernie’s foreign policy deficit. ‘I don’t know how I got on Bernie Sanders’ list,’ says one expert cited by his campaign, by Michael Crowley.
Not long after President Barack Obama ordered U.S. airstrikes in Libya in 2011, his national security adviser, Tom Donilon, trekked to Capitol Hill to brief Democratic senators. After a few minutes of discussion about the military operation, Bernie Sanders took the floor.
To talk about the economy.
“Sanders delivered a meandering manifesto about Democratic messaging on the economy,” says a former Senate chief of staff. “It wasn’t that his insights were wrong. It just wasn’t the time or place. Everyone was thinking, ‘Here goes Bernie!’ ”
Current and former Senate aides call the episode typical of Sanders, who on any given day would rather talk about Wall Street profits than about Middle East conflict….
Sanders has yet to give a speech exclusively on foreign policy, and on Friday his campaign backed away from an earlier commitment to deliver one before the Iowa vote. Numerous Democratic foreign policy insiders contacted by POLITICO could not name anyone who regularly advises the Vermont Senator on world affairs — a stark contrast to a Clinton campaign teeming with several hundred foreign policy advisers.
Oddly, the Sanders campaign is claiming to have foreign policy advisers who had no idea they were advising Bernie.
When asked whether Sanders has a full-time campaign staffer who handles foreign policy issues, his campaign did not respond. And several people whom the Sanders campaign has cited as sources of national security advice tell POLITICO they barely know the socialist firebrand.
“Apparently I had a conversation with him last August,” said Tamara Cofman Wittes, a Brookings Institution Middle East scholar, after checking her calendar upon hearing that her name was on a list of people the Sanders campaign said he had consulted in recent months. “My vague recollection is that it was about [the Islamic State] but I don’t really remember any of the details.” Wittes added that she backs Clinton.
“I don’t know how I got on Bernie Sanders’ list,” said Ray Takeyh, an Iran scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations who says he spoke to Sanders once or twice about the Iran nuclear deal at Sanders’ request in mid-2015.
What the hell? But of course Bernie voted against going into Iraq in 2002, so he’s the real foreign policy expert, right?
Bernie Sanders might have an electability problem, by Stephen Shepard.
“Not only is Bernie Sanders electable in the general election,” insisted Sanders senior adviser Tad Devine, “he’s a stronger candidate than Hillary Clinton in the general election.”
Indeed, public pollsters who’ve conducted surveys in both Iowa and New Hampshire caution that the Sanders team might be misreading the data the campaign is relying on to make its case that Sanders would broaden the Democratic electorate and make more states competitive by luring young, more independently minded voters.
Patrick Murray, who runs the Monmouth University Polling Institute in New Jersey, said the independent voters who are backing Sanders in the primary are more liberal in orientation and would be likely to vote for the Democrat in November anyway.
“It’s a big leap of faith to take primary poll data and jump to the general,” added Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, which has conducted recent polls for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal. “You do ask the questions, and it tells you something: Hillary has a problem with independents, and Bernie doesn’t. Fast forward to September, October and November. The campaigns will change, and that dynamic will be different.”
Duh. Read the rest at the link.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great weekend.
Posted: January 28, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics
This is going to be a truly consequential election. Electing a woman to the presidency of the U.S. is going to be more difficult and more radical than electing a African American man in 2008 was. Some day America will elect an African American woman as president. How long with that take?
This is how change happens–very very slowly. In the beginning of this country only white men who were landowners could vote. It took until the mid-19th century for most states to allow universal white male suffrage. In 1870, African American men won the right to vote, but most states found ways to keep them from exercising that right. It wasn’t until August 18, 1920 that the 19th Amendment was ratified and women finally could vote in the U.S.
So it’s not surprising that an African American man was the first to break the white male hold on the presidency. If we really want to have a woman president in 2016, we are going to have to speak up loudly and demand it! And finally, more women are doing that. On Tuesday I wrote about how supporters of Hillary Clinton were able to get Twitter to remove the misogynistic hashtag #WordsThatDontDescribeHillaryClinton from its list of trending topics.
Yesterday female and male supporters of Hillary took it a step further after being inspired by a brilliant post by Joan Walsh at The Nation despite the magazine’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders. I know many or most of you have already read the piece, but I still want to quote from it today. Why I’m Supporting Hillary Clinton, With Joy and Without Apologies. I’ve come to feel passion for Clinton herself, and for the movement that supports her.
Walsh begins by admitting she was hesitant to “come out of the closet” as a Clinton supporter because she is a journalist, but she spontaneously did so while talking to a woman in France who asked her if Americans–especially American women–were really ready to vote for a woman for president. She had turned down the opportunity to write a response to The Nation’s endorsement of Sanders, but while watching Monday’s CNN Democratic Town Hall, she changed her mind.
The town hall itself was great; Clinton, Sanders, and Martin O’Malley all looked admirable and presidential, in contrast to their awful Republican rivals. Democrats have a lot to be excited about this year.
But one moment got me particularly excited, and not in a good way. It came when a young white man—entitled, pleased with himself, barely shaving yet—broke the news to Clinton that his generation is with Bernie Sanders. “I just don’t see the same enthusiasm from younger people for you. In fact, I’ve heard from quite a few people my age that they think you’re dishonest. But I’d like to hear from you on why you feel the enthusiasm isn’t there.”
That Catch-22 question–sort of analogous to asking a man “when did you stop beating your wife?” enraged Walsh, as it likely did millions of women.
“I’d like to hear from you on why you feel the enthusiasm isn’t there.” I’m not sure I can unpack all the condescension in that question. I heard a disturbing echo of the infamous 2008 New Hampshire debate moment when a moderator asked Clinton: “What can you say to the voters of New Hampshire on this stage tonight, who see a resume and like it, but are hesitating on the likability issue?” Yes, the “likability” issue. I found myself thinking: Not again. Why the hell does she have to put up with this again?
My problem wasn’t merely with the insulting personal tone of the question. It was also the way the young man anointed himself the voice of his generation, and declared it the Sanders generation. Now, I know Bernie is leading among millennials by a lot right now in the polls. Nonetheless, millions of millennials, including millions of young women, are supporting Hillary Clinton. And my daughter, as Nation readers know, is one of them. I find it increasingly galling to see her and her friends erased in this debate.
That’s it. We are continually erased. Women are more than 50% of the U.S. population, but the issues that are important to us are casually dismissed by many (most?) male politicians, including Bernie Sanders. Sanders turns every discussion of racism or sexism back to his core issue of income inequality, seeming to deny that people of color and women are held back not just by economic factors, but also by bigotry and prejudice based on skin color and gender.
When I’ve disclosed that my daughter works for Clinton—in The Nation, on MSNBC, and on social media—we’ve both come in for trolling so vile it’s made me not merely defensive of her. It’s forced me to recognize how little society respects the passion of the many young women—and men—who are putting their souls into electing the first female president. It’s one thing to note that Sanders is winning among millennials; that’s true. It’s another to impugn the competence and dignity of the literally millions of millennials who support Clinton. Social-media trolls have had several fascinating and stunningly sexist reactions to the news of my daughter’s position. Obviously, she can’t be competent; I must have gotten her the job (in fact, she got it through a high-school friend who worked for Clinton and recommended her.) Obviously, she can’t think for herself; I must have indoctrinated her to support Clinton over Sanders. Or the flip side: Obviously, I have no integrity, and I support Clinton over Sanders only because my daughter is on her payroll.
This article by Joan Walsh is huge. She is a well respected, influential writer who frequently appears on T.V. and who is highly visible on social media. Yesterday her article made a big impact on Twitter. Hundreds of women thanked her for speaking up and describing what so many women had been thinking and feeling when that entitled young man insulted one of the most admired and respected women in the world.
Then Peter Daou suggested a hashtag, #WeWontBeErased that hundreds of people used. It even got on the trending list for awhile.
This is so true. We have been erased again and again in my lifetime. We were erased in school when we were told that girls couldn’t participate in sports, that we couldn’t do math or science, that we couldn’t grow up to have “serious” careers. No. We should be housewives and mothers period. And if we were really so desperate as to want a paying job, we were told we could be teachers, nurses, or secretaries–certainly not lawyers or doctors or university professors.
We were erased during the political struggles of the 1960s and ’70s when we demanded our rights, when we wanted rape to be prosecuted as a serious crime, when we demanded that child abuse and incest be seen and punished, when we wanted equal pay for equal work. Our years of work for an Equal Right Amendment were also erased.
We were erased in the 1980s when the fight against AIDS and the struggle for gay rights took precedence over our silly demands for equality with men. We were erased in the 1990s when the Senate ignored Anita Hill’s claims of sexual harassment and put her abuser on the Supreme Court. We were erased in recent decades as right wing Republicans (and even some Democrats) passed laws that restricted reproductive choices and voted against laws to protect women from gender-based violence.
When will it end? The election of a woman president could be a beginning of the end. To the “progessives” who think the election of an African American man was transformational, to those who argue that electing a 74-year-old man who identifies as a socialist would be a “transformational moment”: electing a woman as President of the U.S. would be even more “transformational.” It would be radical.
Maybe I’ll be mocked for saying this–as Hillary was mocked in 1993 for her speech in Austin and for her vision of “love and kindness.” I don’t care. I’m excited and enthusiastic at the prospect of electing a woman to the presidency. Not only that, I’m exited and enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton as that person we will elect.
I wholeheartedly agree with Joan Walsh:
I appreciated Sanders supporter Kathy Geier’s acknowledgment here in The Nation that her candidate once again came off as tone-deaf on an issue of gender. Yet Geier seconded Sanders’s assertion that these two groups fighting for reproductive justice deserve to be termed “establishment”—and therefore unfavorably compared to the upstart, grassroots, and genuinely radical groups that back Sanders.
I just don’t see it that way. I think there are few issues as radical as advancing the reproductive autonomy of women. And I think it’s hard to be truly establishment when dangerous men are shooting up your clinics, and the Republican Congress is persistently voting to strip you of your funding. Yes, Planned Parenthood and NARAL have worked hard to become respected political players in the last 30 years, because the women they represent need political clout, not just services. But I’m old enough to remember when feminists were told that our issues—“cultural” issues like abortion and contraception—were costing Democrats elections, so couldn’t we pipe down for a little while? Now we’re the establishment?
Just like my lefty friends who praise Sanders for loudly promoting the single-payer solution to healthcare because it’s important to raise the issue’s standing and profile, I praise Clinton for making repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which bars Medicaid from paying for abortion for poor women, a major public campaign issue. I acknowledge Sanders has voted the right way, and I’m grateful for it. But Clinton is leading on it, the same way she brought up the vile Planned Parenthood video hoax in the very first Democratic debate. That leadership matters to me.
Dorothy Rodham and Hillary Clinton
Finally, I’m struck by the insistence among Sanders supporters that Democrats who support Clinton—and right now, we are still the majority—are doing so joylessly, like party automatons.
Because our enthusiasms and excitement don’t count–see how it works? Our words, our thoughts, our wishes, our dreams, our goals are erased because we are just silly women. Well, I won’t be silent. I’m sick and tired of being told there is no enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. I’m enthusiastic about her and so are millions of other women and men. If Hillary is elected, we’ll face more of this garbage, but we have to get her elected if we want real change and a real voice in government for women.
Please post your thoughts and any links you want to share in the comment thread. We’ll have a live blog later for tonight’s GOP debate.