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Hillary Clinton Settles Her Accounts

Ordinarily, I don’t know how much it matters whether you read a book or listen to the audiobook version. Intuitively, it seems like reading would be better, but retention doesn’t seem worse with audio. In the case of Hillary Clinton’s What Happened, there is actually quite a bit to be gained from the audiobook. You can hear things in her voice that are harder to parse in text form. The downside is that it’s harder for me to reference quotes and sections – apart from chapters, which Audible helps me with – and so, as book reviews go, this will be lacking in specifics.

I embarked on this book in part to better get to know this woman that I voted for but never really liked. As I mentioned after I got through Shattered, I tend to be a pretty sympathetic reader. You can give me a book about anybody and I will immerse myself in their story and, unless the author really makes an effort to prevent it, like them on some level. I expected the same would be true here, with a woman that I never really liked but ultimately ended up voting for. That didn’t quite happen, though it didn’t not happen, either.

Much of the focus of the attention surrounding the book is whether she “takes responsibility” for her loss or not. At times I am uncertain as to what exactly that means. Admit that she played a starring role in her own loss and that she made mistakes? She sort of does that. Pretend that all of the mistakes are hers? She definitely doesn’t do that. Nor is there much reason for her to actually do so. I certainly wasn’t expecting it. I don’t even know what it would look like, given all that has been said and done. And it ultimately wouldn’t be true. I’m not sure what would be gained by her doing so, other than signalling to Democrats that maybe when everybody outside of the party says a candidate is bad you should listen, even if you don’t agree with that assessment. That – which probably wouldn’t be received anyway – would pale in comparison to the fact that it would let a lot of other people off the hook.

The two primary culprits are Vladimir Putin and Jim Comey. She has quite a bit of ammunition to direct at each of them. However, if you were following the election, there wasn’t a whole lot of new information there. Nor does she do an exceptionally good job of juxtaposing the facts to create a great narrative. She doesn’t do an especially bad job, either, but the book bounces around a lot. If I wanted to know where the part is that she said that thing about Putin, there are four different places I’d have to look and three or so for Comey. She does do a pretty good job of differentiating between the things that kept it close and the things that “lost” it for her, which is something too few accounts of the elections do. I’m not going to rehash everything she said about Comey and Putin because almost none of it is new, which was a problem for the book.

Running a strong third in the Hierarchy of Blame is the media. This ties into both Comey and Putin and their coverage of each. It’s also a very broad complaint about how she has been treated since the beginning. And lastly, it’s about how they let Trump manipulate them throughout the course of the election. She presents a really strong case. The case is so strong that it remains strong even as you consider who is making it. She avoids peering too closely at why the issue of her emails proved as damaging as it did, but there are plenty of grounds for the media to self-reflect, and I have seen more self-reflection since the book’s release than I had seen in all of the post-election months prior.

A distant fourth, she blames Bernie, his supporters, and people who didn’t vote. They’re all “fourth” because they’re treated as one gelatinous blob. On some level, it’s those people that seemed to get the most under her skin. It’s also there where her outbound missiles are most misguided. It was her job to win over those voters and get them to the polls. She didn’t do it. And Bernie? Bernie mostly just ran against her and did so with unusual gentleness, for the most part. If your path to victory depends on other politicians foregoing their ambitions, it’s a bad plan. Her criticism and frustrations with his lack of specificity (seven-minute abs, ponies for everybody) are not invalid, but more personal than really pertinent.

One of the areas where listening to the audiobook enhanced the consumption experience is when she was talking about her Goldman Sachs money. On paper, she argues that she handled that poorly, but her voice seethes with contempt for the voters to whom it mattered. You can tell from the tone of her voice that her “mistake” was believing that voters weren’t morons who would credit her the good faith which she earned through her impeccable integrity.

That was the first of many places where she “takes responsibility” in ways that are not remotely taking responsibility. She absolutely demolishes the argument that she said anything substantively wrong (or just wrong at all) with her “coal miners” comment. Then she accepts responsibility for her phrasing. But everything she said was on the up-and-up. She had thoroughly convinced me of that in the proceeding ten minutes. She’s taking responsibility just so the reader (or listener) can say “But no, it’s not your fault.” And it wasn’t – at least, not for poor word choice. It was basically an admission like some offers of resignation: extended explicitly to be rejected. The areas where mistakes were actually made, real or optical, she doesn’t admit error (except in the Wall Street way).

She also pulls a really neat trick where she talks about how we could blame bad messaging or overreliance on poor data, but ultimately she accepts responsibility. This is a neat trick because it sounds like she’s taking responsibility while the sentence is actually devoted to distancing her responsibility for two of the things that she was, ultimately, responsible for: messaging and use of data analysis. The other ways she admits that she contributed to her own loss was her refusal to be a demagogue and caring too much about the children of Flint. It’s very much along the lines of “You ask for my biggest weakness as an employee, sir? I would say it’s that I just care too much.”

Ultimately, I don’t care that she “didn’t accept responsibility” for the loss. There’s not much percentage in it now. Many of the errors she made, I made right along with her. But giving the appearance of accepting it while dodging it became grating. When it came to her deplorables comment, she expressed no regret as she clarified what she meant. She clearly believed that the impromptu meeting between her husband and Lynch was not the least bit inappropriate. Her only mistake with the pneumonia was giving in to her immense work ethic (“My biggest weakness is that I try too hard.”) No regrets. I actually found that less aggravating than the blame jujitsu found elsewhere.

Clinton was at her strongest when she was talking about the gender dynamics of her campaign, which to be blunt was not a section of the book I thought I would like. The best part was her early experiences in Arkansas as a female lawyer and later as the First Lady. It’s easy to forget how much progress was made just over the span of her lifetime. She also did a really good job on the more contemporary struggles, outlining the difference between sexism and misogyny really well and managing to avoid offering too much condemnation or absolution of men (and women). Her Panda Principle (the public wanting to know about trivial personal details in the life of candidates) certainly held for me as I found the personal touches to be more interesting. And I like that she made a point around “Believe it or not, it actually kind of hurts when people call you the anti-christ” and that it’s not actually okay just because they don’t mean it.

While the book was personal in parts, and about the campaign in parts, it was for the most part lacking the personal touch. That may be why I didn’t come out of it as sympathetic to her as I expected. When I was on chapter 30 or so, I looked at the progress bar and saw that I was less than a third of the way through the book. I couldn’t believe it. Not because it had been bad – up to that point, a solid B+ – but because I wasn’t sure how much there was to say. Then went on for about two hours on the importance of gun control, and I had a bad feeling about where we were going to go from here. Policy sermon after policy sermon, ideological admonition after ideological admonition, intermixed with reasons that others were to blame for the loss. The middle section included a fair amount about Russia/Comey.. Little of it was really meant to persuade, and I wasn’t its target audience. It was, to be honest, pretty miserable. Even if I had agreed with more of it, most of the arguments weren’t interesting or novel. I did like hearing her point to Russia as – to use the words of a different candidate – “our #1 geopolitical rival,” and her interest in the Rise of the Robots and universal income was interesting, but that’s really all the middle section had to offer.

In the third section, where she began to wrap everything up, her ruminations on Bowling Alone and its ramifications were right up my alley. She talked more of the election and her experiences on election day, which had a rubberneck appeal. She also surprised me by giving one of the best accounts of (non-deplorable) voters I’ve heard to date. She managed to avoid falling too hard into either specific narrative about whether it’s racism or economic anxiety and explained how, in her view, it’s the two feeding into one another. Though she didn’t specifically draw the connection, her earlier discussions on the differences between misogyny and sexism helped here. The deplorables were the equivalent of misogynists whose motivation is a disdain for women (or, here, minorities) and sexists whose are guided by societal norms and expectations in ways that lead them to devalue women (or, in this case, be suspicious and display some degree of hostility towards minorities) when they feel threatened. It was both sympathetic and unsympathetic. She is in the camp that doesn’t want to write all of them off, but also pointed out that even in the most sympathetic light even those that weren’t guided by racism and sexism were willing to tolerate it along the way.

Unless you just can’t get enough of Clinton, I can’t really recommend the book as a whole. It might, however, be worth getting from the library, and reading the first 33 (1-33) chapters and last 28 (70-97). The rest of it reminded me of attending a couple classes in college where I knew 90% of the material and staying tuned to get the additional 10% was really hard and, ultimately, not worth the effort. It felt like it was never going to end. It’s one thing to get all of this from someone who is angling to run for president (which she is not), but it is less interesting as an exit interview.

In the end, she is who she is and that is who we’ve known her to be. There aren’t many surprises and there isn’t a completely different side to her. I’m sorry that Trump is president, but still not sorry that she isn’t. The part about the struggles she faced as a woman really did resonate me and in a way actually made me feel better about my decision to vote for her, which was a decision I’d been questioning since the election.

One of the more immediately important takeaways from this book is that I am convinced that she has no intention of running for president in 2020. Whew. While at times the book feels like an “about to run for president” book (like Audacity of Hope), it is sufficiently unguarded and goes places someone who intends to run for the Democratic nomination for president simply won’t go. She’s done. These are her parting thoughts and parting shots. We haven’t heard the last of her, obviously, but her platform won’t be what it was, and this is what turning the page looks like.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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74 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton Settles Her Accounts

  1. Small point: Hillary didn’t have pneumonia or she wouldn’t have been giving face time to a child just a few hours later, after having exposed her grand kids, or if she did have it she should be condemned for endangering the life of a minor. Elderly people with pneumonia can expect to spend several days in the hospital. It’s not like a fainting spell, and it does not involve blue sunglasses. She knew what she had and it is not contagious.

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  2. I think you might have been able to write your entire review around:

    When I was on chapter 30 or so, I looked at the progress bar and saw that I was less than a third of the way through the book. I couldn’t believe it. Not because it had been bad – up to that point, a solid B+ – but because I wasn’t sure how much there was to say.

    Its a tough thing to have to write your own political obituary; I’m not 100% sure it is a necessary thing; or, another way to put it, why do you think she wrote it and did she hit her mark?

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  3. Hopefully, she’s not going to run again. Just like the Bush crowd, another Clinton seems to pop up and run for office. We gotta move on from dynastic elections.

    Based upon the OP review and what i’ve read other places, she’s not taking much responsibility, which is typical, but frankly, I really don’t care that much anymore. Everyone knows she lost to “A political device inserted into our politics specifically to protect conservatives from change” after all. It’s the system that’s at fault, not her.

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    • This seems a little unfair:

      Just like the Bush crowd, another Clinton seems to pop up and run for office. We gotta move on from dynastic elections.

      The Bush family has had four generations of electoral success: Senator Prescott Bush, President H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush / Governor Jeb Bush, and George P. Bush who holds statewide office in Texas. That’s a political dynasty.

      The Clinton “dynasty” consists of a married couple that have both held political office. Love them or hate them (I don’t particularly like them, although I have voted for both of them), it is hard to argue that they are not both accomplished people. In our current era of assortative mating, it seems likely that high achieving and driven people will end up married. But that doesn’t make any given pair of them a dynasty; would you consider Senators Bob and Liddy Dole to constitute a “Dole dynasty”?

      If Chelsea Clinton runs for office, we can talk about a Clinton dynasty.

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  4. Obviously a fair amount of the blame-shifting is going to be self-serving, but a lot of other people, especially in the media, Greenwald-adjacent left, and Trump-skeptical right, have self-servingly deflected a lot of blame onto her, so it can prove a useful corrective even so. It’s sort of like the idea behind an adversarial justice system, I suppose, but carried out via dishy ghostwritten books, Chris Cillizza columns, and interminable flamewars on Twitter.

    As to some of the specific claims, everything I’ve seen where she tries to blame Bernie for her defeat is just dumb. Nothing he did was outside the normal bounds of running a primary campaign against your party’s eventual nominee, and his supporters generally did a better job staying on sides than hers did following her defeat by Obama in the ’08 primary. It’s weird the extent to which PUMAs have vanished down the memory hole on all sides.

    On the other hand, the idea that there were some sort of real, justifiable reasons behind the intense focus on her emails gets less tenable by the day.

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    • I think she is going to be the whipping post for a long time. For nothing else but loosing to Trump. And for her, that is gonna suck. but I don’t see a way around that. But that is kinda the problem with being a public figure, you will always be remembered for your last success/failure.

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      • Oh I’m sure. So many people have this deep-seated idea that no serious candidate could possibly have lost to Trump, despite a good deal of evidence to the contrary.

        Still, I appreciate having another perspective at odds with the conventional wisdom, even though I don’t appreciate it so much that I’d subject myself to her book to discover it for myself. I propose a virtual toast to for taking this one for the team.

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    • pillsy: As to some of the specific claims, everything I’ve seen where she tries to blame Bernie for her defeat is just dumb. Nothing he did was outside the normal bounds of running a primary campaign against your party’s eventual nominee, and his supporters generally did a better job staying on sides than hers did following her defeat by Obama in the ’08 primary. It’s weird the extent to which PUMAs have vanished down the memory hole on all sides.

      I pretty strongly disagree. I’m not saying I think this was the primary campaign with the most inter-party attacks or bad blood. But I don’t remember ever seeing anything in previous campaigns that match the way that Bernie and surrogates attacked the legitimacy of the primary process and the Democratic Party itself.

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      • There was a lot of procedural complaints from the Clinton campaign itself about the 2008 primary, which (again) seem to have been more or less completely forgotten. Victory salves a lot of wounds.

        What is unusual is all of the wounds getting opened up again after the convention, but that I blame much more on the media, the Greenwald-adjacent left, and the Russians.

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      • That guy who predicts elections based on keys has “strong primary challenge” as a negative indicator. Whatever else Bernie was, he was that. And by that guy’s analysis that (or Hillary being charismatic) would have flipped the outcome.

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        • He really wasn’t. The outcome was never in doubt after, what, early March? The Democratic primary process doesn’t allow the shut-outs the GOP manages (no winner-take-all states) but while 2008 was a nail-biter, in 2016 Clinton won rather handily.

          Sanders just kept talking like he had a chance, even as the necessary win percentages got ridiculously high.

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          • All true but Bernie didn’t comport himself in any manner too outlandish. Yes he got feisty when he began drinking the Kool-Aid of the people around him and started thinking he actually had a shot (he didn’t) instead of remembering why he ran in the first place. Yes, he made some risible process accusations that provided grist for the right wing Clinton conspiracy mill. That being said once he lost he endorsed and campaigned dutifully for the winner which is all one really can demand of a losing nomination candidate. I don’t think Bernie owes HRC or the Dems anything and, with Bernie flipping independent again once the election was over, the Dems don’t owe Bernie a damn thing either.

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  5. I called her candidacy, back during the primaries, a zombie candidacy. (And Bush the Lessor also) Much like McCain’s presidential run, she wasn’t the new, new thing. She ran on “borrowed time and another mans memories.” It coulda worked, but it was 8 years behind schedule.

    Should she leave the public eye? Not if she doesn’t want to.

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  6. I am generally of the belief that a lot of HRC hate is and was irrational. One of my theories is that a lot of people around my age and younger absorbed the Clinton hate of the 1990s. Even if they are not politically to the right, they still absorbed it.

    The Democratic Party is moving to the left and this is largely because of voters under 40. A lot of these voters don’t understand that the 1990s was a lot more socially conservative and they still hate the Clintons for DOMA and Welfare Reform. They don’t know the legislative history and numerous vetoes and that Bill got the best deals he could.

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    • It didn’t make it into the review, but I shiould say Hillary’s defense of her husband’s policies was solid. She provided quite a bit of useful context. She described the lay of the land pretty well, and she also talked about all the things they got in return for their concessions. Granted, I was already sympathetic to her on this, but she did a really good job with it.

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      • One of the other weird memory-hole things is just how much desperation there was about violent crime in the mid-’90s. The US murder rate is still quite high now by developed world standards, but it was twice as high then, and the two most culturally significant major cities (LA and NYC) were among the most dangerous.

        Beyond the fact that violent crime has fallen precipitously over the past 20 years, the fact that Los Angeles and New York City are now pretty and very safe, respectively, plays a huge role in shifting perceptions.

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            • There are probably sections of NYC that are high crime but those are usually not sections where non-residents go on a regular basis.

              Times Square has been family and tourist friendly for almost two decades now. The big issue in NYC is not crime and grime but gentrification and affordability but as Lee says below, a lot of people still think of NYC and see graffti covered subway cars and sex workers on the streets.

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        • I was at a dance event in early September in Albany and having dinner with a few other people at the event. A middle-aged woman who lived near but outside NYC said that she doesn’t come into the city for dancing because its too dangerous. It really isn’t anymore but memories of her youth lingered like Saul said.

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          • About a decade ago, my wife and I (both NYC residents) were vacationing in Maine. We had stopped overnight in Portland — which we found to be a nice, friendly, but still somewhat sophisticated city — to break up the trip and stopped in Rockland to get supplies. When we told the cashier we had just driven up from Portland, her eyes went wide and she said she would be afraid to go there. Two years ago, we were staying in Rockland, and I read an op-ed in the local paper by an ex-cop who explained that he felt the need to carry a gun all the time because of the dangers of Rockland. True, there are some dicey areas — hell, even an out-of-towner can locate the meth labs after a few days — but come on.

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            • One of the more religious-focused blogs I read does deconstructuons of horrible Christianist fiction – Kirk Cameron and Kevin Sorbo movies, complementarianist propaganda, that type of thing.

              I remember one of them describing c.2005 Spokane, WA in such breathless terms you almost expected to have the protagonist miss a turn and end up in N.W.A.’s origin story. I went there a fair bit around 1990 and even then you had to work to even find someplace skeezy. But the townies still think of it as Babylon.

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    • I can easily imagine elementary school kids get at least some hatred of Hillary Clinton by osmosis but there are women in my twenties that I knew who were enthusiastic Clinton supporters. These are young women born in the second half of the 1980s and were just old enough to pick up Clinton hate by osmosis but apparently did not. There were more women our age or older who were enthusiastic Clinton supporters though.

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  7. Matt Bruenig has a great essay called “The Boring Story of the 2016 Election“.

    It essentially points out that the numbers point to a story that kind of sucks because it undercuts a whole lot of grand narratives. It wasn’t about Trump getting a surge of White Support that represented Whites beginning to vote as a bloc. (Other groups regressed to the mean after the staggering highs of the Obama elections.) It wasn’t about Conservatives being ticked off with Liberal overreach. It wasn’t about Liberals demanding a more progressive economic message.

    Clinton was just a monumentally unlikable candidate who wasn’t good at this crapola. And she lost to someone that pretty much anybody else would have beaten *BECAUSE* she was a monumentally unlikable candidate who wasn’t good at this crapola.

    See? Boring.

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        • Huh….there were numbers dudes who said the general numbers pointed to it being a close election. Not the day to day numbers but the overarching factors. That really isn’t news. I think Silver even said that at one point.

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          • Here’s a thread in which you can check the temperature of the regulars here at Ordinary Times!

            Unfortunately, we ranged from “Hillary won’t do as well as everybody says when she wins in a squeaker” to “Hillary will defeat her enemies, see them driven before her, and hear the lamentations of the men!”

            We had one person, Kimmie, predict a Trump victory.

            One.

            Edit: wait, I completely got that wrong. I was remembering the thread from the night before the election. Back when we made that thread, a handful of commenters thought Trump would win.

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            • Again Jay you aren’t even responding to what i’m talking about. I’m not talking about daily polls. This is about the general fundamentals. That is the stuff people write before the election campaigns get heated up. More about the strength of the economy, incumbency, etc. I get that you want to make sure all us liberal types learn the correct lessons but i put up a quickly found link above. I guess i shouldn’t be surprised that this is drawing a fight but there were actual pollster types who said the election would always be close. I’m not saying Clinton didn’t F up or every other bad thing. Heck i wont’ even mention Russian interference and Comey…oh well i guess i just did….but whatever.

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              • Hey, the main thing that I’m remembering is that, the night before the election, everybody here (except one person) knew that Hillary was going to win and the only questions in anybody’s minds were by how much and whether she’s get 49% and make Trump look completely foolish or whether she’d get 48% and only make Trump look somewhat foolish.

                If there were voices of reason among our commentariat explaining that, seriously, this is close enough that Trump could easily take it, they were too busy that night to comment.

                The next day we had an essay explaining how Dewey’s win over Truman was inevitable and only the awfulness of the media made it appear that Trump might win… but it was auto-scheduled and taken down within minutes of the editors waking up and reading the results of the previous night.

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                  • That’s pretty darn good.

                    My single bold prediction was Ohio for Trump (thought PA would waver but hold).

                    I live in a Trump county (went for him in the primaries when there were other options). The day before the election I started to realize that not only were folks going to vote for him in the not-pretend election, people were going to go out of their way to vote for him.

                    That’s when I thought NC/FL might turn… never saw WI/MI.

                    I still think we’re churning through a realignment though… I don’t think ’18 or even ’20 will settle much.

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                  • If you can do it again using the same methodology, you should be very proud. That being said, Bill Mitchell was right the whole time and I strongly suspect that his claims won’t have a lot of predictive value going forward.

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              • Make that *two*. Some of my assumptions were way off, but I was considering a larger win for Trump.

                And just a side note here, only the madhatters could see a Trump win.

                It was something like four or five years ago, Kim and I agreed it would be a bad idea to run a Bush or a Clinton.

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      • With two good candidates, we were looking at a close election.

        Then the Republicans nominated a very unpopular candidate.

        And the Democrats nominated a very unpopular candidate.

        And so they evened each other out (more or less) and we got the close election after all.

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      • Hillary won the national popular vote by about what most folks predicted. She lost the election because of under 80,000 votes concentrated in three states. With those kinds of numbers, it’s child’s play to prove that anything you want to fasten on to was why she lost.

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  8. https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton/status/911984783194050560

    President Trump, Sec. Mattis, and DOD should send the Navy, including the USNS Comfort, to Puerto Rico now. These are American citizens.

    The day before

    http://www.northcom.mil/Newsroom/Press-Releases/Article/1322267/us-northern-command-continues-humanitarian-aid-to-puerto-rico-and-the-us-virgin/

    The USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group continues beach assessments and ship-to-shore movements, which will allow for key response capabilities to enable route clearance operations and commodity distribution.

    So Clinton didn’t do her homework to see that the Navy is on scene, but does think it’s the President’s job to micromanage individual ship movements.

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  9. The part where she seethed over people caring about the Goldman Sachs speeches perfectly encapsulates her as a politician.

    “So what? Everybody accepts their money!”

    *That is the problem! They CLEARLY have way too much political access!* Given the dominance of finance even after it basically crashed the world, any sentiment towards it short of scorched earth is laughable imo.

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  10. She clearly believed that the impromptu meeting between her husband and Lynch was not the least bit inappropriate.

    That kind of sums it up right there. In her world, this sort of thing is tolerated, even expected. It’s not “bribery” because no numbers were mentioned. Everyone involved was smart enough to read between the lines and knew what was being offered, but it’s well short of convictable so by definition it was OK.

    For anyone who doesn’t remember, Lynch was going to decide whether or not HRC had a political career. A few hours before this choice was made, Bill drops in (i.e. goes from one jet parked on the runway to Lynch’s jet) and talks about his children.

    Reading between the lines, special friends of the Clintons are treated like family. That’s a very fiscally rewarding choice to make, and it was the offer being made… not that it was an “offer” on paper or even in words.

    I’m sorry that Trump is president, but still not sorry that she isn’t.

    :Sigh: Yes. That.

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    • :Sigh: Yes. That.

      Yeah, that.

      Even at this point, with all that’s happened so far, we’re lucky not to have Hillary as President, even as it comes at the expense of Trump.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qPGak0MVLE

      There’s a spiritual sickness in America that must be healed. How many millions of Americans watch Stephen Colbert, night after night. Or Samantha Bee, or John Oliver, or one of the others. The libs have drunk deeply from the well of Donald Trump as the Emmanuel Goldstein of our world.

      Hate is a overused word in political discourse. It’s unfortunately a cheap way to characterize the motivation of adversaries, in situations where the real motives are often complex. In this case, the libs are confronted with their own disempowerment, combined with a person they dislike for aesthetic reasons.

      But instead of adapting in a healthy way, they have chosen to wallow in their bitterness, antagonism, anger, and insularity. I can appreciate how that could happen. But still, there has to be some moment of reflection, of self-awareness, wherein libs can do something else. What they’re doing now, can’t be good, either for themselves, or the country.

      It amazes me, how in a world with some very serious problems, eg, North Korea, debt finance, hurricanes, stagnating wages, etc., etc. that all the libs want to do is vent their spleen against Trump. This is our problem. And there’s a lot of things that you can blame Trump for, but this isn’t one of them. Or for that matter, it’s not the conservatives’ fault either.

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      • So this is both poetic and moving, and I’m going to leave it sit for that reason.

        Theoretically it’s not in bounds – I’ve been trying to get you to quit with the massive generalizations about what libs are doing – but as a cri du coeur I’m going to give it some space. (Fellow libs, that means you need to do the same – don’t turn it into a flame war thread, please.)

        On the other hand, Koz, you may want to reflect on why it is that in a world with some very serious problems, you spend so much time venting your spleen against those you call libs. I’m not calling you out here – no need to respond. I’m saying sit with it and think about it.

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      • Fact check:

        Libs watched those shows during Obama’s admin.
        North Korea is as pressing an issue as it is precisely because of Trump.
        Liberals care very much about the issues listed; just because Twitter or the blogosphere doesn’t reflect that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

        Replace the comedians with Rush and O’Reilly and kneeling with abortion and how is what you’re describing any different than the last decade or two of conservatism in America?

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        • Libs watched those shows during Obama’s admin.

          Colbert was much different. I’m not sure about the other shows because I don’t watch them, but for some of them at least I’m pretty sure weren’t even around during the Obama Administration, at the very least the content was much different.

          Colbert, in particular, comes from the tradition of Jon Stewart, and if you like you can say that he was always a lib, that his disguise of neutrality was never fooling anybody. But even if that were so, the tone is completely different. As it stands, Colbert really doesn’t even have a comedy program any more.

          He’s got one move. It’s all really nasty Juvenalian dehumanization of Trump. He’s not about trying to find the lighter side of a dull subject. It’s about validating and intensifying the hostility to one person, the person who happens to be President. It’s very difficult for me to understand why no libs have ever stopped to figure out that this is very unhealthy for America as a whole, and for you as libs.

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        • North Korea is as pressing an issue as it is precisely because of Trump.

          And this is just not true. If we’re going to blame anybody for North Korea, it’s Bill Clinton. There’s plenty of things to blame on Trump, but N Korea isn’t one of them.

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        • Liberals care very much about the issues listed; just because Twitter or the blogosphere doesn’t reflect that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

          In some world this could be true I suppose but it’s hard for me to see it. And it’s not just the typical bile from Twitter either. It’s mostly the insularity of narrowing everything toward hostility to Trump. It ought to be very clear that the solution to these things require much more solidarity among Americans than we can currently muster, and that’s the libs’ fault.

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        • Replace the comedians with Rush and O’Reilly and kneeling with abortion and how is what you’re describing any different than the last decade or two of conservatism in America?

          Rush and O’Reilly are some variant of current affairs programs (or in O’Reilly’s case, were), and from my experience at least, not nearly as bitter. What I’m talking about is something different. An analog would be if I tuned into a program about bass fishing, NASCAR, or college football, and it’s wall-to-wall bashing Obama (which I can assure you didn’t happen). Like can’t one of you idiots catch a fish or something once in a while?

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        • The Stagnating wages claim is an abuse of math, it’s similar to claiming women only make 79 cents. It makes a good talking point while ignoring we’re comparing apples and bananas.

          I’m not buyin’ this, at all. And in fact the link you give doesn’t really support your argument.

          There’s a lot of money being made, and if you have some niche that has access to it, you probably have enough to sustain a decent standard of living. For example, if you have an equity share of something, part of a trust, or a family member who is affluent, these things will definitely help.

          But, if you want to support yourself through your own hourly labor (and God forbid if you have family members to support), today’s wages are absurdly low. Without any particular econometric data, a $25/hr job is significantly rarer now than it was 30 years ago. In fact I don’t even know a single person who has one, or can even think of one really.

          These are absolutely crucial rungs of the economic ladder that really just aren’t there any more, and the lack of them is inflicting serious damage on our economy, culture, and society.

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          • I’m not buyin’ this, at all. And in fact the link you give doesn’t really support your argument.

            Average household size declined substantially during the past 30 years, so household income is being spread across fewer people. The mix of household types—married versus single, young versus old—also changed considerably, so the “median household” in 2006 looks quite different from the “median household” in 1976. Finally, the measure of income used by the Census Bureau to compute household income excludes some rapidly growing sources of income.

            …Dividing households into these basic types leads to a surprising result: Each household type has considerably higher median income growth than the overall household median growth of 26 percent. Chart 4 shows that married-couple households—the largest type—had a median income gain of 42 percent, while female householders with no spouse present—the second largest type—had a striking 56 percent gain in household incomes.

            …But even with the increase in inequality, income gains for a broad set of middle-income households of most types were substantial. Incomes of the middle 50 percent of households—between the 25th and 75th percentiles—increased by at least 22 percent and as much as 59 percent for most household types, with gains exceeding 30 percent for most households. Retirement-age male householders had much larger gains, while working-age male householders and male householders with children had much smaller increases…

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            • “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means”

              The fact that household size is so much smaller than it used to be is itself substantially a symptom of the fact that wage earners can’t afford families any more.

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              • The fact that household size is so much smaller than it used to be is itself substantially a symptom of the fact that wage earners can’t afford families any more.

                I don’t follow your reasoning.

                Two households who marry and become one are cheaper to run and have various other advantages.

                Similarly, one household with a married couple who divorce and have to set up two households have now increased their expenses a lot.

                And none of that changes that married households saw their incomes go up a lot, as did single households, etc. What changed was we have more singles and fewer marrieds.

                Oh, and we also have more “income” being gobbled up by benefits+taxes, and we’re over counting inflation, and that’s probably enough for now.

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