Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wassermann Schultz And The Rest Of The Democratic Grandees Gave Trump The Perfect Foil— The Only One He Could Have Beaten?


The Democratic Establishment hates Thomas Frank the way a 4 year old hates his cough medicine. In his day-after-election day OpEd in The Guardian Frank blamed them for the ascension of Trump to the White House and made the always obvious— now provable— point that “Clinton was exactly the wrong candidate: a technocrat who offered fine-tuning when the country wanted to take a sledgehammer to the machine.” They should have been reading his books and listening to him on Tom Hartmann’s radio show. Should have been— but with an open mind that might not be in their own personal financial interest.

“The woman we were constantly assured was the best-qualified candidate of all time,” he wrote, “has lost to the least qualified candidate of all time.” Trump’s taking over and “let’s not deceive ourselves. We aren’t going to win anything. What happened on Tuesday is a disaster, both for liberalism and for the world. As President Trump goes about settling scores with his former rivals, picking fights with other countries, and unleashing his special deportation police on this group and that, we will all soon have cause to regret his ascension to the presidential throne.”
What we need to focus on now is the obvious question: what the hell went wrong? What species of cluelessness guided our Democratic leaders as they went about losing what they told us was the most important election of our lifetimes?

Start at the top. Why, oh why, did it have to be Hillary Clinton? Yes, she has an impressive resume; yes, she worked hard on the campaign trail. But she was exactly the wrong candidate for this angry, populist moment. An insider when the country was screaming for an outsider. A technocrat who offered fine-tuning when the country wanted to take a sledgehammer to the machine.

She was the Democratic candidate because it was her turn and because a Clinton victory would have moved every Democrat in Washington up a notch. Whether or not she would win was always a secondary matter, something that was taken for granted. Had winning been the party’s number one concern, several more suitable candidates were ready to go. There was Joe Biden, with his powerful plainspoken style, and there was Bernie Sanders, an inspiring and largely scandal-free figure. Each of them would probably have beaten Trump, but neither of them would really have served the interests of the party insiders.

And so Democratic leaders made Hillary their candidate even though they knew about her closeness to the banks, her fondness for war, and her unique vulnerability on the trade issue – each of which Trump exploited to the fullest. They chose Hillary even though they knew about her private email server. They chose her even though some of those who studied the Clinton Foundation suspected it was a sketchy proposition.

To try to put over such a nominee while screaming that the Republican is a rightwing monster is to court disbelief. If Trump is a fascist, as liberals often said, Democrats should have put in their strongest player to stop him, not a party hack they’d chosen because it was her turn. Choosing her indicated either that Democrats didn’t mean what they said about Trump’s riskiness, that their opportunism took precedence over the country’s well-being, or maybe both.

Clinton’s supporters among the media didn’t help much, either. It always struck me as strange that such an unpopular candidate enjoyed such robust and unanimous endorsements from the editorial and opinion pages of the nation’s papers, but it was the quality of the media’s enthusiasm that really harmed her. With the same arguments repeated over and over, two or three times a day, with nuance and contrary views all deleted, the act of opening the newspaper started to feel like tuning in to a Cold War propaganda station. Here’s what it consisted of:
Hillary was virtually without flaws. She was a peerless leader clad in saintly white, a super-lawyer, a caring benefactor of women and children, a warrior for social justice.
Her scandals weren’t real.
The economy was doing well / America was already great.
Working-class people weren’t supporting Trump.
And if they were, it was only because they were botched humans. Racism was the only conceivable reason for lining up with the Republican candidate.
How did the journalists’ crusade fail? The fourth estate came together in an unprecedented professional consensus. They chose insulting the other side over trying to understand what motivated them. They transformed opinion writing into a vehicle for high moral boasting. What could possibly have gone wrong with such an approach?

Put this question in slightly more general terms and you are confronting the single great mystery of 2016. The American white-collar class just spent the year rallying around a super-competent professional (who really wasn’t all that competent) and either insulting or silencing everyone who didn’t accept their assessment. And then they lost. Maybe it’s time to consider whether there’s something about shrill self-righteousness, shouted from a position of high social status, that turns people away.

The even larger problem is that there is a kind of chronic complacency that has been rotting American liberalism for years, a hubris that tells Democrats they need do nothing different, they need deliver nothing really to anyone – except their friends on the Google jet and those nice people at Goldman. The rest of us are treated as though we have nowhere else to go and no role to play except to vote enthusiastically on the grounds that these Democrats are the “last thing standing” between us and the end of the world. It is a liberalism of the rich, it has failed the middle class, and now it has failed on its own terms of electability. Enough with these comfortable Democrats and their cozy Washington system. Enough with Clintonism and its prideful air of professional-class virtue. Enough!
Proof of Frank’s thesis: the Senate Democrats have chosen Chuck Schumer to head their decrepit minority. Pelosi was reelected to run the House Dems feeble efforts and she immediately engineered another term for the incredibly incompetent Ben Ray Lujan to head the DCCC. Even Obama, in announcing his anti-gerrymandering project named one of the nation’s least capable operatives, Kelly Ward, former DCCC executive director— personally responsible for 3 cycles of catastrophe and the loss of over 70 seats— to head it, guaranteeing before it’s even launched that it will fail miserably and absolutely and that every dime contributed to it will find its way into the pockets of her sleazy friends and colleagues all of whom will work their asses off to guarantee the Republicans win and win and win and win.

Obama blithely buys into the congenital failure

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At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you.
Have been engaged with a group of .... on TPM about how the D's should respond and rather then engage on issues and strategy's they resort to insults.
My suggested strategy's are
1) Not one more unanimous consent agreement for anything. Make them read the minutes, make them read the bills. Use procedural motions, personal privilege, points of order etc to pour sand into the gears and grind the congress down to a complete halt.
2)Forget past traditions, mores and practices that are not actual laws. The thuglicans have so why should the d's be constrained by them. A form of self censorship if they do. Use any legal tactic to obstruct, delay, and defeat anything -including budget- that the rethuglican eunuch caucus proposes. Stopping this congress and the usurper from doing anything is better
3) Not 1 judge for any position for the next 4 years. The Judiciary Committee rules state that at least one member of the minority Must be present to constitute a forum for any action. Complete boycott of Judiciary committee.
4) Any d that breaks is immediately assigned to the stationary and capital maintenance committees and no other while the party starts publicly recruiting primary opponent that will be financed by the party. the defector is informed they are cut off from all resources ( i.e. mailing lists, communications apparatus, donors list etc) from the party. No more liermans.
5) Find our Senator No. the R's have had DeMint, Coburn and, to a certain degree, Cruz in that role. Foul as they are in philosophy etc they, along with their fellow thugs have destroyed the system of rational debate and functional congress. Now let them live with what they have sown
6) My ideal DNC chair would be a Gay Black transexual woman born a muslim ( or any of the other cults preying upon the weak minded - catholic, jewish, zoroastrian whatever again exception for FSM) but after achieving ability to reason has become an outspoken atheist ( or follower of the FSM)

At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

While I totally agree with all said and was adamantly against Hillary and for Bernie, it must be emphasized that Trump's voters are to share much of the blame for his rise. No blame casting, such as this blog piece, should leave them out!! That people chose him because of her flaws and "wanting to take a sledgehammer to the establishment" is beyond reason. Beyond, beyond! There was no critical thinking or reality testing behind their horrendous choice. They are ignorant and "deplorable" and must be included and held accountable in any analyses of this election. They voted without seeing the consequences of putting a man like the Trumpanzee into office. Now not only the establishment is at stake, the entire basis of democracy and our government! Pure stupidity! They cheered for walls and deportations and racism! Will they be better off in 2017 with him in office? Not on your life. The question is how much worse it will be, and I fear for us all.

I do not say this in support of Hillary or the Dems one bit. However, regardless of her limitations, the horror of Trump did not appear important enough for people to to voter her just to stop him. He was worth stopping by any means, including a vote for her! Are any Trumpies now regretting their votes in the rear view mirror? A chimpanzee would have been a better candidate and gotten my vote. The man's flaws are so YUGE and mind boggling, and this was so evident throughout the campaign. In the end, when it came down to just the two of them, Hillary was a far better candidate than Trump (virtually anyone would have been!) and I am certain we will yearn for the pathetic establishment we had rather than the nightmare before us. Sorry! 2017 will be frightening and far, far worse than if she had gotten in. He is already taking a sledgehammer to it all, and NOT in a good way. The swamp is now gilded.

Oh, and let's remember Hillary actually won the popular vote overwhelmingly, James Comey was a real shit and never should have done what he did at the last minute, and we now know that Russian interference may well have swayed the election. It is not like Hillary actually lost very clearly by large margins. So all the blame should not be cast on her either.

If we are very very lucky maybe some of his people and some of the Republicans will wake up and recognize how awful and dangerous the man is and reign him in. Doubtful though. And the Dems are diddly shits and they'd better wake up, too, and change their course. What will happen if (when) he incites other leaders and causes all kinds of international havoc? And what about the domestic havoc waiting in the wings? And...waht if he drops a nuke? Will one then be dropped on us? Should I move far out of New York? The Dems had better start fighting tooth and nail and dirty, cause that's what the Republicans have done, for many years.

At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of the problem has been the willingness, even eagerness, for d's to forgive all the sins of the thugs.
When Obama gave the bankers a free pass on their crimes he lost a good percentage of those who had suffered from the bankers crimes.
when he refused to [rosecute war criminals he last another percentage.
The dual justice system we have where well heeled connected criminals, and this includes the fictios corporate"persons", can get off with aminor slap on the wrist and a minor fine, that is tax deductable, people respond to the theme that the system is rigged.
When those same criminals are recruited to high positions in government irregardless of their past crimes while poor people are being evicted from their homes for a couple joints and can no longer get jobs people see the system is rigged.
When the SEC is more interested in protecting wall street criminals rather then the small investors people lose faith in the system.
New agenda
1) No crime can be settled without an admittance of guilt.
2) In cases of corporate crimes the CEO and Chairman of the boards go to jail.
3) Just as we have 3 strikes laws for the poor so be it for corporations. After first violation they are permanently banned from any government contracts, after 3 criminal violations and the corporations lose their corporate charters and are dissolved. No exceptions. This includes military contractors as well.
4) Fines and lobbying fees are no longer tax deductable.
5) Illegal election actions results in the first violation ( felony level) of the person losing the right to particiate in elections in any way. If the candinate is involved he loses his office, any accumalated pensions and all his salaries, benefits etc are clawed back.
Start making people feel like the playing field is level.

It is time for the progressives to show no mercy to those whose greed, lust for power and abuse of authority has led them to betray the public trust.

At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank is at the bus station when his ship comes in.

$hillbillary was the candidate for one single, obvious reason. The money wanted her. period.

The DNC, a tool of the money CLEARLY, cheated (again, clearly) in several primaries in order to strip, flip and cage voting so that their "qualified" yet surprisingly inept whore would not lose to the truly progressive Independent.

And Biden, though ok with the big money, would have lost both the EC and PV to drumpf, and it would not have been close.

And don't forget also, that with $hillbillary as prez we would be lulled to sleep as $he noms a laundry list of corrupt but able $hills for cabinet. But we'd be in another war or 3 and one of our foes would be Russia this time. And $he would be putting missiles right on the border with Russia everywhere there aren't any already. And Putin would not stand for that.
And $hillbillary would be staring down (figuratively) a R congress, so caving on SSI, Medicare, Medicaid and tax cuts would be coming soon too. Goldman-Sachs would STILL be in charge of the economy... and immune to prosecution no matter what crimes they commit.

And climate change cannot be fixed, so her inaction on that wouldn't matter.


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