What Does Rolling Stone REALLY Think Of Hillary Clinton?
The Agenda Action Project explained in great detail why their members had chosen, by an overwhelming margin, to endorse Bernie for president. The head of APA, Erik Altieri, announced the endorsement yesterday, saying, that "Bernie Sanders' campaign has ignited a fire in this country that we are honored and humbled to stoke and grow until that warm light becomes a beacon of hope-- not just for the every citizen in this country, but for people around the world. Now is not the time to resign ourselves to the sidelines, now is the time to stand up and fight back. Enough is enough." He points out that his organization "is built on the same values that Senator Sanders has been preaching since the beginning of his political career. Bernie Sanders' policy positions have mirrored our hard hitting and unapologetic ad campaigns such as 'Granny Off the Cliff' when we fought against the privatization of Medicare, 'Hold Your Breath' when we took on outrageous student loan debt, and 'Stop the Greedy Clown' when we fought for a fair minimum wage."
I've heard a lot of analysis-- most of it relatively shallow-- about why Hillary can't win a general election. No one ever mentions that she's generally disliked by independent voters (at least 40% of the electorate). The Clinton Machine's overriding strategy is to always push, first and foremost, that no matter how awful she is, she's the lesser of two evils-- not as bad as either Cruz or Trump. The latest Quinnipiac poll, released yesterday, bears out that she could possibly squeak through if either of them is the nominee (and, like all the polling firms, Quinnipiac refuses to pull the likely GOP nominee, Paul Ryan). But head-to-heads show her beating Trump, 46-40%, beating Cruz 45-42% and being taken to the cleaners by Ryan-substitute John Kasich 47-39%. (Bernie beats Trump 52-38, beats Cruz 50-39% and is locked in a virtual tie with Kasich, 45-44%, Kasich ahead by a point.) Quinnipiac also found that Trump and Clinton top the "no way" list as 54% of American voters say they "would definitely not" vote for Trump, with 43% saying no to Clinton, 33% nixing Cruz.
"Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton may have the overall leads among primary voters, but there is not a lot of love in the room as a big percentage of Americans say of the front- runners they could take 'em or leave 'em," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "Though short on delegates and short on time, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. John Kasich can hang their hats on the fact that if folks went to the polls today, they'd fare better than the other candidates."But few people doing the analyzing note that young voters, who swarmed to the polls for Obama, are not Hillary fans and will be unlikely to fall for her desperate lesser-of-two evils approach. Maybe that's why she was so eager to get the Rolling Stone endorsement. People in their 70s think of the Rolling Stone as speaking for "the kids"-- because it did... when people in their 70s were kids. The owner of Rolling Stone, Jann Wenner, is a Clinton crony who is 70 himself. The owner of a private jet, his estimated net worth is $700 million. Wenner writes big checks to the Democratic Establishment and its candidates-- $25,000 to Rahm's DCCC, $20,000 to Schumer's DSCC; $25,000 more to the DSCC, $25,000 more to the DCCC; $21,000 to the DNC... His contribution record is completely, boringly establishment. The endorsement from his magazine, written by himself, is the endorsement of a 70 year old, almost-billionaire for the craven sold-out establishment candidate of his party.
"Scared." That's the one word 117 American voters use to describe how they feel about the possibility of Trump as president, in an open-ended question. Another 46 voters say "disaster," with 45 voters each for "frightened" and "terrified." Another 42 voters say "horrified." The first positive word, "good," is seventh on the list, from 36 voters.
"Disaster" is the word 68 voters use to describe their feelings about Clinton as president. It goes back and forth after that: 51 voters say "good;" 49 voters say "scared;" 43 voters say "disappointed" and 41 voters say "hopeful."
Trump, Clinton and Cruz each get negative favorability ratings:
• 33 - 61 percent for Trump;
• 39 - 56 percent for Clinton;
• 32 - 47 percent for Cruz. Kasich gets a positive 43 - 20 percent favorability score, with Sanders at 50 - 37 percent.
Something tells me millennials who read Rolling Stone are more interested in what Matt Taibbi has to say about the presidential election than in what Wenner has to say. "The media response to the Sanders campaign," Taibbi wrote, presumably including his own magazine's, "has been alternately predictable, condescending, confused and condescending again." That pretty much describes how Wenner handled Bernie in his Hillary endorsement yesterday. "The tone of most of the coverage," Taibbi continued, "shows reporters deigning to treat his campaign like it's real, like he has a chance. John Cassidy of the New Yorker, for instance, swore he wouldn't be patronizing about the Sanders run. 'Indeed, I welcomed Sanders to the race!' Cassidy wrote recently. But Cassidy's hokey 'Welcome to the 2016 Race, Bernie Sanders!' piece from last spring had a small catch. It basically said that Sanders was welcome because he would be a boon to the real candidate, Hillary Clinton. '[Sanders] can't win the primary,' Cassidy wrote. 'And he will occupy the space to the left of Clinton, thus denying it to more plausible candidates, such as Martin O'Malley.' (!) Noting that Sanders held positions that were 'eminently defensible, if unrealistic,' Cassidy nonetheless said he was glad Sanders was running, because he would 'provide a voice to those Democrats who agree with him that the U.S. political system has been bought, lock, stock, and barrel.' This passage he wrote just after arguing that Sanders cannot win and was only useful insofar as he would help the bought-off candidate win. So what Cassidy really meant is that the Sanders campaign was allowing people who are justifiably pissed about our corrupted system to blow off steam, before they ultimately surrender to give their support to the system candidate. And he welcomed that! But he wasn't being condescending or anything."
Probably not something Wenner enjoyed reading in his own magazine about his own candidate.
Sanders is just the latest in a long line of candidates-- Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, to name a few-- whom my media colleagues decided in advance were not electable, and covered accordingly, with a sneer.
When we reporters are introduced to a politician, the first thing we ask ourselves is if he or she is acceptable to the political establishment. We don't admit that we ask this as a prerequisite, but we do.
Anyone who's survived without felony conviction a few terms as a senator, governor or congressperson, has an expensive enough haircut, and has never once said anything interesting will likely be judged a potentially "serious" candidate.
If you're wondering why no Mozarts or Einsteins ever end up running for president in America, but an endless succession of blockheads like Rick Perry are sold to us on the cover of Time magazine as contenders, it's because of this absurd prerequisite.
Bloomberg released this national poll this morning
Bernie Sanders bluntly fails the Rick Perry test. In fact he pretty much defines what it means to fail that test. It isn't just that he doesn't kiss babies or comb his hair or "deftly evade answers." He's also unapologetically described himself as a socialist, which makes him a giant bespectacled block of Kryptonite for Beltway donors and mainstream journalists alike.
If questioned, most reporters would justify this by noting that an effective president must be able to bridge the gap between powerful interests and populist concerns. So it makes some sense to interrogate candidates accordingly, to make sure they're acceptable to both sides.
The flaw in this reasoning is that it assumes that Wall Street and Silicon Valley and Big Pharma and the rest need the help of us reporters to weed out the undesirables.
They don't, of course. Big money already has a stranglehold on the process of government. It outright owns most of the members of Congress, and its lobbyists write much of our important legislation. With Citizens United, buying elections is now more or less legal. Big money even owns most of the media companies that employ those pundits who are all telling us now to worry about how "realistic" Sanders isn't.
Everybody knows this. In fact, this numbing reality of how completely corrupted the modern American political process is bends the brains of those whose job it is to cover it. What happens over time is that you lose hope, and you begin to view everything through the prism of the corruption to which you're so accustomed.
...Successful politicians today on both sides of the aisle are sprawling celebrity franchises. They seem always to be making piles of money and hobnobbing with Beautiful People when they're finished moving the status quo in some incremental direction, which some hack somewhere will always be willing to call change.
Whether it's the Clintons with their foundations or Al Gore with his movies and his carbon-trading interests or the Bush/Cheney axis of hereditary politics and energy commerce, we expect the politicians who make it to the big time to cash in somewhere along the line because, hey, this is America. Donald Trump, if elected, would find a way to turn being the president into a moneymaking operation.
Sanders is a clear outlier in a generation that has forgotten what it means to be a public servant. The Times remarks upon his "grumpy demeanor." But Bernie is grumpy because he's thinking about vets who need surgeries, guest workers who've had their wages ripped off, kids without access to dentists or some other godforsaken problem that most of us normal people can care about for maybe a few minutes on a good day, but Bernie worries about more or less all the time.
I first met Bernie Sanders ten years ago, and I don't believe there's anything else he really thinks about. There's no other endgame for him. He's not looking for a book deal or a membership in a Martha's Vineyard golf club or a cameo in a Guy Ritchie movie. This election isn't a game to him; it's not the awesomely repulsive dark joke it is to me and many others.
And the only reason this attention-averse, sometimes socially uncomfortable person is subjecting himself to this asinine process is because he genuinely believes the system is not beyond repair.
Not all of us can say that. But that doesn't make us right, and him "unrealistic." More than any other politician in recent memory, Bernie Sanders is focused on reality. It's the rest of us who are lost.