Friday Reads: It’s up to you New York! New York!!Posted: April 8, 2016
Well, I’ve just about had it with the 2016 primary season. I’m thankful that the most no nonsense city in the country and the diversity it represents is voting next. It’s possible that both Democratic and Republican Primaries will be settled by the City that Never Sleeps and the rest of the Empire State. Bernie will continue to be hopelessly behind. Trump will inch closer to the magic number. The Atlantic seaboard will not be Cruz-friendly.
I’m going to start up with part time New Yorker Paul Krugman’s column today which adds a lot more to what BostonBoomer blogged about yesterday. He argues that Bernie Sanders has gone “over the edge” and I agree. Count me among the policy wonks in need of a neck brace after reading and listening to what passes as policy initiatives from the Sanders Campaign. The Bernie Manifesto is nothing more than a misinformed, mislabeled and supremely dated ideological rant. He’d probably fit in well with Angela Merkel’s party–if you really would like to pigeonhole him– which is Germany’s right of center party.
Also, count me as a yuggggge donor to whatever authentic Democrat primaries his damn ass for his Senate seat next time up. I’ve had it with him. His misinformed cult needs to quit defending him when he’s being indefensible.
From the beginning, many and probably most liberal policy wonks were skeptical about Bernie Sanders. On many major issues — including the signature issues of his campaign, especially financial reform — he seemed to go for easy slogans over hard thinking. And his political theory of change, his waving away of limits, seemed utterly unrealistic.
Some Sanders supporters responded angrily when these concerns were raised, immediately accusing anyone expressing doubts about their hero of being corrupt if not actually criminal. But intolerance and cultishness from some of a candidate’s supporters are one thing; what about the candidate himself?
Unfortunately, in the past few days the answer has become all too clear: Mr. Sanders is starting to sound like his worst followers. Bernie is becoming a Bernie Bro.
Let me illustrate the point about issues by talking about bank reform.
The easy slogan here is “Break up the big banks.” It’s obvious why this slogan is appealing from a political point of view: Wall Street supplies an excellent cast of villains. But were big banks really at the heart of the financial crisis, and would breaking them up protect us from future crises?
Many analysts concluded years ago that the answers to both questions were no. Predatory lending was largely carried out by smaller, non-Wall Street institutions like Countrywide Financial; the crisis itself was centered not on big banks but on “shadow banks” like Lehman Brothers that weren’t necessarily that big. And the financial reform that President Obama signed in 2010 made a real effort to address these problems. It could and should be made stronger, but pounding the table about big banks misses the point.
Yet going on about big banks is pretty much all Mr. Sanders has done. On the rare occasions on which he was asked for more detail, he didn’t seem to have anything more to offer. And this absence of substance beyond the slogans seems to be true of his positions across the board.
You could argue that policy details are unimportant as long as a politician has the right values and character. As it happens, I don’t agree. For one thing, a politician’s policy specifics are often a very important clue to his or her true character — I warned about George W. Bush’s mendacity back when most journalists were still portraying him as a bluff, honest fellow, because I actually looked at his tax proposals. For another, I consider a commitment to facing hard choices as opposed to taking the easy way out an important value in itself.
But in any case, the way Mr. Sanders is now campaigning raises serious character and values issues.
Serious character issues is right. I’ve listen to just about enough if his moralizing, creating one set of rules for himself and one set of rules for every one else, and his total disconnect from truthiness. Evidently in Sanders addled mind, telling a reporter that it’s up to the voters to decide if he’s qualified for the job is akin to saying he’s not. He doubled down on the nonsense today. He deserves the Bronx cheer that Cruz got while touring the city. Clinton has been baited by the press for two days straight to answer the question on Sanders qualifications after his disastrous NYDN interview. She’s skirted the question each time.
Sanders continued to blame Clinton for going on the attack and said he has simply been defending himself. And while he expressed regret for the tenor of the campaign over the previous 24 hours and said the acrimony will make it harder for Democrats to unite in the fall, he also said he does not regret his own statements.
“When somebody says that I am unqualified to be president and gives her reasoning,” Sanders said, “I think it is totally appropriate for me to respond as to why I think she may not be qualified as well. And that has to do with her views and her actions on a number of the major issues facing this country, and the way she’s run this campaign in terms of how she’s raised her money.”
Clinton had raised questions in a television interview about whether Sanders was prepared to be president, but she repeatedly stopped short of saying he was unqualified.
Some Democrats are worried about potentially longer-term fallout of an increasingly personal conflict between Sanders and Clinton. Most of those Democrats are Clinton supporters who view her eventual nomination as inevitable despite the drawn-out nomination battle with Sanders. And most blame him for the ugliness.
This is typical Bernie. He never absorbs new information that I can tell. Once he’s mind is made up on something–correct or incorrect–he appears to shut down. How on earth can anyone think that some one with that much of a closed, nonadaptive mind can be in an executive position where quick thinking on new information means life or death for large swaths of people at many points in time?
He’s totally uniformed about Banking and about Trade and those are his two signature issues. They’re his only freaking talking points and he sees no daylight between reality and the dark penances that reside only in his brain. Break up all big banks! Shutdown all trade agreements!
Now there’s this story. Sanders will leave New York to travel to–of all places--the Vatican where the world will be treated to a typical Bernie Rant/Lecture on “the moral economy”.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been invited to the Vatican on how to create “a moral economy,” he announced Friday morning.
“I was moved by the invitation, which was just made public today,” Sanders said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I’m a big, big fan of the Pope. Obviously there are areas where we disagree on—women’s rights or gay rights—but he has played an unbelievable role, an unbelievable role of injecting a moral consequence into the economy.”
The Washington Post reported Sanders will head to Rome after his debate against Hillary Clinton on April 14. He is scheduled to speak at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
If you think Sanders is radical, read Pope Francis on poverty, Sanders said.
“He’s trying to inject a sense of morality into how we do economics,” he said.
So, how many times have you ever heard of the Vatican or a Pope doing that kind of invitation to a gadfly Senator running for President while attacking the most likely future President? Yea, I didn’t think so. So, get this from the Vatican: “Sanders Accused of ‘Discourtesy’ in Seeking Vatican Invitation.”
A senior Vatican official accused Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders of showing a “monumental discourtesy” in his lobbying for an invitation to a church-sponsored conference on economic and environmental issues for political purposes.
Sanders, whose foreign policy experience is under attack by rival Hillary Clinton, on Friday said he was “very excited” about being invited to the meeting hosted by a pontifical academy. It will put him at the seat of the Roman Catholic Church just four days before the New York primary.
The head of the academy said Friday that Sanders sought the invitation and that put an inappropriate political cast on the gathering.
“Sanders made the first move, for the obvious reasons,” Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which is hosting the conference Sanders will attend, said in a telephone interview. “I think in a sense he may be going for the Catholic vote but this is not the Catholic vote and he should remember that and act accordingly — not that he will.”
Sanders’s travel to the Vatican following a debate with Clinton and just before the primary potentially injects into the Democratic nominating contest the agenda of Pope Francis, one of the most popular world leaders whose papacy is especially admired by the political progressives who play an outsized role in Democratic primaries. Archer’s response plays into criticism by Clinton of Sanders’s inexperience in diplomacy and dealing with foreign institutions, a central role of the U.S. president.
So, Bernie is now going to be an unwanted house guest who horned himself into an invitation. Not only will he be an unwanted house guest, he’ll be one that demanded a chance to finger wag at the world. Basically, the #Vatican now says #Bernie invited himself while Sanders says he was invited. They also characterized him as rude.
“Sanders cast a political shadow over a nonpolitical event by being pushy in requesting an invitation”
Only a huge ego with an overwhelming amount of gall can explain this kind of rude, ill-mannered and inconsiderate behavior. Who said that Trump was the only egomaniac in the race.
The only weirder event of the day was Bill Clinton’s exchange with BLM protesters in Philadelphia which came off directly opposed to Hillary’s position and will take tremendous ‘splaining. It seems his need to protect his legacy overwhelmed his concern for anything else including coming off as insensitive, racist and contrary to Hillary’s interests.
In a prolonged exchange Thursday afternoon, former President Bill Clinton forcefully defended his 1994 crime bill to Black Lives Matter protesters in the crowd at a Hillary Clinton campaign event.
He said the bill lowered the country’s crime rate, which benefited African-Americans, achieved bipartisan support, and diversified the police force. He then addressed a protester’s sign, saying:
“I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out onto the street to murder other African-American children,” Clinton said, addressing a protester who appeared to interrupt him repeatedly. “Maybe you thought they were good citizens …. You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter. Tell the truth. You are defending the people who cause young people to go out and take guns.”
The Clintons have faced criticism from BLM activists and younger black voters for months now over that bill, which they say put an unfairly high number of black Americans in prison for nonviolent offenses.
After a protester interrupted him repeatedly, Bill Clinton began to take on that critique directly, making the claim that his crime bill was being given a bad rap.
“Here’s what happened,” Clinton said. “Let’s just tell the whole story.”
“I had an assault weapons ban in it [the crime bill]. I had money for inner-city kids, for out of school activities. We had 110,000 police officers so we could keep people on the street, not in these military vehicles, and the police would look like the people they were policing. We did all that. And [Joe] Biden [then senator and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee] said, you can’t pass this bill, the Republicans will kill it, if you don’t put more sentencing in it.”
“I talked to a lot of African-American groups,” Clinton continued. “They thought black lives matter. They said take this bill, because our kids are being shot in the street by gangs. We have 13-year-old kids planning their own funerals.”
Throughout the spirited defense of his policy, Clinton continued to be interrupted, and he repeatedly seemed to single out one protester.
“She doesn’t wanna hear any of that,” Clinton said to the protester. “You know what else she doesn’t want to hear? Because of that bill, we have a 25-year low in crime, a 33-year low in murder rate. And because of that and the background check law, we had a 46-year low in the deaths of people by gun violence, and who do you think those lives were? That mattered? Whose lives were saved that mattered?”
For several minutes, the discussion of the crime bill, Clinton’s exchange with the protester and the crowd’s attempts to yell and chant over her were missing one thing: any mention of Hillary Clinton, the one Clinton running for president this election cycle.
Bill Clinton did finally address her. “Hillary didn’t vote for that bill, because she wasn’t in the Senate,” Clinton said. “She was spending her time trying to get health care for poor kids [referencing her advocacy for the Children’s Health Insurance Program]. Who were they? And their lives mattered. And her opponent [Bernie Sanders] did vote for it. But I don’t blame him either … There were enough Republicans in the Senate to kill this bill, and nobody wanted it to die. That’s what happened.”
“But she [Hillary Clinton] was the first candidate, the first one to say let’s get these people who did nonviolent offenses out of prison,” Clinton continued. “And guess what? A lot of Republicans agreed. They know they made a mistake.”
Still, Clinton continued for some time defending his own administration. Twitter blew up over the situation and it will undoubtedly be a topic of conversation for a few days.
Did I mention I really want New York City to put this entire thing to bed? We’ll be live blogging the New York City debate.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on Monday agreed to face off in a prime-time debate in Brooklyn, New York, on April 14, five days before the state’s crucial primary.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer will host the presidential forum, scheduled for 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern time at the Duggal Greenhouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The event will be CNN’s seventh time hosting a Republican or Democratic debate during this election cycle. The agreement put to rest days of public and private back-and-forth between the two campaigns about if and when a debate would take place before New Yorkers head to the polls April 19.
I promise I will have a huge Bronx Cheer for Bernie. I’m looking forward to him being hit on his undying love for gun manufacturers and his lack of knowledge on the actual workings of Dodd-Frank. Please New York! Send this man back to the most obscure part of Vermont possible. Join us!!!
One of the most interesting conspiracy theories I’m hearing discussed on TV is that the Republican establishment is getting behind Cruz because he can stop Donald from getting the magic number. They will then dump him unceremoniously by the second vote at the convention and turn to some one like Paul Ryan or possibly Mitt Romney. What are your thoughts on that?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Here’s a soundtrack for your afternoon coffee!!