Tag: Hillary Clinton

My Quick First Take on Democratic Debate

I thought:

  • Martin O’Malley helped himself the most
  • Jim Webb did himself the most damage
  • Lincoln Chaffee was oratorically unimpressive
  • Hillary Clinton did what the front-runner needs to do: avoid mistakes and not take any hard direct hits
  • Bernie Sanders was Bernie Sanders, which is just fine, but I don’t think he helped or hurt himself much
  • Anderson Cooper did a very credible job moderating

The debate was far more substantive and watchable than either of the GOP debates, by a pretty long way.

 

Hillary Finally Comes Around on Keystone

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today finally announced that she is opposed to the construction of the terribly bad-for-the-climate Keystone XL Pipeline. This moves her one tiny step closer to being an acceptable candidate for President among those of us whose sole focus is on global climate change as the overriding political issue of the 2016 election.

She’s still a long way away from acceptable. For one thing, given her reputation for, shall we say politely, political expediency, there’s no guarantee she’ll retain this position for the remainder of the campaign, let alone should she succeed in becoming the next President of the United States (a distinct possibility). For another, when she was President Obama’s Secretary of State, she tacitly if not actively backed the pipeline as part of her official stance. So this new position can be seen as a bit of a flip-flop.

But more importantly, HRC has not shown any real desire to be a visible leader in the global climate change movement, as a Senator, as Secretary of State, as a chief leader of a major world charitable foundation or as a candidate for President. This is a subject about which it seems essential to develop some serious personal passion in order to be willing to have a significant impact on the future of humanity.

So for me, I’m cautiously grateful to Secretary Clinton for taking this stance, but I’m going to stay with my current political stance pending much greater movement on her part on the only existential issue of the political scene: global climate change.

Easy Solution to HRC and Similar Scandals: Ban Personal Financing of Campaigns

In the latest round of financial scandal disclosures, it seems Hillary Clinton personally and directly pocketed a significant amount of money from companies that lobbied her as a Senator and in the State Department.

hillaryAccording to Vox.com — hardly a conservative watchdog — information from her financial disclosure form filed on Friday night isn’t the same-old, same-old. “The latest episode in the Clinton money saga is different than the others because it involves the clear, direct personal enrichment of Hillary Clinton, presidential candidate, by people who have a lot of money at stake in the outcome of government decisions.”

So far, Democratic friends of Secretary Clinton have kept up the repeated refrain that there has been no quid pro quo to allege or demonstrate in numerous previous reports of financial shadiness. But those disclosures involved money contributed to the Clinton Foundation and could always be ameliorated to some degree by the knowledge that the money didn’t line the pockets of the Clintons, an upper-middle-class couple who grew fabulously wealthy in public service. This latest money went straight to her pockets.

I don’t know how many more of these revelations Clinton can survive before her candidacy collapses from their collective weight. But I’m becoming more and more certain that, although the centrist wing of the Democratic Party that backs her is unendingly forgiving of her misconduct, the popular electorate is getting an uneasy taste in its mouth. She’s certainly going to be hard to dislodge from the nomination but I don’t know that she’s the obvious winner against the clown car that is the GOP field this year that we once saw.

And that, frankly, scares the crap out of me.

I Could Get Behind Biden

I’ve made no secret of my decision to bolt the Democratic Party in the face of its domination by Corporatists like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton along with dozens of senators and congresscritters. I’ve switched my allegiance to the Green Party in the first phase of a long-term strategy to force broader discussion and consideration of the Progressive agenda in this country.

Vice-President Joe Biden. Maybe for President 2016?

Vice-President Joe Biden. Maybe for President 2016?

But if the current rumblings about Joe Biden taking a run at the Democratic Party nomination turn out to be true, I may have to revisit my decision. Biden’s a legitimate progressive thinker with the intelligence and experience to make a fine President. At a time when our two biggest problems — economic inequality and global climate change — call for outside-the-box thinking and bold action, Biden represents a possible alternative to the Greens with a viable chance of victory in 2016.

I’d want to know a lot more about Biden’s policies. He’s spent eight years in the deep shadow of the presidency of Obama, many of whose policies have been far too centrist to say noting of ineffective for my taste. I’d want to know the extent to which Biden fought for more Progressive thinking behind the scenes even as he fell into line like a good soldier when decisions went against his preferences. But his reputation as a Senator was certainly that of someone who identified with and earnestly supported the cause of the Middle Class. The disappearance of that class is already well under way at the behest of Republicans and Corporatist Democrats. If he could convince me he’d reverse that untenable and unDemocratic course of action, I could be tempted to volunteer for him and contribute to his cause.

During a recent trip to the Bay Area where I used to live (I live on the Central Coast now, not that far away), the Veep was absolutely mum about his possible candidacy. But there is a growing movement in the party that someone needs to challenge Hillary both for her good and for the good of the party. I agree and further believe that if such a challenge could move her to the left a good bit, she might even become palatable…barely…to a diehard Leftie like me.

 

What if Al Gore Ran? I Know, But What If? And What if He Asked Warren to Join Him?

AL GORE - Could former Veep take the Dem nomination?

AL GORE – Could former Veep take the Dem nomination?

In a case of dueling leftist media today, Vox’s Ezra Klein is encouraging former VP and almost-should-have-been President Al Gore to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for the office in 2016 at the same time as Luke Brinker at Salon.com is arguing that’s not such a hot idea.

Frankly, I like the idea. A lot. It might be the one thing that could lure me back into the Democratic Party fold for another run at getting a Progressive agenda adopted. Klein’s arguments are pretty persuasive, though, like Brinker, I think he glosses over the central issue of income inequality as if it were a minor nuisance simply because (apparently) Gore hasn’t been outspoken on the subject. Brinker’s obviously a supporter of Elizabeth Warren, whose positions and proposals on that subject are decidedly progressive.

But what if Gore ran, picked Warren as his VP, gave her portfolio over the economics of inequality, and focused his energies on the existential global crisis? And what if he made a commitment up front to serve only one term, yielding then to a fully qualified and vetted Warren in 2020?

Now that could get my pulse pounding again. That could draw me back into the Presidential fray on the Democratic side of the ledger rather than continuing my long-term change strategy of backing the Green Party candidate, whoever that turns out to be. (Please let it be Jill Stein!)

I doubt this is even remotely possible. First, I suspect Gore sees himself as having more influence now than he’d ever have as President. Second, he probably wonders whether he could be elected even in an era when it’s common political lore in DC that the Democrats own the White House and the GOP owns the Congress for the foreseeable future. And Gore is not without his own baggage (including inexplicably inconsistent behavior on the environmental front and an unpleasant divorce from a popular woman). But I suspect he is electable and bringing Warren onto the ticket would almost certainly clinch the nomination for him. If, as some have suggested (yeah, I’m looking at you, Peggy Noonan!), Hillary Clinton really doesn’t want to run as much as it sometimes seems she does, then Gore’s entry into the fray would give her great political cover for bowing out, particularly if Warren is on the ticket.

Of course, at the end of the discussion, it’s up to HRC. If she wants the nomination, she’ll almost certainly get it. And if she gets it, she’ll almost certainly win. And if she gets it, I’ll certainly stay Green. Because there is no issue or combination if issues of more consequence than the climate and on that topic alone, Ms. Clinton is a complete bust.

 

Peggy Noonan’s Take on HRC Candidacy May Be Prescient

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, not my favorite writer or a particularly reliable source for what Democrats are doing or thinking, suspects the fight may have gone out of Hillary Clinton before she’s officially announced her candidacy for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination.

In a particularly thoughtful piece that seems to have a bit more personal insight into Hillary than I’ve seen in most of the other speculation surrounding her email scandal, Noonan says:

Maybe she isn’t really hungry enough for the presidency anymore. And maybe she doesn’t have illusions anymore. She’s funded by Wall Street. Her opponent will be funded by Wall Street.

Maybe she’s of two minds about what she wants. But it’s not really hunger that’s propelling her now, its Newton’s law of inertia: Objects in motion tend to stay in motion.

Last week when this news broke, I suggested strongly that we might be seeing the end of HRC’s run at the White House. The “scandal” has all the smell and taste and warp and woof of what the American people don’t want right now: entitlement, arrogance and above-the-law behavior.

Noonan, who is certainly both better connected to and more knowledgeable about HRC’s campaign than I will ever be, seems to have come to much the same conclusion.

At a minimum, I think Clinton’s missteps — among which I count her horrible press conference performance — may have opened the door sufficiently widely to encourage other Democrats to seek the nomination rather than simply coronating her. And ultimately that would operate in the best interest of the Democratic Party and perhaps, depending on who walks through that door, to the Progressive wing which I believe holds the keys to the White House in 2016.

 

Counting on HRC to “Restore the Party’s Luster”? You’re Joking, Right?

I read this highly improbable sentence in the New York Times this morning:

As Hillary Rodham Clinton prepares to run for president again, amid much criticism, Democrats across the board are counting on her to restore the party’s luster.

Huh? Seriously??

This statement makes several really silly assumptions, to wit:

First, that the Democratic Party has any luster to restore.

Second, that HRC, with all her historical baggage and current negative image perceptions, could restore any such luster.

Third, that assuming she wasn’t part of the ancient history of the Party, her current bona fides are tarnished at best.

And, last but not least, that the Democratic Party is aware of any lack of luster in need of restoration.

Go, Greens! 😀

Can HRC Survive the Email Scandal?

Americans will put up with a lot from their elected public officials. But one thing that they have traditionally been particularly angry about is when those officials try to conduct business in secret. When the regime of Bush the Younger was ending, the scandal of millions of missing emails nearly brought about impeachment proceedings.

Now Democratic Presidential candidate in every sense of the word other than “official” Hillary Clinton has a huge secret email scandal, one that is far bigger than the one that plagued the Bush White House.

hillary_clintonApparently, while she served as President Obama’s Secretary of State, she used only her personal email account to transact State Department business. That put tens of thousands of emails beyond the ready reach of the public, media, and investigators. Faced with a recent Congressional demand for records related to the non-scandal-that-won’t-die Benghazi, Clinton’s aides went through those emails and turned over something like 300 emails related to those attacks. Earlier, at the request of the State Department, her team turned over about 50,000 pages of emails that had been stashed in her private account.

I’m a little bewildered, not so much at the Machiavellian machination itself as at her apparent belief that she could get away with it despite her long-time plan to seek the White House her husband occupied. I mean, did she think nobody would notice?

This smacks of above-the-law hubris that may set new breathtaking records in American political annals. And frankly it’s a scandal from which I’m not at all certain she can recover, regardless of her popularity, fund-raising, historical connection to the Presidency and the Democratic Party, and money. This revelation adds a significant burden to an already baggage-laden candidacy.

In an era of filthy dirty politics, attack-dog strategies and a 24/7 news cycle featuring tons of right-wing fanatics and Faux News, this new story will dominate the headlines for weeks to come. HRC has always been good at damage control and she may find a way yet to spin this, but I’m inclined to believe that we may have just seen the beginning of a precipitous decline in her political fortunes.

As a lifelong Democrat-turned-Green and supporter of Progressive causes, I can’t find a tear to shed.

 

Me, Too, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Warren, American progressives’ loudest, clearest and sanest voice on the national political scene, says she wants to see what Hillary Clinton wants to do before she decides whether she’s progressive or not.

Me, too, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Warren: A Nearly Lone Liberal Voice in the Wilderness

Elizabeth Warren: A Nearly Lone Liberal Voice in the Wilderness

In response to a question by MSNBC “newsman” Al Sharpton about what Warren would say to those who question HRC’s progressive bona fides, the Massachusetts Senator said, in essence, “I question that as well.” Warren, despite national movements afoot to draft her into accepting the Democratic Party nomination in 2016, has insisted that she will not be a candidate and has said frequently that she hopes Clinton makes a run.

But if there’s a single real progressive in this country who believes for a nanosecond that Hillary is going to adopt any truly liberal positions on important social issues, they must be deaf and blind. She and her husband are both center-right Corporatist Democrats, or what I call Republicrats. She is definitely to the right of President Barack Obama, who is clearly not a progressive in most senses of the word.

I’m somewhat less enamored of a Warren candidacy than many of my lefty friends. For one thing, she’s a bit raw and inexperienced for my tastes; the party got excited about Obama as president but his political naiveté and inexperience have been extremely costly to the nation and to the party. For another, I’m not sure a well-placed Senator doesn’t have more influence over the long haul than a President and I think she might be smart enough to get that.

But in any case, I don’t think she’ll run and barring a run, she doesn’t have a chance in Hades of getting the nomination as a “dark horse” drafted nominee. Hillary will have the convention locked up along time before the party gathers. So as a practical political matter, I don’t see a Warren candidacy and as a practical reality, I’m not sure she’s ready.

But we surely need some pressure from the left on the party and on Hillary if we have any chance of seeing a progressive agenda — even a small portion of it — become law. Warren could, if she chose, supply that pressure but only at the cost of party ostracism which would blunt her effectiveness as a Senator. That’s probably too high a price to pay for too little reward.

 

Press Keeps Talking About Phantom Left Shift Among Dems. I Wish

This morning while reading yet another piece on Hillary Clinton and how she might govern if she got to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., I ran across another one of those mysterious comments that I find sprinkled all over the largely conservative media. Andrew Ross Sorkin said in the piece that, “[the] Democratic Party, in the wake of the financial crisis, appears to have shifted leftward since Mr. Clinton left office.”

Say what? Where? Where?!

I think the Democratic Party has shifted right. It’s just that the national landscape has been titled even farther to the right by the combination of dark money, GOP gerrymandering, and the Democrats’ inability to articulate a position that is anywhere near the left space occupied by many if not most self-identified Democrats in the nation.

This is a theme I read over and over again. Yet it is impossible for these common taters (spuds with no cred) to point to a single significant policy shift to the left in the past 20 years. Repeatedly faced with the opportunity to shift the agenda and the policy to the Left, Clinton and Obama both resisted, choosing instead to “compromise” positions not yet taken in favor of keeping the Democrats Lite in charge. The current situation is no different.

So let’s stop talking about the media bias to the left, can we? It’s non-existent except in the wishful thinking of commentators who have long since abandoned their own progressivism.