Tag Archives: Deep South

The lack of conscience of a liberal: Paul Krugman’s new low against Bernie

Updated below (on Sunday, April 17, 2016)

In last night’s debate, it’s quite true that Bernie Sanders was dismissive of Billary Clinton’s big wins in the Deep South.*

I’m glad that he finally went there in the debate; I’ve gone there many times here myself.

But leave it to New York Times liberal (note that I said “liberal,” as in “limousine liberal,” not “progressive”) columnist Paul Krugman, who brands himself a progressive economist yet whom supports the center-right Billary Clinton, to proclaim, in his latest Bernie Derangement Syndrome-induced screed, that Bernie’s spurning of the South minimally is just like Sarah Palin’s having called the red states the “real America” — but probably also even is about Bernie (and, by extension, apparently, his campaign and his supporters) spurning black Americans. But only Krugman actually raises that specter:

… Over the past week, Mr. Sanders has declared that Mrs. Clinton leads only because she has won in the “Deep South,” which is a “pretty conservative part of the country.” The tally so far, he says, “distorts reality” because it contains so many Southern states.

As it happens, this isn’t true — the calendar, which front-loaded some states very favorable to Mr. Sanders, hasn’t been a big factor in the race. Also, swing-state Florida isn’t the Deep South. But never mind. The big problem with this argument should be obvious. Mrs. Clinton didn’t win big in the South on the strength of conservative voters; she won by getting an overwhelming majority of black voters. This puts a different spin on things, doesn’t it?

Is it possible that Mr. Sanders doesn’t know this, that he imagines that Mrs. Clinton is riding a wave of support from old-fashioned Confederate-flag-waving Dixiecrats, as opposed to, let’s be blunt, the descendants of slaves? Maybe. He is not, as you may have noticed, a details guy.

It’s more likely, however, that he’s being deliberately misleading — and that his effort to delegitimize a big part of the Democratic electorate is a cynical ploy.

Who’s the target of this ploy? Not the superdelegates, surely. Think about it: Can you imagine Democratic Party insiders deciding to deny the nomination to the candidate who won the most votes, on the grounds that African-American voters don’t count as much as whites?

No, claims that Clinton wins in the South should be discounted are really aimed at misleading Sanders supporters, giving them an unrealistic view of the chances that their favorite can still win — and thereby keeping the flow of money and volunteers coming. …

Maybe I have Krugman’s intent wrong — maybe (but probably not) — but why would he write such phrases as “on the grounds that African-American voters don’t count as much as whites” when no one ever said or otherwise even semi-indicated that that was the case?

Blacks voted more for Billary than for Bernie, especially in the earlier contests. She has worn — depressingly successfully — the mantle of wanting to be our “third” “black” president. I get that. (But that doesn’t mean that most black Americans are smart to vote for Billary — no one is smart to vote for her, unless he or she is a fellow millionaire or billionaire who wants to preserve his or her own little private empire by maintaining the insanely unjust socioeconomic status quo.)

The problem that Bernie, his campaign and many if not most of us Berners have with the South — which Krugman conveniently doesn’t mention in his hit piece — is that it indeed is a conservative, Repugnican Tea Party bastion, a spiritually dead, barren land where for the very most part Democratic presidential candidates don’t win presidential elections.

Therefore, one calling him- or herself the mostest Democratiest presidential candidate when he or she actually does the best in Repugnican Tea Party/red states and his or her opponent does the best in actually Democratic/true-blue states is, um, odd. This is, after all, the Democratic Party primary race that’s going on right now.

Further, the Repugnican Tea Party doesn’t exactly embrace such deep-blue states as California and New York and Massachusetts; why the holy fucking fuck, then, should Democrats, or at least those of us who actually are left of center, embrace such deep-red states as Texas, South Carolina and Georgia? (And Florida, while it might not be in the Deep South, is in the South, as is Texas. And both states were slave states, which Billary can “brag” that she won, so please, Paulie Boy.)

Are all of these political concepts foreign to Krugman? (He is not, as you may have noticed, a details guy.)

All of this said, a pledged delegate is a pledged delegate and at the party convention should count the same regardless of the state from which that delegate hails, and we progressives in the blue states probably should not abandon the good progressives of all races and of all other demographics who have the misfortune to live in the red states. I get that, but at the same time, the red states make it very, very difficult for us denizens of the blue states to wuv them.

The red states have, after all, been holding the nation back even before the Civil War. They have been a drag on the nation, not a boon to the nation. But we blue-staters are to just adore the red-staters even while the red-staters routinely openly show nothing but contempt for us, even though our tax dollars keep them afloat.

We Dems and those of us who lean Dem (usually having no other real left-of-center electoral option) have to ask ourselves if we really want our party to be overtaken by red-state beliefs and values (even more than it already has been, that is) — and, again, we should ask ourselves if the members of the Repugnican Tea Party would allow their party to be overtaken by blue-state beliefs and values.

Krugman does make one apparent quasi-valid point in his column, albeit buried within what as far as I know is a patently false accusation:

… So the Sanders campaign is arguing that super-delegates — the people, mainly party insiders, not selected through primaries and caucuses who get to serve as delegates under Democratic nomination rules — should give him the nomination even if he loses the popular vote.

In case you’re rubbing your eyes: Yes, not long ago many Sanders supporters were fulminating about how Hillary was going to steal the nomination by having super-delegates put her over the top despite losing the primaries. Now the Sanders strategy is to win by doing exactly that. …

To be clear, I haven’t yet seen or heard or read (in print or via video) any actual proclamation from Bernie himself that he wants the super-delegates to vote for him to give him the nomination even if Billary won the majority of the pledged delegates (the delegates won in the primary elections and caucuses).

I’ve seen this meme that Bernie “wants it both ways,” that he’s only OK with the super-delegates voting for him regardless of who ends up with the most pledged delegates, but, again, I’ve yet to see, read or hear him make that claim. (If you have a link to a credible, neutral source, please leave it in the comments section and I’ll check it out.)

I’ve long understood Bernie’s argument to be that if he manages to win more pledged delegates than Billary does, then the super-delegates should follow the will of the people who voted and caucused and vote to make him the nominee. That seems fair and democratic to me, even though under the current rules of the game the super-delegates certainly don’t have to do that.

I doubt that the meme that Bernie “wants it both ways” is true because I don’t see the super-delegates swinging to Bernie unless he manages to win more pledged delegates than Billary does. I don’t see Bernie seeing that happening, either. Call him whatever you please, but one thing he is not is stupid.

Secondly, if the candidate who wins the most pledged delegates doesn’t end up as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee (under normal political circumstances), the Democratic Party will have a real problem on its hands, since Democratic and Democratically leaning voters nationwide are split almost 50-50 between Bernie and Billary, and one of the two winning the nomination through the super-delegates alone is going to be a real problem with about half of the members of the party.

Bernie knows this, and I very much doubt that he’d really want to be the presidential nominee with the dark cloud over his head that Billary, not he, had won the most pledged delegates.

Only if something serious were to happen — such as Billary being indicted (between now and the party convention) for her home-brewed e-mail server as secretary of state — could it be justified for the super-delegates to hand the nomination to Bernie if Billary had won the most pledged delegates.

Otherwise, wherever possible, we must respect the will of the voters, even when we believe, even quite correctly, that they’re quite wrong.

I mean, don’t get me wrong: I believe that Billary Clinton would be anywhere from lackluster-at-best (like President Hopey-Changey) to disastrous as president of the United States of America. And, again, I believe that unless they’re rich, those who support Billary aren’t very smart people, as voting against your own best interests isn’t very smart.

But you aren’t a true progressive if you don’t respect the democratic process. And Bernie and his followers are true progressives. And I’ll say it yet again: Despite the talk of Bernie “wanting it both ways,” I’ve yet to see, hear or read any assertion of his that the super-delegates should choose him over Billary even if she has won the most pledged delegates going into the convention (and details guy Krugman, alas, provides in his column no link for his assertion that Bernie anti-democratically and hypocritically “wants it both ways” on how the super-delegates should vote).

Krugman’s claim that “claims that Clinton wins in the South should be discounted are really aimed at misleading Sanders supporters, giving them an unrealistic view of the chances that their favorite can still win — and thereby keeping the flow of money and volunteers coming” is bullshit and condescending, as we Berners have known from Day One that preventing Queen Billary’s dynastic coronation would be an uphill battle. Very few among us don’t know that Bernie’s path to the nomination is razor-thin right about now. We have, in fact, done our research.

And Krugman indeed appears to be accusing Bernie Sanders of being an anti-black racist, because he ends his hatchet job with this:

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that Mr. Sanders should drop out. He has the right to keep campaigning [Oh, gee, thanks for the permission there, Paulie Boy!], in the hope either of pulling off huge upsets in the remaining primaries or of having influence at the convention. But trying to keep his campaign going by misleading his supporters is not OK. [It isn’t, but he isn’t.] And sneering at millions of voters is truly beyond the pale, especially for a progressive.

Remember … : We’re all real Americans. And African-Americans are very definitely real Democrats, deserving respect.

Krugman ends his hit piece by claiming, or at least heavily insinuating, that Bernie (and probably also his campaign and his supporters) have claimed that black Americans aren’t “real Democrats” when that isn’t at all the case. Krugman makes a false accusation and then attacks his own false accusation.

I cannot tell a lie: I don’t like the South. Many but probably most in the South don’t like me, a Californian progressive, either.

But when I think of the South and its politics and what’s wrong with its politics, of course I don’t think of black Americans, who historically and traditionally have been (yes, “have been” means that they still are) the victims of the South’s politics, as the problem of the South; for the very most part I think of the backasswards white Americans who hold this nation back, as they have for generations, as the problem of the South.

And when you look at all of Billary’s votes in the South, I’m quite confident that she received far more votes from stupid white people (if they were smart, they wouldn’t support her, unless, again, they’re rich) than she did from black people.

As far as black Americans are concerned, sure, we can call them “real Democrats,” since the term “Democrat” since the 1990s has degenerated to its center-right/Clintonian designation of today, so close to Repugnican that the distinction between Democrat and Repugnican is like the distinction between Coke and Pepsi, but if black Americans support Billary Clinton, we can’t call them both progressive and informed.

But ditto for everyone else in the South who has voted for Billary — again, most of them white people, I’m sure. Neither Bernie Sanders nor we Berners have singled out black Americans in our critique of the South.

Liberal, Billary-lovin’ Paul Krugman did that.

It’s a new low in his obedient, lockstep support of his fellow limousine liberal Billary Clinton, who one minute is telling us how much she loves black Americans and then the next minute unpresidentially is participating in what is to many an offensively racially insensitive skit.**

Perhaps Paul Krugman sees a juicy Cabinet post for himself in being one of Boss Billary’s hit men.

Update (Sunday, April 17, 2016): I stumbled upon an earlier anti-Bernie screed by Krugman, from April 8. Apparently his attempt to portray those of us who are anti-Billary as anti-black began no later than then. He wrote: “Given her large lead in delegates — based largely on the support of African-American voters, who respond to her pragmatism because history tells them to distrust extravagant promises — Mrs. Clinton is the strong favorite for the Democratic nomination.”

Again, I’m quite confident that Billary has won far more votes from whites than from blacks, even in the South. Blacks are an important part of the Democratic coalition, as are feminists, Latinos, non-heterosexuals, Asians, labor-union members, young adults, et. al., et. al., but Krugman, by repeatedly singling blacks out, is, methinks, up to something here.

His theory that black Americans gravitate toward Billary “because history tells them to distrust extravagant promises” is um, rather novel, and reads as though it were written by a Billary campaign operative: “Black Americans like progressives who can get things done!”

Methinks it’s much more the case that as Billary and Bill’s political careers began in Arkansas, and as Billy Boy was deemed the “first” “black” president, Billary simply has inherited that support, probably especially among older black voters. Also, of course, she’s been running for president at least since 2000, and is much better known than is Bernie Sanders (or at least she was so when the primary elections and caucuses began).

And if Krugman is going to write that blacks prefer Billary because “history tells them to distrust extravagant promises,” how about I write that blacks prefer Billary because history tells them to distrust old white men? I mean, as I wrote at the time, the only discernible reason that Black Lives Matter slacktivists hijacked two of Bernie’s campaign appearances last summer is that he’s an older white (albeit Jewish) guy. (I mean, he’s a progressive who’s on their side, so very apparently it primarily was his race that was their problem with him, and secondarily his sex and his age.)

Krugman in his April 8 column also casually brushes aside Billary’s disastrous 2002 vote for the Vietraq War (she said she was sorry!) and in criticizing Bernie’s policy positions as unworkable, writes, “You could argue that policy details are unimportant as long as a politician has the right values and character. As it happens, I don’t agree.”

I disagree with Krugman. Policy positions emerge from values and character, not the other way around, and in any event, all of us must realize that the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate must approve legislation in the first place (and the courts often get involved, too). And it’s the legislators’ job, not the job of presidential candidates, to hammer out all of the details.

It’s the job of leaders to give an overarching vision, and we have seen that in this race:

Billary’s “vision” is to maintain the socioeconomic status quo, with us commoners expecting no more than a crumb here or there; we are naive if we expect more than that bullshit incrementalism, an incrementalism that is so slow and that gives us so little that it never is anything remotely approaching commensurate with what is taken away from us — in large amounts and with great rapidity — by our plutocratic overlords.

Billary’s “vision” and “message,” in a few words, are “Stay the course.” Indeed, as I’ve noted many times, she uses Caretaker in Chief Barack Obama as her political human shield repeatedly.

Bernie’s vision rejects such foot-dragging incrementalism and rejects the status-quo bullshit that President Hopey-Changey has embraced and that Billary Clinton promises to continue. Instead, Bernie envisions a “revolution” in such areas as income inequality and combatting climate change; whether or not actual revolution can materialize is up for debate, but what isn’t very debatable is that if you don’t call for revolutionary acts at all, under your presidency there most likely would be no such acts.

Having been outside of the corporatized, duopolistic Democratic Party — and yes, corporate whore is a very appropriate way to describe way too many self-identified “Democrats” —  is the only way that Bernie Sanders can promise, with any credibility, that as president he actually would stand up for us commoners instead of doing the bidding of the Democratic Party establishment’s corporate sugar daddies.

Being funded by us commoners instead of by the millionaires and billionaires (with the average contribution being $27), as Bernie never tires of proclaiming that he is, is proof of Bernie’s allegiance.

Billary has zero credibility on these matters, which is why Bernie is doing as well as he is — within 1 percent to 3 percent of Billary among Democrats and Democratic leaners nationwide.

The vast majority of those who critique Bernie Sanders and us Berners as naive, foggy-eyed dreamers want Billary Clinton to win the White House because the socioeconomic status quo, which as president she would work tirelessly to preserve, benefits them.

These anti-Berners include limousine liberals like Paul Krugman — those whom the current socioeconomic system benefits greatly but who are concerned that if they don’t say the right things,*** one day the rabble might, just might, come after them and their wealth with torches and pitchforks.

*He said:

… Secretary Clinton cleaned our clock in the Deep South. No question about it. We got murdered there. That is the most conservative part of this great country. That’s the fact.

But you know what? We’re out of the Deep South now. And we’re moving up. We got here [New York]. We’re going to California. …. And having won seven out of the last eight caucuses and primaries, having a level of excitement and energy among working people and low-income people, doing better against Donald Trump and the other Republicans in poll after poll than Secretary Clinton is, yeah, I believe that we’re going to win this nomination, and I believe we’re going to obliterate Donald Trump or whoever the Republican candidate is.

I don’t know that he had to say “Deep South.” Just “South” would have sufficed.All of the South is backasswards — yes, including Florida (and, of course, Texas).

**Yeah, that skit — for the most part I’ll leave it to others to decide whether or not they’re offended, as I generally don’t believe in offense mongering, especially on someone else’s behalf (that’s one of the corollaries of our wonderfully toxic identity politics), but when I first saw video of the skit, actor Leslie Odom Jr.’s claim to be offended by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s use of the term “C.P. time” was so realistic that I didn’t realize, when I first watched the clip of the skit, that it was a pre-planned skit; I’d thought that Odom Jr. genuinely was registering his offense at a spontaneous joke by de Blasio, and when Billary stated that “C.P. time” means “cautious politician time,” I truly had thought that she had just very nimbly tried to rescue de Blasio from his poor-taste gaffe. (That the whole thing was scripted makes sense; the highly scripted, polished and pre-prepared Billary usually doesn’t think on her feet like that, nor has she ever struck me as that clever.)

I think that it would be difficult to call de Blasio a racist, as his wife is black and his two children are biracial, but minimally, we certainly can call him tone-deaf, and ditto for Billary for having participated in that skit, and what the hell was Leslie Odom Jr. thinking?

***The reason that the Democratic Party has embraced toxic identity politics and jettisoned socioeconomic justice is that for the very most part doesn’t hurt anyone’s bank account to, say, be pro-choice or to support same-sex marriage…

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Live-blogging the 9th Dem debate

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Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed tonight in a debate in Brooklyn, New York, that wasn’t as acrimonious as it could have been, but in which the audience members loudly booed Billary at least a few times and repeatedly chanted, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” (There were no chants for Billary and no boos for Bernie [no loud ones, anyway].) Something that Billary didn’t respond to at all during the debate was Bernie’s quite-correct assertion that he pulls in a lot more independent voters than she does, and that independent voters are critical for winning the White House (as Democratic die-hards can’t win it alone), and that he long has polled significantly better against the Repugnican Tea Party presidential frontrunners than has Billary.

5:40 p.m. (all times Pacific Time): The ninth Democratic Party presidential debate is scheduled to begin in 20 minutes. I’m streaming it via CNN’s website. I expect the sparks to fly between Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton tonight, and I expect Billary to lie as even she has never lied before.

5:55 p.m.: The debate is to begin in five minutes. My intent is to give my impressions as the debate unfolds, not to be a stenographer, so for complete, thorough coverage of the debate, you’d have to watch it and/or read its transcript after it’s posted online.

I tentatively plan to write only about new lines of discussion, but there may not be very many of those, so this might be repetitive of my past live-bloggings of the previous eight debates.

I’m still very much rooting for Bernie Sanders, but these debates have become a bit tiresome; they’ve been going on for six full months now.

6:00 p.m.: National anthem now. Yawn. Bernie came out first, followed by Billary. They had a cursory, not-very-sincere-looking handshake, and once again I’m wondering who the hell dressed Billary. Is that a raincoat? (In any event, anyone as chummy with gay men as she has claimed to be would be dressed a lot better, it seems to me…)

6:02 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that he started off 70 percentage points behind Billary in the nationwide polls but that a few recent nationwide polls have had him slightly ahead of her, and he reminds us that he won eight of the last nine primary-season contests.

Bernie rehashed his stump speech, but it seemed fresher tonight than it has in a long time. (Admittedly, it could just be that there was more than a month between the last debate and this one…)

6:04 p.m.: Billary reminds us that she represented New York in the U.S. Senate for eight years. She mentions 9/11 but not the Vietraq War that she voted for in October 2002.

She mentions “diversity” — a play to identity politics, because that’s all that she has left — but she doesn’t mention income inequality. (Perhaps because she’s a multi-millionaire…)

6:06 p.m.: Bernie, asked if Billary is qualified to be president, says yes, but says, “I question her judgment.” He mentions her vote for the Vietraq War and the million$ that she has taken from Wall Street.

6:08 p.m.: Oh, snap! Billary says she was elected as senator for New York twice and was selected by President Hopey-Changey to be his secretary of state. Therefore, her judgment must be swell!

She now claims that Bernie can’t explain how he’d achieve his central goal of breaking up the banks. Actually, I wouldn’t say that breaking up the banks is the central pillar of Bernie’s campaign. It’s only a part of it, one of many parts of it.

6:10 p.m.: Bernie is pretty red in the face while Billary has this self-satisfied, shit-eating grin on her face. She now says that an attack on her is an attack on Obama. She just got booed by the audience for that, appropriately.

Billary has tried to use Obama as a human political shield her entire campaign. It is demonstrative of her character.

6:12 p.m.: Repetitive stuff about breaking up the banks. (Again, this is the ninth debate that I’ve live-blogged…)

6:15 p.m.: Billary’s tactic clearly is to have this shit-eating grin, like she’s just so above it all. I don’t think that this tactic is going to work for her. (It worked for Joe Biden when he debated Paul Ryan, but this isn’t the Biden-Ryan debate.)

The audience tonight is dynamic, reflecting, I think, how the Bernie-Billary fight is coming to a climax.

6:17 p.m.: More repetitive shit, with Billary still trying to argue that although Goldman Sachs — which just paid billions in penalties — gave her shitloads of money for speeches, it has not affected her decision-making at all.

6:19 p.m.: To thunderous applause, Billary is asked why she won’t release those speech transcripts. She isn’t answering the question, but instead is trying to deflect.

6:21 p.m.: The moderator won’t let the question go, and the audience goes wild. Billary deflects again, saying that she has released 30 years of tax returns, but that Bernie hasn’t.

The moderator for a third time asks about those transcripts. Billary again says she’ll release her transcripts when everyone else (on the Repugnican Tea Party side) does and again says that she has released more tax returns than has Bernie. Apples to oranges, but that’s her game.

6:23 p.m.: Bernie promises to release more tax returns soon. He says they promise to be “boring,” as he is “one of the poorer members of the United States Senate.” (This is true. Google it.)

6:24 p.m.: Wolf Blitzer, who should work for Faux “News,” asks how Bernie, with his confrontational style toward corporations, as U.S. president effectively could promote U.S. business. (This is, you see, a U.S. president’s No. 1 job — to make the filthy rich even richer!)

Bernie is talking about how unethical, harmful corporate practices and corporate abuses must be curbed. Bernie indicates that corporations must treat their workers and the environment with respect. And that not all corporations are bad actors.

6:27 p.m.: Bernie speaks of the need to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.

6:28 p.m.: Billary has laughed at Bernie at least two or three times. Again, while it worked for Joe Biden against Paul Ryan, it just makes her look arrogant and condescending — especially when most of her answers to these debate questions range from vague to evasive.

6:29 p.m.: Oh, shit. Wolfie reminds us that Billary publicly stood with Andrew Cuomo for New York’s new $15/hour minimum wage but that throughout her campaign, until only very recently, she has supported only a $12/hour federal minimum wage.

Billary now supports the $15/hour minimum wage. Seriously. She is acting like she’s always supported $15/hour. This is a fucking lie.

Wow. Bernie just said that “once again, history has outpaced Senator Clinton.” Absolutely. The audience is going wild.

The members of this audience have done their research and have been paying attention, so Billary’s sudden, magical time-space leap to always having supported a $15/hour federal minimum wage doesn’t fly with them.

6:34 p.m.: Bernie laughs at Billary, as she has been laughing at him, and she says, with her false concern that she displays so often and so readily, “This is not a laughing matter.” (The topic is guns.)

I don’t believe for a nanosecond that multi-millionaire Billary truly cares about any of us commoners, and of course she is well-protected from gun violence herself, but it’s an easy issue on which to jump on board, because who is for gun violence?

6:37 p.m.: Bernie says that the National Rifle Association gives him a “D-” rating on guns. Indeed. This is a non-issue, a red herring that a desperate, pro-plutocratic Billary & Co. created from thin air.

6:40 p.m.: Again the “issue” of whether gun manufacturers should be liable for the misuse of their products. This is another non-issue. If guns are that bad, then they should be made illegal altogether. You can’t blame the manufacturer of a legal product for its misuse. This is mushy-headed liberal insanity.

(I define “liberal” and “progressive” very differently, by the way, but that’s another blog post. In a nutshell, though, Billary is a liberal — she’s a multi-millionaire who pushes social issues and identity politics that, just coinky-dinkily convenient for her and her millionaire and billionaire buddies, for the most part don’t alter or significantly threaten or jeopardize the socioeconomic status quo — and Bernie is a progressive — he wants to change the socioeconomic status quo quite radically.)

Again, the whole gun “issue” is a distraction from Billary’s flaws and shortcomings, and a rather fucktarded one.

6:43 p.m.: Billary is asked if her hubby’s 1994 crime bill was a mistake. She states that portions of the bill improved things but that other portions created new problems. She reminds us that Bernie voted for the crime bill and also has said that portions of it proved to be good and others bad.

Billary says she wants “white people” to recognize systemic racism. I agree with that, but all people are capable of racism, not just white people — let’s please not single out and demonize only white people for the wrong of racism — and again, I am incredibly leery of the Clinton brand of identity politics, which has us commoners doing nothing about our common socioeconomic plight while we fight each other, stirred up by craven politicians who maximize identity politics for their own personal gain.

6:49 p.m.: Bernie is asked how as president he would reduce the number of prisoners within the U.S. when most of the prisoners are state prisoners, not federal prisoners.

Um, federal law trumps state law. Federal laws, including civil rights laws, can tackle the problem of over-incarceration. The red states can whine, but they have to fall in line. We can bring them to heel — again.

6:51 p.m.: On break now. Billary has been booed by this lively audience several times. This audience seems to be more pro-Bernie than pro-Billary. Especially when she tries her typical evasive and deflective bullshit and her lying, the audience boos.

6:55 p.m.: The topic now is energy.

Billary claims that both she and Bernie have taken money from the fossil fuels industry. Bernie says more than 40 lobbyists for the industry maxed out their contributions to Billary.

Both Billary and Bernie apparently agree that climate change is a problem.

Billary says she worked on bringing nations together on battling climate change as secretary of state. She says Bernie wasn’t appreciative enough of the Paris agreement.

Bernie says that we have to go beyond paper agreements and actually work to combat climate change, including banning fracking. Billary supports fracking.

Billary is at length equating Bernie’s criticism of the Paris agreement as not being enough to an attack on Obama — something that she wouldn’t need to do (piggypack on Obama’s popularity) if she weren’t so widely despised herself.

7:02 p.m.: Billary now seems to be backtracking on her historical support for fracking, which she now indicates she always only has envisioned as being temporary. (Riiight!) This is still yet another issue on which history has outpaced her.

7:03 p.m.: Bernie corrects the record, stating how Billary has supported fracking around the world, and he criticizes her incrementalism. Climate change is too serious for incrementalism, he proclaims, adding that we needed to address climate change “yesterday.”

7:05 p.m.: We are on “a suicide course” with climate change, Bernie says. Yup.

Bernie says we have to phase in new sources of sustainable energy and phase out old, unsustainable sources of energy while Billary still has that condescending, smug, shit-eating grin on her face that makes her more unlikeable, not more likeable. Really, she has no one but herself to blame for her upside-down favorability numbers.

7:08 p.m.: Wolfie reminds Billary that Obama says his biggest mistake as president was bungling Libya.*

Billary blathered about Libya. I didn’t listen much, to be honest. Bernie now talks about how “regime change often has unintended consequences,” and he has mentioned Iraq and made a bit of a comparison between U.S. meddling in both nations.

Billary says Bernie in the Senate voted for the Libya intervention. This is all rehashed from the previous debates.

Bernie says that just repeating something doesn’t make it true. Bernie says that he never voted in support of “regime change” in Libya. He says he voted only for “democracy in Libya.”

7:14 p.m.: Bernie points out how much Billary has been relying on Obama as her human shield (I paraphrase) and says that Billary as secretary of state wanted a no-fly zone in Syria that Obama didn’t and still doesn’t want.

7:16 p.m.: The stupid moderator points out to Bernie that both Donald Trump and he state that the United States has to pull too much of the weight within NATO. This is supposed to be a gotcha! question, but so the fuck what?

Although I’d never vote for Der Fuehrer Trump, in the mishmash of his political “offerings” he does present some libertarian leanings, and I do agree with some of the libertarian views, such as an anti-war and anti-war-profiteering sentiment and a fierce respect for and defense of privacy rights. (I disagree with them on pretty much everything else.)

And even a broken clock is right twice a day, so there can be one or two or maybe even three whole things that Trump is actually accidentally right about.

7:21 p.m.: Israel now. Oh, God. Bernie says he is “100 percent pro-Israel,” but “we have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity.” Bernie (who is Jewish) says his views on the Palestinians don’t make him “anti-Israel.”

Billary takes her predictable pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian stance. After all, it’s AIPAC that gives her the big campaign contributions, not the impoverished Palestinians. Her “right-to-defend-yourself” rhetoric makes her sound like a puppet of wingnutty war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu. (Because she is. His hand is entirely up her ass, moving her mouth and her arms.)

Cool. Bernie says that Billary’s fairly recent speech to AIPAC made no substantive mention of the rights and welfare of the Palestinian people. Of course not! She gave AIPAC the speech that AIPAC paid for!

“You gave a major speech to AIPAC … and you barely mentioned the Palestinians,” Bernie reiterates after Billary tells us how badly poor Bibi Netanyahu has had it, with those “terrorists” in Israel’s midst.

(Israelis have slaughtered far more Palestinians than vice-versa, but since Israel uses shiny, high-tech, U.S. weapons, that’s not terrorism. Only poor people who don’t have access to such high-tech killing methods can be terrorists, you see. We Americans and Israelis are civilized killers — not terrorists!)

Wow. Bibi Netanyahu, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright — Billary Clinton sure loves a war criminal!

7:34 p.m.: Bernie tiresomely is asked how the nation would pay for his initiatives to improve the socioeconomic status quo, such as health care and higher education.

Bernie says he is “determined” to transfer the money that has gone to the 1 percent back to the working class and middle class.

Billary says we’re at “90 percent” coverage for health care, but we still have for-profit health care, replete with shitty health care plans that bankrupt people with the out-of-pocket-costs anyway.

Bernie reminds us that other major nations guarantee health care for their people at a much lower cost than in the U.S., and that they don’t make their college students slaves to student-loan debt. “Please don’t tell me that we can’t do what many other nations around the world are doing,” he says. Yup.

This is mostly rehashed, but it’s important. There indeed is no good reason, outside of incredible greed and politicians who treasonously sell us commoners out to moneyed interests, that the U.S. doesn’t provide health care and education for all of its people.

7:43 p.m.: Talk of Social Security now. (It’s a complicated topic. Read the transcript of the debate when it’s up.) Billary says that she and Bernie are “in vigorous agreement,” but Bernie indicates that Billary has changed her position on Social Security, as she has on so many other issues. The audience is chanting, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”

Billary, under fire, now claims that Bernie isn’t a real Democrat. Wow. But this is how she operates when she is backed into a corner.

7:46 p.m: Bernie and Billary are “in vigorous agreement” on the issue of the U.S. Supreme Court, except that Bernie says he’d pick a nominee who would overturn Citizens United, and apparently that wouldn’t be President Hopey-Changey’s current moderate nominee.

Billary says her Supreme Court nominee would have to overturn Citizens United and uphold Roe vs. Wade, and she goes off onto the topic of abortion and reproductive rights.

Abortion/reproductive rights are important — I always have been and always will be pro-choice, and I believe that birth control, including entirely voluntary sterilization, should be provided to all people free of charge — but abortion and reproductive rights so easily can be used as a hot-button distraction from other issues.

Bernie says his pro-choice voting record is 100 percent, and he adds that he supports the LGBT community, and adds that Vermont led the way on same-sex marriage.

7:50 p.m.: We’re done pandering to identity groups now, thank Goddess. (I’m gay, but I sense when I’m being pandered to, and I hate it.)

Bernie is asked whether or not he’s a real Democrat. He says that he is, and reminds us that he does better among the independents than Billary does, and that the White House only can be won with independents, and can’t be won with Democratic die-hards alone — this is absolutely true, as I’ve written lately — and Bernie reminds us that in match-up polls against the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidates he does better than Billary does.

Bernie says the “future of the Democratic Party that I want to see” doesn’t rely on big corporate cash.

Billary reminds us that thus far she has received more votes than has Bernie or Donald Trump. She claims she leads a broad coalition. Hmmm. Not really. Not when she doesn’t have the youth vote or the independent vote.

Bernie, who says he’s going to win the nomination, says “Secretary Clinton cleaned our clock in the Deep South.” But, he says, “we’re out of the Deep South now.”

He said he will “obliterate” Trump or whoever the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate is.

Billary resists the charge that she’s a darling of the Deep South, but that is indeed her power base. I mean, here is the map of where the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race stands right now:

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Wikipedia graphic

Yes, Billary (whose victories are in golden-yellow [Bernie’s are in green]) has won a few states outside of the South (as I’ve noted, I consider Arizona to be part of the South more than part of the West), but without her wins in the South, she wouldn’t be the putative frontrunner right now. (Duh.)

Billary says she will win and “unify” the party. She has indicated that her delegate lead is insurmountable.

7:59 p.m.: On break now.

Billary can brag about her delegate lead — she leads by 214 in pledged/democratically earned delegates (1,309 to Bernie’s 1,095), and the “super-delegates” can’t vote until the party convention in late July — until she’s blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that while John Kerry sewed up the nomination in March 2004, Billary is so widely disliked that the race is stretching out, just as it did in 2008, when she finally conceded to Obama in June.

She might win this thing, but she will remain a weak candidate. Nothing substantial has changed since the party’s voters soundly rejected her in 2008.

8:04 p.m.: Closing statements.

Bernie first. He reminds us that his father was a Polish immigrant to Brooklyn.

Millions of Americans can create a government that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent, he proclaims.

Chants of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” as Billary tries to begin her closing statement.

Billary reminds us that New Yorkers elected her to the U.S. Senate twice and that they experienced 9/11 together. (Geez, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors used 9/11 endlessly for political gain.)

She does not mention her support of the Vietraq War, the most important vote that she had in the U.S. Senate — and that she fucked up royally.

Billary again plays up the “barriers” to different groups, another shout-out for identity politics. She explicitly says that it’s not just income inequality that we have to tackle.

That’s true, but her corporate sugar daddies really, really want her to focus on identity politics rather than on income inequality; they want us commoners too busy fighting each other over race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. rather than coming after them for our fair sliver of the pie.

That is the central issue (well, only climate change is a larger issue), which Bernie Sanders identified a long, long time ago.

In closing, tonight’s debate probably helped Bernie more than Billary. There clearly was more love for Bernie than for Billary among the audience members. I don’t recall that Bernie was booed once, whereas Billary was booed at least a few times, or that Billary’s name was chanted once, whereas Bernie’s was at least a few times.

I mean, the overall audiovisual was of one candidate clearly more popular than the other, at least among that audience. How can that be good for Billary?

And Billary’s smiling/smirking and laughing — that was off-putting and probably worked against her rather than for her, as it only could have contributed to her net unlikeability and net unfavorability. Who the fuck advised her to do that?

Probably the same idiot who dressed her…

*A retrospective President Hopey-Changey recently cited his administration’s bungling of a post-Muammar Gaddafi Libya as his No. 1 failure as president, but I quite disagree.

His No. 1 failure as president, hands down, was his failure to use the shitloads of political capital that he had in 2009 and in 201o to push through a progressive agenda, when his party controlled both houses of Congress.

It was a colossal dereliction of duty as well as an unpardonable violation of his campaign promises (thus, I could not in good conscience and therefore did not vote for him again in 2012).

It also led to the rise of the “tea party” in 2009 and 2010 and lost the Democrats control of the House of Representatives for the last six of Obama’s eight years in office — guaranteeing gridlock for the last three-fourths of his presidency.

It was incredible political malpractice, something that a right-winger never would have done. (I mean, George W. Bush exploited political capital that he didn’t even have, whereas Obama refused to spend a fucking penny of the immense amount of political capital that he did have.)

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Adieu, Landrieu; it’s long past time for Democrats to stop kissing red-state ass

Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in New Orleans. (Gerald Herbert, AP)

Associated Press photo

Gee, maybe her very own country-Western song would have saved “Democratic” U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana from being denied a fourth term in the Deep-South state. A campaign appearance by Billary Clinton (who does have her very own country-Western song) apparently wasn’t enough.

“Dems, It’s Time to Dump Dixie,” proclaims the headline of a column by a Michael Tomasky (whom I’d never heard of until today) that will be interpreted as fairly sound advice for the Democratic Party or, perhaps, as a false-flag attempt to give Dems poor advice meant to harm them (the column does appear, after all, on the center-right website The Daily Beast). But probably, it’s more of the former than of the latter.

The occasion of the column is the double-digit defeat of Democrat-in-name-only U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana to her Repugnican Tea Party opponent this past weekend. Landrieu was the last remaining “Democratic” U.S. senator of the Deep South. (Wikipedia defines the “Deep South” as Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina – and sometimes at least portions of Texas and Florida, too. These seven states, Wikipedia notes, were the first to secede from the Union.)

The advice that Tomasky gives to the Democratic Party – to “dump Dixie” – seems to be the advice that the party perhaps already has taken to heart; well before this past weekend’s election in Louisiana, the national party wisely decided to stop funneling campaign cash to Landrieu and to let her languish, dry up and blow away.

Tomasky concludes his column by proclaiming that “the Democratic Party shouldn’t bother trying [to win congressional seats in the Deep South ]. If they [the Dems] get no votes from the region, they will in turn owe it nothing, and in time the South, which is the biggest welfare moocher in the world in terms of the largesse it gets from the more advanced and innovative states, will be on its own, which is what Southerners always say they want anyway.” (The link there is my own, of course, not Tomasky’s.)

Absolutely.

The likes of Repugnican Lite Landrieu – whose last-ditch, self-serving, desperate attempt to shove the Keystone XL oil pipeline down Americans’ throats for the deep pockets of the fat cats of Big Oil in order to save her Senate seat was incredibly pathetic (as was her defense of Big Oil even as British Petroleum was filling the Gulf of Mexico with millions of gallons of crude oil) – have only harmed, not helped, the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party’s lurch to the right, which started no later than during Bill Clinton’s reign (Wikipedia also notes that the Clintons’ home state of Arkansas sometimes also is included in the list of the states that make up the Deep South) and has continued during Barack Obama’s, doesn’t capture nearly as many Repugnican-leaning voters (who most often simply vote Repugnican instead of Repugnican Lite) as it turns off the Democratic Party’s base. And a party that stands for everything, that tries to please all people, in the end, stands for nothing.

Obama squandered too much of his presidency trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. He tried to negotiate with these terrorists, but you don’t negotiate with terrorists. Obama instead should have taken care of his base and not given a flying fuck what the enemy thought, since politically, he didn’t really have to. Had he done that, I surmise, he wouldn’t be spending his last two years in the Oval Office with both houses of Congress controlled by the enemy. Obama started off in 2009 with both houses of Congress controlled by his own party, and, had he played his cards right – instead of having wasted his political capital in trying to placate the implacable wingnuts – he could have maintained that political advantage to this day.

It’s long past time for the Democratic Party to start tending to its base. Obama’s failed experiment of “bipartisanship”* should have made this abundantly clear by now, but waiting in the wings, of course, is Billary Clinton, whose jaw-droppingly awful proxy country-Western music video on You Tube titled “Stand with Hillary” makes you wonder whether Billary approves of the video or not.

The New York Times’ Frank Bruni notes that “The video wasn’t produced by Clinton or her aides. But the people who did put it together [a “super-PAC” called, of course, “Stand with Hillary”] clearly followed the cues that they felt they were getting, and they read her intentions right.” I more or less concur, from what we know of Billary and the way she rolls.

I mean, the country-Western style of the video definitely seems to be geared toward the same shit-kicking voters to whom Billary apparently was trying to appeal when, as her 2008 effort to best Obama for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination grew more and more desperate, Billary (right along with the John McCainosaurus campaign) denounced Obama as “elitist and out of touch with the values and the lives of millions of Americans” for having accurately described the mindset of rednecks (who, Obama correctly had asserted, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations”**).

Because Billary wants to be Queen of the Rednecks, you see. But the majority of the rednecks don’t and won’t buy that a Democrat – especially one of the caliber of Billary Clinton – is truly One of Them (replete with her own country-Western anthem!), and true Democrats are put off by those who (like Billary) call themselves Democrats but who court rednecks more than they court the members of the traditional Democratic Party base (who simply are taken for granted, year after year after year).

I should note that the guy in cowboy garb in the “Stand with Hillary” video, who was lip-synching someone else’s vocals, calls himself apolitical and says that the video was just another paying gig, that he may or may not vote for Billary for president should she be on the ballot in November 2016.

Is it that Team Billary could find only someone who would be pro-Billary for pay? At any rate, that the guy in the video is a fake cowboy, a fake country-Western singer and a fake Billary supporter speaks volumes about Team Billary, methinks, including how insubstantial the candidate is herself.

I don’t assert that the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign should not be populist. Of course it should be. The party hasn’t done nearly enough for what remains of the middle class and the working class for many years now and desperately needs to return to its roots of socioeconomic equality and justice. Therefore, I’d love to see the likes of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. But wasting resources trying to convert those who never are going to support you anyway (as the desperate Billary tried to do in the spring of 2008, as the White House was slipping from her talons) is – well, a waste of limited resources.

The cultural stuff – such as country-Western music (for fuck’s sake), God, guns and gays – can, and should, take a back seat this next Democratic presidential cycle, in which populism should be the centerpiece, but should be limited to the discussion of socioeconomic issues that affect the common American, regardless of where he or she lives (and regardless of whether he or she likes country-western music or supports same-sex marriage).

If Billary indeed is on a trajectory to act, once again, like she’s Queen of the Rednecks, and the Democrats actually let this pass and allow her to become the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, then, it will be, I think, just as Harry S. Truman warned us: “If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time.”

We just saw the wisdom of Truman’s words in action this past weekend in Louisiana. We don’t have to see the truth of his words again in November 2016.

*In the speech that made Obama a political rock star at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Obama proclaimed that “The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. … We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

Really? One people? Even those who say that he shouldn’t be allowed to give the State of the Union address?

I mean, does Obama, six years into his presidency, still believe his feel-good, fluffy words from 2004?

**To be fair, this infamous comment of Obama’s should be taken within its larger context of his preceding remarks, which you can find here.

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