Clinton: A Dilemna


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

256 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

    Liberal: Ron Wyden, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, Bill De Blasio, John Chait

    Neo-Liberal: Matt Y, Michael Bloomberg, Ezra Klein, maybe HRC, Michelle Rhee

    Leftist: The People Demanding that Google give 3 billion dollars for a series of Anarchist communes in Northern CaliforniaReport

    • Avatar North says:

      I’m down generally but are you sure about Chait* being full on Liberal. He’s struck me as pretty strongly neo-liberal in my own long readings and he has a lot of connection to TNR which (Israel aside) is pretty neo-liberal.

      *A quick acknowledgement of bias. I think I’m pretty close to neo-lib myself and I love Chait’s writing so of course I’d want to claim him but I do think his sardonic practical tone is very neo-liberal too.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I stopped reading him years ago, but for the most part Chait struck me mostly as a partisan sentryman rather than somebody who ideologically eminates from a particular place on the left.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:


        Chait calls himself a liberal so a liberal he is and since he writes so much about national politics, it is hard to tell where he comes across on things like rent control and gentrification.

        He is very pro-welfare state though and often writes about how is little bubble in D.C. generally does not see recessions and is not effected by recessions/depressions. He is anti-defecit hawk.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Yes ND, but neo-liberals are pretty anti-deficit hawks right now too. Their, and Chait’s arguments are not that deficits are not ever an issue but that the US simply is not facing any serious near term deficit problem and that deficit hawkishness would not help the country very much at all right now.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Will, maybe that’s why I love him.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        Chait’s a fantastic writer, but (and!?!?) he’s a neoliberal. In particular on welfare, he’s a hard-core promulgator of the self-serious policy justifications for the 90s welfare reform that circulated on the Dem side to not merely try to justify reform to the Left, but to fully rebut and even discredit their opposition. He did that at TNR, and was a leading figure in that effort, and insodoing established one of the seminal “even The liberal New Republic” moments.

        So if we’re saying who is a neo-liberal and who isn’t, Chait is a neoliberal. OTOH, in my view and I think according to the common understanding right now, he’s also a liberal. Neo-liberalsare liberals in a very great number of cases according to that understanding of the term, which right now basically says that liberal = (at least) everything on the left side of the spectrum until you get to at least socialists if not even more radical leftists.

        (That’s not even speaking to my own understanding of the term which I almost never talk about because it just confuses things. To my way of thinking liberalism properly understood comprises a vast swath of current mainstream political thought, from welfare social-democracy to neoliberalism, through some libertarianisms. To not be a liberal in my view is to reject a certain way of thinking that is extremely common in political discourse right now, though in deed many conservatives manage to do it. (There are in fact self-described conservatives whom I would even include in the liberal tent.) But my own private understanding of the term is neither here nor there; I don’t hold it to be congruent with the common one, nor even more correct in any important way. I just think it’s somewhat more reflective of the history of the philosophy and the way it’s more of a broad set of ideals that has various branching embodiments with different emphases than a specific set of ideas or exponents today.)

        That Chait happens to be one of the most effective partisan fighters for Democrats (more against Republicans, though), on the nominal left doesn’t change his underlying policy orientation. He’s a highly partisan democratic neoliberal. Just Like Bill Clinton. And he (and Clinton) are liberals, just like Elizabeth Warren. Warren is not a neoliberal like Bill Clinton or Chait, and Bill Clinton is not a (mainstream rather than radical) Leftist like Warren. (I want to say they’re not progressives like Warren, but that was such a popular term all across the left for a while, though I’d argue not as accurate for describing nearly everyone over there like liberal is, that I fear trying to exclude Clinton from it and then being inundated with examples of Clinton calling himself a progressive. I don’t think you’ll find examples of him calling himself a Leftist after 1980, however.) But they’re liberals all.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Wow MD, that’s really well put.Report

      • Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

        North –

        Just a sidenote: TNR is not so “neo-liberal” any more. It changed hands about a year ago, and has turned into one of the most interesting print magazines out there–much more like its 40s and 50s incarnations than its 1980s+ version.Report

      • Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

        My own understanding of the term “neo-liberal” is someone who shares the goals of traditional liberals, but supports market-driven means to get there.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        That mirrors my own experience @Snarky McSnarkSnark so I’m inclined to agree. In my callow youth it was rather vigerously neo-liberal. Then again it’s always kindof been an establishment magazine and the mainstream left is rather neo-liberalish.

        Also it’s delightful to see your sharp teeth gracing the comment threads again.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW says:

      That’s a vast oversimplification of leftism. Given that you defined the other positions with a list of names:

      Leftist: Glenn Greenwald, Jack Layton (R.I.P), Bernie SandersReport

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

        Fair points.

        Greenwald is good for national security and civil liberties but he actually strikes me as being more capitalist/free market on economic issues than I am.

        Other more effective leftists: Clement Atlee, Bernie Sanders, Nye Bevan, Tommy Douglas, David Ben Gurion, Gloda Meir, Michael Foot, Tony Benn.

        I like Democratic Socialists.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        *bites tongue about two of those names*

        (Don’t derail thread, don’t derail thread, don’t derail thread…)Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

        Do you even know any Jews, Katherine?

        Do you know anything about this history of anti-Semitism and the Dreyfus Affair and the birth of Zionism?

        Do you have any answers to where Jews were supposed to go after the Shoah? It is clear that no one wanted them during the 1930s and very few places including their native countries wanted them back after the War? Do you even care about this at all?Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

        Greenwald’s not really a leftist except in the “Hate America No Matter What”ism. He’s had some pretty libertarian stuff when it comes to markets and the like.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        Yes, I am quite familiar with the Dreyfus Affair and the history of Zionism, and with the unconscionable refusal of Western nations to accept Jewish refugees from Germany and Nazi-occupied territories during the 1930s and World War II. I understand why Jewish people in Europe had very good reasons to believe that they would never be accepted as true, equal citizens of any European nation. The underlying problem of European intolerance that led to the ideal of Zionism was the fault of European countries, not of Jewish people in Europe. Britain made things worse by promising the same land to both the Jews as a national homeland (Balfour Declaration) and to the Arabs as a state (McMahon Letters).

        That doesn’t mean than the Jewish people had any particular claim to the land where Israel is located. Property rights don’t last 2000 years; we’re not going to return the territories of the Persian Empire to Iran, or those of the Babylonians to Iraq, or that of the Romans to Italy. And it doesn’t mean it was in any way morally right to set up an ethnically-defined country on other people’s land, to ethnically cleanse them, destroy their homes, seek to erase any memory that they had ever been there, and then claim that the land had been vacant waiting to be taken – a lie that echoes those used by many other colonizing peoples across history. Do you know how many Jews and Zionists I’ve had tell me that nobody was living in Palestine until the early Zionists started settling it?

        And it absolutely does nothing to justify or excuse Israel’s occupation, illegal settlement, exploitation, ethnic cleansing, and creeping annexation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank over the last nearly fifty years, which – given that we cannot turn back history – is the primary political matter of pertinence now.

        I think we’d best leave this for a more pertinent thread.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        I dunno, I have read Katherine on the Palestinians here so there’s no ambiguity on her positions. Do we need to open that can o’ worms in this thread?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Did you read about the LATEST night of broken glass?
        Do you fucking care?

        Sorry, I’m not in the mood for zionism right now. The hypocrisy
        is killing me.

        What are those precious, self-serving, hypocritical words?
        “never again”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Sorry, I’m not in the mood for zionism right now

        I’m unclear about what the imperative is that follows from this statement.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        it’s in the “sorry”. It’s an acknowledgement that I am being more intemperate than usual, and may in the process step on people’s guts — because I’m really calling into question something that Saul believes strongly in. I am noting that I might, on a different year, put it a little less bluntly and a little less strongly.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        It should have been obviously clear by the 1940s that most Arab nationalists wanted to divest their countries of their Jews to just like their European nationalist counterparts. The Farhud anybody? The pogroms that broke out in Libya, Syria, and Yemen and elsewheere right after World War II but before 1948?Report

  2. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

    As to the content of the post,

    There is something close to a 100 percent chance that I will vote for HRC if she is the Democratic nominee in 2016. Then again, we all know that I am a Democratic guy.

    As for the primaries, I suspect Joe Biden will try and run again. Jerry Brown is probably too old. Other contenders include Coumo, Daniel Malloy of Connecticut, Martin O’Malley from Maryland, Elizabeth Warren, Ron Wyden, and Al Franken.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      IMO, age is an issue for HRC too; she ain’t no spring chicken anymore. She wouldn’t be the oldest President ever, but she’d be up there. No significant health issues out of the ordinary for a woman her age, I realize. But I’d be at the Reagan-McCain level of concern about the quality of her running mate.

      Of the alternatives, O’Malley is the most interesting to me.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

        She would be as old as Reagan when he ran for office and won in 1980. I think over 70 is probably in the too old category for a first run at the Presidency.

        Though people in their 60s and 70s seem a lot younger to me know than Reagan did when I was a child.Report

      • Avatar scott the mediocre says:

        I agree on O’Malley – he’s my by far my present favorite of the plausibles. Anybody who could be mayor of Baltimore for two terms and keep the wheels on, let alone seemingly improve things, deserves attention. It would be interesting to see what happens if either Schweitzer or Mark Warner were to throw in, though if HRC does run I’d hate to see the anybody but Hillary vote split.Report

      • I do think women tend to live longer and are more alert/functional longer. So I don’t really think she’s as much of a risk as Reagan was.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        Seems to be the case:

        I blame misandry!

        (And I wonder how it works for me.)Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

        The problem of course is that no one is a brand name like HRC unless you are super into politics.

        Obama was reasonably well known in the public consciousness by 2008. I don’t think O’Malley or Malloy are well-known except by political followers. AKA weirdos like us.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:


        iirc, you’re doubly screwed. First, by your genetics, then by the hormones (if any you are taking) since they increase the risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis.Report

    • Avatar Mo says:

      You forgot Brian SchweitzerReport

      • Avatar scott the mediocre says:

        I didn’t 🙂
        Indeed, roughly a year out from the serious start of the invisible primary, I’d say he’s a more likely candidate than several of the others Saul listed, insofar as he has talked seriously about going to Iowa.

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

        He could be a dark horse too.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      *note* Warren is on the public record as strongly endorsing HRC. For Warren to reverse course and throw her hat into the ring would be massively problematic for her to say the least. I would submit it would require a serious HRC implosion and preferably an endorsement from HRC herself.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW says:

      Are you serious about Al Franken? I haven’t followed his Senate career, but I’ve read his books, and that strikes me as about on a par with Jon Stewart running for president. (BTW, I would absolutely vote for Jon if I lived in the US. I would donate to his campaign if foreigners are allowed to do so [I suspect we’re not]. Run, Jon, run!)Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        He’s very serious about being a good senator. One reason he’s rarely in the news is that he’s stayed away from schtick.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

        He could be an interesting dark horse candidate.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        He won’t run. Period. He’s got no experience and he’s worked hard on being a serious senator. He’s got my vote whatever he does (met him at Minneapolis Pride and he impressed the hell out of me* with his empathy and support).

        *I know, that’s what politicians do in person, I know, but I was convinced and this was before Minnesota was a gay rights lock.Report

      • Avatar Mo says:

        Doesn’t Franken have a sub-50% approval rating in his own state as Senator? I’m not saying he’s going to lose his seat, but if the people who know you best don’t like you (and it’s not a Romney/Gore red guy/blue state or vice versa thing), shouldn’t that raise concerns?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Franken’s one of our smartest senators, and one of the hardest working too.
        That said, he’s probably said enough smart-alec things that going for president might not be the best plan.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I wonder what the reasons are for Franken’s low numbers. I kind of cringed when he was elected, but I thought he had been pretty impressive.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      I note that Brian Schweitzer is mentioned below, but my response to this list of names is too old (Brown and Biden, both ≥74 by election day 2016), Northeast, West Coast, and Frankel (let’s see how he does in the re-election campaign this year). I’m a Mountain West registered Democrat. People talk about the Republicans becoming a regional party, but the national Democrats are making me nervous that the same thing is happening.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

        Colorado seems pretty safely purple to me for the moment. Montana was always odd. Idaho hasn’t had a Democratic Senator since Church. Wyoming has always largely been Republican territory.

        Both parties are regional in that they have bases that are seemingly located in certain areas. The Democratic base is largely urban and largely located in the Northeast, and Westcoast. California, Oregon, and Washington were the states that resisted or rejected the Tea Party the most in 2010, along with the Northeast. This means that areas like the Rocky Mountain west are going to be harder for Democratic types to get without alienating the base. Colorado is a seeming exception because of Denver and Boulder. The other states are not urban enough.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        @michael-cain Nothing personal, but I don’t think it’s a big deal that Democrat’s are being a regional party in the sense their not being strong where there’s not any people (ie. most of the Mountain West aside from Colorado and Nevada).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Re: Colorado. There was very recently a recall of state-level politicians who passed a handful of gun laws. The recall of John Morse (the state senator for Colorado Springs) was close (2%) but not really a squeaker… the recall for Angela Giron was overwhelming (a difference of 12%).

        How much is this election going to be like that one?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        New Mexico’s gonna be democratic till doomsday. ;-PReport

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Some of this is illustrative of part of the point Tod was trying to make in his recently spiked series (which disappointed me) about the Dems going down the Republican path. Sort of “We’re the big tent party… as long as you don’t mind that the party platform is going to be set in the old cities of the Northeast and West Coast.” Houston and Denver and Salt Lake City (all cities where the Dems are doing well) aren’t the same as NYC and San Francisco, and if the party insists that those new cities’ either get on board with the coastal platform or walk, there will be a price to pay.

        It’s easy to say “Denver and Boulder,” but both are geographically constrained and not getting a particularly large share of the population growth. Colorado has turned purple because of wins in other, more rapidly growing, places along the Front Range. Like Jaybird has suggested, this may be a very interesting election in Colorado. I expect the Dems to narrowly hold the two big statewide offices that are up — governor and one US Senate seat — simply because I think the Republicans are going to end up running candidates who are too far on the wrong side of the urban/rural divide. Maybe I’m wrong about that — a couple of the big-name Republicans have reversed their position on embryonic “personhood” from two years ago in order to try to get more on the proper side of suburban opinion. The statehouse is going to be the real interesting point, since the suburban Republicans are going to nominate reasonable suburban-oriented candidates that don’t have the same problems.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        To clarify, I was disappointed that the series was spiked, not by the series itself.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        @michael-cain I appreciate that. And I wouldn’t call the series spiked so much as mothballed.

        I clearly did a very poor job in articulating what it is I’m seeing — and that goes for inside my own head as well as to everyone here. So it’s very well that when I eventually return to it, it will be with a realization that what I’m seeing isn’t X (like I thought), it’s Y (which I wasn’t seeing) — and since people from every political bent thought I was way off, this seems likely.

        But since I’m still pretty sure that something important has shifted — even if I can’t yet articulate what — I can’t imagine I won’t be returning in one form or another sometime soon.Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Thing is, I don’t think she’s all that liberal. I think her core beliefs are few in number and not nearly so important as her ambition.

    If I were a Republican and a conservative (I self-identify as neither), I might make a public show of how awful I think she is because she’s not on my team and the kicking up a fuss seems to have some efficacy, and of course Republican Me would prefer a Republican in there. But the truth is, Republican Me would prefer her in the White House as opposed to just about any other Democrat whose name is being floated.

    If I were a Democrat and a liberal (I self-identify as neither), I would probably say “She’s a grownup, she’s extremely competent” and be willing to stake those qualities against anyone who could somehow survive the GOP nomination process. And no doubt, she can take a political hit and come back with a counterpunch instead of a recoil. But in my heart, Democratic Me would really prefer someone else, someone I could count on to actually pursue a policy agenda that Democratic Me actually cares about.Report

  4. Avatar scott the mediocre says:

    Interesting list. Particularly notable the much higher ratio of elected types in the L versus NL columns. Where would you put Cory Booker (pretty pure play NL in my mind)? I also see Wyden (whom I rather like) as closer to NL than you do – e.g. his vote to lower the capital gains rate, and AFAIK absence of any significant role on the pro-union side in any significant intraparty dispute (I await enlightenment on that last).Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

      Most of the people who describe themselves as neo-liberals tend to be journalists/wonks. I think the term is too technical and loaded for everyday political use.

      The only other people I know who use the term are leftists and then it generally seems to be used as a stand in for the entire Democratic Party.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        Neo-liberal, in the circles I’m familiar with, refers to a social liberal who is:

        – In favour of free trade agreements in their current form (the left isn’t inherently against free trade, but against the present agreements that expand the powers of corporations over governments)
        – Okay with privatization of public services (such as utilities) and with public-private-partnerships, and in general with the private sector doing things that the left considers the responsibility of governments. Support for charter schools would probably fall under this heading as well.
        – Relatively pro-corporate; doesn’t want to raise corporate and capital gains taxes, accepts the whole bailout deal with the banks, and the lack of major regulatory changes following the bailout, as necessary/acceptable (if perhaps somewhat unpalatable).
        – Regards underdevelopment in the third world as caused by lack of trade and lack of foreign investments; thinks developing countries would benefit from less government social spending, less taxation, and less regulation. In contrast, the left regards underdevelopment as caused by (among many other things, e.g. continuing effects of colonialism) a global economic structure that makes the terms of trade and investment extremely unfavourable to developing nations (i.e.: the benefits of trade and investment in developing countries overwhelmingly accrue to the developed nations, multinational corporations, and a small number of rich people in the developing world, and often harm the poor majority in developing nations).
        – May be fairly hawkishReport

      • Avatar North says:

        In fairness Katherine my understanding is that both hawkishness and privatization of government functions have both fallen heavily out of favor in neo-liberal circles. The empirics are not in favor of either of those policies and neo-libs are empiricists over most other things.Report

      • Avatar Dan Miller says:

        @katherinemw That is a damn fine succinct summary. I may steal parts of this in other venues. Thanks!Report

      • Avatar scott the mediocre says:


        How would the circles you’re familiar with view the NDP (by which I mean more or less the NDP’s median tendency both in Government, e.g. Manitoba, and also in opposition both in Ottawa and in Victoria. I remember that they ruled BC for a while – in the Nineties, right? – but I don’t actually remember anything about what they did or did not do)? Standard model euro market social democrats for Canadian circumstances, or something more/better?

        I rather like your summary of neoliberalism, and I say that as somebody who kind of identifies as a neoliberal (“kind of” = closer to my policy positions than any other major tendency that I can identify). A pithier summary of neoliberalism, though more Anglosphere-centric than your list, would be anybody who could read the Economist‘s editorial positions (implicit as much as explicit) without some form of apoplexy.

        Three other aspects of neoliberalism that seem salient to me in a parochial US politics sense, but maybe not worldwide:

        A negative affect toward labor unions, though not necessarily to the point of wanting to tilt the field against private sector unions any more than it already is; I think most neoliberals view labor unions as like police forces: far better than not having them at all, but a regrettable tax necessitated by humanity’s fallen nature :). This seems to me to be the hottest side of the liberal/neoliberal fracture within the US, much more than free trade agreements or Washington Consensus development economics.

        A preference for steering both the economy (especially the corporate economy) and the populace by nudges and taxes and bribes rather than explicit prohibitions.

        A dislike for nationalism, or indeed for most forms of tribalism (other, of course, than the tribalism of right-thinking neoliberals).

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        I think your first two points are good additions to the definition of neoliberalism. Leftism is general is (ideally) internationalist and anti-nationalist (despite not liking the current typical structure of trade agreements), and opposition to nationalism is a trait pretty common to both liberals and the left. (The Parti Québecois are a quite contemptible exception to this general rule, and went down to a well-deserved defeat today after trying to ride xenophobia to victory.)

        And the circles I’m familiar with are generally favourable to the NDP even if they don’t agree with them on everything. The NDP basically fit the category of social democrats, yes.

        If you want a regionally-centric definition of neoliberal, “the BC Liberals” sums it up pretty well. Though they’re to the right of the national Liberal Party, which I would also consider fairly neoliberal, so the category encompasses a fair bit.Report

  5. Avatar zic says:

    My only hesitation is the dynasty aspects.

    In much else, I think she’s done what she had to do at the time; I’m not big into lefty ideological-purity tests; you accomplish what you can, there is no perfect, shiny land. Clinton, more then any other person I can think of, spans the dramatic change of the last 40 years; the dramatic changes in civil rights, the rot in our political system, and the problems we are so often blissfully unaware of elsewhere in the world. She’s not only made mistakes, she’s demonstrated she learns from her mistakes. If elected, she’ll transition the Obama government, which I suspect has set some pretty amazing records on competency and good management; I bet they’ll even leave the keys in the keyboards.Report

    • Avatar notme says:


      Which part of the Obama admin has been the most competent? His job creation or the health care rollout? No, maybe it was his foreign policy or the competent IRS review of political organizations?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        I get really tired and annoyed with your trolling questions.

        If you want to ask what I think were the competent things, ask. I’ll happily answer. I’ll give honest criticism.

        But if you want to ask a loaded question, then bug off.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Since he/she is our only regular, unambiguous troll, I genuinely wish notme were better at it.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        I feel like I get singled out in some sort of misogynistic display of ignorance; I’m perceived as an easy target because I’m ‘she.’

        I will pluck those lurid peacock feathers, and use them to decorate my hat.Report

      • Avatar notme says:


        A little touchy aren’t we? You are the one that made a generic statement without any factual support whatsoever. I would like to hear what “amazing records on competency and good management” Obama and his admin have set. As far as I can tell I called BS on your statement and you don’t like it which is what makes this “trolling.” I guess you assumed that no one here would you ask that you support your statement.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        all you did was list a bunch of fringe-right talking points that supposedly reveal how corrupt President Obama. If you were honestly interested in anything but attacking me, making the liberal look bad, you’d have asked for an example of what I thought was competent.

        So no, you were the rude one, your intent was rude, and it still is.

        So again, bugger off. When you can ask based on some genuine interest in what I have to say instead of making the liberal look foolish, I’ll be happy to engage with you in a conversation.

        Is that clear?Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        Oh that really hurts. I will retreat into my troll cave and cry.

        Nice job. Play the gender card before you even try to intelligently answer. Then claim you can’t answer b/c you are the aggrieved party. I couldn’t have played that better myself, bravo. By the way, you couldn’t pluck my feathers in the coal thread as I remember.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Notme, job creation wise Obama’s done a pretty boring B level performance. Considering a historic recession and the fact that his ability to hire on the Federal level has been frozen in amber (while on the state level government jobs have been slashed significantly) the fact that we’re pretty close to where we were before the economy crashed into the toilet is no small accomplishment. Note, also, the comparison of the US’s modest deficit spending to the heavy austerity economies in Europe and the B grade starts looking pretty damn good.

        As to health care Liberals have much to complain about; neo-Liberals can at least hold the botched initial roll out against him (without that fishup how much better could the performance have been considering that it’s met its goals despite that error); but the wierd fact remains that if the same plan had been signed into law by a President Mccain the GOP would probably be carving him into their pantheon next to the great Commie slaying Debt King Reagan. I imagine once the GOP actually rediscovers their sanity they’ll be awfully pleased that the ACA is the framework they get to start from once they get into the position to reform it (in twenty years or so hopefully).Report

      • @chris

        There are times I really miss Duck.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

      I’ll echo the competency question more seriously. My colleague thinks Obama’s done great, but I don’t think I’ve seen it. My only hesitation is how much has been him, and how much has been the impossibility of working with the TPGOP.

      I see some areas where he’s done well, like letting the military do a review of allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly, rather than open up the Clinton can of worms of appearing to foist it on them. (I applaud Bill Clinton’s stance on that issue, but he handled that like a yokel lost in the big city). But I have deep disdain for his overall cowardice on the issue of same-sex marriage. I also think he was foolish to simply shut down Yucca Mountain (a purely political decision, but to be fair, so was the choice of it in the first place). And I think he’s been indecisive and minimally effective in foreign affairs. Osama bin Laden, yes, but he got bailed out on his “red line” in Syria–and never figured out what we should do there, so we have a half-in, half-out strategy that’s neither fish nor fowl, and drones, spying on the American public and abuse of the state secrets act. (Not Benghazi, though. That’s not fairly laid on him).

      Anyway, that’s the bones of my case.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I’m not sure there was or is a competent move with Syria.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        How many executive-branch scandals have their been? A couple, but really limited. The big things seem to be, which has competently resolved itself, and the IRS scandal, which is mostly a non-scandal as far as I can tell.

        To me, even more, is that a lot of the infrastructure dismantled during the Bush admin. is back; not physical infrastructure, but information infrastructure. I realize this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it really is.

        Despite some pretty heavy job cuts, most of the basic services have gone on; people get their SS checks, defense contractors get paid and there’s been no major contracting scandals. We’re out of Iraq, getting out of Afghanistan. The deficit’s coming down. There’s actually been some serious regulation role back that nobody wants to mention.

        From my perspective, competency is boring, doesn’t make good talking points, and rarely makes the TV news for more then a 25 or 30 second soundbite that’s come and gone.

        I quite like this 2012 piece from Andrew Sprung; it gets at much of what I like:

      • Avatar North says:

        He drew us out of Iraq and is drawing us out of Afghanistan Prof. Does he get no points for that at all?Report

      • Avatar North says:

        And on the same note he didn’t take us into Syria and he didn’t take us into Iran. He did take us into Libya, admittedly, but it’s turned out to be a pretty cheap adventure though hard to say if it’ll be a cheap good result adventure or a cheap bad results one.Report

      • Avatar notme says:


        The competent move on syria was not threatening “red lines” and then retreating as fast as possible when it came time to make good on the threat.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “I’m not sure there was or is a competent move with Syria.”

        He drew us out of Iraq
        Which he campaigned on. Promise kept.

        But he also negotiated a SOPA until the last minute? Was this just an act, either 1) deliberately sabatoged to keep that campaign promise. or 2) gone into knowing it would fail, (so promise still kept) but allowing the foreign policy establishment to save some face (and provide an avenue for future engagement?)

        (to be fair, either of these shows a Machiavellian (in a good way) foreign policy sense, if it was not just dumb luck)

        “and is drawing us out of Afghanistan”

        after ramping it up a lot (though that was also the promise). More people died on his watch that the last guy’s. Were the deaths worth it? Or could we have accomplished the same thing if we told the Afghans back in 09 ‘ok you guys are in charge of your own destiny after this year’s election)?Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

        How much does this depend on a person’s end goal preferences though?

        If you dream of Single Payer but are also pragmatically bent, ACA is a step in the right direction. Imperfect but still better than what we had before.

        I agree with Chris on Syria.

        From my very Democratic point of view, I am happy with Sotomayor and Kagan as members of the Supremes.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Chris–I’m afraid I have to agree with the Troll here. Lack of good available moves doesn’t excuse making egregiously bad ones that you have to praise god your enemies bailed you out on.

        zic–Kept services going is a pretty low bar. Even Warren Harding managed that.

        North–I’m uncertain about how much credit to give him for drawing down Iraq and Afghanistan. He has, and that can’t be denied. But we’ve had few wars that lasted as long as those–it’s hard to argue that he got us out much earlier than any non-true-warmonger would have, and easy to argue he just happened to be in office at the right time. I think we’ll need a couple decades to really sort that out. But then we’ll really need a couple of decades to sort out his whole presidency, as we do all presidencies.

        It’s true he didn’t take us into Syria or Iran. He’s not a complete blundering fool on FoPo as Bush and his advisers were. But before I’m going to praise him highly, I need to be sure he’s cleared a higher bar than “better than Bush,” whom I consider hands-down the worst president since Warren Harding (or perhaps since Hoover, but Hoover’s a true hero, regardless of his presidency, so I don’t like to bash him…and it’s not like FDR improved the economy much more than Hoover when he’d been in office as long).

        Liby–strategically smart or good luck? My gut says good luck. I think he’s shown with his approach to Syria and his use of drones that he’s half-in guy, unwilling to either just stay out or make a real commitment, both of which would require more courage (even if misplaced) and commitment. But sometimes that works, as it did for Bill Clinton in Bosnia. So maybe there’s good strategy behind half-measures sometimes. Again, 20 years, we’ll see. He’s certainly got not Nixon in China moment, but not many prezis have. And at least he’s got not Grenada or Panama moments. He’s liked a hell of a lot better internationally than his predecessor, and I’ll unstintingly give him credit for that.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:


        Sotomayor and Kagan are fine. But it’s not hard to get a competent Supreme. Again, he gets more credit than his predecessor, but it’s a minimal accomplishment. At best that kind of thing establishes him as average, but not better than average.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @kolohe in ’09, could the Afghani forces (police & military) handled it?

        They seem to have done a pretty good job in the election that just happened, though I’m dismayed at how women in the remote areas didn’t dare to vote. I haven’t talked to sources a lot about things there, but what little I have, there’s some admiration that he actually focused on the job that needed doing instead of the job the civilian brass fantasized about doing.

        So yes, a lot of other people died; but the difference between now and ’09 matters, particularly for women.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @jm3z-aitch do you realize how much information that government provided that went dark? The Clinton admin. had done an amazing job of making public info. available on the internet. To me, this is a significant accomplishment; but I’m of the mind that one of government’s most valuable (and unappreciated) services is just that — giving us the information we need to make good policy decisions. I can, once again, log on to the internet and read about every single federally-regulated pollution permit issued, for instance. So what I said is a whole lot more then “kept services going.” And done with less staff; fewer federal employees.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:


        What are the criteria for determining a competent Supreme or not?

        I’m a big fan of Warren, Brennan, and Blackmun but I know that Blackmun was criticized by some or many people when he stepped down as being too sentimental. My main Supreme Court sigh is that Goldberg stepped down too quickly from pressure from Johnson. I think if he was on the court when Warren stepped down, he would have become a great Chief Justice.

        Now I get to link to my favorite Onion headline because why not:,2589/Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        J@m3z Aitch:
        Thanks for the back handed compliment. Funny thing liberals mentioning Obama’s great job on Libya, they seem to forget his refusal to acknowledge the applicability of the war powers act. At least Bush had some legal support for his actions. Can you imagine a Repub attacking another nation like this and claiming the WPA didn’t apply?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:


        That I’ll take as a plus.

        I don’t think it offsets drones and contempt for civil liberties, though. If he’s “competent,” it’s merely in a workmanlike way, and doesn’t–for me–rise close to the level of “good.”

        Putting my cards on the table, I was a tossup voter in ’08. The John McCain of a few years earlier likely would have had my vote, but the McCain of ’08, trying to out warmonger Bush and picking a spectacularly unqualified and temperamentally ill-suited running mate, and the Libertarians stupidly choosing Bob Fracking Barr as their nominee… Obama seemed woefully unprepared for the White House (and nothing has ever persuaded me wasn’t), but he was at least marginally less nutjobby than those monkeyfishers. So that and the idea that I could look back decades later and know I’d voted to break the color barrier in the presidency got him my vote. But over at the blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars, I spent a lot of time arguing with liberals who thought he’d roll back Bush’s abuses of powers. My study of the presidency persuaded me differently, and I think my view was vindicated.

        So in ’08, I could not in good conscience vote for him (I didn’t vote for Romney, either, but fortunately the Libertarians nominated someone I could half-stomach). For me, Obama’s disdain for civil liberties tarnishes anything else he might have done.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Actually, the best proof of the integrity of the Obama administration (if not competency) is Darrell Issa. Because if there was dirt to find, this relentless warrior would have found it. He’s certainly dedicated his life to that goal.

      • Avatar North says:

        Prof: I know it’s mind reading but I don’t think Obama disdains civil liberties, he merely doesn’t prioritize them and is in a craven defensive crouch on every subject that he doesn’t genuinely care about or feel he has to care about.

        Whether that’s better than actually disdaining them is an open question.Report

      • Avatar Creon Critic says:

        These assessments of Obama thus far practically call out for this,

        Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job

        WASHINGTON — African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation’s broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis. As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it. Said scholar and activist Mark L. Denton, “It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can’t catch a break.”

        I’m actually kind of wondering if some of the second term Obama administration goals are ultimately delivered. In particular, the US-EU trade agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And also, of course, a peaceful pathway for US-Iran relations.


      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        From what he said and write during the campaign, Romney would have handed over foreign policy to the neocons, again making Obama the only possible choice. (I voted for Big Hands, but only because I knew it didn’t matter.) Unless Romney was lying, which can never be ruled out.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Can you imagine a Repub attacking another nation like this and claiming the WPA didn’t apply?

        Yeah, all too easily. There’s not a president from the passage of the War Powers Act until now who’s viewed it as constitutional and binding, and the legislative veto portion is almost certainly unconstitutional based upon the SCOTUS ruling in INS v. Chadha.

        Are you going to tell me Reagan in Grenada and Bush in Panama paid scrupulous attention to the Act? They did the pro forma minimum to minimize congressional pushback, no more.

        Anyway, the War Powers Act is impotent nonsense; it’s got no more teeth than the meth addict down the street. Obama dissing it is just the next logical progression, from presidents who dismiss it substantively to one who just takes the next step and dismisses it openly.

        I’m often amazed anyone bothers to even talk about the War Powers Act; it’s such a dead-letter pointless piece of legislation; Congress’s failed effort to regain the war power presidents had successfully taken from them. (Hell, even FDR was secretly engaging in war in the North Atlantic before he ever went to Congress asking for a declaration of war.)

        Here’s a good, if dated, Congressional Research Service report on the Act.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Roll back Bush’s power grabs? I dunno; I hoped. I suspect we may see something come with Feinstein’s feud with the CIA, now. When it comes to civil rights and privacy, I have really serious concerns, but those aren’t just for the government; I think there’s serious reason to have concerns about corporate information, too.

        But a real accounting of the war crimes and dismantling of the unitary executive? It’s like Clinton’s (and Kerry’s) vote for Iraq War; of the time. And I think there was so much damage, both to the economy and to national integrity, that going after the muck might have done more damage then letting people heal; and I sort of recall Obama saying something to that end; chaos may have been his word. I think (or thought) I would have liked the cleansing; now? I’m not so sure.

        One of he awful things about being president is having to decide which course of many to pursue; and sometimes, what’s right is not obvious. I don’t mean to make excuses, either; but heavy on that list of considerations has got to be measuring what the nation can handle; too-swift change, even when the change is good, can in itself be a mistake. I offer Row v. Wade and the summer of love as proof of this theory. We’d already been through too-swift change after 9/11, and I don’t think we were ready to process it when Obama was elected.

        I’m a lot more patient with the pace of progress then I was even a few years ago, and I’m starting to feel like my mother-in-law, who welcomes small increments that happen in swallowable bites. I think ending the Bush years mattered a lot. But I’m not sure we’re ready to do national contrition, even yet. We may not be until the players are all long since in their graves.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:


        I don’t see much difference from where I sit. Obama hasn’t just been inactive on civil rights, but taken actions that are objectively hostile. Actions count far more highly than his presumed value of mere indifference does.

        I have no brief for any person who doesn’t make civil liberties a priority. What the hell value is there in this country if civil liberties aren’t protected? Democracy dies, freedom dies, and all that remains is the unchecked arbitrary power of the state.

        Let’s not forget, Obama is the guy who claimed the authority to execute an American citizen without due process on the battlefield of the war on terror, knowing damn well that the battlefield of the war on terror is specifically claimed to encompass the whole globe, including the U.S. states and territories. We don’t back away from that. That becomes the baseline for future presidents. There’s a future Ruby Ridge or Waco looming out there that’s not a “tragic mistake,” but an intentional extrajudicial execution.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “in ’09, could the Afghani forces (police & military) handled it?”

        The ANA* is about twice as big now as it was in 2009, and there is a truism that quantity has a quality all its own. But they are still mostly new recruits with relatively short enlistments and relatively high desertion rates. The ANP** is still, as far as I know, pretty darn corrupt. (hence a lot of attempts at work arounds with the so called Afghan Local Police forces, which are sort of tribal militias, and sort of not.) (If Karzai asks, they’re not)

        There is a double bank shot credit due to the administration, for simply not being GWB. This allowed the allies re-invest** in the Afghanistan project, in both treasure and blood. They were not going to spend another dime or another solider to backfill GWB asset allocation to Iraq.

        So it is possible that in a phased withdrawal in 09 sans surge things would have been worse. But they’re not that great now.

        One thing Obama did (that he deserves credit for, though many use it as a criticism) that McCain would not have is to force a timetable. The Afghan government was willing to sit on its hands indefinitely if given a ‘conditions based’ plan – because those conditions (for ‘victory’) would have never occurred. And the Kabul elites were content to skim off the top forever.

        *ANA=Afghan National Army
        **ANP=Afghan National Police Force
        —- ANSF=Afghan National Security Forces = ANA+ANP+(border patrol)

        ***The Germans are the ones that were supposed to create and train a police force.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:


        I fear that kind of thinking. What Obama said was we need to look forward not back. That meant people wouldn’t be punished for their crimes. Is that a good policy that we want to generalize? “I’m sorry Joe shot and paralyzed you, but I think we should look ahead, not back.”

        What precedent is set by his action? That executive branch officials can commit crimes with impunity, so long as we attach a spurious notion of national security to them.

        That hurts us a lot more than charging these people would have. Even if he didn’t go after them himself, Obama didn’t have to use the state secrets privilege to keep people from suing them in court.

        Causing damage to the economy? Assuming that would have happened, what’s more important, reviving the economy a little more quickly or controlling our government? Damage to our country’s integrity? In what world is punishing guilty executive branch officials and saying that torture will not be tolerated more damaging than turning a blind eye to it? What does integrity even mean in this context? Do you want a mere superficial appearance of integrity produced by drawing a curtain over the cancerous heart of the executive branch, or do you want a real, substantive, integrity?

        The pace of progress? There is a pace of progress on civil rights, but there is no pace of progress in rolling back the abuses of executive power. Those have continued to grow in the Obama administration. There is no pace of progress, and no prospect of one, as long as we Americans worry more about a few percentage points gain in unemployment and having a false sense of security more than we worry about the unchecked growth of executive power.

        But he brought us health care. That’s great as long as you’re not a whistleblower, as long as you’re not a charitable organization donating relief abroad that gets into the wrong hands, as long as you don’t seek redress against the government in the courts, and as long as you’re not an Afghan civilian getting married in the wrong place and the wrong time.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        I fear it, too. It’s what happened with the Confederacy after the Civil War. But that’s what I said, I don’t think there’s a right way, and that’s the problem. The World Court, maybe, but we’re too big for our britches to stand for that.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        There is a right way. U.S. public officials broke U.S. law, so should be tried in U.S. courts. That seems like a non-debatable point to me.

        Is it politically expedient for presidents? No, but that has nothing to do with rightness. And it’s a lot more likely than a president letting the ICC try an American.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        So you tell me how that would have gone down. A plausible method. What’s the constitutional method of bringing a former president to trial for crimes? It’s not impeachment; so a Holder investigation? A special prosecutor? And what would we not have done while this happened?

        Lay it out, and lay it out in such a way that we wouldn’t have slipped into a global depression, because that’s what we were dealing with; that’s what it was a distraction from.

        I’m not condoning it; but I don’t really see a clear path to the alternative you’re suggesting; it would have gripped the nation (and the world) and things could have gotten much, much worse. That was a reality, too, and while you and I are seeking justice, who else in the world would have had to suffer and die?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        A constitutional method for charging a former president with crimes? Just charge him in federal district court.

        And it wasn’t just the president. It was his Sec Def and others under him who particularly should be charged.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        And what would we not have done while this happened?

        I. Don’t. Care. No ACA? Fine. The destruction of our constitutional system by the aggrandizement of executive power is far more important. A slower economic recovery? That’s a short-term price to pay for a much more important gain.

        it would have gripped the nation (and the world)
        Of course, but that’s just not an argument against taking steps to preserve our country’s system of republican self-governance of a free people, which is what we are losing, step by step.

        and things could have gotten much, much worse.
        “things”? Things are getting much worse. That’s the point I’m making. The things you’re worried about getting worse are temporary problems–I’m talking about a long-term problem that effectively has become a permanent problem.

        Look, you kind of say, “yeah, it’s a bad thing.” But if you put immediate economic recovery above trying to get under control a government that tortures its own citizens, we’re not on the same bus. We’re not even on the same transit system. I’m sure Jose Padilla is happy more folks have jobs, but I can’t help but wonder what he’d think of your argument that prosecuting his torturers is less important than their jobs.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        You’re right, they should all have been charged with crimes. But you know that the Republicans threatened that if he went there, they’d shut down the government.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:


        Chait’s a fantastic writer, but (and!?!?) he’s a neoliberal. In particular on welfare, he’s a hard-core promulgator of the self-serious policy justifications for the 90s welfare reform that circulated on the Dem side to not merely try to justify reform to the Left, but to fully rebut and even discredit their opposition. He did that at TNR, and was a leading figure in that effort, and insodoing established one of the seminal “even The liberal New Republic” moments.

        So if we’re saying who is a neo-liberal and who isn’t, Chait is a neoliberal. OTOH, in my view and I think according to the common understanding right now, he’s also a liberal. Neo-liberalsare liberals in a very great number of cases according to that understanding of the term, which right now basically says that liberal = (at least) everything on the left side of the spectrum until you get to at least socialists if not even more radical leftists.

        (That’s not even speaking to my own understanding of the term which I almost never talk about because it just confuses things. To my way of thinking liberalism properly understood comprises a vast swath of current mainstream political thought, from welfare social-democracy to neoliberalism, through some libertarianisms. To not be a liberal in my view is to reject a certain way of thinking that is extremely common in political discourse right now, though in deed many conservatives manage to do it. (There are in fact self-described conservatives whom I would even include in the liberal tent.) But my own private understanding of the term is neither here nor there; I don’t hold it to be congruent with the common one, nor even more correct in any important way. I just think it’s somewhat more reflective of the history of the philosophy and the way it’s more of a broad set of ideals that has various branching embodiments with different emphases than a specific set of ideas or exponents today.)

        That Chait happens to be one of the most effective partisan fighters for Democrats (more against Republicans, though), on the nominal left doesn’t change his underlying policy orientation. He’s a highly partisan democratic neoliberal. Just Like Bill Clinton. And he (and Clinton) are liberals, just like Elizabeth Warren. Warren is not a neoliberal like Bill Clinton or Chait, and Bill Clinton is not a (mainstream rather than radical) Leftist like Warren. (I want to say they’re not progressives like Warren, but that was such a popular term all across the left for a while, though I’d argue not as accurate for describing nearly everyone over there like liberal is, that I fear trying to exclude Clinton from it and then being inundated with examples of Clinton calling himself a progressive. I don’t think you’ll find examples of him calling himself a Leftist after 1980, however.) But they’re liberals all.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        Dang, how did that get down here? I swear I hit reply to Saul’s comment about the terminology above.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I think Obama made the competent move with Syria.
        He’s talking with Iran, isn’t he?

        … softening that relationship may allow SOMEONE to broker a peace, at some point.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        you want to talk about torture of citizens.

        I’d like to talk about slavery (contemporary).
        I mean, I suppose theoretically American Government torturing citizens is worse than “covert” executions of troublemaking slaves by corporations… But the latter happens a lot more often than the former.

        And I think that contemporary slavery is just as corrosive, if not more so, than government approved torture. We have people who the government has no duty to protect…Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “He’s talking with Iran, isn’t he?
        … softening that relationship may allow SOMEONE to broker a peace, at some point.”

        We’re not going to have peace with Iran until they recognize the contraception mandate and marriage equality.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        we have peace with Saudi Arabia, don’t we?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        ‘cept for the whole 9/11 (and khobar towers) thing, yeah.Report

  6. Avatar veronica dire says:

    Thanks, Tod, for mentioning my people. And indeed we have a long history of getting thrown under the bus by the broader gay liberation movement: from begin banned from the early Christopher Street parades (despite the fact my people were well represented at Stonewall), to Barney Frank (may his name be ever cursed) selling us out on ENDA, to the HRC (the *other* HRC) sidelining us (the the point the then director of the organization said bluntly they’ll never recognize us), on and on.

    So, yeah, good point. Folks like to cheer for drag queens, but their love of trans folks ends there.

    On the other hand, the tide is turning, and HRC is probably neither the demon you say nor the angel we wish. She’s likely somewhere in between. So my central question: can she win?

    See, I want very much for someone on our side, however flawed, to win. I *need* that.

    Oh, and just curious, why “GLBT” rather than “LGBT”? I thought the switch was by now pretty universal.Report

  7. Avatar scott the mediocre says:

    If I were a Republican and a conservative (I self-identify as neither), I would probably differ with you (unless I was in a really big hurry to get the war with Iran started, in which case I’d probably grudgingly consider HRC not so bad): my primary wish would be for a simultaneously weak and overreaching Prez so that 1) the GOPs could regain the Senate in 2018 (assuming that they lose it 2016, which is pretty likely in a race where the Dems take POTUS); and 2) to regain the Presidency in 2020 (preferably in a way that has coattails, since the 2020 crop of governors and state legislatures will get to redistrict).

    Of Saul’s list, cynical and strategic Republican me would probably want Warren, in the hope that she would try to do something that we (the GOP apparatus) could use/spin to scare the bejeebus out of the wealthy and the hardcore corporatists, all too many of whom have been showing some distressing signs of wavering recently.
    n.b. I am in fact a registered Democrat of neolib tendencies, though I don’t see it as part of my identity, and I would love love love to see the macroeconomy notably definancialized – I probably mostly agree with Warren on policy substance, but I think pulling off definancialization will require once in a generation political skills along the lines of Clinton, Reagan, or FDR, along with a fair sized Democratic majority in both houses, and I think a failed attempt at definancialization will be a disaster of at least 1994 magnitude.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Hopefully, there is nobody, no matter how conservative or neoconservative, that actually wants there to be another war.Report

      • Avatar scott the mediocre says:

        I dunno, Burt. Did GWB “want” a war? I think there are quite a few high ups on the neocon side – Bolton comes immediately to mind – who in any operationalizable way I can think of want a war at least as much as W did. And of course Adelson is on record calling, with no evidence of hyperbole that I can detect, for setting off a nuke on Iranian soil, which sounds like the start of a war to me.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        When I consider Iran’s industrial capacity, and the mountainous basin in which the bulk of the country is found, and the logistical difficulties that would be involved in staging a war with only reluctant help from either the Iraqis or the Saudis, it boggles my mind to think that even a John Bolton could conceive of a scenario in which a military operation against an adversary of that nature could possibly yield a net benefit.

        And I would have to hope that after Iraq, it would take an utter bonehead to advocate another war like that. But, conceded, there are some real boneheads floating around in and around the Beltway.Report

      • Avatar scott the mediocre says:

        But Burt, don’t you know that they will welcome us with flowers or some such? I suppose I should have made clear that even Bolton probably doesn’t want to occupy Iran (I hope), or probably even put boots on the ground other than some oh so surgical Spec Ops actions against enrichment plants or something, but I fear there are all too many on the right (or loony) side of the aisle who think if we just demonstrate resolve or some such blather, the Iranians will “cave”. Resolve-demonstrations have an unfortunate habit of escalating into shooting (cf Lebanon), and I fear that we don’t have things as well calibrated as we did with the USSR (or even with the DPRK, for that matter).Report

  8. Avatar Chris says:

    Two words: Iraq fishing War.

    Lord knows I want nothing to do with a Republican federal government, but I won’t vote for Clinton (not that it would matter if I’m still in Perrystan). Iraq, her nasty campaign in the ’08 primaries (Mark Penn, seriously?), and my sincere belief that she’s only as liberal as the wind blows that day, make it impossible for me to do so. I’d like the less evil party to continue to move leftward, even if it is doing so at a pace that would make a snail impatient, and she and the Clinton machine are a big step wrongwards.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      Two words: Iraq fishing War.

      You wouldn’t think fishing in the Hawizeh Marshes would be worth fighting a war over, but ten years later, here we are.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      I see no reason to think that HRC would be particularly interested in a war with Iran. It will depend heavily on how things go during Obama’s term but her party and the electorate is virulently against it. She may be hawkishly inclined but she isn’t going to take a stand against the electoral winds and against her own base on that issue. No way in hell.Report

      • Avatar scott the mediocre says:

        I don’t think she’s interested in starting a war with Iran either, but:

        1) If I am for example Sheldon Adelson, and exploding a nuke on Iranian soil is more important to me than union busting, she’s still my best chance among the Democrats (poor though those chances are), hence my caveat to Burt’s Republican alter ego;

        2) I don’t see her going full on Bush/PNAC with Iran, but I’m not as sanguine as you seem to be about her/our ability to avoid blundering into something. That’s fairly important to me since I think there just might be a window for a detente (though probably not a raprochement) with Iran and I would hate to miss the chance.

      • Avatar North says:

        Granted Scott but I think that the writing will most likely be on the wall by 2016 one way or another on Iran. If Iran bails from negotiations Obama will have decided one way or the other about what to do about it. If Iran agrees to some kind of modest draw down then Hillary will tell Adelson to shove it up his wheelchair and will lunge for the chance of a Nobel prize. If Iran simply keeps their program frozen for the next two years and stalls then Hillary will likely be happy to pocket that and try to maintain the status quos.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        I think one forgotten point about Iran and the possibility of Hillary going to war to be “tough” is that you have to remember, a lot of Senate Democrat’s voter for the Second Iraq War basically because they got rolled by voting against the First Iraq War, but most of those Democrat’s are now out of the Senate. Sure, Chuck Schumer is still in the Senate, but he has far less backup than he did in 1998 or 2004.

        In addition, there’s now evidence to Hillary that a Democrat can go through two terms without invading a random Middle East country to look “tough.”Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        I think that last bit’s kind of mushy, @jesse-ewiak . Afghanistan and Iraq came pre-invaded, and the current Administration has taken its sweet time reversing that state of affairs. Alsotoo at Obama’s direction we bombed Libya (ignoring the law to do it for as long as we did, natch) and we supplied rebels in Syria, admittedly with no formal boots on the ground. Planes in the sky and materiel in cargo containers and information from satellites on the Intertubes to the peoples we wanted to have it. And that’s not considering whateverthehell we’re doing semi-covertly in Yemen or the proxy fight between the IDF and Hezbollah in Lebanon. We’ve got our fingerprints on lots of violence in the Middle East, some of which is even colorably honorable.

        But I don’t think President Hilary Clinton has need of proving her toughness to anyone. She’s clearly not a wimp.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        I think Jesse’s point still stands Burt. The GOP is utterly discredited on the foreign policy front right now. It’s a natural advantage they had for decades and now it’s gone, potentially forever. That decreases the Hawkish pressure on Hillary enormously.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I don’t know the timing, scott, but raprochement with Iran grows closer by the day.
        Saudi Arabia’s power wanes, and that is progress.Report

  9. Avatar Creon Critic says:

    Taking most of your analysis of Clinton as a given, this point doesn’t strike me as convincing “I have little doubt that Hilary would absolutely ago much further to the side of repressive than Huckabee were she to decide that she needed to in order to be reelected.”

    The coalition involved in electing Clinton would likely strongly resemble the Obama coalition: younger, more women, more minorities, and more likely sympathetic to LGBT rights. That would be her base. Part of the difficulty in wandering too far from your base to capture some other group is that you might demoralize or deflate the amount of support your base is going to give you. Dollars, volunteer time, and overall enthusiasm would be endangered. Those median voters, the people who are still making up their mind a week before election day, those aren’t the people making the engine of the campaign (or re-election campaign) run.

    Which relates to a point that gets slightly lost in focusing on the president, all those appointments a president makes. It is literally the difference between Roberts and Alito on the one hand and Sotomayor and Kagan on the other hand. Except a 1,000 fold. Because notionally it is the NYT editorial board versus the WSJ editorial board, in staffing terms Heritage or AEI versus Center for American Progress. Secretary of State John Bolton or Secretary Susan Rice?

    That goes beyond “what are my other options?” and towards “I don’t trust her.” Because it is not Clinton who’ll be serving on the Supreme Court for 20+ years, not Clinton who will be Secretary of Labor, or Commerce, or State, or all those Assistant Deputy Undersecretary for X positions in an administration. All those people aren’t just leaves in the wind.Report

    • Avatar Dan Miller says:

      Exactly this. Tod, I think your ideas here are way exaggerated. I don’t doubt for a second that HRC is to the right of where I’d want her to be, and is, as @chris points out, an impediment to the Dems moving leftward, which IMHO is unfortunate. And contra you, I wouldn’t say that liberal bloggers and pundits are ecstatic about her, though there’s no strong resistance either. But ultimately, she represents the coalition that is relatively less pro war and less interested in cutting aid to the poor. The Dems aren’t great, but even Joe Manchineel would be better than any plausible GOP nominee.Report

  10. Avatar Kolohe says:

    One of the byproducts of the excruciatingly slow news week that is EichFest ’14! is that I’m turning my attention to 2016 far earlier than I wanted.

    There was another Presidential election this week that will play a role in how history sees Obama. Just sayin.

    “I don’t think there’s a left-of-center pundit or blogger out there that isn’t giddy at the thought of an HRC White House”

    Then you’re not reading Balloon Juice (among others). The consensus editorial line (istm) is that they will walk through broken glass to get Clinton the presidency if she gets the nomination, but if a challenger appears in the Dem nominating process, they will get that person due consideration. (Kevin Drum doesn’t explicitly say it, but strongly implies the same opinion)

    “Basically, what are my other options?”

    Jeb Bush (seriously). But if one restricts their choice to just the left of center, thinking that the GOP needs more time in the wilderness after the stuff they have pulled lately, then O’Malley seems like someone who, with a bit of luck, can catch the outsider vote and make inroads into the establishment vote (Obama’s winning strategy for the nomination in 08)Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      Do people still pay attention to Afghanistan?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Not when more people are killed at CONUS bases than in Afghanistan over the last 6 weeks.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        (s/b more Americans, not more people. Americans only care if Americans are dying if weighing in on foreign policy, in all other cases, the foreign policy establishment has free reign)Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Speaking of Jeb Bush, Larison’s pretty cruel, Bush is also doing a spectacularly bad job of distinguishing himself from his brother, since immigration and education reform were two of George W. Bush’s pet issues when he first ran for president. As for this supposed aversion to “purity tests,” there is good reason to assume that Bush’s foreign policy arguments will rely heavily on trying to stigmatize and demonize dissenters inside the party just as his brother so often did.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Larison’s not wrong on the political analysis, but the man doesn’t care for immigration himself (he’s a paleocon, after all).

        The Bush label is indeed still toxic in many places, maybe too much so for any Jebmentum. Fwiw, though, Lindsey Graham has been namechecking Bush 43 positively in his primary campaign ads – something that would be an own goal were an anti-Bush Tea Party insurgency actually on the verge of defeating another incumbent.

        Plus to borrow a phrase, the Bush administration’s problem wasn’t ideology, it was competence. Granted, as pointed out by Our Todd, staffing the government with ideological purists is exactly what caused competence to take a hit. But an administration that would not have let Iraq become such as charlie foxtrot in such short order (or would not have even gone in there at all) would have not had taken the hit at the polls in ’06, and may have had the wherewithal to see the financial crisis coming in ’08 and done something about it earlier. (Shelia Bair did)

        (otoh, a half-way competent administration may have paradoxically lacked the base turnout zeal to get a second term in ’04)Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Oh yeah, my point. J Bush doesn’t need to distance himself from his brother on issues, he needs to distance himself from his brother on leadership style and managerial competence. It may not be enough, but it is necessary.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        I can’t imagine any name that would energize every liberal to the virtual furthest left fringe more to walk over broken glass to vote for the Dem candidate than the Bush name Kolohe. Hillary could tack as far to the center or center right as she wanted; her base would vote for her over a Bush even if she ate a live kitten on national TV.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Bush hatred doesn’t motivate people. The ’06 election was a result of people in the middle being sick and tired of the Bush administration (and the mismanaged wars and other government functions) – but not per se hating it. The ’08 election was, on net. a positive affirmation of the Obama candidacy. (hence being able to pick up even Indiana). The ’10 campaign went to the GOP, and the ’12 campaign was about using the advantages of incumbency, being not completely terrible, and having one candidate that simply couldn’t connect on a personal basis – or even with a consistent thematic message.

        Jeb may be able to clawback some of the (considerable) gains that the Democrats have made among Hispanic voters. I would imagine the gender gap, and moreover the youth gap, will still be the same though. (Otoh, nobody under 30 would have old enough to vote for GWB, so he may have a bit – just a tiny bit – of a clean slate among younger voters)Report

      • Avatar North says:

        It feels rose colored to me but it’s not implausible. I don’t think Bush’s own party could swallow it. The entire Tea Party phenomena was a giant visceral attempt to divorce the party from Bush without abandoning many of his policies. Accepting a new Bush would invalidate everything the GOP has done from 2008 on. Now that I put it that way I wand the man to run more than ever.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Bill Kristol is on the record as saying there’s no way Jeb could get the nomination, which means Jeb is now a lock.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        @kolohe space awesome!Report

  11. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Again, to a certain extent, I’m probably one of the three most liberal people who comment here regularly. I don’t have a problem with Clinton being the nominee.


    Because I believe Hillary has the biggest chance to win by the most votes, while being within the bounds of the Democratic electorate. As a result, if we’re lucky, more Democratic congresspeople and Senator’s will be elected. Thus, it’ll be a more liberal Democratic House and Senate, judging by the last few years.

    You want a more liberal President? Vote for a liberal House and Senate. Nixon was as conservative as Congress let him be, just as Obama has been liberal as Congress has let him be.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Here here Jesse. And if the GOP loses their minds with rage (and who can better provoke them to do so then ol’ Slick Willy as potential First Husband) and nominates some idiot or (god[ess?] please!) a Bush we could have actual goddamn coat tails.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I just hope Bill Clinton doesn’t provoke them by accident.
        He ain’t what he used to be. (which, considering that he used to be a rhetorical genius, isn’t saying much)Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Do you remember Bill’s last convention speech Kim? You could see the smoke rising off the fire crisped hides of conservatives all across the country. He’s still got it.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        that’s a prepped speech. Obama can give prepped speeches in his sleep (and he’s an introvert). Bill’s noticeably worse than he used to be.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        @Kim He’s not campaigning or debating. Prepared speeches is all he every needs to or will give.Report

  12. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    I have a hard time shaking the sense that a Clinton presidency would be a step backward from Obama.Report

  13. Avatar Jaybird says:

    There is always a third party to vote for. Try it one election. You might just find yourself giddy and giggling as you walk out the booth.

    “I can’t believe I don’t regret my vote!”, you can say to yourself.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW says:

      That’s the spirit, Jay. Vote Green Party! 😉Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        At one point in the late 90s when I was in the market for a new party, I actually went to a Green Party Oregon event. And I really, really wanted to like them.

        They might have been the most bats**t crazy group of conspiracy theory foil-hatters I have ever seen in one room. More talk about the alien abduction/government working with aliens problem than anything else.

        I recognize that they might be different now, but that’s a hard intro to shake.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        So they are pro-Green policies, but anti-Greys?

        That’s just xenophobic.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        Tod – Oh, dear. The national Green Party in Canada is actually quite good.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I am in the somewhat odd position of knowing not one, but two of that rare breed of voter that voted for Nader but preferred Bush over Gore.

        It was actually kind of odd because of the four people I was sharing a dorm with, we voted for four different people. But on election night, three favored Bush and the fourth decided to watch the election returns at a friend’s pad.Report

      • Katherine’s right. The Green Party was crazy a few elections ago, but they’ve really rounded into form. They still make some pretty egregious policy decisions (but no worse than any other party/poitician), and they appear the most level-headed, policy-wise.

        I wouldn’t say I’m a true supporter, but they’re certainly on par or above other major parties up here.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        Green Party Oregon event

        They might have been the most bats**t crazy group of conspiracy theory foil-hatters I have ever seen in one room.

        You sure that isn’t due more to the “Oregon” part than it is the “Green Party” part?Report

    • Avatar Dan Miller says:

      Sorry, but 2000 killed that for me. If you don’t like the major parties, the proper answer is to change them from within via primary elections.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        Yup. Third parties in FPTP elections aren’t great ideas. If Jaybird wants to install PR or IVR voting, or something else, I’ll be right there with him. But, in modern American politics, voting for a third party is helping the people you oppose the vast majority of the time.Report

      • Avatar Fnord says:

        If you’re talking about a competitive race. But there are plenty of states where throwing your vote to a third party candidate doesn’t make it any more wasted, and where signalling support for third parties might actually have some value.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott says:

      I’ll vote for a third-party candidate when we get actual third parties in this country. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still less nausea-inducing than voting for the lesser of four crazies.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Vote Green Leaf!Report

  14. Avatar Maribou says:

    This is an excellent post, and I find myself both with a lot of food for thought, and wanting to reread Arendt’s The Banality of Evil.

    I can’t resist a little tangential creative editing that you probably don’t need, though:

    “It’s quite another matter to have a man with tremendous power and charisma targeting not only attractive, successful women, but especially those with self-esteem and mental health issues, much as JFK himself often did.”

    Fixed that for you.Report

  15. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    I’ve always found HRC a bit intolerable. She shares that smugness so common among political types, and however good Hilarycare was as a health policy, the process was a political clusterfuck of epic proportions. Throwing a policy at Congress that you’ve not really let them participate in drafting, and telling them not to revise it because you’ve already done the writing, showed a deep ignorance of how Congress works, as one of the few national legislatures where the rank and file actually draft legislation. It was inexcusably ignorant. And running for the Senate from NY, a state she’s never lived in, was stunningly arrogant (wtf were New Yorkers thinking?)

    But as a Senator, she earned respect from experienced people on both sides of the aisle. And I think she did a pretty solid job as Sec State. Iraq? She got handed a bag of dog shit and was asked to make apple pies. But overall she did a lot to mend fences after the disastrous FoPo of the Bush years.

    She’d step into the White House knowing more about FoPo than anyone since Nixon–maybe more than he did. And lest we forget, foreign affairs is the prez’s main job, not diddling around with tax rates and such.

    Since public opiniom has been changing steadily on gay rights, I wouldn’t worry about her turning on them. She’ll accept that as the way she needs to go and be content. I don’t think, though, there’s a lot of evidence for the idea she’d move to to be really repressiveon gay rights if public opinion changed. She might be like LBJ on civil rights, who as president finally felt free to push hard for an effective civil rights act. And I guarantee she’s got nothing on that sumbitch when it comes to a lust for power.

    I still don’t like HRC, but I think she’s potentially the best president we’ve had in decades.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      I pretty much agree with this. But perhaps HilaryCare and MonicaGate were game-changing learning moments; they certainly didn’t seem to knock her down; so good may root there in the muck of it all; through enough shit around, and something vital will grow.

      And not to pick on you, but stuff like this, She shares that smugness so common among political types, is going to become an issue. Words like smug, emotional, shrill, etc. will rile the troops. And again, I don’t say to point, but I’m sort of fascinated to see and hear it this time, because it seems like the other team has regressed, not progressed here. (I may be jaundiced since I spent the day reading about purity pledges and abstinence education.)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I’m looking forward to “Hitlery” coming back.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        I agree that those were learning experiences. She’s smart, and smart enough to learn from experience.

        As to smug, it’s a common quality. It’s got nothing to do with her gender or abilities. It’s just a quality. That drives me crazy. I think Obama has it. A very white, very male person I unfortunately have to deal with too much these days has it in spades.

        As to shrillnes, she unfortunately does have a voice I find gratingly unpleasant. But I read what presidents say, and rarely listen anymore (after 14 years of Bush and Obama, I just can’t, but thank god we didn’t get Prez Perry or I’d have to stick screwdrivers in my ears).Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        after 14 years of Bush and Obama, I just can’t, but thank god we didn’t get Prez Perry or I’d have to stick screwdrivers in my ears

        Yup. I always read what Obama says, he puts me to sleep.Report

      • Avatar Dan Miller says:

        @zic She supported the Iraq war and flirted with a flag burning amendment, both of them well after the learning experiences in question. She’s better than the GOP easily, but she is way too willing to pander to her right and punch to her left. That’s a lesson she needs to unlearn.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      I dunno, why don’t you ask Goldmann Sachs?
      Kowtowing to Wall Street got Clinton her job.
      (Ford, from TN, wanted to try the same thing.
      He ran into … some Interesting Issues wif that).Report

  16. Avatar Will Truman says:

    She’s not my first choice among the Democratic ranks, but they could do a lot worse. She’s not my first choice of all the candidates, but the country could do a lot worse. Taking the StateSec job turned out to be pretty politically brilliant. It erased competence/temperament concerns and got me thinking of her apart of her husband.

    Age is not a particular concern, either. If there are health concerns, we’ll probably find out about it. Women live longer. I’ll be keeping an eye on her VP pick, but that’s about it.

    And she’s a known thing.

    I’m not exactly signing up to volunteer for her campaign, but I’m not particularly bothered.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Yeah the StateSec job was huge. Her current position is owed enormously to that decision and to how she and Bill handled their loss. They turned out for Obama, they won him over and they won the party over. A not small portion of her support from the party is a very undem like feeling that she’s owed it. Watching Obama’s mauling over the first several years of his presidency made a lot of left wing voters really wish they’d elected the cynical ball punching candidate rather than the hope and change new dawn of politics candidate.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Dude. The lady caught bin Laden (at least it was her scheme that found him).
      That shows levels of operational analysis that I frankly wouldn’t have believed out of the woman who lost the 2008 primary.Report

  17. Avatar Angela says:

    It’s quite possible that a pragmatic in the mold of Dole or Romney will get the nod for 2016
    While I agree about Dole, I very much disagree about Romney. Only in MA with a very strong left-leaning legislature and custom did Romney do good things. The thought of what could have gone down with him in the White House and a compliant Congress was very distressing.
    Two words: Iraq fishing War.
    I’ve been very disappointed on Obama’s record w/ Afghanistan and Libya. Although I only have to look at McCain to see how much worse it could be. I think Clinton would be much more interventionist / hawky. The only plus is that it might push the war-mongering right to a more restrained posture as they reflexively fought against anything she supported. However, I think torture would become even more main-streamed.

    In the end, I just don’t know at this point. I hope the Dems pick someone else. There’s no way I could support any of the recent Republicans, especially with the Congress so much not-in-play. Having Rs controlling all three branches of the feds could really be the end of us, or at a minimum a very long dark night. So, my default is to pick the Dem, because there really is a big difference between the policies that are being presented. But, man! I don’t want to vote for her.Report

  18. Avatar Patrick says:

    It’s hard for me to consider voting for someone who voted un-apologetically for the War in Iraq (who still maintains that this was “the correct vote at the time”)… and who served as a Secretary of State for probably the second worst President in my lifetime when it comes to civil liberties, if not the worst. She supports three strikes laws and the death penalty, both of which are near deal-breakers. She’s basically in the bag for the American Exceptionalism School of Foreign Policy (you can pick or choose if she’s a better version of one of those school members than most of the others in recent history, most of which have been terrible). She voted for the Patriot Act. She voted for the border fence. She dodged one vote on the telecom immunity provision in the FISA renewal, ultimately voted “Nay”, but wasn’t exactly a champion of civil liberties, there.

    It’s also very difficult for me to accept that she’s the immediate shoe-in. It’s a sign that the Democrat party has gone… somewhere new, I suppose.

    From here:

    Rated 60% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
    Rated 89% by the HRC, indicating a pro-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
    Rated 96% by the NAACP, indicating a pro-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)
    Rated 35% by the US COC, indicating a mixed business voting record. (Dec 2003)

    She’s obviously a very strong women’s rights candidate, and a very strong minority-backed candidate, and her voting record on various bits of business-and-economy legislation leads me to believe she votes a lot more on signaling than on principle.

    Basically, I see four years of wrangling over the same things that are largely symbolic with probably more woman/LGBT rights votes thrown in, which granted is nothing to sneeze about.

    But I can easily imagine most of the political energy of her entire first term shoved behind something that will get a SCOTUS overturn before the end of her term.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      It’s hard for me to consider voting for someone who voted un-apologetically for the War in Iraq (who still maintains that this was “the correct vote at the time”)

      My recollection from the ’08 campaign was that she tried to spin her vote for the AUMF as not really a vote for the use of force, but as a tool to force Sadam to let in weapons inspections. Which was laughable as everyone knew, even then, that when something is ‘authorized’ it’s going to happen, p=100%Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      It’s also very difficult for me to accept that she’s the immediate shoe-in. It’s a sign that the Democrat party has gone… somewhere new, I suppose.

      It strikes me as a situation similar to 2000. She gets in and clears the field save for a candidate (maybe to) for internal dissenters to gravitate towards. Schweitzer right now looks like the only alternative sure to run. Maybe someone else to split the anti-HRC vote and pick up a VP slot (while staying in the primary candidate’s good gaces). Maybe that’ll be O’Malley.

      But unless something really significant happens between here and there, I think she gets the carpet ride she was expected to have in 2008.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      @kolohe I realize I’m different from most people on this site when it comes to civil liberties (ie. it ranks down below almost every major issue on my personal list), but let’s be honest here. Every President is going to be horrible on civil liberties. The only reason Obama and Bush is worse than say, Nixon and LBJ, is they didn’t have the Internet to use. As long as we don’t have a civil libertarian majority in this country (which we never have had), we’re going to have a ‘horrible’ civil liberties record.

      That is, as long as your definition of civil liberties only applies to grabbing private data and not say, LGBT, abortion, immigration, and other rights that can described as civil liberties.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Um, I didn’t say anything about civil liberties (on this thread). But (to steal a phrase from Unqualified Offerings), it would have been nicer sometimes for President Obama to be the President Obama that is in Michelle Bachmann’s head rather than the President he actually is.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        @kolohe Yeah, sorry man. Was responding to @patrick but somehow still had your name in the response field from a previous response. My bad.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Maybe Jesse got us confused, because I’ve certainly been harping on it.

        His low ranking of civil liberties as an issue goes one hell of a long way toward explaining the difference between us, to the point where I wonder if he actually understands what civil liberties means. It means not having every black male in New York stopped and frisked by the cops over and over. It means not having people’s lives destroyed for smoking pot. It means not having the cops use SWAT teams breaking down doors and shooting innocent people just to serve warrants. It means not having prosecutors violate your constitutional rights to get a conviction.

        Civil liberties means being able to speak up freely to criticize the government, a freedom I assume Jesse would be reluctant to sacrifice, even though he claims not to value it.

        It means being able to live a private life, instead of one where you are constantly surveilled. It means not having a secret police bribing and intimidating everyone to spy and report on everyone else (read about the Stasi’s secret files–everyone spying on everyone is in fact not hyperbole, as much as I desperately wish it was).

        Some people may prefer to be happy slaves. I say let’s put them in a zoo and feed them well, but give the rest of us a fighting chance at something that at least resembles a free society. OK, the zoo part may be hyperbole, but not by much. I mean, what does Jesse want people to be well-fed, well-housed, and well-health cared for? To what end as humans? Dignity cannot suffice as an answer, because without civil liberties human dignity is radically constrained. House slaves are still slaves, and they may be better off than the field slaves, but damned if most wouldn’t prefer to be poor and free.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        @jm3z-aitch I think the difference is, I see the right of a court to not give bail to an accused criminal or the ability to not prosecute people for being a certain color of peopl with a certain type of drug as different from the part where all our emails and phone calls are spied upon.

        I think, with a friendly Court and a somewhat friendly Congress, we can advance the first part. The second part, as sad as it is, spy agencies will always use whatever power they can in whatever ways they can, whatever the laws are. Nixon or LBJ to keep it non-partisan would’ve happily used the full power of the NSA as it stands now. The fact they didn’t is a sign of the technological ability of the time, not the goodness of any particular President.

        My basic point is, aside from a total destruction of the NSA and as massive cut to the military budget, as technology advances, so will the ability of the government to spy on it’s people. Like telephones were fifty years ago, the Internet makes it alot easier to spy on people.

        Either we convince people that destroying the NSA is worth voting for somebody who is against you on every single other policy point, including policy points that will likely effect you much more than the NSA, or we do our best to deal with it.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        I see the right of a court to not give bail to an accused criminal or the ability to not prosecute people for being a certain color of peopl with a certain type of drug as different from the part where all our emails and phone calls are spied upon.

        They’re all part of civil liberties, so when you say you don’t rank civil liberties very highly, you don’t get to pick and choose for convenience which ones the term’s going to mean at that moment. That is, you can mean a limited subset, but unless you specify which ones you’re talking about you’re communicating the whole set.

        So which subset of civil liberties are the ones you don’t see as very important? Not being spied upon? Not being tortured? Not having the police break down your door, throw flash bangs into your house, shoot your dog, and terrify your children just so they can serve a warrant? Not being stopped and frisked by the police because you’re a young black male? Free speech? Due process?

        Apparently some of these aren’t very important in your issue ranking, but I’m unsure of which ones.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        That is, as long as your definition of civil liberties only applies to grabbing private data and not say, LGBT, abortion, immigration, and other rights that can described as civil liberties.

        There’s really two bars by which you can measure civil liberties using organizational measures in the US, the second amendment (the NRA) and the rest of them (the ACLU).

        I’ll requote this part:

        Rated 60% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)

        That’s not exactly hitting for the fences, there, Jesse.

        I mean, D- territory. Seriously.

        (I’ll not even bother to mention what the NRA thinks of HRC.)

        As a reminder, in the last election, the ACLU ranked the candidates:
        Gary Johnson (21)
        Ron Paul (18)
        Barak Obama (16)
        Jon Huntsman (12)
        Newt Gingrich (2)
        Rick Perry (2)
        Mitt Romney (0)
        Rick Santorm (0)
        Michelle Bachmann (0)

        Interestingly, it makes me wonder why so many people claim to be libertarian *and* members of the GOP when it’s pretty consistent that the actual-for-goodness candidate fielded by the Democrats is much closer to ‘libertarian’ on civil liberty issues than anybody that comes close in the GOP. This makes me wonder if this ties into the economic v. personal freedom bit I mentioned over on the States thread.

        I mean, Paul Ryan was the “darling” of the Tea Party, Romney picked him as the Veep candidate just to draw that crowd, and he pulled a 13% from the ACLU, which isn’t that far above Peter King, for crying out loud.Report

  19. Avatar Will Truman says:

    Paul, Cruz, Santorum, Huckabee, someone like that.

    Except that those four aren’t particularly alike.

    It’s… really hard for someone to win the Republican nomination without big-money support and suburban appeal. If one of those does win, it’ll be by a default (or because Huck can claim the next-in-line spot). I think there are likely to be some awfully disappointed folks who think that things are going to be different time. I expect that the grandfathers will settle around Jeb, Ryan, Rubio, Christie (again), or somebody of that more general mold.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      @will-truman I don’t know. Honestly, if I’m the GOP establishment guy and it’s 2015 and unemployment is getting closer to six percent, Obama’s hanging around 50% approval, and Obamacare’s going OK, I might just lay back and let one of the nuts win the nomination in 2016 and get destroyed by Hillary.

      Then, in 2020, I can find some nice conservative governor who has had his two terms (Scott Walker, for example) and run in 2020 on the basis that it’s been two generations since any party has kept the White House for four straight elections.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        This is why I have a “Ted Cruz ’16! (Because let’s just get this over with)” poster in my screen saver slideshow reel. In the longer term, I could actually see it being beneficial. It’s why the Republican in me wouldn’t mourn a Rand Paul nomination and slaughter. It could be a clarifying moment.

        Where the rubber hits the road, though, is that punting to 2020 may very well cost them a Supreme Court seat that the party can’t afford. Also, down-ballot races where more non-wildlings than wildlings will be swept up.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Not a bad strategy.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar says:

        Would the birther crowd turn on Cruz? That could get interesting either way.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        Another advantage of @jesse-ewiak ‘s strategy is that it will have given the party more time to come to accept (and for that matter figure out) what parts of Obamacre are here to stay and which parts are going to be chess pieces for both sides, and to make peace with the fact that a moment when “Obamacare” comes off the books whoesale will never arive. Let ACA sink in as status quo without having to figure out a governing strategy that still holds out a formal rejectionist position, as I think candidates in ’16 will have to do, and as therefore a GOP president would have to at least work into her governing strategy in ’17.

        By ’20, the party should be able to just take the health care landscape as it comes (they’ll still be able to say the Obamacare is a failure – if it’s still politically advantageous to do so – but their proposals can just be things to make the new situation work better, not attempts to re-establish a status quo that’s no far in the past.) Try to make some political hay out of just offering some decent policy ideas in the context of a status quo that is just the current health care reality, not something that has to be denied, rejected, massively resisted at all cost because of its political provenance. Or at least they’ll have more of a shot at being able to adopt that pose.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Yes, what this amounts to is the GOP finally eating its’ spinach and taking the nice clarifying vacation in the wilderness that their 2000-2008 performance earned them and that they’ve been attempting to skip over ever since 2008.Report

  20. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Liberal, neo-liberal, leftist, what have you (I really need to get Saul to make me a program one of these days), I don’t think there’s a left-of-center pundit or blogger out there that isn’t giddy at the thought of an HRC White House.

    Do I really need to get into another discussion about your definition of “left”? Suffice to say – I have no doubt there are plenty of leftist bloggers who would be thoroughly opposed to a Hillary Clinton presidency. Not even getting into economic policy, there’s many who find her too hawkish and too fond of the security state. (As a start – here’s someone from Daily Kos who is voicing a preference for a less centre-right candidate:

    Personally, I have issues not only with her foreign and security policy stances, but with the whole issue of political dynasties. Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, or – for us Canucks – Justin Trudeau, when one family name keeps showing up in the executive office, it’s a sign that democracy’s in a less-than-desirable state.

    Regarding gay rights, I don’t think her political “evolution” is all that different from Obama’s, which was equally led by public opinion. And I have trouble imagining any situation in which she’d be farther to the right than Huckabee on gay issues.

    But I have the same questions about her political expediency when it comes to my priority issues. Such as: if the situation with Iran changes, and the right-wing pressure for a US invasion ramps up, and she needs to look “tough” to shore up the Dems’ electoral fortunes – will she invade? (And is she more or less likely to do so than Rand Paul? And how much weight does this hold with me, given that I’m much closer to her than to Rand Paul on every economic, health, education, social services, etc. issue I can imagine?)

    However, no other strong prospective contender who’s evinced any interest in running for the Democrats in 2016 is coming to mind.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      A quibble Katherine, electoral politics have been lousy with nepotism and family relation networking forever. I am puzzled by the claims that this is something new or unusually nefarious.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        Nepotism may have been around for a while, but do you really see no problem with the US potentially being ruled by the same two families for 28 of 36 consecutive years? (HW Bush 1989-92, Bill Clinton 1993-2000, W Bush 2001-2008, HRC or Jeb Bush potentially 2017-2024.) And my brain seems to automatically read HRC as Her Royal Clintonness before I correct it, which is funny but doesn’t help.

        Or with someone becoming the head of one of the main political parties for no reason other than their name? Justin hadn’t even gone near politics until the Liberals started collapsing.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Justin is there because the Libs are crazy desperate, the poor son of bitches. We’re where the conservatives were in the Chretcien era, God(ess?) help us. The left is split and the damn them to hell separatists are soaking up Quebec.

        The Clintons and Bushes just don’t bother me. I don’t see any prospect of the Clintons’ producing a new one and the Bush’s are toxic for a generation. I see the current affairs as a minor aberration that will pass on.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        @katherinemw I don’t know – we were run by the same family (the Roosevelts) for 24 years out of a 34 year period (and in an IRV system, it might’ve been even more than that) and that worked out OK for us, all things considered.

        Yeah, it’d be nice to have somebody w/out the name Clinton or Bush in office. But, if the choice is nepotism (Clinton) and the Democrat’s win or shiny & new and we lose an election, I’ll choose nepotism every time.

        Plus, as North pointed out, nepotism in politics has existed forever and frankly, we’re probably at a low part of it in history, all things considered.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I see the current affairs as a minor aberration that will pass on.

        That’s kind of my thought.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        the same family (the Roosevelts) for 24 years out of a 34 year period

        1901-1909 and 1933-1945 is (roughly) 20 out of 44 years. And they were distant cousins, not spouses or father and son.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        North – Look at the news: the separatists had a crushing defeat tonight. Combined with the NDP winning Québec in 2011, it’s looking like Québec separatism may be dead.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Katherine, praise be! I could kiss you for being the bearer of such grand news! Thank you!Report

    • Avatar Fnord says:

      I don’t know – we were run by the same family (the Roosevelts) for 24 years out of a 34 year period (and in an IRV system, it might’ve been even more than that) and that worked out OK for us, all things considered.

      Franklin and Theodore were like 4th cousins or something ridiculous like that. I’m not sure it’s really the same thing as children, spouses, and siblings.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      AIPAC’s had its legs cut out from under it with Syria.
      Hoping we can keep the pressure down to avoid a war with Iran.
      Figure we will, actually — Bush wanted to invade, and it took an
      all out internal war to keep him from doing it (the Military was NOT PLEASED
      with the idea).Report

  21. Avatar Shazbot3 says:

    ” I have no doubt that Mike Huckabee is a deeply moral man, even if those morals are different from mine. So I can only see him going so far curbing the rights of the disenfranchised.


    Interestingly, Bill Clinton and Huckabee both used Dick Morris as an adviser. Just one data point.

    All in all Huckabee is as sleazy as any politician. There are campaign finance problems. Sleazy statements. All the stuff.

    I give him credit for pardoning prisoners. But I give HRC props for trying to help the sick get health insurance. Who was acting out of a desire to look good and compassionate to the masses and who wasn’t? HRC or Huckabee? Who knows.

    But the assertion that it was Huckabee and not HRC with the good, moral, and non-political motivations is wholly unfounded.

    Here’s what we know. Any D candidate, HRC or otherwise will be more likely to either veto insane Republican measures or help usher small bore, modestly compassionate neo-liberal legislation forward, like the ACA.

    Anyone who prefers centrist, small bore, technocratic improvements to policy and reasoned debate that could lead to plausible solutions to our problems should vote for the D candidate for president in 2016 regardless of anything that happens in the primaries, short of of a complete inversion of the space-time continuum.

    That should be obvious, yes?Report

  22. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    Well, I’m with Saul here. If HRC is the nominee she’s getting my vote. I can’t imagine the Republicans putting up a candidate I’d prefer over her. The dynastic thing sort of bothers me but our country has a long history, going back to the Adams family, of that sort of thing but no particular instance lasts long.

    And let’s be real here. My vote isn’t going to determine the outcome. It’s an almost entirely self-regarding act, an insignificant and anonymous statement of preferences. Being able to say I voted to break both the color and gender barriers for the presidency in the span of less than a decade ain’t exactly nothing. Now to check off the gay and atheist boxes…Report

  23. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    As someone who remembers how an investigation into a 2 bit real estate bankruptcy case turned into blow jobs in the Oval Office and a stained blue dress which turned into a Presidential impeachment trial with an outcome decided nearly strictly along party lines, I truly fear HRC stepping into the race for the Presidency. For some odd reason Republicans truly loathed the Clintons, and we know that Washington pols, both D and R, have no problem whatsoever remembering slights, real and perceived. She brings entirely too much baggage for my taste. That and the carpetbagging, marriage of convenience, and eternal political windsocking. Blech!

    Cards on the table, I have never voted R for president, mostly because in my voting lifetime they haven’t bothered to put up someone worthy of the job. I voted joyously for Obama in ’08 (my first winner), and was so disgusted with him in ’12 I voted for Gary Johnson. I have never felt voting 3rd party was throwing my vote away, even though in IL any non-D vote is merely a formality.

    If HRC is the D nominee in ’16 she will not get my vote.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      Is this a post from 2008? The Republican Party will hate any Democrat that’s get elected since there’s a signifigant chunk of their base (let’s say, 10-15% of the total electorate) that simply sees any win by the Democratic Party as a tainted, if not stolen victory.

      Anybody who becomes President with a D by their name, whether that’s person name is Clinton, O’Malley, Schweitzer, is going to be treated by large parts of the GOP Congressional caucus as well, if I got elected President somehow. So, by that measure, at least the Clinton’s know their going in hated as hell.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        What Jesse said. If Jesus Christ was elected President with Zombie Reagan as his Veep the GOP would still find a way to call him a communist marxist muslim and demand his long for birth certificate*.

        *Though it weakens my example in that they’d be correct to do so. It’d take a miracle for a native born Palestinian to become a natural born american citizen. Badum-ching.Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        Seconding – one of the distinguishing features of the opposition to both Clinton and Obama was a widespread denial of the very legitimacy of their election. Not just opposition, but denial of the legitimacy.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        North – Um, I’m pretty sure Jesus was a commie by present-day standards.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Katherine, I’m agnostic and not very conversant in theology but I heard someplace he was a carpenter.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Yeah, but like communism, He required magic to create all those loaves and fishes.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        To be fair, Communism did a pretty good job of dividing loaves and fishes. And they usually teach that after multiplying.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        North, Jesus was a Palestinian? He was a Jew from Judea. The land wasn’t even called Palestine until Emperor Hadrian crushed the Bar-Kochba revolt, about a century after Jesus died.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I heard that Jesus was Scotch-Irish. (It’s why he got drunk all the time and got into fistfights at church.)

        This also explains most of the art in which he appears.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Jesus was Scotch-Irish

        Only on his father’s side.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        True Lee- I was trying to put him in modern context. Had Jesus been campaigning to be President of the USA in his own era then he’d have been chasing after the all important bison vote and grumbling to himself about the partisanship of mildly perplexed squirells.Report

      • Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

        Hmmm. Nope, 2014. I don’t recall either Clinton or Obama’s election being labelled tainted or stolen, at least by any rational voter. If we’re going to allow birtherism to enter the discussion, then, of course, all bets are off.

        Perhaps it’s too late to hope the Democratic party can do better than a retread with history going back to 1992, but I sure hope not.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @slade-the-leveller The word “rational” does some heavy lifting there, given how irrational politics makes us (except liberals, who are completely immune from this). With Clinton, it was the Perot factor. With Obama, the citizenship thing. The number of people who at least wove the banner (I think a smaller number actually believed it) was non-trivial.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      The Vast RightWing Conspiracy endorsed Hillary in 2008.Report

  24. Avatar Damon says:

    Oh dear jeebus.
    Not a Clinton again.
    And there are rumors of a Bush entry.
    Christ, doesn’t either party have ANYONE else to throw over the fence? I’m still stick of hearing about both the Clintons and the Bushes.Report

  25. Avatar Barry says:

    Todd: “It’s quite possible that a pragmatic in the mold of Dole or Romney will get the nod for 2016,”

    The next GOP president will appoint a large number of GOP judges, who will feel no more bound to respect precedent than the Roberts SCOTUS.
    You look at how Romney ruled in a blue state which had an overwhelming Democratic legislative majority (enough, IIRC, to overrule him a bunch of times), and assume that he (or others like him) would rule the same way, when he’d be in a much better place.Report

    • Avatar Barry says:

      Todd, you assume that any and all gains made during the Obama administration will not be on the table in a future GOP administration, to the extent of their power.Report

  26. Avatar Glyph says:

    Does a ‘dilemna’ have condemnation implied?Report

  27. Avatar Barry says:

    Saul DeGraw

    “Chait calls himself a liberal so a liberal he is and since he writes so much about national politics, it is hard to tell where he comes across on things like rent control and gentrification.”

    Mickey Kaus, Saleton of Slate, ‘Even the Liberal’ New Republic, (less now than under Peretz). There’s a niche market of calling oneself liberal while working against liberalism.

    Now, I believe that Chait is liberal, but him calling himself that is not evidence.Report

  28. Avatar Barry says:

    Todd, I think that one thing you’ve overlooked is that 2014 is well before 2016; the political situation will very likely change quite a bit. This might be keeping some people from throwing their hat in the ring. The first serious opponent to HRC might have a bad case of ‘premature anti-HRCism'[1]; the later ones might do better.

    [1] A la volunteers to fight Franco.Report

  29. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:



    It is my personal experience that people who attend local party meetings for political parties tend to be very passionate, usually lonely, and sometimes to often off-kilter. I think you could find similar craziness at local Democratic and Republican party meetings or the public hearings they have when someone is seeking to build or get a liquor license. These are people with a lot of time on their hands and often they like to have grievances.Report

  30. Avatar Barry says:


    “Neo-liberal, in the circles I’m familiar with, refers to a social liberal who is:”

    IMHO, a neo-liberal is somebody who either professes or genuinely wants to advance liberal goals, but always ends up advocating right-wing mechanisms. They’ll do this even as time and time again, right-wing mechanism achieve right-wing goals.Report

  31. Avatar Barry says:


    “I’m not sure there was or is a competent move with Syria.”

    Not intervening. He stepped on his d*ck when he drew a line in the sand, but he realized the idiocy of going in *before* he started a war.Report

  32. Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

    I’m glad someone is expressing reservations about HRC as a presidential candidate, even if the rationales offered are somewhat different than my own.

    First: I’m not a Hillary-hater. I think she’s a smart and interesting person, and I think I would like her a lot if we were to hang out. (She keeps calling, but I’ve been busy lately).

    My reasons for opposing her are twofold:

    First, I don’t think she’s has good political instincts. She tends to be brittle, dogmatic, and politically tonedeaf. If you go back to the Clinton administration, virtually every political disaster had it’s roots in HIllary’s judgement. It was her call to conduct the health-care hearings out of the public eye, convinced that subjecting it to the political “process” would taint it. So it was just her and Ira Magaziner, who had decided that they would create a top-down managed care system: and it was that decision that made it politically vulnerable, more than any other.

    Among the Hillary-driven Clinton Administration decisions:

    It was Hillary who made the decision to “hang tough” on releasing Whitewater documents (much against Bill’s instincts), and that led to the predictable result that a special prosecutor was appointed.
    “Travelgate” had its roots in Hillary’s desire to place her own friends into the White House Travel Office. (Note that I am not averring that there was any impropriety, but that there was a startling lack of political judgement in making that move).
    It was Hillary who made the promise, in the interregnum between Bill Clinton’s election and his inauguration, that the elimination of the ban against gay soldiers would be the administration’s first act. Again, I share the goal, but the administration began with a polarizing political fight, unnecessarily
    In her first “difficult” vote as a senator, she voted to give George W. Bush the right to unilaterally invade Iraq. It took her four years before she changed her public position of support for the war.

    In addition, she doesn’t appear to have the bridge-building abilities of her husband:

    The terms “vast, right-wing conspiracy,” and “(She) wasn’t some little woman ‘standing by my man’ like Tammy Wynette.” originate with Hillary.
    It’s easy to forget, given the current polarization faced by Barack Obama, but Hillary herself was even more polarizing, both during and after the Clinton Administration
    She made racially-tinged critiques of Obama during their 2008 primary fight
    In her quixotic quest for the Democratic nomination in 2008, even after it had become mathematically impossible, she took to attacking Obama and praising John McCain on the campaign trail

    In short, I thing she’d be an ineffective and divisive president.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      This is kinda why I wouldn’t mind her being president.

      Though, when it comes to the Supreme Court, occasionally a Republican can give us a Thomas. We’re never going to get one of those from Democrats. That said, Republicans are just as likely to give Souters. Other than in that one area, I don’t see Hillary being that bad.

      For all of the reasons you give. I do hope that the Republicans re-discover non-interventionism HARD if (when?) she wins, though.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        (Also, missed you! Stick around! Etc.)Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Heh… every time I start to think that I don’t care who runs the place, ’cause they all suck, I remember the supreme court and I say a little prayer to gods I don’t believe in that if Republicans win, no justices retire or die. Or put differently, reproductive freedom always brings me back to caring about partisan politicsReport

      • Avatar Barry says:

        “That said, Republicans are just as likely to give Souters. Other than in that one area, I don’t see Hillary being that bad.”

        Another way to say it is that the GOP occasionally gives us the four hard-core right-wing nasties, but might gives us one or two guys who aren’t.

        That’s bad odds.

        “For all of the reasons you give. I do hope that the Republicans re-discover non-interventionism HARD if (when?) she wins, though.”

        The Republicans *are* the war party (or, because this is the USA, the more war party). The last time that wasn’t true was probably 84 years ago.

        They could always change, of course, but it would be a once in a century event. Expecting that is not a good strategy.Report

      • Avatar Creon Critic says:

        That said, Republicans are just as likely to give Souters.

        Well that’s contrary to the stated intentions of Republican candidates; they commit to seeking out more justices like Thomas and Scalia. “No More Souters” is a rallying cry for those who pay attention to such things.*

        And I think the competing sides have figured out the career trajectories they see as appropriate for potential justices to more likely uphold their visions of the constitution (appellate justice and/or administration lawyer track records). Harriet Miers’ record for instance lacked the required priors and contributed to her failed nomination..

        * Here’s the WSJ for instance,

    • Avatar North says:

      That’s a fair list of criticisms Snarky but there are upsides.

      After finally losing the nomination fight Clinton was well within her rights to withdraw sulkily from the contest to let the chips fall where they may. PUMA (Party unity my ass) ended up being hyped by the GOP primarily because the Clinton’s declined to buy into it. Their whole political machine fell into line with Obama once he had the nomination nailed down.

      Clinton took a role in Obama’s administration and discharged it quite well. Her Husband has been a slightly loose cannon but has also been an enormous asset. When he stood up at the 2012 convention and contrasted against the empty chair speech at the GOP convention even the conservatives conceded that they been lapped.

      The 2008 contest was hard fought but that was damn good for Obama; when it came time to throw down with McCain the old guy had nothing left to use. I am not feeling much lasting resentment there. Yes I would say the HRC campaign probably strayed across the racial line occasionally but in fairness Obama’s campaign was poised on the line with a measuring tape to scream about it every time she got even close.

      A great deal of the basic 2008 nomination theme was Obama saying he was going to rise above partisanship and bring in a new era of politics while Hillary raised her eyebrows and asked what the hell he was smoking. I would submit an enormous amount of her support right now comes from the battle weary Democrats looking at Obama’s pummeled clawed up face and asking “what the hell were you smoking?” Everyone on the left is tired of the GOP’s shtick and is ready to nominate a ruthless cynical fighter now. The whole “divisive” line is toothless because it’s hard to imagine an opposition cranked up any further than it already is.

      Weirdly, HRC is in a position that is more typical to the old GOP’s internal politics. She’s viewed as having paid her dues and toed the line and her base thinks she’s due. Plus, if she runs another incoherent idiotic campaign or hires Mark Penn then she can always lose the primary fight again but I think she’s earned another shot.Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        “…but in fairness Obama’s campaign was poised on the line with a measuring tape to scream about it every time she got even close.”

        Perhaps I’m misinterpreting this, but you seem to be equating violating ethical rules with keeping a sharp eye on your opponent and calling her for violating those rules.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        The BSDI in the ’08 Dem nomination contest were accusations of sexism leveled at the Obama campaign that were of varied validity.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Barry had it merely been policing then I’d say it was 100% kosher but some elements of the Obama campaign fell back on accusations of race mongering on everything and anything including things that they had to stretch like mad to bring back to race. It was a tricky dance for both campaigns, frankly I’m happy and surprised it didn’t damage either of them very much in the long run.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:


      I think everything you say is a fair criticism of HRC when she first came to Washington. She had no experience, and it showed. But in the Senate she was a bridge builder–perhaps too much so for some liberals, in fact–and had good workong relationships and evident respect across the aisle.

      “Brittle,” though, may still be applicable.Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        This is a very good point. I felt that it hit Bill, as well. He had to transition from Governor of Arkansas to President, and that’s a tough job. It was made tougher by the fact that the GOP had controlled the White House for 20 of the last 24 years. Also, much of Bill’s agenda was against the interests of the elites (it’s harder to paddle a boat upstream than downstream).Report

    • Avatar Barry says:

      “The terms “vast, right-wing conspiracy,” …”

      Please note that that was a perfect description of reality.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Not really. The Arkansas Group, which she was referencing, was run almost entirely by Scaife. I tend to use the nickname tongue in cheek to refer to him.Report

    • Avatar Barry says:

      “In short, I thing she’d be an ineffective and divisive president.”

      Any Democratic president will be ‘divisive’ in the sense that the right will not accept the legitimacy of any Democratic president.Report