For the past few weeks, I’ve been suffering from a bad case of what JJ calls “PAD” or “Political Affective Disorder.” I’ve been finding myself escaping into a haze of detective stories, Criminal Minds reruns, and video games. I’ve still kept up with the news–barely–but I haven’t felt much like writing about it. I feel discouraged about the fate of our nation and I’m paralyzed about my own personal future too.
Beginning in 1993, I focused most of my attention of getting the education I missed out on as a young woman after I left college after only two years. From 1993 to 2010, I lived the life of a full-time student–and I loved it! After I finally achieved my goal–a doctorate in psychology–I had no idea what to do next. I was near retirement age, and faced the reality that the best “job” I might be able to get in the current economic climate was as an adjunct professor with low pay and no benefits.
I had learned after 12 years of teaching that the kinds of teaching jobs I might be able to get wouldn’t allow me to experience the aspects of teaching that I truly enjoyed–working directly with students and leading class discussions–wouldn’t be available to me. Instead I’d be lecturing to classes of 150-200 students with little opportunity for class discussion or personal interaction. In addition, I had serious problems with grade inflation and the “customers are always right” attitude of the universities I had taught at.
I had fantasies of focusing on writing and research, and I thought that might be a realistic goal, but then my mentor died suddenly and shockingly, and I no longer had anyone in academia to turn to for advice or to help me negotiate the publishing process. I was already so exhausted by the effort to complete my dissertation and my father’s death in March of 2010, that I really felt the need to just do nothing for awhile.
I threw myself into blogging, because it gave me opportunities to write and express myself on a daily basis. I’ve always loved following politics and it has been great to connect with so many other people who have the same interests and obsessions. But lately the world of politics seems as paralyzed as I am in my own life. The Republican Party has managed to largely control the agenda despite the fact that they only control the House.
Right now, I have the ability to live on a very low income and still have a decent lifestyle. But the day is eventually going to come when I won’t have a free place to live. I’m also finding myself less satisfied with just recovering from the effort to finish my Ph.D. and the major losses of my father and my academic father figure–my mentor. What will my future look like? I seems wrong not to use the skills and knowledge I’ve gained over the years to give back in some way, no matter how small.
Well, I can’t solve all those problems today. But I can keep on keepin’ on and imagine ways things might change. You might call it, “The Audacity of Hope.” And that’s where Hillary comes in. More and more I see her as a model for survival, for achievement late in life, for looking at problems in new and productive ways. Could she really become the first woman president at approximately the same age I am? Could she be a better, more innovative leader than Barrack Obama has been? I want to take that leap of faith and believe in her ability to win the nomination and general election and succeed as president. I also want to believe that she and we can survive the Clinton hate that we’ll all have to go through to make it happen.
Suddenly Hillary is all over the news! Yesterday Dakinikat posted a link to the first major interview (at New York Magazine) Hillary has done since leaving the State Department. Yesterday I was feeling so apathetic that I didn’t even manage to read the whole thing. But I’ve promised myself I’m going to do that today. In the meantime, here are some crib sheets and reactions to the New York article:
From NBC News’ First Thoughts:
*** Clinton news — everywhere! If you wanted an idea of what the media landscape would look like the moment we get a clear indication if Hillary Clinton is running for president, we got a taste of it over the past 48 hours. Hillary Clinton gave her first private-citizen interview to a news organization; Bill Clinton is making news ahead of his Clinton Global Initiative meeting; and the New Republic runs a tough piece on Bill Clinton aide Doug Band. It’s a reminder of what comes with the Clintons — excitement, news and attention, and baggage. Now on to these individual stories…
*** “She’s running,” Hillary confidante tells New York magazine: In her first interview with a news organization since leaving her secretary of state post, Hillary Clinton certainly didn’t seem like someone who was shutting the door to a 2016 presidential bid. In fact, it was the opposite. When New York magazineasked if she wrestles with running, Clinton responded, “‘I do,’ she says, ‘but I’m both pragmatic and realistic. I think I have a pretty good idea of the political and governmental challenges that are facing our leaders, and I’ll do whatever I can from whatever position I find myself in to advocate for the values and the policies I think are right for the country. I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other.’” It’s a significant step that she’s decided to acknowledge publicly that she’s thinking about it. We may all think we know this and treat it as a given inside the Acela Corridor, but it’s still significant to read her SAYING it. But the article adds, “Some of her close confidants, including many people with whom her own staff put me in touch, are far less circumspect than she is. ‘She’s running, but she doesn’t know it yet,’ one such person put it to me. ‘It’s just like a force of history. It’s inexorable, it’s gravitational. I think she actually believes she has more say in it than she actually does.’” Other than sending signals that she’s running, the other unmistakable take away from the Hillary interview: She won’t be surrounding herself with a lot of the Bill alum, a la 2008. More Team Hillary, less Team Bill in 2016. Translation to nervous donors/supporters about a repeat of 2008: Mark Penn and other Bill veterans aren’t running this thing.
From The Daily Beast: Seven Juiciest Bits from Hillary Clinton’s New York Profile. Go read the whole thing, but I’ll excerpt the part I found most intriguing:
7. The future of Clintonworld now lies with Chelsea.
Of course, there’s a third person in the Clinton family: Chelsea, whose name has been added to the name of the foundation, making it the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Chelsea had tried out a number of careers before turning to the family business, first as a consultant at McKinsey & Co., then a hedge fund and a stint NBC. But not everyone at the foundation was happy about Chelsea’s sudden appearance and her decision to bring in an old McKinsey associate as CEO—and Bill eventually stepped out and defended his comrades, a move that hinted there might have been conflict between the three Clintons. “This is an operation that runs on its proximity to people,” one staffer said. “Now it’s three people. How does that work?”
But Hillary says Chelsea’s entrance is simply in her daughter’s DNA (a move that seemed especially true after Chelsea’s Daily Show appearance on Thursday night). Hillary said Chelsea, the family’s now-gatekeeper, “comes by it” at the foundation “naturally.” Ever the proud parents, Hillary said Chelsea is “an incredibly able—obviously I’m biased—but extremely well-organized, results-oriented person, so rather than joining a lot of other groups, on which she could pursue her interests, she thought, I want to be part of continuing to build something I have worked on off and on over the years, and I really believe in it. I was thrilled to hear that.”
A negative note from The Atlantic: Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign Is Already Haunted
Clinton-watchers have an abundance of bedtime reading options this Sunday with not one, but two long profiles aimed at a possible 2016 run for Hillary Clinton. In New York magazine, Clinton herself breaks a mini “press hiatus” to spend some time with Joe Hagan, who then digs into the extensive support system for the family dynasty. But it’s The New Republic’s profile of Doug Band, longtime advisor to Bill Clinton, that hints at one of the challenges Hillary will face in a 2016 campaign: the ghosts waiting in the wings from the Clintons’ long public life.
Band, writer Alec MacGillis explains, is “rarely written about, almost never quoted, and many Clinton associates are loath to discuss him on the record.” But lately, he’s emerged from under the Clinton umbrella to strike out on his own, leaving him more vulnerable to scrutiny. In the past few months, his name has popped up as something of an antagonist in stories of troubles at the family foundation. Even though Band declined to speak to MacGillis for his expansive profile, the piece connects some dots that could be unwelcome for Team Clinton: “the unease with Band reflects an unease with the phenomenon of post-presidential Clintonism itself,” he writes. That Clintonism angst, TNR’s piece posits, could extend to Hillary, albeit with few to no direct ties. Band’s role in the Clinton administration was as the body man, a presidential version of a personal assistant.
Taylor Marsh points out that Hillary is not Bill just because she’s married to him: Bill Clinton, Hillary, and a Bone Picking Exposé on Doug Band.
The fact is Hillary Clinton doesn’t have a trail to give us an idea what she’d do, let alone if she thinks similarly to her husband on economics. What we know about Hillary in matters commander in chief is that unlike where Bill started, she’s respected at the Pentagon, which is one reason a contingent of progressives will oppose her candidacy. People tried to hook NAFTA to her back during the 2008 season, which I debunked, because not even Carl Bernstein, someone who wrote a fairly tough book on Hillary, would allow that to go unremarked upon, throwing ice cold water on any notion she supported NAFTA, a free trade agreement that exemplifies neoliberalism.
Just because she’s Bill Clinton’s wife doesn’t mean her views are identical to him. You’d think Democratic activists and progressives would understand the insult of assuming Hillary would be just like Bill. Opposing NAFTA also doesn’t mean she won’t approve of other free trade deals. Of course, for many Iraq, then her role in Libya, now Syria, is enough to make her unsupportable.
The other issue is that to people inside the power structure who want to be in charge, pretending corporations aren’t part of politics is to lose your foothold on the ladder taking you upward. You can choose not to participate as a voter and activist, but anyone in the political food chain who wants to rise cannot. This is one of the immovable, unsolvable, implacable truths that create the catch-22 of American politics.
Anyone who wants to change the system can’t get access to power without using the system and by the time they rise within the system they’ve lost credibility with the voters who put them in office to fight the system. Once in the political stream that gives you access to the power as a politician, the corporations who run the world also control the political apparatus you need to get anything done. Thus instead of Barack Obama changing Washington it changed him, as it will anyone governing in the era of international globalization. It gets to the question of whether a person is strong enough to also exact their own pound of economic flesh so that the stacked deck for the wealthy against the middle class at some points starts evening out.
So we don’t talk about neoliberalism when it comes to Democrats, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, and a scorching investigation of Doug Band won’t change that fact, or that Hillary being married to Bill doesn’t tell us anything definitive about what she’d do if she ran for president and won.
John Dickerson at Slate via CBS News: Hillary Clinton: The long game.
Hillary Clinton, in her first interview after leaving the State Department, offered a wise metaphor about the current state of presidential election madness. “This election is more than three years away, and I just don’t think it’s good for the country,” she told New York magazine, referring to the fevered speculation about her possible candidacy. “It’s like when you meet somebody at a party and they look over your shoulder to see who else is there, and you want to talk to them about something that’s really important; in fact, maybe you came to the party to talk to that particular person, and they just want to know what’s next,” she says. “I feel like that’s our political process right now. I just don’t think it is good.”
Clinton knows what it’s like to be on both ends of that exchange. She was a political spouse; the shortsighted looked over her shoulder for many years, seeing her as merely an adjunct to her accomplished husband. Now, she is the person who draws every eye in the room–away from even her husband. (When someone says “Clinton”, it may not be long before a majority of people think of the former secretary of state and not the former president).
Read more at the link.
And finally articles on two important members of the Clinton orbit:
Soooooo . . . what’s your take on Hillary’s chances? How can we handle the CDS and the rampant misogyny we know she’ll face?
Of course this is an open thread, so feel free to post your links on any topic in the comments. I promise to click on every one!
Politico is out with a new “insider” piece on the Romney campaign by the usual suspects, Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei. They report that there has been a “family rebellion,” led by Ann Romney and articulated within the campaign by the Romneys’ eldest son Tagg.
According to Allen and Vandehei, Ann and Tagg have been fuming for months about how campaign aides–especially previous Politico-identified scapegoat Stuart Stevens–have forced Romney to avoid specifics about what he would do as president and instead focus on attacking President Obama’s economic policies.
Chief strategist Stuart Stevens — whom the family held responsible for allowing Romney’s personal side to be obscured by an anti-Obama economic message — has seen his once wide-ranging portfolio “fenced in” to mainly the debates, and the television advertising that is his primary expertise, according to campaign officials. Tagg Romney, channeling his mother’s wishes, is taking a much more active role in how the campaign is run.
The family rebellion, long building despite Mitt Romney’s initial reluctance to change, reached a climax in September, amid mounting evidence that the status quo was doomed to failure. The course correction came after internal polls showed him losing nearly every swing state and a loud chorus of second-guessing among prominent conservatives.
Allen and Vandehei claim that:
When the history of this campaign is written, the family intervention will be among the most important turning points in the Romney saga. Until the weeks before the first presidential debate, the candidate sided with Stevens over his family’s skepticism, accepting the strategist’s view that the best way to win was to point out President Barack Obama’s flaws and articulate generic promises to do better.
The campaign is hopeful that the new supposedly moderate Mitt can now reveal his “true self” with the support of the right wing Republican base which is now so thrilled over Romney’s debate performance that they’ll give him some leeway to be more like the Romney he was as Governor of Massachusetts.
Behind the scenes, the high command has changed with the candidate. Senior adviser Ed Gillespie, for instance, has rising responsibility for the campaign’s broad message. Campaign manager Matt Rhoades is commanding the stagecraft, the insiders said. And Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), originally brought in as Romney’s debate sparring partner, has become a close and trusted adviser.
But the biggest change in the ecology, according to the insiders, is the more assertive role of Tagg Romney, who has been “making sure that his father’s environment is such that he’s relaxed when he goes up to do things, and making sure that he’s not over-programmed, and is protected from the cacophony of advice,” a family friend said.
There’s just one problem with this new Politico narrative: Tagg Romney told the New York Daily News today that the Politico story is nonsense.
A recent POLITICO story quoted an unnamed family friend as saying Tagg Romney would be working behind the scenes at being “more assertive in making the organization work better, cleaning up some of the organizational dysfunction.”
But Tagg Romney said that’s simply not the case.
In fact, he said he hasn’t been to a strategy meeting in more than a year, and the last time his father specifically solicited his advice on a campaign issue was in considering his selection of a running mate.
“It sounds like a great story, but it’s not based in reality at all,” he said of the suggestion that he’d be the one to broker peace between warring factions inside Romneyland.
“I’ve never approached anyone about wanting to play that role. No one has approached me,” he said.
“This is not spin, the team really gets along well. There’s no internal squabbling or fighting for territory or turf.”
Tagg says, although he has been involved in fund raising and made campaign stops in support of his dad’s presidential bid, he’s just too busy with his own private equity firm and his six kids to get involved in the nut’s and bolts of the Romney organization in Boston.
I don’t know which of these stories is more accurate, but here are a few blog reactions to the Politico story.
Taylor Marsh bought the Allen-Vandehei version completely–she says it’s “the story of the fall campaign season.” I don’t read her daily, but based on this post, Marsh appears to have reverted to her old anti-Obama ways and seems to be almost rooting for a Romney win.
The man who was elected governor of Massachusetts was always going to be Mitt Romney’s strong suit in the general election. It’s why Eric Eric Fehrnstrom’s Etch-a-Sketch gaffe was so alarming. Wiping the slate clean from the hard right primary contortions that allowed Romney to win the nomination had to be the move they’d make at some point. Not finding it sooner will be the reason Romney loses if he doesn’t prevail.
Mitt Romney’s challenge was not only to seduce the Republican base and get the nomination, but to be able to shed the wingnuttery in the general and present himself as Governor Mitt when it mattered, the man closer to his core. A core founded in fundamentalist patriarchy moored in deep religiosity, which is different from wingnuttery.
Ann Romney saw him through the first task, but she and Tagg Romney saw that the second shift wasn’t happening and with it the man they believe can fix this country was losing his chance at history. So, they stepped in and the result is what we saw at the debate.
Love Romney or hate him, what the debate revealed was a man comfortable in his own skin for the first time in over a year. Was that the Romney rebellion manifest setting Mitt free? To Team Obama’s chagrin, just maybe, though it’s too soon to tell.
Apparently Marsh doesn’t know much about Romney’s record in Massachusetts. And she thinks Romney has a core!
Ed Kilgore is more skeptical.
Somewhat counter-intuitively, the Politico Pair argues that “the family” combined forces with restive conservatives wanting a “clear choice” message to topple the steady-as-you-go approach of Stevens. Here’s how they square that circle:
[O]ne big reason for hope inside the Romney campaign is that conservatives were so down on the campaign before the debate — and so rapturous during it — that they will give him a lot of maneuvering room to talk in more moderate ways.
As I’ve tried to demonstrate here and here, however, the Moderate Mitt Meme is mighty thin and based on an infrastructure of lies and evasions. Under sustained attack from the Obama campaign, how long is Romney going to be able to get mileage out of such brave defiance of the Right as admitting there might be some place in the world for regulation of business; how long can he get away with pretending his “health care plan” prevents discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions; how long can he brazen his way through the mendacious math of his tax plan, or avoid the many extremist positions that Obama did not bring up during the first debate? Remember, BTW, that the first time Romney (or Ryan) must engage seriously with criticism of his actual agenda, all that conservative tolerance for “moderation” will vanish.
That makes more sense to me, but I think TBogg’s take is my favorite so far: Gang Ann Style
Smug future-dowager queen Ann Romney is very sick and tired of You People not loving that man of hers like she loves that man of hers, so she and her gang of lying-ass sons, led by eldest crazy-eyed blank-shooter Tarkus, held down Romney campaign chief strategist (I know… I was surprised they had a “strategy” too) Stuart Stevens and cut off his
This had to be done because Mitt Romney, who has been sold to us as a decisive and brilliant businessman who SAVED THE OLYMPICS and made BILLIONS of dollars which he then stashed in off-shore tax havens, is actually just one of those goofy hapless bumbling dads (Homer) from the sitcoms who must be continually reined in by his adoring yet amusingly exasperated wife (Marge). Except, in this case, the role of the sensible mom with a heart of gold is played by Angela Landsbury from the Manchurian Candidate (without the oily style but with 70% more bitchface) and Mitt is dopey drunken empty-headed James Gregory.
Feel free to either discuss the Romney rebellion or use this as an open thread.
It’s not about towing the party line, Taylor. It’s about principles; democratic principles. Yes, yes, we know the Obamamites were threatening to take away your credentials to the DNC convention because you were too cozy with HIllary supporters. Yes, we know Hillary now ‘supports’ Obama, as she was told to do.
Some of us, however, have principles. Some of us vote not for the party label and not even for a single issue if there are bigger principles at stake –like democracy, justice, truth, and the American Way.
The American way is winning an election by getting the most votes when every voter counts as a voter. Justice is NOT taking your name off a ballot then having a group of party insiders give you pledged delegates from that state and taking away votes cast to another candidate for rhetorical voters. Truth is NOT going on and on and on about how unfit and unqualified one candidate is one minute, then switching to a completely different line seconds after a speech.
Democracy is NOT a decision made by party insiders. Democracy is election not selection.
There are some principles worth standing up for and worth doing things that may not be in your individual interest if it is in the interest of the country you love. For me, it’s not voting for Obama under ANY circumstances because of his character, his poor judgement, his continual storytelling, his lack of achievements, and the folks he chooses as counsel. Clear enough? I’m not selling my country out so I can attend the DNC convention or get an abortion in Louisiana instead of having to fly to New York City. No amount of gold can get me to sell out my principles. But then Taylor, I have them. I’m not sure you do.