Demo Thread

This a open thread on the Democratic Debate. I’ll start.

Slate has this thing called Instant Spin Room where they show case real-time tweets from the left and the right in something that looks like a two-wheel slot machine. One conservative tweeter named Noah Rothman tweeted the following:

“The gun debate, and Dem inflexibility, is a facet of the fact that the Dem party has been reduced to urban and coastal enclaves.”

I find this rather odd for a variety of reasons:

1. This feels like a statement that can easily be reversed to “The gun debate, and Rep inflexibility, is a facet of the fact that the Rep party has been reduced to rural and exurban areas.”

2. Don’t urban areas have lots of people and this is what helped the Democratic Party have significant electoral advantages in 2008 and 2012?

I believe that political parties are a natural part of any kind of representative government and that these parties are going to have ideologies. So I am not surprised that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party have different beliefs on gun rights and gun control. What does interest me is that Mr. Rothman seems to think either a few things:

A. The Democratic Party can be competitive in rural and exurban areas if they gave up on gun control. Evidence seems to suggest that this is not true. There have Democratic candidates in rural areas and states that tried to buck the national party on gun control. They still lose their elections usually;

and/or

B. Mr. Rothman thinks that is more worthy and/or virtuous to recruit non-urban and non-coastal voters. This is odd because Mr. Rothman appears to have grown up and been educated in New Jersey and possibly still lives in New Jersey. Last I checked, New Jersey was a coastal and significantly urban and inner-ring suburban state.

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102 thoughts on “Demo Thread

  1. I think it is B. Or some version of B. I don’t know Rothman at all so I can’t speak to what he feels, but I think the right has done a good job of shaping a narrative wherein rural and exurban America is “real” America and urban America is just a bunch of coastal elites. This is where maps failing to show population density is an issue. If you look at voting patterns by county, the vast majority of America looks red and it is really easy to look at that and think, “Jesus, America is a red country and these GD liberals in NY and California are somehow ruling us.” That’s false, obviously. But it plays into that narrative.

    Was it Michael Drew or Michael Cain or someone around here who used to do those super cool maps that adjusted the size of states/counties/districts based on population or other metrics so that graphic representations didn’t make it look like massive deserts or uninhabited mountain ranges were part of “red America”.

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  2. A good night for Hillary (I am Hillary biased, full disclosure). A perfectly decent night for Bernie. A strikeout for the other candidates.

    The Non-Hillary Non-Bernie candidates needed a knockout performance to catapult them up in standing like it did for Fiorina in the GOP debate. I didn’t see anything approaching that. They’re only running embers of campaigns and this ain’t gonna help them.

    Bernie’s solid defense of the email issue was an impressive gift to Clinton and almost made him sound like he’s angling for the Veep nod. He also generally avoided attacking her as he’d indicated he would. I am impressed and I think well of him for it but I don’t see him performing so well on his own that he can unseat her. His name recognition should get a boost and his standing in the party should be good but I just don’t see anything to drag him into genuine challenger position.

    Hillary had no screw ups, she answered the expected gotchas pretty solidly and got to jump in and defend “capitalism” against Bernie’s convenient socialist foil. That’s good yeowomans’ work for the general and won’t hurt her a jot in the primary. No home runs in my opinion but she also doesn’t need home runs; she just needed to seem solid and she did. Bonus points she asserted she’s a fighter which is what the base is looking for. It could be my biases speaking but I don’t think this debate did her any harm and may have done her some good.

    The contrast with the GOP seemed stark to me. A lot of policy talk, not anywhere near as much meaningless idiocy. As a Dem partisan I’m mighty pleased about that.

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  3. This is odd because Mr. Rothman appears to have grown up and been educated in New Jersey and possibly still lives in New Jersey.

    I’m not certain what I should do with this data. Should I conclude that it means he knows what he’s talking about or should I conclude that he’s obviously too close to the subject?

    As for the debate itself, what are everyone’s thoughts? (I’m a million miles away with intermittent connectivity. Yes, it’s a very rich country. The Radisson still doesn’t have decent internet.)

    Is Hillary holding her own? Is she shining? Is she clanking?

    Is Bernie looking good?

    Is um the other guy? The white guy? Is he looking good?

    Is the debate boisterous? Is it dull? Is anyone going to walk away saying “I learned something I didn’t know?”

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    • On the other hand, Daniel McCarthy at the American Conservative tweeted that it is bad that Webb and Chaffee were up with the Democratic Party because they should be GOP votes. McCarthy also found there was more diversity in Democratic answers than the GOP debate and all of this proved an exodus from the GOP.

      So cognitive bias is interesting, I guess.

      General consensus is that HRC and Sanders did pretty well with only the biggest parisans for both declaring a clear victory for their preferred candidate. Chait wrote something hackish for HRC.

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          • Look I know lefty Uncle Bernie makes us all happy to be Liberals but I’m not convinced he’s a serious contender for President and a large majority of the party doesn’t either so I don’t consider that a particularly bad dig against him. Considering how badly we’d be mauled in the general if we nominated him that strikes me as a good thing and yes Hillary did look like the only one I could seriously imagine throwing down in the general so it sounds like a coherent observation to me.

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            • I have a sneaking suspicion that not only does Bernie agree with you that he’s general-ly unelectable, I don’t think he even wants, at least initially anyway, to win the presidency. I mean, he wouldn’t turn it down if it came his way, and he’d play ball to win if he won the primary, but really he’s just trying to get a message out there and do his part to turn Democratic politics back to the left a bit. (And make politics a bit nicer along the way. {hugs!})

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        • I was mainly thinking of his digs against Sanders like the co-op President line. I generally like Chait but he can be very wrong about things like school reform.

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        • I don’t know if it’s hackery, but it’s clearly wrong. The entire Bush clan is famous for their rhetorical fumbles.

          Hillary is an uneven communicator (and adopts weird bizarre verbal tics from time), but when she’s in ‘tough but genial grandma mode’ as someone described it, she’s a better speaker than the GOP contenders save Huckabee, Fiorina, and sometimes Rubio.

          (n.b. being a good stump speaker is independent of the veracity/bullshit ratio of the content of the speech)

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        • Really, calling her a mediocre communicator who might be outspeechified by Jeb! counts as hackery these days?

          Not hackery. More like, only true if they campaign on their favorite chip-dip recipes. That’s when Jeb’s rhetoric really soars.

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    • I’m with Chait.

      Sanders limited his mass appeal with the gun answers (with O’Malley getting the major dagger in, and looking much veepier than anyone else on stage) and was bizarrely unwilling to engage Clinton on financial reform. He also looked quite old at times.

      Clinton ate it up, was the only one focusing on the general election, and sounded extremely presidential. That said, props to Bernie for his answer on Hillary-email-gate.

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    • Hillary held her own. She didn’t exactly shine but let’s say she glowed a bit.

      Bernie looked okay. He had tone issues, kind of sounded like he was shouting out every word he said. By and large he refused to directly attack Clinton. He also turned in a strong defense of the email issue and probably the most memorable line of the night.

      O’mally seemed to be trying to cuddle up. The alsorans flailed.

      This does not shake up the field and Hillary has a commanding lead in general so a push debate = a Hillary win.

      The debate was rather policy rich and entertainment poor as compared to the GOP debate. There was relatively little acrimony and very little to make the different camps supporters bitter or discouraged once the winner wins. So over all the big winner of the debate was the Democratic Party.

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  4. We should have a hashtag on Twitter for the next debate. Would love to see what the OT crowd is thinking beat to beat. My simplistic take:

    Clinton: Very strong, controlling
    Sanders: Good, but spotty
    OMalley: Good but overall unimpressive
    Webb: Fine, good to see, but weird
    Other guy: other guy

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        • By the strict definitions I’d say you’re right though the way he talks suggests that he means to say he’s a social democrat since he holds up the Nordics nations as a model and there’s nothing particularly Socialist about them.

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          • Tell that to the average GOP house member and conservative blogger. They all seem to think the slightest bit of regulation as a step towards the resurrection of Lenin.

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        • Not really- democracy is inherently coercive.

          Since property rights and individual autonomy are preexisting to the state, undemocracy is actually the most liberating form of governance.

          Or so I’ve heard.

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      • Very few people are real socialists these days outside some academics and activists. Most people basically accept that the majority of business is going to be under private control. Even during the height of post-war social democracy, the socialist parties of Europe tended to abandon actual socialism in favor of regulated market economics. The British Labour Party was the last mainstream socialist party to do so.

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      • To be fair a lot of right-wingers don’t either because they seem to think even the smallest level of a welfare state and regulation=SOCIALISM.

        Of course, that’s a gross mischaracterization. Government spending in the US is about 35% of GDP, roughly twice what it is in Hong Kong and Singapore. Even if we throw out military spending, it’s still about 30%. There are reams of regulation on just about any kind of economic activity you might want to undertake. To characterize this—or for that matter any level of government taxing, spending, and regulation within the American Overton window—as “the smallest level of a welfare state and regulation” is…somewhat less than accurate.

        Meanwhile, those of us who suggest that any of this be rolled back even moderately, or even that the some new spending program or regulation might not be a great idea, inevitably have to contend with some yahoo telling us we should just move to Somalia.

        If Sanders doesn’t want people to think he’s literally a socialist, he should stop calling himself a socialist. Socialism is government control of the means of production, and it has an awful, awful track record. If he chooses to label himself with that term without bothering to learn its meaning, that’s on him.

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        • “There are reams of regulation on just about any kind of economic activity you might want to undertake.”

          the vast majority of which is state and local. Really, opening a restaurant or an ad agency requires a FEIN and not much else from any federal agency.

          The rest is largely the EPA (don’t poison your fellow Americans), OHSA (don’t kill your fellow Americans), and IRS (pay your taxes.)

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          • OHSA (don’t kill your fellow Americans)

            OSHA does far more than that, I retailer will be in violation of OSHA regulations if they take Windex off that shelf instead an OSHA approved glass cleaner with an MSDS.

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            • OSHA isn’t really a good argument for pro-state or pro-federal arguments, because the reality is that it’s not quite either. It’s a federal program where each individual state has wide latitude in terms of both regulation and enforcement.

              Oregon OSHA and the OSHA for somewhere like, say, Michigan, Texas or New York are not remotely similar.

              That being said, Dand is correct that while OSHA should be credited for reducing worker deaths in the US over time, even OSHA inspectors admit pretty freely that a lot of the agency’s regulations are cumbersome, confusing, and do nothing to make the workplace safer.

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        • If Sanders doesn’t want people to think he’s literally a socialist, he should stop calling himself a socialist.

          You know (and I mean you *know* this!) that the terms which comprise the “politically useful” portion of the lexicon have no fixed meanings. They’re handy shortcuts referring to something out there in the world at best, and direct appeals to emotional content at worst. (Hence, the recent transmutation in meaning of “conservative” from … whatever it was before … to effectively “the opposite of what liberals believe, updated daily”.)

          It’s one thing to note that political terminology deviates from precise technical definitions, but another to criticize politicians for using those terms in ways that are conventionally agreed upon. And as it stands, folks in America call Scandinavian countries “socialist”, even tho by your own definition they aren’t. (But aren’t they sorta socialist, tho?)

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          • I’m actually with Berg on this one. Sanders clearly DOES want people to think of him as a socialist, which is why he is not a member of the democratic party.

            It’s also why he has been (fairly!) perceived as an issue-candidate targeting the overton window rather than the white house.

            Now, Sanders’ socialism isn’t lets-kill-all-the-farmers communism as practiced in USSR/China, but its an intentional decision that Sanders made and I don’t see why we should pretend that he’s really a run-of-the-mill Democrat.

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            • nevermoor,

              I shoulda probably included the rest of BB’s comment in the initial post:

              Socialism is government control of the means of production, and it has an awful, awful track record. If he chooses to label himself with that term without bothering to learn its meaning, that’s on him.

              For starters, Sanders is clearly not identifying as the type of socialist which BB is referring to. For seconders, I think it’s presumptuous of BB to assume that Sanders doesn’t know the technical meaning of the term or the commonly known history associated with it. He (Sanders) has clearly articulated what he means by the term “democratic socialist”, and that use – it seems to me! – doesn’t deviate from the conventionally accepted terms people use to refer to Scandinavian-type social and economic policies.

              So, in my mind, the question of whether or not Sanders wants to be identified as a socialist isn’t interesting (cuz he selfidentifies as one!). The interesting question – or what I thought was the interesting question, anyway – was whether by so identifying he could be referring to a system of government which is distinguishable from the nazzies or the Soviets. Seems to me the answer is pretty obvious.

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              • Do you disagree with that definition? Berg seems to have dictionaries on his side…

                And Sanders is clearly NOT presenting himself as a capitalist. Explicitly not. So I’m not sure what else he would mean. This does not, of course, make him a Marxist, Maoist, or Nazi. It does make him very different from most democrats, in a way I find unappealing as a liberal democrat.

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                • Since, as you say, he isn’t a strict marxist or maoist, applying that definition to him makes no sense. To me, at least.

                  Is there no middle ground he’s trying to carve out with the use of that term? Is there a meaning of the term other than the strict definition?

                  I don’t see why the answer to both cannot be “yes”.

                  Adding: if I were to say that you don’t understand the gravity of this situation am I using language inappropriately because I’m not referring to the deformations mass causes in space-time?

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        • You are asserting the “Fiscal Conservative” argument, that the conservative movement merely wants to trim government spending.

          I don’t believe this is even remotely true.

          Because even looking at your argument, comparing us to places like Singapore, we see that Singapore has a socialized health care system, and a nanny state with a level of regulation equal to the US, just in different areas.

          So if we were to embrace your argument, and convert the US government to a Singaporean model, would conservatives rejoice? Not hardly.

          The conservative movement, e.g. Paul Ryan/ Ted Cruz et al., doesn’t want to trim all of government. They loudly call for more government spending on things like police and the military and only the most radical call for cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

          Out of all the thousands of governmental programs, which ones do they want to cut? All of them, Katie? NOPE.

          I mean, really- does anyone go to CPAC and talk about cutting the Coast Guard? The FAA? National Parks Service? GAA, NOAA, Smithsonian?

          Hell no.
          What they want to cut, what really fires up the base, what they toss out as red meat on stump speeches, are just two programs. TANF and SNAP, SNAP and TANF. And now, Planned Parenthood.

          IOW, the smallest tiniest sliver of a fraction of a percentage of the federal budget, of that 35% Leviathan that you reference, is what “fiscal conservatives” want to cut.

          This isn’t anything resembling fiscal conservativsm- this is culture war masquerading as bland objective concern.

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          • Exactly, with respect to Singapore. In the US and Western Europe, the governments collect taxes and pay benefits (medical care, housing support, public pension). In Singapore, the government mandates setting aside money for those things in “savings accounts”, the contents of which can only be spent on the corresponding benefit (medical care, housing, retirement). The government guarantees a minimum return on the savings. The government guarantees floors under the outcomes, making up the difference when the account is insufficient.

            It’s an accounting fiction. In addition to taxes, Singaporeans may have 30% or so of their paycheck withheld in the form of government-mandated savings for medical care, pension, and housing.

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          • National Parks Service?

            Forest Service, though. A few years back Rep. Ryan had a small revolt on his hands when the Budget Committee proposed nearly wiping out the FS fire-fighting budget. The Republicans from the western states with huge federal FS holdings marched in and said (in no uncertain terms, from what I read) that they wouldn’t vote for a budget that did that. At the time, the Budget Committee included either one or zero Republicans from western states. Interestingly, one of the Freedom Caucus’s demands is greater geographical representation on the big, powerful committees.

            Shortly after that episode, the Western Governors Association put a more serious discussion of a state-funded regional tanker fleet on its agenda, and Colorado’s state government fairly abruptly started setting aside money for a small Colorado fleet. California has had its own modest fleet for years.

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          • You’re making my point for me, namely that:

            1) Even Singapore/Hong Kong levels of spending are greater than what constitutes a minimal welfare state.

            2) Most conservatives don’t actually object to minimal levels of welfare spending.

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          • I didn’t say any of that; I was objecting to the claim that all OSHA did was prevent employees from being killed on the job, I don’t doubt that OSHA has helped in that regard but they also do a lot of stuff that places needless burdens of business in order to justify their own existence. If OSHA is expanded like Erik Loomis at LGM wants it will lead to mom and pop convenience stores getting fined for cleaning their windows with windex without an MSDS or three person offices getting fined for not having OSHA approved chairs.

            On the rest of your post, in the rural west conservatives complain about the BLM and USFWS all the time.

            I think

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            • You referenced fiscal conservatism, which is like a Pavlovian trigger for me.

              The idea of a government living within its means and balancing its budget is what attracted me to conservatism in the 1970s, and why I remained loyal long past the date when I should have realized it was all a con, and why I have no greater contempt for any part of the conservative project than “fiscal conservatism”.

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            • As I was the one who made the OSHA comment, let me be clear that it was drive-by snark, in response to the comment that “There are reams of regulation on just about any kind of economic activity you might want to undertake.”

              I just don’t think that’s true. Having spent a big chunk of my legal career in regulatory compliance, I think that the complaints of business owners are grossly disproportionate to the burdens they actually have to endure.

              Yes, there is always room for better / smarter / easier regulation. But good regulation is a lot like infrastructure maintenance; you only know that you’ve done too little when disaster hits. And since people like clean water / safe workplaces / disability access …, finding the appropriate balance between ease of compliance and danger to the public is not obvious.

              So, fellow commenters, the next time you’re inclined to bemoan the regulatory burden imposed on American capitalists, please be clear. What burdens? Why should they be lifted? What risks are you willing to impose on workers, consumers and third parties?

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  5. Everybody is mistating the practical effect of Glass Stegal repeal on the financial crisis. Bear Sterns and then Lehman were pure investment banks, and if AIG had a commercial bank component, it was tiny compared to its investment and insurance biz.

    The crisis was ameliorated by the forced marriage of all the remaining bog investment houses with all the big commercial banks. Something that Glass Stegal would have never allowed.

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    • I’d be interested in you fleshing this out.

      My initial reaction: the recession wasn’t caused by AIG failing. It was caused by hundreds of billions of dollars of RMBS and other poorly understood securities becoming completely toxic overnight. And those securities were often issued by banks (WaMu, BNY, BOA, Wells, etc) and almost always serviced by the same group of banks. So while many banks did not fail (but some did, like WaMu), the fact that banks were able to participate really pushed the RMBS growth curve, creating so much demand that the suppliers had both the incentive and the opportunity to be comically unscrupulous.

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      • My take is that instead of one big shitpile, one would have had at least two different shitpiles (perhaps smaller in aggregate, perhaps not).

        The re-accumulated global capital in the wake of the dot-com bubble collapse was going to go somewhere. Even if commercial banks and investment banks would have each stayed in their lanes, collateralize mortgage debt would have still been a thing (that’s the whole point of Freddie and Fannie). Plus, at some level, rich schmucks would have been able to pierce the firewalls, because nobody should give any assumptions of regulatory aggressiveness on the part of the Bush administration (with the exception of Shelia Blair).

        The real estate bubble still would have built, along with the commodities bubble (which everyone kind of forgets was also going on in the late-mid 00’s), until at some point one or both would have burst. Commercial banks would have still taken a big hit with mortgage defaults (S&L redux), and investment banks leveraging the Yen carry trade as they did most of the decade would have also felt the impact. (Enron redux).

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        • I guess I don’t see it quite the same way.

          A RMBS is actually not a terrible investment vehicle in and of itself. Mortgage interest rates ARE high, and preferred access IS safe (hell, it took a lot of years into an unprecedented recession before some of the AAA tranches stopped getting full payments; IIRC some never stopped; of course, the resale value dropped precipitously and ratings dropped, forcing sell-offs).

          The problem is that when it goes from a niche security to one that overwhelms everything so much that originators can’t find qualified buyers (and therefore invent them), and generates so much cash that S&P/Moody’s race each other to see who can sell out most completely, you have a big problem. Hard to see that happening without the country’s biggest banks sucking on the straw.

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  6. Full disclosure: I did not watch or listen to the debate. (I watched the Mets instead, with the debate periodically showing up in my Twitter feed.)

    Re: Rothman’s point. I can’t speak for him, but I see some subtext:

    1. Republicans are often accused of having become the “regional” party, left only in the south. This is a little bit of turning conventional wisdom on its head. Both parties have become narrower and deeper, it seems to me.
    2. The Republican coalition is probably weaker for presidential elections, but it is much stronger for the Senate and House. The Senate is a natural gerrymander, and Democratic voters are in high-density areas, making them easier to pack into single districts. It may not be more virtuous to recruit those voters, but it is more useful for Senate or House races.

    Two pieces I’m pulling from on this: one is from Sean Trende, and one is from Ross Douthat.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/05/01/why_is_hillary_running_left_126447.html
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/choosing-our-coalitions/

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  7. You pull one candidate from the South, and you think you’re still talking guns?
    Look at Montana. Look at the Udalls, in general. Hell, look at Webb.

    There are places where a decent democratic candidate needs to basically say “guns are good”. (or at least needed to). North Dakota, places like that. West Virginia, maybe even.

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  8. People forget that we know Clinton — folks may not think she’s 100% trustworthy, but she’s at her best when she’s fighting. That’s a truly authentic side of her (by no means the only one), and it shines through strongly in debates.

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    • Her record of fighting is not all that good, though. She came into the first lady position with an idea of doing it differently, retreated mildly over the cookie bruhaha, then completely abandoned the concept when health care reform collapsed. She stood by her man with quiet dignity when Monicaghazi happened instead of fighting – which was the obvious correct decision poltically. She parlayed that into a Senate run where there wasn’t a fight for the nomination and her general election was against Rick Lazio instead of the then formidable Giuliani. She didn’t have to fight for reelection to the Senate. The first elected office where she actually had a contested election, she lost to Obama. Last, this particular nomination fight isn’t particularly arduous, (though meeting and exceeding expectations in last night’s debate was essential for the coronation), and there’s a 50/50 chance that her general election opponent will be the worst major party nominee choice since either McGovern or Goldwater.

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      • Fighting for common ground may be one of the hardest fights to win, and she’s done it repeatedly, in Ireland and stateside. She worked in the Senate, and did a fine job fitting in (which most were surprised at, as they expected a bit of a prima donna).

        “She stood by her man with quiet dignity” — if you count this as forged connections with most of his political opponents, through going to prayer meetings and other things…

        I’ll deduct lot of points for her 2008 election run, because she deserves to lose them, but mostly for putting loyalty over competence.

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  9. I’m kind of coming around to a very different viewpoint on 2016.

    For one thing, maybe Trump might be a better choice than the rest. At least he doesn’t think that God’s on his side and so whatever he does is right (because, otherwise, God wouldn’t “move” him to do that thing.)

    I would happily vote for Sanders over pretty much any of the current Republican candidates, though. I think that Clinton is very interested in Being In Charge–and, to her credit, she honestly believes that things would be better that way. But her method of problem-solving appears to be standard-issue bureaucrat; “okay, people, give me a list of all the problems. I will go away and think about them, and then present you with the solutions you will implement. As I am a smart person who has thought hard, I can assure you that these solutions will be the best ones–IF implemented PROPERLY and with FULL COMMITTMENT.” (Remember what I said earlier about Republican candidates thinking that whatever they do is right because God’s on their side? Replace “God” with “Her Own Smart Brain” and that’s my impression of Clinton.)

    Sanders, if nothing else, appears to be thinking more about what people actually imagine America to be like. Amusingly, he’s just about the only candidate who is actually committed to the notion of ensuring equality of opportunity; the Republicans are taking the typical (and, to be fair, philosophically justifiable) attitude of “just let everyone do whatever and things will sort themselves out”. Sanders is saying “this has gone too far for the system to correct itself back to where we want, we’re in a spin and we need to break out of it”. (a spin is actually a stable flight condition; if you take your hands off the controls of a spinning aircraft it will keep spinning, it won’t straighten out.)

    That said, I don’t know if President is actually the best role for Sanders. The President sets attitude and direction, but the actual implementation of policy is done by Congress and it doesn’t always go the way the President wants (as Barack Obama famously found out with the ACA.) If I were Clinton I’d say “look, the President of the United States actually does more to define how the USA interacts with the rest of the world than they do domestically, and that was basically my whole job as Secretary of State; I have direct experience in the kind of things I’d mostly be doing as President. Senator Sanders is clearly committed to the welfare of American citizens, but the best way for him to ensure that is in Congress where he can sponsor and vote on legislation that directly affects them in ways the President is Constitutionally prevented from doing.”

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    • You do realize when Bernie says that Wall Street regulates Congress, he’s not talking about himself?

      … that should give you an indication of how important he is, as a Senator from Vermont.

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    • To me the president serves two purposes: appointing Supreme Court justices and either starting or not starting wars, as these are the two things that most presidents do that have the longest lasting impact. Of course, they may do a couple other things with lasting impact, e.g., health care reform or lax enforcement of financial regulation, but they will definitely either start or not start wars and appoint justices. On war, the Republicans and Democrats are both bad, though Iraq and Afghanistan far outweigh any other military action in my lifetime. When it comes to justices, for me there are only Democrats. I generally don’t vote for them, because I live in a state that won’t be close, but when it comes down to it, I hope that they beat the Republicans almost entirely because of the justices, and I’m not sure how Sanders or Clinton would be different in terms of justices they’d appoint. I imagine perhaps Sanders would look more at how hard they’ve been on corporations? On white collar criminals? I dunno.

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  10. I have a vaguely-related confession to make: A couple of months ago I did a double-take when Bernie Sanders said something about his grandchildren. All that time I had had him mixed up with Barney Frank.

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