Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory…

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

288 Responses

  1. Rose Woodhouse says:

    Hear, hear! (And please do Google Martin O’Malley, who did a fine job governing my state.)

    I really, really dislike Hillary Clinton. I find her unlikable, cold and calculating, and she has demonstrated a couple of times that she’s a bad manager of other people. The campaign she ran against Obama was notable for bad strategies, enormous debt, and her willingness to say anything she thought would help her win.

    I, too, am frustrated that she is being handed this nomination on a silver platter. The one thing to get excited about is the possibility of the first female president.

    I’m more moderate, and so not an Elizabeth Warren fan, either. Not really bemoaning her failure to enter. But who else is going to challenge her? And why don’t they?!Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Rose Woodhouse says:

      Do I just know a lot of Lesley Knopes because lots of my friends seem to adore HRC?Report

      • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I don’t adore her, but she’s a brassy, smart woman who knows how to work a crowd, be that the US Senate or Ireland.

        She’s far too close to being the Senator from Wall Street, though distance does make the heart grow… fonder.Report

      • ScarletNumber in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        LOL I wouldn’t characterize your friends as a representative cross-section of the United States.Report

        • Road Scholar in reply to ScarletNumber says:

          LOL I wouldn’t characterize your friends as a representative cross-section of the United States.

          There’s this one guy in Ohio, his name is Bernie, that can make that claim. A real statistical anomaly he is. We should just ask him who should be president.Report

    • Kim in reply to Rose Woodhouse says:

      You’re thinking of Tipper more than Hillary, dear.
      Tipper really was a witch, busy denying college kids candy on Halloween.

      As for Hillary’s organizational skills, she got us Bin Laden. And she’s hiring Obama’s crew, which means she’s learned her lesson on “loyalty” versus “talent”.

      That said, someone ought to run against her, and do a serious job. No one should run without opposition, because they really ought to dust off the speeches and earn some votes. (note: yes, hillary put that upfront and center. Because she learns from her mistakes, crafty lady that she is).Report

    • Damon in reply to Rose Woodhouse says:

      And please do Google Martin O’Malley, who did a fine job governing my state

      @rose-woodhouse Really? He drained the highway fund to cover the general fund deficits. He instituted major tax increases, the rain tax being one, and he’s left deficits for the next admin requiring significant cuts in spending. “Fine job” my ass.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Rose Woodhouse says:

      I too think O’Malley would make a fine President.

      I had recently moved to Maryland when Baltimore caught the fringe of Hurricane Isabel. I was watching the local news about, among other things, how the city had set up dry ice distribution stations, but they had run out. I saw in impromptu news conference where this burly guy stands at the podium and tells the reporters that they had run out, and they weren’t going to be able to get any more, so people should plan accordingly. I had no idea who he was, but from the absence of weasel words I assumed he was with the fire department or some such. I was flabbergasted to learn that he was the mayor, personally giving out bad news with no bullshit. I have liked him ever since. I don’t know why he hasn’t caught on more widely.

      That being said, I fully expect to vote for Hillary in the general, and whatever flaws she has–and they are considerable–she will be infinitely better than whoever she is running against.Report

  2. Oscar Gordon says:

    Well, the GOP can still do something fun like seriously field a Huckabee or a Brownstone, which will scare the piss out of enough moderates to give Hillary the win, even if the GOP nutjob never makes it past the primary.

    PS This is brilliantReport

    • Road Scholar in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Oscar Gordon:… or a Brownstone

      I assume you mean Brownback? I could only hope, especially if it meant he had to resign the governorship to do so. Of course that would just leave us with the L.G., Chris Kobach*, who may be the only human alive more odious than Sam Brownstain.

      *Android is smarter than I give it credit for! It tried to auto-correct that to Koch.Report

  3. Burt Likko says:

    Re footnotes 2&3: I get just as good, if not better and certainly faster, analysis right here at Ordinary Times, as compared to the Official Punditrocacy’s work product.Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    Didn’t I just write on the anointing of Hillary? 😉

    1. Lots of people still really like both Clintons. This is seemingly impossible for Clinton-loathers to understand whether the Clinton loathers are on the left and the right. I know a lot of people who are absolutely thrilled and enthusiastic about an HRC Presidency and see her as an inspiration.

    2. The Democratic Base is made of many more components than the GOP base. There is a core group of liberals that always disliked centerist DLC policies and was never fond of the Clintons and still hates Bill for voting for DOMA. This portion of the party is much, much smaller than the social conservatives in the GOP. Most of them will vote Democratic anyway (just like many hardcore social conservatives voted for Romney anyway).

    3. The real Democratic base are urban minorities, women, and immigrants, with upper-middle class liberals like me coming in a distant fourth. You can see this in the Teachout-Cuomo primary. Lots of upper-middle class liberals hate hate hate Cuomo and see him as a corrupt anti-liberal. Zephyr Teachout did very well with these upper-middle class liberals and won the Northern suburbs of NYC in the Democratic Primary. Cuomo beat her decidedly in NYC. Everyone in the Democratic base is to the left of the GOP but the radicalism of the Democratic Party is really only a fever dream in the minds of Glenn Beck fans.

    4. HRC has all the money backers and hired lots of the big guns already. Running against her can be daunting and potentially career ending if you lose.

    5. As I noted before, letting the GOP have their shit show primaries and massing behind one candidate might be a viable strategy.

    6. A lot of people are willing to take four years of Clinton if it means not having Bush, Walker, Cruz, or Rubio pick Supreme Court justices.Report

    • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Know if she hired the blokes coming back from Israel yet?Report

    • Clinton will mostly likely win or lose the election on the backs of suburban independent voters in a handful of states that aren’t any of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, or Pacific Coast. Looking at graphs like this one suggest (at least to me) Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa and Nevada. Swing those 66 electoral votes and it’s a narrow Republican victory. All five are heavily suburban, heavily independent. Those are the people Clinton needs to get excited. I think it will be a big challenge for her.

      Colorado also has a US Senate seat up in 2016. To say that I’m not looking forward to campaign season next year is an understatement.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Cain says:


        I don’t think many of those states would be a problem for Hilary.

        1. I think you are largely overstating backlash and resentment to the Northeast Corridor. HRC has also been a national figure more than a NY figure and she did come with Bill from Arkansas.

        2. I am still not convinced that independent voters are a thing but more of a word that people like because it sounds good.

        3. Florida might be an issue if Jeb or Rubio is the Republican candidate though. I don’t think they will go for Walker or Cruz. Florida still has the Metro areas that are heavily Democratic and this helps Dems in Presidential years.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          My deep suspicion is that this will be the election that will have analysts wondering “what the hell happened to the X voting bloc?”


          “Why did Jewish-Americans vote Republican in numbers much larger than last time?”

          “Why did the African-American vote not show up as much as it did in 2012 and 2008?”

          “Why didn’t women in the Mountain West, Midwest, and South respond to Hillary the way that women did on the coasts?”

          Of course, the Republicans could still nominate a Bush. If that happens, please delete this comment.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:


            1. “Why did Jewish-Americans vote Republican in numbers much larger than last time?”

            Pundits and Republicans have been doing “Is this the year that Jews stop voting Democratic?” since I was able to vote. That was in 1998. It hasn’t happened. Obama was much more likely to produce the switch than HRC and he didn’t. American Jews are liberal and believe in the welfare state and social spending. There is a small and very vocal minority of Jews like Jennifer Rubin and Kristol that moan and moan about why aren’t the Jews Republican but they are just a vocal minority.

            Anyway, if Jews go GOP it will be for neocon reasons and not libertarian reasons and this will mean more intervention and military spending.

            Is there a point when pundits stop making predictions or is it a Malthus thing where people just repeat the same stuff with conviction and a wagging of the finger and saying “Just you wait…..”

            2. “Why did the African-American vote not show up as much as it did in 2012 and 2008?”

            Also doubted unless you can prove evidence for your prediction.

            3. “Why didn’t women in the Mountain West, Midwest, and South respond to Hillary the way that women did on the coasts?”

            Also doubted without evidence.Report

            • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              I can think of very few things that would be worse for the welfare of Israel than Jewish voters going GOP in large numbers. Nothing would turn Israel into a partisan issue faster; nothing.Report

              • CK MacLeod in reply to North says:

                Events will have to eventuate, but all things being equal next year as now, the Israelis and their friends in the US would have to be even more insane than they sometimes appear to be not to view 2016 as an opportunity to reinforce bipartisanship in support of Israel, in other words by soft-pedaling at least compared to 2012 the support of big donors for the Rs. If so, and given HRC’s willingness to support Israel and play hawk lite, what is supposed to drive Jews to Rs in significant numbers?Report

              • North in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                CK, the operative question, I think, is whether the big donors priority is supporting the immediate and long term welfare of Israel herself or of Likud and the Israeli Right specifically. If it is the former than your prescription would be eminently reasonable but if it is the latter then the situation becomes significantly more murky.Report

              • CK MacLeod in reply to North says:


                HRC’s interests and Likud’s do not yet necessarily diverge as far as I can tell. Agree the larger situation is “murky” as a whole simply because we can’t know what’s going to happen between now and November 2016, but it’s clear at least – as in her recent comments on the unfairness or criticism of the Gaza operation – that she’s ready to go to bat for Israel. I agree with others that the long terms holds at least the threat of American-Israeli divergence, and even of the erosion of the pro-D Jewish voting bloc partly for other reasons, but on first glance I think for 2016 the dynamic still favors her.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to CK MacLeod says:


                The only other answer would be demographics.

                Jews who came post-Soviet Union tend to be very Republican and very fond of Reb Ronnie for standing up to the Evil Empire. Understandably the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries did not treat them well but their adversion to the smallest welfare state programs is extreme.

                Ultra-Orthodox Jews have many more children than Reform and Conservative Jews and they also tend to be more socially conservative of course. Though they are also politically shrewd and will vote for whichever politician vows to basically leave them alone and let them self-govern. There was a scandal about this in Brooklyn recently because the former Brooklyn DA was seen as giving the Ultra-Orthodox and Haredi too much autonomy and not holding them responsible to the law like ordinary citizens.

                For my generation and later generations of Jews, they might not have as many firm connections to the New Deal or GI Bill and other Welfare State programs that took the Jews out of the slums, gave them educations, and put them in the Middle Class and above. Basically younger Jews might become the generic white voter but this possibility is less rare because younger Jews are still very socially liberal unless ultra-Orthodox.Report

              • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                There’s an interesting dichotomy on the ultra-orthodox since while they’re supremely socially conservative they are also deeply dependent on the use (some would say abuse) of the social safety net.Report

              • Kim in reply to North says:

                those people fled to Israel fairly recently, because israel has more generous loopholes.Report

              • Kim in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                A lot of Bibi’s coalition shouldn’t be allowed in government (at least important posts like being in charge of water…). They’re really that delusional.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


                Concurred. I don’t how much of a probability it is but I think it is something that will happen or that Jews will choose voting Democratic over Israel.

                The question is will the GOP be able to woo Jews or will the Jews feel like they were abandoned by the Democratic Party and just move?Report

              • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I don’t know Saul. First, and emphatically first, the Democratic Party would have to do something substantive to alienate American Jews and, to be blunt, out side of the fevered ravings of some neocon Jewish writers and the sweaty palmed hopes of the GOP the Dems, Obama included, have not done anything that many or even a large fraction of Jews consider particularly deplorable or alienating.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


                I don’t think this is an immediate issue but more of a potential decades long change if ever. Millennials are more likely to sympathize with Palestinians than Baby Boomers and Generation Xers. If the Democratic Party is becoming less white over all, the Millennial cohort might start wondering “Why are we giving so much money to Israel?” in 20-30 years time when they take over as politicians.Report

              • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Well part of it also will depend on the diaspora. It is entirely possible that Jewish Americans could chose America over Israel, particularly if Israel continues her current dangerous path.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

                Will Truman,

                I’ve been wondering about that, ever since the Bibi V Barack Global CageMatch. I figured that Bibi’s playing up to conservatives wouldn’t be the deal breaker, nor would Bibi coming out as an anti-any-state solutionist. The thing I thought might tip things in a bad direction – for Obama and Dems – was Obama’s insistence on taking Netanyahu “at his word” about his plans for Israeli apartheid. Most folks (it seems to me) throw out “two-state solution” with a wink, which never gets called out. Obama called it out.

                It’ll be interesting to see what happens down the road.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

                If the change happens it will be like Hemmingway’s description of bankruptcy, it will happen gradually and then all at once.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

            “Why did Jewish-Americans vote Republican in numbers much larger than last time?

            Because Hillary is such a squish on using American military power to support Israel, of course.Report

          • Mo in reply to Jaybird says:

            If anything, Hillary’s experience as Senator from New York helps her with the Jewish vote. A lot of those Hillary voters from New York have moved to Boca.Report

          • Don Zeko in reply to Jaybird says:

            Suppose we start from a baseline of Obama’s 2012 numbers. If Clinton loses vote share uniformly across all groups such that she gets a 50.5 – 49.5 win, then everybody will be talking about the emerging Democratic Majority and R’s will be wailing about this or that group that didn’t show up at the polls. If she loses votes uniformly such that she gets a 49.5 – 50.5 loss, then everybody will be talking about *insert group here* abandoning the party, even though she lost support from everyone relative to Obama’s winning campaigns. Jews seem like a likely conversation topic, but the same could be said of latinos, african americans, middle class women, etc.Report

        • Independent voters are verifiably a thing. They do not exist in the numbers that they self-declare, but the notion that independent voters and swing voters are fictitious is one of those weird modern conventional wisdoms that data from most elections demonstrates isn’t true.

          (It is more true that these voters shouldn’t be called “moderate.” Sometimes they are moderate, but usually it’s more that they’re conflicted with a cafeteria ideology.)Report

        • I hope you’re right (it’s not that I’m for the Ds so much as I’m against the Rs these days), but I wouldn’t bet much money on it. I worry less about active resentment than I do about apathy. I pay more attention to energy policy than other stuff, and there are some potential mines out there: that’s about the time that Ohio and Florida will find out just how much cleaning up their coal plants is going to raise their electricity rates; fracking is a bit of a tightrope in Ohio and Colorado; corn ethanol (which I personally think is a waste of money) is a touchy issue in Iowa and Colorado; pleasing Nevada about Yucca Mountain will tick off eastern environmentalists who want the spent fuel from all those eastern reactors moved far, far away.Report

          • I should have added… Ballot initiatives can sway voter turnout significantly in the Mountain West, in either direction. On the plus side for the Ds, marijuana legalization is on the 2016 ballot in Nevada (some Republican legislators in NV suggested this past session that they should just pass it, rather than providing an incentive to turn out the D vote). In Colorado, we’re still trying to figure out what sending a mail-in ballot to every registered voter does to turnout.Report

          • North in reply to Michael Cain says:

            I think, Michael, that the Dems have a subtle advantage in Ohio in the form of the auto bailout. GM and the other big auto companies are still employing people because of the Dems bailout and that is not a small constituency.Report

    • James K in reply to Saul Degraw says:


      Romney moved right for the 2012 primary, all it did was make him look even more like someone who would say anything to win.Report

      • Kim in reply to James K says:

        Hillary can’t stop being a hawk, that’s too part of her brand.
        But she can punch like the best of them, and if you want someone running on giving the middle class a fighting start, that’ll sell tickets.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to James K says:


        1. Mitt needed to compete in a crowded primary field.

        2. Mitt’s heresies were much more dire. The Clintons might have moved the Democratic Party to the center but they never suggested gutting social security or making abortion completely illegal. I don’t think you can be a pro-choice Republican anymore.

        3. Some politicians are able to pull off switches better than others. Clintons are the masters here. I know more heterosexual people who will never forgive the Clintons of DOMA over LGBT people.Report

  5. Road Scholar says:

    The Dems seem to have the same problem that the Reps had in 2008. What was notable to me about that election was the lack of any credible depth to their bench. It was a bunch of people no one had ever heard of and a couple everyone was sick of looking at. On the other hand, for the Dems, Obama, Clinton, and Edwards all looked really strong out of the gate. I remember it being described by lefty commentators as an embarrassment of riches.

    Clinton feels like the 2016 Democratic version of McCain. And like has often been said about the Reps, it feels like she’s going to get the nomination mostly because it’s her turn, rather than actually being the best candidate.Report

    • Kim in reply to Road Scholar says:

      She is a pretty damn good candidate, though, dammit!

      She got us bin Laden, for christ’s sake, and that takes organizational insight just as much as it takes brains. (She saw that we had too many people on the task, and that the taskforce was swiss cheese. She cut it down to a trusted, targeted group of folks, who managed to find the needle in the haystack. Then call in the troops, and bam.)

      She’s worked as a senator, and did a good job as Secretary of State (a good deal of the Iran groundwork is her doing).

      [McCain was a poor candidate, in no small part because of his notorious temper tantrums.]Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

        There is nothing in the public record that indicates the State Department had a major role in the planning or execution of the Abbottabad raid nor in narrowing down the particular compound as the likely target . (in the mop up, yes, the state department had a big role in assuaging Pakistan’s hurt fee-fees, but not before). The intelligence analysis shop in State in tiny, and is never in the lead for anything like this, or very much at all, because they’re resourced (like the State Department in general) at about a tenth of the level as the military and the broader intelligence community are.

        (it is also severely unlikely that any career FSO would have signed off on the polio vaccination program cover story because of the long term damage to trust in public health mechanisms. That’s CIA all the way.)Report

        • Kim in reply to Kolohe says:

          If this was the CIA’s kit and kaboodle, they wouldn’t have let the military anywhere near it. They’ve got their own operatives.

          I’m not precisely saying that it was State in particular that did most of the recon (easy enough to draft the Military Intel folks, ain’t it? We do have milsats), more that Hillary herself analyzed the situation and came up with the plan.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

            Kim: more that Hillary herself analyzed the situation and came up with the plan.

            I’m literallyjoebiden LOL.

            But it’s again obvious that you don’t know how the IC or SOCOM actually work, so I’ll just continue LOL.Report

  6. North says:

    I disagree my Tod.
    For starters, let us note, that the country is heavily polarized. A lot of the voters have already made up their mind so those voters are voting for the party; not the candidate.
    I consider your opponent line up: Christie, Rubio and Bush; current polls have HRC not only beating but beating those three handily and honestly BUSH? Do you truly think that the electorate would pick a Bush over a Clinton? We’re talking about a Bush, the last Bush President who (bathed in the glow of eight years of absence and with an unpopular incumbent) can barely stay very much about 50% approval? A Bush who would eliminate Clinton’s biggest weakness in the dynastic/same ol’ attack lines by his candidacy?
    And it is Bush who is currently the frontrunner for the GOP nod.

    I note, also, that you’ve left out any suggestion of an alternative candidate to HRC. Say what you will about her but she has clearly done her homework and paid her dues. That’d pretty odd for the Democratic Party but considering that the Dem’s, more than ever before, find themselves primarily defending existing institutions and status quos against a barking mad radical opposing party this isn’t so surprising. I will grant there’s a lot of worry about what kind of HRC we’re going to get: will it be the wooden dysfunctional early 2007-2008 candidate; the relaxed approachable later 2008 candidate (and the team player who sucked it up after accepting her loss and stuck a stake through the PUMA movement); the cheerful fun Secretary of State Clinton; or the worrisome silent email fiasco HRC non candidate. I don’t know and I certainly worry about it.

    I think you have a point about base motivation but I think it’s more like half a point. You reference Al Gore in 2000 and that’s an important reference because Al Gore from 2000 is what every Democratic partisan thinks back on. They think on their ennui that year, basking in the glow of Clinton’s eight years and the golden tranquility of the 90’s and they grind their teeth. They think of the Nader vanity candidacy and the “there’s no difference between the two parties” and they wonder what the fish they were smoking. I don’t think you’ll find any even semi-informed Dem voter who has any such 2000 era delusions. They know the difference between the two parties now; they’ve watched the GOP frothing in Congress like fruit bats and they have plenty of motivation to vote. Now it’d be great to gin the vote up more with some positive motivation but there’s plenty of negative motivations already going.

    Also, I remember in 2007-8 when Obama was campaigning. A new kind of politics, a new DC, a new era of hope, bipartisanship and change! The rainbows shimmered, the unicorns cavorted… and there to the side was Hillary sighing and rolling her eyes. Well the rainbows are gone and the Tea Party barbequed the unicorns in 2008 and eventually even Obama admitted reality: Hillary was right- politics ain’t beanbag. So maybe the Dems are interested in putting up a candidate who goes into things expecting it to be a brawl.

    Now I grew into political awareness under Clinton’s administration and I have affectionate memories of him. I remember watching him, with a glint in his eye and a verbal dagger in Romneybots gears, set the convention on fire in 2012. I think HRC could be a good solid President, especially when it comes to dealing with the moonbats that the GOP currently has ensconced in congress, and I think she also has a good shot at winning.Report

  7. morat20 says:

    I’m pretty sure they’re thinking:

    1) She came in second in the closest primary in Democratic history. (or at least living democratic history.). That makes her a superstar and front-runner by default. Always HAS worked that way, GOP and Democrats alike.
    2) She’s been first lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. Credentials alone, she’s the biggest fish the Democrats have.
    2a) This means she not only has access to, but incredibly close ties with the entire Democratic field, the establishment, the movers and shakers, and the donors.
    3) She has 100% name recognition, which means Democrats can look at polls NOW and see how she fares against the field — both in primaries and in the general election. That’s..unheard of.
    3a) She is fully vetted, having been subject to Presidential election level attacks for 20+ years now. She is fully defined in a way few, if any, other candidates have ever been. And she’s still trouncing the field — both primaries AND against ‘generic Republican’.

    In short, potential candidates see a juggernaut in the primaries. Aside from vanity or issue candidates, why exactly should they waste resources and time to play dancing monkey for onlookers? Short of Hillary Clinton killing her OWN candidacy, they all known a lost cause.

    And last, but not least — each and every Democratic voter knows that no matter HOW much they might disagree with Hillary Clinton, she’s gonna be a heck of a lot better than anyone who survives the circus of the GOP primaries. “Not a bit of difference” died with Nader in 2000.

    As to your huge gamble: It’s not really a huge gamble. As I said, she has 100% name recognition and is fully defined. There’s not a lot — if any — room for movement on her. She’s been attacked with anything and everything so often that, frankly, ‘outrage fatigue’ insulates her so well she probably could kill puppies on live TV and get a collective yawn from America.

    Her performance against the GOP field is…quite solid, and historically the GOP field has nowhere to go but down. (Early polling is, with rare exceptions, far more favorable to a candidate. People start off with good opinions, and lose them as they get to know a candidate. Hillary Clinton is one of those rare exceptions.)

    Lastly — the base not getting excited about her? Do you remember the 2007 primaries? Most closely fought primary in living history? Down to the wire primary? Obviously half the base is REALLY excited about her, and given how thoroughly she and Obama buried the hatchet….nobody is holding a grudge. “First female President” might also ring a bell, in terms of ‘generating excitement’. I realize the head of the NRA thinks we’re so done with affirmative action Presidents, but I suspect that at least half the Democratic party would like a President that looks a bit like them.

    Bluntly, I think you’re pretty much wrong on all accounts. (And I don’t LIKE her, hate the idea of political dynasties, and would really, really prefer a more liberal candidate! I spit on the DLC for fun.).Report

    • Kim in reply to morat20 says:

      You run in the primaries so you can get the VEEP job. That’s why Biden ran, isn’t it?
      Plagiarists don’t get to be president.Report

    • ACIS in reply to morat20 says:

      And she’s still trouncing the field — both primaries AND against ‘generic Republican’.

      That’s impressive because “generic candidate” polling always gives a bump to the generic candidate. People imagine their ideal candidate, not the likely one. In the case of the GOP they imagine some mythical beast that combines the policies of Ted Bundy Cruz with the physical appeal of a young Ronnie Raygun but what they get once they’re done nominating is either the Romneyzombie or else a spittle-drooler like Blake Farenthold.Report

  8. Kolohe says:

    [2] To be fair, people know who O’Malley is because that’s who Tommy Carcetti is modeled after. People who write about politics love political dynasties (because it makes their jobs so much easier) so Chaffee has long been known because he’s one of those. Jim Webb has floated around in the same orbit as the other four principals in the Nightingale’s song and is either the second or third most famous one of them.

    Speaking of the Nightingale’s song, Bush Jr largely had the field to himself as well; on paper it was a crowded field but by the time the first actual voting of any type occurred, his only non-crank competition was McCain & Hatch, the latter of whom closed his campaign that night.

    This soft focus roll out of H. Clinton seems to be decently done so far (4 days in). The haterz still hate, the activists are still looking to be wooed, but nobody is rolling their eyes or tallying the gaffes. Much better than the rush job she did in 2008, when she got in earlier than she wanted to, and before she or her organization was ready, because Obama had already started and was starting to make waves. (and poach money and talent)

    The most important factor going into 2016 is that the GOP has the thinnest of electoral college firewalls. The Dems only have to play defense , which even by the dynamic you describe, they are perfectly capable of doing

    Jeb (or Rubio) may, and I stress *may*, make Florida a lock up, which is essential, but even with that, they absolutely need to nearly run the table in Ohio, Virginia, Colorado. As in, two out of those three. And that’s with giving the GOP a lot of benefit of the doubt in Nevada and New Hampshire, which may have US Senate upticket reverse coattails.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

      We were told by the Very Serious Pundits that Bush fils’s war chest of $70 million (which back in those days was real money) showed that he was considered a Very Serious Candidate by Very Serious Rich People (which was, and I know this is crazy, spun as a positive.). And it didn’t hurt that Robertson and Falwell were willing to go full slander machine in South Carolina (McCain’s adopted Bangladeshi daughter “really” being his kid with the proverbial black hooker.)Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I’ve always been underwhelmed by the efficacy of the whisper campaign against McCain in 2000 South Carolina. Not to say it didn’t happen, but Bush’s margin of victory is more than a whisper campaign could generate, and anyway, if whisper campaigns were that effective, Lindsey Graham would have never succeeded Strom Thurmond, (who was still a motherfishin Senator when the 2000 SC primary occurred), nor would have been able to hold onto the seat twice since then.Report

  9. dexter says:

    Two things: You might want to check some of your dates in the fourth paragraph.
    Would somebody around here write a post on what makes Senator Warren, a left winger, as out there as the right wing Dr. Carson. The most I have heard about her is that she believes the banks are too coddled and students are getting shafted on loans.Report

  10. Stillwater says:

    Is Hillary’s anointy-nointy by Washington/Democratic power brokers an instance of the Iron Law of Institutions: “the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution”?

    Why, yes! Yes it is!!Report

  11. morat20 says:

    Put it all together, and you have a candidate the base probably won’t be able to get overly excited about, that independents don’t really trust, and that the average non-poliitcal junkie just doesn’t find very likable. And if this formula sounds somewhat familiar, it should. The GOP ran that candidate in 2012. His name was Mitt Romney, and he lost a thoroughly winnable election to an embattled incumbent overseeing a sluggish economy. And like Clinton, he probably would have made a fine Executive if anyone had ever liked him enough to let him have a shot.

    That’s a hilarious take on the 2012 primary.

    The one I remember was one in which the GOP base struggled desperately for months to find anyone BUT Romney, and was ultimately forced to take him because everyone else was insane. In short, he was such an awful candidate that months were spent trying to find anyone who could tie their shoes without help rather than nominate him.

    Which is, in fact, the exact opposite of the problem with Clinton — everyone thinks she’s too strong a candidate to fight.Report

  12. LeeEsq says:

    My attempt to do hypertext failed.

    Here is the link:

    Its the fundamentals that matter, not how society is organized.Report

  13. LeeEsq says:

    My attempt to do hypertext failed.

    Here is the link:

    Its the fundamentals that matter, not how society is organized.Report

  14. Will Truman says:

    On the general subject of the election… I’m watching the announcement speeches, and trying to do so through the eyes of my (intuitively libertarian/conservative, operationally mixed, increasingly apolitical) wife. I would love to get her to watch it and write a post about it, but I like being being married and would prefer to remain so. I also love my wife, and would hate for her to go to prison for my murder. (Though, under the circumstances, “justifiable homicide” would not be out of the question…)

    Anyhow, not sure what she would have made of Rubio. Rand Paul would have had the most lines that she loved but a lot of lines she would have hated. (It’s a moot issue, once I mentioned his comments about vaccinations, he would fall to last in her preference order. Well, second to last…)

    I was almost going to say “she would probably have loved and hated Paul the most”… but watching Cruz’s speech, he is the uncontested victor of the “Who Would Clancy Hate Most” award. Everything about him seems to have been designed in a lab for the sole purpose of garnering her disdain and/or making her a Democrat. The only saving grace is the way he talks about his wife and mother, and how that seems to be the only part where he speaks genuinely. But even that wouldn’t be enough to save the television from destruction, our marriage, or my life.

    If I tried to show her Hillary’s, I probably could have gotten her to do just about anything in lieu of watching it. I might try to use this somehow. “I was thinking you should see Hillary Clinton’s presidential announcement. Or, if you would prefer, you can take dog poop clean-up duty…”Report

    • Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

      I would try to watch these through the very very very apolitical eyes of a friend of mine (Mr. “I can’t register as a partisan because of business”).
      “Boring. Boring. Boring.”

      Except, um, even I haven’t bothered.

      PR is MUCH more fun when it gets dirty. Or if it includes Chuck Norris.Report

  15. zic says:

    Jonathan Bernstein has some required reading on Hilary.

    I’d feel much better holding this conversation after; not before. Because right now, this feels like a lot of regurgitation of talking points, a whole lot of perceptions and impressions, and shy on actual policies and actions.Report

    • Kim in reply to zic says:

      Hypothetical then: Do you think Hillary supports preemptive strikes on a irrational government that might choose to use nuclear weapons on an ally? (Probable candidates: Pakistan, Israel respectively).

      I find that pretty probable, actually, up to and including full-scale assassination (with as much plausible deniability as practical).Report

      • zic in reply to Kim says:

        Hypothetical then: Do you think Hillary supports preemptive strikes on a irrational government that might choose to use nuclear weapons on an ally? (Probable candidates: Pakistan, Israel respectively).

        I think that support for the tool in the toolkit is probable with every presidential candidate and president; it’s one of the president’s authorities, granted by the constitution. It’s not support for the right to use it so much as propensity under what conditions and what strings the president would apply to themself.

        Honestly, I think a lot of this is the lean-in meme; that women who get to the top have to fight dirtier and be meaner and more macho.

        That’s really boring, too.Report

        • Kim in reply to zic says:

          I don’t mind a lady willing to use her elbows where appropriate. Importantly, I’ve seen enough of Clinton to know she understands the use of a smile as well.

          Of course, you’re right that asking women to be macho is rather trite and silly.Report

        • Kim in reply to zic says:

          For once, for freaking once, can someone please make the argument that being a Mom is about learning how to be a good disciplinarian, and that it’s sheer silliness to think that a Mom isn’t going to be tough, when she’s had to be on the kids she loves?

          It’s gotta be a lot harder to punish your 8 year old (with the puppy dog eyes) than it is to give Putin an Italian Salute.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to zic says:

      I’d feel much better holding this conversation after; not before.

      After what?

      After she gets elected?Report

    • Kolohe in reply to zic says:

      1) Bernstein’s first link throws Libya down the memory hole. (and this is not about Benghazi. It’s about Odyssey Dawn, which Clinton was one of the prime advocates in the Administration for launching, and emerged victorious over a more reluctant Robert Gates). Heck, it throughs all of the Obama administration’s escalation of the use of military force in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia down the memory hole (and most recently, in Syria and back in Iraq).

      Yeah, she’s not a neocon, or a neocon’s neocon, that’s a ridiculous argument. But she had no problem opening that made in the USA can of whoop-ass when she thought it could be used to further US foreign policy aims.

      2) In Bernstein’s second link, Bartel’s is trying way to hard to get the data to match his thesis. The graphs are more or less flat (and noisy) for both the Bush Jr and Clinton presidencies, and a population that was at an all time high for affinity towards liberalism elected….Richard Nixon? Similarly Wlezien’s graph is noisy, and doesn’t really capture the intensity of the Civil Rights / Great Society series of legislation. That was far more important, and far more liberal than the nominal difference in ’21 pieces of legislation’ at the peak of LBJ’s term with something like 15 pieces at the peak of Obama’s term. (15? PPACA, Lilly Ledbetter, SCHIP expansion, and that’s the big ones. I wonder what else their using to get to 15. It’s too deep a dive right now to figure out).

      3) this Bernstein link had solid analysis.

      4) regarding gender media bias towards Clinton – it may exist, but working the refs won’t work. And will probably backfire. I’m lukewarm of the comparison to Liddy Dole. She was an equal tier candidate to Dan Quayle in 2000, and nobody was negative on Quayle because of his chromosomes. (and Dole’s problems with her Red Cross tenure were more tangible than Forbes’ rich guy assholeness or Bauer’s theocrat assholeness)

      5) some of the same critiques as 4, but this one at least has an implicit understanding that Clinton may realize the deck is stacked in a certain way, and is playing the game with that in mind.Report

      • CK MacLeod in reply to Kolohe says:


        But she had no problem opening that made in the USA can of whoop-ass when she thought it could be used to further US foreign policy aims.

        Not a minority position even as stated, in fact possibly better stated that way for political purposes than the way she in fact described or stated or justified Libya and other policies in the wake of the Arab Spring was rather more interesting than that, in my opinion. Four years ago she had this rather interesting exchange with Jeffery Goldberg. If you read through the rest of that interview, she speaks about FP in this era as a changed era in a way that you won’t hear from anyone else. Not saying it’ll win her an election – indeed, just said that other way of plain-speaking would work better:

        HRC: I’m just saying that it’s not either/or. So that today, that, to me, would be impossible, so the realist position today is you have to deal with. Realism evolves. I mean, we aren’t living in Bismarckian Germany right now. And can you imagine any secretary of state like Henry Kissinger being able to go anywhere secretly today? I don’t think so.

        JG: You mean allegedly being sick in Pakistan for a week and dashing off to China? You would kind of like that, though.

        HRC: Well, of course I would. But it’s not possible. The second issue is the dispersal of power through information that was unimagined a decade ago, let alone 50 years ago. So even if you thought you could just deal with one guy in one country and you could check it off your list of concerns, that’s impossible now. The way technology has exploded means that we are all living in a totally different environment. It has changed everything. And to pretend otherwise, that there’s some kind of great doctrine out there that can be taken from the heavens and imposed upon the global national body, is just not realistic anymore.

        (NB: headline comment least interesting part, to me)Report

        • Kolohe in reply to CK MacLeod says:

          That was an interesting link, thanks. The thing that strikes me immediately is how much of the situation is reversed from just 4 years ago. She was definitely smooth enough not to generate a ‘gotcha’ quote (about the Middle East, at least), but the party lions on Syria, Yemen, Egypt, and Iran have shifted dramatically from when that was written – so has the one on Israel, somewhat.Report

          • CK MacLeod in reply to Kolohe says:

            My main point @Kolohe was that she has an interesting approach to foreign policy. At the same time that she denies any possibility of a Bismarckian or even Kissingerian conduct of foreign policy, or of pursuit of a grand strategic doctrine, she happens to outline a version of the latter.

            Some of the terms of her non-doctrine doctrine are novel. Its product doesn’t look like strategy as we think we know it, and it could be critiqued – especially in light of subsequent events – as just as ruthless in its own way as those other “realist” approaches. To be fair, however, there is a significant constituency, which I guess in these rather pacifistic and neo-isolationist environs counts as the moral equivalent of neo-con (saints preserve us!), that holds that the bloodbath(s) in Syria, Iraq, and beyond might have been avoided or reduced in volume if O (and the American people through their elected representatives) had followed or consented to her preferred policy in the 2012-3 time period.

            We don’t know what H really would have done in O’s place, of course, but her approach as outlined in that interview struck me as both intellectually sophisticated (not the same as right, of course) and intellectually humble at the same time: “Here is why things aren’t as simple as you like, and here is a praxis that doesn’t flow from the presumption we possess all or enough of the answers, but might give us a chance of getting some we can work with.”

            As for O, what looks like flailing and self-contradiction on his part, and in some places like failure, and in many places a contradiction of the hopes of the leftmost feathers of the center-left wing, also suggests a consequential working out of every alternative to Bushism available “everything/anything reasonable or rationalizable but invade.” The policy corresponds I think to as clear a democratic decision as we can get in a country this big, so also blunt and vague and self-contradictory, and hard to change, too. Most of the things tried don’t work, but all of the failures and risks as far as I can tell have been and remain, for the foreseeable future, and for the “foreseeable past” up until now, the kinds of things that are catastrophes and threats for somebody other than American citizens, just how we’ve always liked it, which is the huge stumbling block for the wanna-be nationalists-interventionists of the center and right.

            What that means is, I think, that, unless something big and bad happens, the Rs will have a hard time getting anywhere on FP, while if something big and bad does happen, she has enough distance from O by now, and more than enough experience, to be a more credible “steady hand” than any of her likely opponents. If for some reason foreign policy is a decisive issue in 2016, odds are it will favor her.Report

            • Kolohe in reply to CK MacLeod says:

              “Some of the terms of her non-doctrine doctrine are novel”

              Formless form is objective maoist, in a way (but not maoly objectivist). It’s a good policy, at face value; the management consultant would call it ‘strategic flexibility’. I would say FDR, and possibly his cousin also, followed such paths in pursuit of their larger visions.

              (if anything, that’s the key to exploiting a possible weakness in Clinton’s foreign policy bonafides, and outside the pacifist/neo-isolationist camp. Clinton’s vision is pretty much the ‘end of the history’ narrative, and the problem is, that narrative is probably true, but also very easy to mock, and rather easy for the EoH advocate to fall into a trap of inevitability.)

              CK MacLeod: To be fair, however, there is a significant constituency, which I guess in these rather pacifistic and neo-isolationist environs counts as the moral equivalent of neo-con (saints preserve us!), that holds that the bloodbath(s) in Syria, Iraq, and beyond might have been avoided or reduced in volume if O (and the American people through their elected representatives) had followed or consented to her preferred policy in the 2012-3 time period.

              I don’t see a significant constituency that can honestly separate out Hillary Clinton policies from the larger Obama-Clinton-Kerry-Gates-Hagel-Carter-Donilon-(Susan) Rice continuum. General Jones was the only foreign policy principal that operated outside this nexus, both before and during his tenure. (Hagel might also be considered outside rather than inside, as his tenure is increasingly looking like a footnoted non-enity.)

              Particularly, though, there is very little, if any, daylight between Clinton’s SecState tenure and that of Kerry’s, and Susan Rice is a constant throughout this administration.

              (Which is also to say I think we do know what she would have done in O’s place. Pretty much the same thing, because there was nothing Obama did that Clinton didn’t sign off on).Report

              • CK MacLeod in reply to Kolohe says:


                “Constituency” was probably the wrong word for me to use (but probably not as bad as the way I used “evoke” in the reply to @michael-drew re: Biden!). There may not be a large popular constituency for intervention (even short of invasion) on behalf of Syrian rebels and Iraqi crypto-democrats who in another era (even the other era of the day before yesterday) might have been anointed and adopted as freedom fighters AND actively, enthusiastically, and generously supported. Among FP intellectuals, and not just American ones at all, there are many who argue that a more interventionist anti-Assad policy (which Clinton says she favored) would have prevented or limited the radical-Islamization of the Syrian opposition, and provided a meaningful alternative and counterforce against what emerged later as the IS.Report

              • CK MacLeod in reply to Kolohe says:

                As for EoH (an interesting discussion to pursue some other day than April 15th!), it flows nicely from “(Pseudo-)Crisis Management” into “Inevitability Management.” The hard part is getting people excited about it, but we don’t need people to be excited all of the time, and there’s a good argument against too much excitement. We did the “excitement candidacy” in 2008, and the Global War on Terror neocon-style, which seemed exciting, is now understood as foolish hubris. Both turned into Crisis/Inevitability Management anyway… or EoH.Report

  16. Jaybird says:

    her historical stances on executive privilege, her support of the Patriot Act, torture, government-funded faith-based initiatives, and conservative anti-crime measures.

    Ah, but what about Bush?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      Question for old people: How long did “But Nixon did it!” last?Report

      • dexter in reply to Jaybird says:

        @jaybird, I am one of the old guys around here and am missing the point of your question. Could you please expand it a little so an old carpenter could get the gist of it?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to dexter says:

          Assuming Hillary becomes president, I’m wondering how long defenses of criticizable behaviors will include pointing at Bush (and I’m using Nixon’s aftermath as a rough analogue).Report

          • North in reply to Jaybird says:

            Bush W? Bush Senior? Bush Jeb? Bush Gooseberry?
            Do you have a specific Bush in mind? A specific set of criticizable behavior?Report

            • Jaybird in reply to North says:

              Well, I assume Dubya, but if someone criticizes Hillary and the response comes with a story about Herbert Walker, that’d qualify. Hell, if someone complains about Hillary being insufficiently progressive about Marijuana Legislation Reform and the response invokes Prescott Bush, that’d count too.

              But I’m more wondering if there’s any point at which I should stop expecting any Bushes at all to be invoked in any discussion wherein a reasonable criticism of Hillary is made.Report

            • North in reply to North says:

              Depends on who you ask. A right winger says negative references to Bush bush are old hat about 1 second after the last Bush President steps onto the helicopter and flies off the Whitehouse lawn. A true left winger never makes that comparison because they’re all the same. A moderate lefty makes that comparison when the critic is a right winger and the actions are the same. A libertarian never makes that comparison because they’re all the same wake up sheeple!Report

            • CK MacLeod in reply to North says:

              I presumed he meant Charlie Furbush.Report

          • dexter in reply to Jaybird says:

            @jaybird , The Nixon question is where my confusion came from. I don’t remember that much “It’s Nixon’s fault” after he left office mainly because the war was definitely winding down by the time he left in disgrace, and he did leave in disgrace. Much to Nixon’s chagrin the EPA had been started so the rivers weren’t catching fire and, except for pardoning Nixon, Ford was a likeable man.
            Bush, on the other hand, left the US with a giant amount of effluvia to deal with. I find Obama’s war like tendencies very disheartening and am afraid that Mrs. Clinton will be even more hawkish than Obama and I will complain loudly and often whenever we start another war or even bomb another wedding.
            If Clinton gets the nod I will hold my nose and vote for her. I will not like it but she will be closer to what I would like from a president than anything the republicans will put forward. But when she does something I don’t like you can rest assured I won’t blame it on Bush.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

        Question for old people: How long did “But Nixon did it!” last?

        People didn’t talk about Nixon much at all by the time the 80s rolled around. Carter wound up not doing much at all to be compared to anyone, and Reagan wound up having enough drama and heterodoxies in his own administration to set new benchmarks – i.e. ‘but Reagan did it’ both good and bad, is still something people say. (even Obama in 2008).Report

  17. Damon says:

    “They think she’s a cold, calculating and dishonest person who doesn’t have a vision for the country so much as she views the presidency as a thing to check off her Power Bucket List.”

    That kinda sounds similar to what I said on Saul’s thread on this topic. o.0Report

    • North in reply to Damon says:

      It also sounds like every politician on the face of the planet.Report

      • Murali in reply to North says:

        It also sounds like every politician on the face of the planet.

        It is what our more cynical heads tell us we should believe about every politician. Obama won because he convinced a sufficient number of people for a sufficient amount of time that he was not like that. That’s a big part of what charisma is (at least as far as we’re talking about politicians). Obama has it. Mitt Romney doesn’t. HRC doesn’t. This is partly because of latent sexism. Aggression in women is generally viewed more negatively than aggression in men. But we should not convince ourselves that such an attitude is not prevalent just because it is not admirable or because we ourselves try to consciously compensate for it.Report

        • North in reply to Murali says:

          I’ve not yet been particularly convinced Obama’s charismatic 2008 theme was genuine. That said I will admit that he sacrificed much on its altar up to 2011 though whether that was out of genuine belief in it or cynical understanding that it was necessary to maintain his theme I do not know.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Murali says:

          It seems like the logic goes the other way here: that because Obama won, he’s the charismatic leader and the fact that the others lost means they weren’t. I remember being a Hillary supporter at the beginning of that primary and the thing that tipped me in Obama’s direct wasn’t his charisma but his inclusiveness. He actually appealed (for political purposes or otherwise, it doesn’t really matter) to regular ole Murkins to get engaged, not only at the polls but at the grass roots level. Maybe that’s charisma, I don’t know. He just seemed like he actually cared about the participatory aspects of democracy. (And like I said, whether he meant that cynically or not, just expressing those words mattered to people.)Report

  18. Kolohe says:

    There is only one other election in my lifetime I can remember where a party essentially just handed the nomination to a non-incumbent POTUS nominee on the rationale that there was really no need. It was in 2000 and the nominee was Al Gore, and we all know how well that turned out.

    A bit more on this. First, it makes Bill Bradley even more than a footnote than he is. Surely he’s in the same tier as a circa-2000 McCain, and far above Forbes, Bauer and Alan Fishin Keyes.

    Gore’s core problem in 2000 is that he couldn’t figure out how to be Bill Clinton’s heir when appropriate, appalled by Bill Clinton’s conduct when that was appropriate, and Happy Warrior, Champion of The People, when that was appropriate. Instead, he delivered muddled messages in the worse-run campaign since 1964, which allow the left flank to purity troll and splinter off, while the middle said ah, Dubya doesn’t seem too bad, so what the heck. So in a year (maybe the last year) of peace and prosperity, the defacto incumbent get a half a percentage point victory over the challenger, instead of decisive multi-percentage point victory like, say, Daddy Bush did.

    No way Hillary Clinton makes anywhere near the same mistake. She is, by now, far more aware of being a brand, than whatever job she is seeking out, or even just whatever job she is doing. Witness the ‘I wear my sunglasses at night while emailing’ former twitter cover shot.

    As for the left flank, the kinda of discontents that made up the Nader insurgency were mostly there from the momentum of Seattle WTO 99. They all did a reboot/reimagining/retooling with Occupy, but have now slid into another footnote of history. You might get Code Pink to say something about Hillary Clinton, they’ve occasionally raised their voices against Obama, but as of late, they seem to rather go after Kissinger than anyone who has done anything since Jan 20, 2009.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Kolohe says:

      “Gore’s core problem in 2000 is that he couldn’t figure out how to be Bill Clinton’s heir when appropriate, appalled by Bill Clinton’s conduct when that was appropriate, and Happy Warrior, Champion of The People, when that was appropriate. Instead, he delivered muddled messages in the worse-run campaign since 1964, which allow the left flank to purity troll and splinter off, while the middle said ah, Dubya doesn’t seem too bad, so what the heck. So in a year (maybe the last year) of peace and prosperity, the defacto incumbent get a half a percentage point victory over the challenger, instead of decisive multi-percentage point victory like, say, Daddy Bush did.”

      And even with all of this Gore still won the popular vote! Nader might have cost Gore the election but he did so in a way that showed the small numbers of the anti-Democratic Party but on the left vote.Report

      • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        And wow did Nader ever sour the Democratic mainstream on their fringe. They never feared them but pre-Gore they sort of thought they were cute. After Bush Minor the left fringe wasn’t cute to the mainstream anymore. Not even a little.Report

    • North in reply to Kolohe says:

      Agreed on all points Kolohe and, note, that Jeb is currently a favorite to win the GOP nod (Though far from a lock). Can you imagine a Clinton vs Bush election? I can and I salivate at the thought (and shiver in horror at the fear that she’d screw it up and we’d end up with another one).Report

  19. KatherineMW says:

    I was interested in whether your assessment of Clinton’s unpopularity was accurate, so I looked around for favourability ratings and found this:

    She’s about 50-50 for favourable/unfavourable views of her, which puts her popularity above any of the Republican candidates and FAR above Bush or Cruz. She’s also a lot more well-known than any of them.Report

    • morat20 in reply to KatherineMW says:

      She’s incredibly well known. Akin to an actual sitting President.

      Which means she’s not really going to suffer as much approval/disapproval degradation as people ‘get to know her and her policies’.

      That’s why “Generic X” always outpolls “Real X” because you can project all your personal issues on Generic X, but the actual candidate will occasionally say things you don’t like.Report

    • North in reply to KatherineMW says:

      I remember 2008: Obama had won the nomination and everyone was asking “What’re the Clinton’s going to do now?” The Clinton machine had been defeated and humiliated, all but their most staunch allies were rushing to kiss the ring and join the parade (and those who weren’t were B-I-T-T-E-R). Everyone was wondering what happened next: was Hillary going to scream sexism? Was she going to go down hard and shred Obama’s flanks as she did? Would she silently and coldly withdraw from the scene?
      Obama offered Sec of State, Hillary accepted, the Clinton’s threw their full weight behind Obama and the entire party united and the theme of unity, hope, change was reinforced. The relief was palpable. HRC earned a lot of brownie points that day.

      I remember 2012: Obama was battered and besieged; the utter fiasco of 2011 was fresh on every Liberal’s mind. The economy was struggling and Obama, in the name of bipartisanship, had just given away the sequester for -nothing-. He was vulnerable. Radicals actually mused on whether passing up HRC was a mistake. Hillary was at high marks, the GOP was talking her up, (this was pre Benghaziiiiiiii!!!!) everyone thought pretty well of her, the 90’s shimmered in past memory like a golden daydream. She could easily have sat the contest out but she didn’t. She pulled her weight for the campaign, Bill got up at the podium at the convention and lit the entire crowd on fire while the GOP had an old man ranting at an empty chair. The gratitude was palpable. The Clinton’s earned a lot of good will.

      Look, I know a lot of high info voters hate the Clintons, they’re pretty nakedly political and Hillary doesn’t even have that uncanny knack of aw shucksing it up that Bill has. That’s not very lovable when you peer close; but I find it refreshing in a way. I don’t think they maintain much in genuine pretensions and I like that. I think they steer the way the electorate pushes them and I think that’s as much a virtue as a vice. As for Democratic partisans, the Clintons have earned their shot and they make the GOP go absolutely batshit. For low info voters the Clintons are those people who presided over that peaceful era when we had more of our hair, employment was high, the stock market soared and we curb stomped every little war we got into on the cheap.

      Thing is there’s a lot (a LOT) more low info and partisan voters than high info voters. Also, if you train your high info voting lenses on the GOP that ain’t a pretty picture. At. All.Report

      • Kim in reply to North says:

        Clinton played HARD to get VEEP. She really threw down, and Obama turned her down.
        (Personally, I think giving her Secretary of State is a better plan to make her the Heir Apparent, particularly with how she played it, and it made Bill Not an Issue).Report

        • morat20 in reply to Kim says:

          I dunno. I don’t think she had any interest in being Vice President. That’s powerless, really. A figurehead position, for the most part.

          If I was runner-up and wanted a juicy spot to prepare me for the next round, I’d go right where she did — Secretary of State. It gives you a chance to play foreign policy at the highest possible level without actually being President, which is experience (and exposure) you can’t get anywhere else.

          In terms of rounding out your resume for the next shot at the golden ring, she couldn’t have gone anywhere better.

          And I’m pretty sure she knew it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the SecState job was her idea in the first place.Report

  20. Michael Drew says:

    It’s not a strategy, so much as a situation. I guess depemndong on hpow much pressure we take the HIlarry ppeople to be putting on everyone else not to run. Perhaps Tod is referring to the llary camp[ when he talks abput what ‘the Democrat’ strategy is, but I would suggesti keeping a strong distinction between those at this stage of the process. There’s no one in the party that’s able to dictate to HIllary not to adopt a strategy of domination and eliminaito of realy challenge. HIllary is adopting a strategy; the rest of the party basically faces a situation. A situation in which it’s practically a Quixotic endeavor to run for president, unless you’re doing it for a reason other than to win. And no one in the party is in a position to meaningfully encourage party mebers to buck clintonian warnings and decide to do that for difficult-to-articulate reasons.

    If the sitting Vice President with years and years of legislative and now Executive-branch expcerience -domestic, foreign policy, intelligence community, military – is getting laughed out of rooms as a potential cnadidate and is resigning himself to the pointlessness of a run despite having a burning desire to use the singular advantages of the position he holds to see if he can best his past performances, then that party is not adopting an overall strategy in all this. It simply faces a situation – one that there may simply exist no successful strategy to change. To the extent there is a democratic strategy for the 2016 presidential election, it is whatever is HIllary Clinton’s strategy to get elected is. And that really doesn’t qualify as a party strategy, because she is her own unique power center. There is no on in the party choosing to put all the chips in with Hillary. That’s just the situation: the reality of the degree of her dominating power relative to other contenders this cycle.

    All of that may not differ so much from the nature of strategy in presidential election at this point in the cycle in general, but I think it is certainly much more pronounced this year than at any time in recent memory. @kolohe is certainly right that Bill Bradley certainly presented a greater challenge

    I would say that there is some discussion to be had re: elizabeth Warren. But I genuinely get the feeling that Warren’s genuine conviction at this time is that running isn’t the step she wants to take at this time, given the experience gap she faces against Hillary, where they both would be conducting a kind of rival version of the same ‘historic’ campaign. warren obviously does have those in the party who want her to run, whom we could call ‘strategic dissenters,’ I suppose, but I don’ think that the party insiders who have gone in such large numbers with HIllary can be seen to be making a strategic decision for the party. for Democratic Party movers & shakers this election, there is overwhelmingly only one rational course – to get on the Hill-train early and help it win. There’s very little party-level strategy going on right now outside of HIllary’s inner circle.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

      Written in a weird, sunny place with weird equipment that I can’t really see the screen of, so you’re just going to have to deal with the typos, sorry.Report

      • @michael-drew You should go out in the weird sun more often. I agree with much of what you say and I think you put it well, although I think the Biden point may not be very strong. He fell into the age-old traditional Vice Presidential whoopee! cushion role naturally. He evokes laughter because he evokes laughter because he evokes laughter. There’s probably no cure.

        Even members of the traditional further-left and former “New Left,” as opposed to the would-be progressive idealists who frequent internet discussion threads as a rule, back, if somewhat resignedly, North’s depiction of the role of a left party at this conjuncture to be “defensive conservatism” regarding the social-democratic accomplishments of past generations. There’s just no constituency for the big Progressive Program. Maybe after the next 2008 – as long as it’s bad enough really to drive the masses enthusiastically into the arms of the state.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to CK MacLeod says:

          Yeah, I’ve got a bug up my butt about Biden. I think he’s being iced out of what is rightfully his. Which is to say not, by any means, the nomination. But the status to be considered a serious contender as the sitting VP of a two-term presidency. I don’t think all the atmospherics around his personality matter at all. I don’t know; I just don’t credit that. He’s dy-no-mite out on the trail and likable as hell. And he’s a heavyweight on policy and would be formidable in town-hall policy discussions and debates. And he’s got as much experience as almost any nominee in years. His numbers would not be so low if there weren’t a 900-pound gorilla causing there to be no real race.

          My only consolation is that he is absolutely, without any doubt, almost too old to be able to be considered seriously for the presidency by most people. So, fair enough.Report

      • The little-known Wolfe/Lovecraft collaboration, Book of the Weird Sun.Report

    • Kim in reply to Michael Drew says:

      I totally disagree. Dole was his own power center (because of blackballing by Bush).
      Clinton’s getting every single competent person from Obama’s campaign to sign onboard.
      Without that, Kos would be running someone else, because there would be a decent possibility of them winning. (Even if we’re talking 1%, that’s still enough cause to run).

      I don’t think we have anyone out there with a 1% chance of beating Hillary at this point. So it’s run for veep, or go home.Report

  21. Kolohe says:

    Michael Drew: There’s very little party-level strategy going on right now outside of HIllary’s inner circle.

    That’s mainly because Debbie Wasserman Shultz is much worse at her job than Reince Priebus is at his, but also because party level strategy for the Dems is ridiculously straightforward.
    – heighten the contradictions between most Republicans and Obama & the Democratic party nominee on foreign policy
    – heighten the contradictions between many Republicans and Obama & the Democratic party nominee on immigration
    – heighten the contradictions between virtually all Republicans and Obama & the Democratic party nominee on same sex marriage and LGBT rights.
    – heighten the contradictions between too many Republicans and Obama & the Democratic party nominee on police malfeasance.
    – get Citizen’s United to get the unions in the game early, and get in big, and throw them some bones rhetorically to keep the machine humming.
    – keep speaking platitudes about the middle class, promise to defend Social security and Medicare (they’re not going to be problems until at least three presidential administrations from now, and boomers are now hitting their stride as a retiree voting bloc), promise to stay to course on Obamacare (but leave yourself open to some tweaks)
    -ignore Republican trolling.

    There, the Dem candidate has just won the white house. You’re welcome.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Kolohe says:

      That’s all general election strategy. I think Tod was talking about strategy re: nominee selection, and that’s what I was talking about.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Ok, I think I see what you’re saying. I was confused because, almost by definition, there is no ‘party level’ strategy for nominee selection – party stalwarts and party insiders have their preferred candidate(s) for elected office, (or are willing to be swayed by the best pitch), but they represent, again, pretty much tautologically, factions within the party.

        What you are saying, I think, is that no one outside of Planet Hillary has formulated a plan that would give them a shot at the nomination – unlike, say, Obama notably did in 2007/early 08 where he pinned everything on early caucus states and others that would give him decent early delegate pledges, and ceded the battlefield on the jump ahead states that had their delegate totals whacked in half.Report

        • Road Scholar in reply to Kolohe says:

          Kolohe: … Obama notably did in 2007/early 08 where he pinned everything on early caucus states and others that would give him decent early delegate pledges, and ceded the battlefield on the jump ahead states that had their delegate totals whacked in half.

          I thought the way Obama won the ’08 nomination was a good indicator for the kind of strategic thinking that would make him an effective president. In hindsight I have to concede that he’s stumbled at times but you still saw it now and then.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to Kolohe says:


          No, I was pretty much saying what you say in your first graf there.

          I think the contrast to a more competitive primary is a subtle one. Certainly the days when there really were groups of men who were self-consciously in control (thus enabling clear strategy) are long gone. But there are power players in competitive primaries (mostly money men, but party strategists as well) that make decisions about what direction (candidate-wise) is the best for the party to go in. It’s not like there is one controlling set of them – they compete in factions- but del strategic decisions are being made.

          My impression is that that is basically just not happening this cycle. All the decisions have been made for a long time, and they were largely made out of a sense of self-interest more than even other years. People have just been reacting to the reality of (true, unlike in 2008) inevitability more than making any kind of strategic decisions that have influenced the direction of the party.

          That’s my impression. If there is reporting to contradict it, I’d be quite interested in it.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Michael Drew says:

            To pick this nit some more, when you are self-consciously in control, you don’t need a strategy. Or rather, that *is* the strategy – ‘so let it be written, so let it be done’.

            Even back in the days when everything was decided by smoke filled rooms, the smokers didn’t really pick their men based on what was best for the party, per se, but what was best for *themselves*. It’s self interest all the way down. Even if that self-interest is merely ideological. Maybe that can be defined a bit as ‘wanting to move the party in x direction’ but, even at that, the be all and end all goal of party politics is to win. Ideological direction comes more often of what happens after the win, rather than the stew thats brewed during the campaign.

            But in the end, we are basically the same thing, just differing a bit in the nomenclature.

            The dynamic we’re seeing right now with the Dems does have a lot to do with the aforementioned (in your other comment on a subthread) absence of Biden. But I think Biden’s absence is purely Biden’s choice, not something foisted on him by party insiders, nor is he marginalized by Clinton or players in Clinton’s camp. He has, in my estimation, made the decision that he’s had his run, got close but no cigar, doesn’t feel like heading into the breech one more time, and so now its time to retire. (The counterfactual to defeat all counterfactuals is the query as to whether or not LBJ would have felt similarly had he not has his first Presidential election opportunity until 1968. I think he might have thought similarly)Report

            • Michael Drew in reply to Kolohe says:

              Okay, back on my sunny-day after-landscaping jerry-rigged contraption again, so fair warning.

              It’s a fair point that party politics is self-interest all the way down at some level, but I think it can be more pronounced some times more than others. Since the days of smoke-filled rooms I think a class of public-minded party stewards has arisen that, while by all means largely still operate self-interestedly as individuals, in normal cycles do mat least in their minds make decisions (not for the party, as individuals don’t usually have the power to dfine party strategy on their own, but to the extent their decisions contribute to overall direction, make those decisions according to some conception of either how the part should pursue public good, or at least what is the winning strategy over a timeframe longer than just getting your candidate through the next week, or even to the nomination. There is self-interest all the way down, but I don’t think it’s all self-interest all the way down.

              But that’s not really the main distinction I’m drawing. The self-interest piont more goes to the situation that party operatives find themselves in this cycle, where for a very large majority of them, survival in the career depends simply on finding a way into the Clintonian orbit, and has done for probably years. The contrast being when that was determined, as eventually that becomes the case in any cycle, though perhaps for short periods of time. In a normal cycle, there is a period where, via pursuing various possible theories about what path will be a winning one for themselves and the party, party elites choose from among some number of actually viable alternatives for the nomination. From those diverse choices arises a kind of rough party strategy. That process is collapsed this cycle into a situation where elite party operatives don’t have a set of alternative possibilities; there’s just jockeying to be involved with a dominant player, or else sit out the process. None of them chose that situation; it’s the situation they faced coming into the race.

              I think this distinction between party strategy (made largely of self-interest decisions by party elites, but, importantly, where self-interest involves calcualtions about what is the likely path to wins for the party) and candidate strategy is where we’re not connecting. The party elites of yore, the Smoking Men, by all means chose candidates to pursue their interest. But they did so with an eye toward using the party as a vehicle to electoral victory. That’s basically what a political party is in our system, where interest groups compete for control of the agenda and strategic control.

              So the Smoking men certainly did choose candidates with an eye toward successful general election strategies. That’s why they were involved in politics to begin with. The latter-day version of that kind of strategy, where interest groups and other stakeholders, and party insiders operatives, and voters, and a crazy-quilt mishmash of people make decisions about support for candidates (endorsements, donations, employment, etc.) based on self-interest, candidate strength, values, etc. that I believe Tod was talking about wrt to strategy. It’s obviously much more diffuse and distributed than the smoke-filled rooms, but it’s still the same basic process. But what I’m saying is that, this cycle, it’s uniquely (among open primaries – i.e. no incumbent seeking re-election) collapsed into a one-candidate race, and has been for so long that it’s hard to say when the “party” decision about that was, if there even was one in the sense I’m describing. (I.e, these days, the process I describe of diffuse selection of candidates that usually kicks off about now. …I was think about writing about when the “party decision” re HIllary’s genuine 2016 inevitability was made, but I would spitball to say that the party decision was made back in the years of Hillary’s Senate career, when a core of party insiders decided that HIllary was actually on the verge of inevitable for a 2008 run, or that in any case they , group of party insiders loyal to HIllary/Clintons, would adopt that as their candidate strategy, and that gambit was not decisively rejected as premature/presumptuous by enough of the party to win the day on such a fight. They didn’t carry off inevitability that year, and a real struggle did materialize, but I think that decision lay the groundwork for true inevitability in 2012 had Obama lost, or 2016 since he won. In some sense it was a brilliant long-term candidate strategy, as I’m not sure she becomes as inevitable as she is now if she doesn’t try for inevitability in 2007/8. She probabyl would still be, but I think the I-Was_inevitable-Before-But-Got-Upstages-By-An-Interloper-So-Now-I’m-*Really*-Inevitable thing is doing work for her right now.)

              On Biden, i don’t think the reporting supports your assessment. from everything I’ve read he has been genuinely looking for ways in in a credible way, and people report on there still indeed being the fire in his belly. But he has indeed been there done that in terms of running with only limited success for president, so if there is really hardly any way for him to even be viable, then there is really no reason for him to expend the energy. It seems like that reality is setting in, and reports of waning fire relate to that. And that reality has everything to do with it being a one-real-candidate race.Report

    • North in reply to Kolohe says:

      Agreed. For God(ess?)’s sake it’s insanely easy. What on earth does the GOP have to offer in contrast? The crazy gits can’t even put a budget together that both matches their rhetoric and funds their preferences. They can’t formulate a specific health care alternative that wouldn’t have the electorate chasing them around with pitchforks and torches. They can’t cut taxes, hike military spending and slash the rest without either touching SS or Medicare (the Elderly would start chasing them around with pitchforks and torches) or without ditching the tax cutting (their entire business wing would start chasing them around with pitchforks and torches).
      They have no foreign policy to speak of other than asserting fecklessness on Obama’s part while desperately trying not to say they would do another boots on the ground war (at which point everyone would start chasing them around with pitchforks and torches).

      The Dems are now mostly the defensive conservative party. That’s really a really weird reversal but it has advantages; when you’re defending the status quos gridlock=victory.Report

    • Kim in reply to Kolohe says:

      Don’t forget trolling the hell out of the Republicans.
      Some folks can’t help but win an election.Report

  22. Will H. says:

    As for me, I probably would vote for Chaffee above anything the R’s might offer.
    And I say that having voted R the past two presidential elections.
    (but then I happen to be one of those Republicans that thinks Obama is doing a pretty good job)

    Clinton? Never. Not ever, ever.
    I can’t think of a single R that I would not vote for against Clinton.
    Maybe GWB.
    But that’s about the one and only reason I would ever consider voting for him.Report

    • North in reply to Will H. says:

      If you think Obama has done a pretty good job… but voted McCain and Romney the last two elections that puts you very far outside any electoral demographic that any thinking Dem strategist would take aim at.Report

      • Will H. in reply to North says:

        Actually, a positive view of the presidency from the opposition party is a sign of non-partisanship.
        Voting breaks down into four types: Prospective, Retrospective, Partisan, & Social Forces.

        If I’m not a partisan voter, and not a prospective (i.e., single-issue) voter, then I’m one of the other two.
        Not particularly retrospective, although there is some of that going on.

        I would say that I’m very likely exactly the type of voter the actual political scientists would make a hard play for.Report

        • North in reply to Will H. says:

          If, despite your positive view, you still cast your ballot for McCain (and Palin) and Romney I dunno. I would assume (and this is a leap) that the GOP is going to manage to nominate someone more amicable to your tastes than Romney and Romney got your vote.Report

          • Will H. in reply to North says:

            I liked Romney.
            And I said it at the time: I think the nation was very fortunate to have two very good presidential candidates.

            I would rather have voted for the McCain of ’97 than the McCain of ’07.
            But a McCain presidency would probably have been a good thing.
            A McCain cabinet, OTOH, there might be some issues with.
            The Palin pick confirmed that.

            But I voted for both Gore & Kerry, and I voted for Clinton the first time.
            Bill’s second run, I went with Perot.Report

            • North in reply to Will H. says:

              Ah okay well maybe.Report

              • Will H. in reply to North says:

                Additionally, over the last five presidential elections, I have voted for the Democrat in two, the Republican in two, and an independent.
                I don’t see how you could get a more dead-even split.
                I believe that, by any objective measure, that makes me a so-called “swing voter.”
                As far as the internet goes, that makes me a “wild-eyed conservative;” in that: 1) I voted for someone other than the Democrat, or someone to the Left of the Democrat, on any occasion, and 2) I failed to moan about how the Democrat wasn’t Leftie enough once elected.

                That said, getting reform initiatives through the state legislature is much more interesting to me these days.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Will H. says:

              I think the nation was very fortunate to have two very good presidential candidates.

              Romney may have been a decent candidate as a person, but he ran one of the most disastrously confused and seemingly incompetent campaigns in recent memory. And even then he was still SO CLOSE!Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

                To agree with Stillwater twice in the same evening (!!!) I am rather surprised at the amount of disdain I had for him by election day. Something went horribly, horribly wrong and I don’t think it can be disassociated from the campaign.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

                Will, Matt Y is big on saying that a campaign is an good indicator of how a person/admin. would govern. If that’s true, then I think we all got lucky. It really was a poorly run campaign, one that I’m sure Romney is kicking himself about to this day.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Stillwater says:

                I think history shows that Matt Y is way off when stating that a campaign demonstrates how a person will govern.
                Obama would have done a lot better as president had that been the case.
                Further, equating the field of prospective cabinet members to the field of prospective campaign advisers is a bit ludicrous.Report

              • North in reply to Will H. says:

                I think it’d be interesting to hear your reasoning around Obama being a better president if his Administration had been more like his campaign. Do you have any specific ways in mind?Report

              • Will H. in reply to North says:

                None whatever.
                Just noting that Obama ran a great campaign in ’08.
                It didn’t translate into fantastic governance in the first two years of office, but I believe during the debt ceiling negotiations he really came through as a strong leader.
                I see the bulk, i.e., almost all, of the criticism from the Left against Obama as being more critical of his management style than anything else. This is because I tune out a number of criticisms I find to be not well-grounded in reality.Report

              • North in reply to Will H. says:

                Okay last question: by debt ceiling negotiations do you mean the 2011 ones where he folded, accepted the sequester and then precipitated the follow up ceiling negotiations or do you mean the 2012 showdown where he refused to back down and pretty much put the debt ceiling showdowns to bed?Report

              • Will H. in reply to North says:

                I was thinking about the ones when I was in Indiana, so that would be 2011.
                Come to think of it, I was in Indiana in 2012, but that was a different part of Indiana.
                I was thinking more of the area where the Wabash River flooded.

                Boehner looked good, Reid not quite so good, Obama looked much better, and Cantor looked every bit the villain.
                McConnell looked like a weasel, but then McConnell almost always looks like a weasel. It’s sort of like noticing that birds have these feathery-looking things hanging off of them.Report

              • North in reply to Will H. says:

                Considering that you right wing inclined and Obama had essentially given the farm away I can see why he looked good to your perspective.Report

              • Will H. in reply to North says:

                You’re looking at the end result with a definite expectation, and so you have some disappointment, understandably.
                I’m looking at the process, that Obama delivered a set of expectations, then got out of the way the legislature did their thing. That’s a good thing. He’s not a legislator any more.
                The worst of it was averted, and all worked out ok.
                Not a bad piece of work, the way I call it.
                Obama did good as an executive.Report

              • North in reply to Will H. says:

                The worst of it was delayed (and then revisited over and over in 2011 and 2012 until the government shut down as the GOP kept trying to come back to the well), it worked out okay from a right wing perspective because right wing policy was enacted while Obama ended up looking like an idiot as he shot himself and the country in the foot.
                The one good thing I can say about 2011 is that it finally snapped Obama out of his campaign rhetoric and forced him to accept that his political opponents were trying to destroy him.Report

              • Will H. in reply to North says:

                Are you telling me that I see Obama as a better president than you do?
                Because what I refer to as “demonstrating strong leadership,” you refer to as “looking like an idiot” and “shooting himself and the country in the foot.”

                So I’m wondering:
                Do you think Obama is a disgusting human being for being so horrible of a president?
                Do you think that blocking every initiative of the executive is a necessity with that guy in office?
                Ever think about lynching him?Report

              • North in reply to Will H. says:

                I’m uncertain whether I have a higher opinion of Obama than you do since I’m still foggy on your position vis a vis Obama. I’m satisfied with what he has accomplished over all. Foreign policy wise he’s been alright, I understood why Obama did what he did in Libya though I’m sad that it turned out shabbily (yet happy that we’re not particularly entangled with it) I think his Syria policy is a flat out success and he’s kept us at arm’s length from Iraq. So over all I’d say maybe a B- president? B+ if he closes an Iran deal. Domestically I am an unenergetic supporter of his ACA achievement, I’d say he did tolerably well on the economy once he took off his ‘hope and change’ blinders and began to play hard ball. He played SSM and DADT quite well and has been lazy/timid but mostly harmless on the drug war (which, grading on the curve, puts him at the upper end of the pack) maybe a B grade domestically, B+ if the economy continues growing through to the next presidential election.

                With regards to the specific question at hand, his 2011 negotiations over the budget ceiling, I’d rate that as the nadir of his domestic presidency. Whether measured by his process or by his results it was quite a poor showing. Obama entered negotiations intent on exchanging spending cuts for revenue increases. The GOP refused revenue increases so he tried offering increasingly ludicrously generous ratios of spending cuts for increasingly paltry revenue increases to have them shot down. Then, with the clock running out, he panicked and abandoned his entire frame work accepting the sequester in exchange for, frankly, nothing beyond a small ceiling increase. If I were being charitable I’d say he was clinging to his bipartisan/new way mantra and actually believed his own shtick there. If I were being uncharitable I’d say he was being bamboozled by the chimeric fiscal hawk centrist contingent and he flat out got played.

                To your specific questions:
                No, not at all.
                Since my party enacted his agenda as best it could when it was in power, No.
                And No unless by Lynching him you mean sending Jane Lynch to give him a Sue Sylvester pep talk in which case: yes.Report

              • Will H. in reply to North says:

                I’ve already said that I like Obama as president.
                I’ll go so far as to say that he’s been the best president of my adult lifetime.
                But then, the competition hasn’t been that fierce.
                Think from Reagan on.Report

              • Could we tell from the 2000 campaign that Bush combined ignorance and recklessness at unprecedented levels, valued nothing in his subordinates besides loyalty (certainly competence wasn’t a factor), and would delegate more power to his vice president that any president in history? We saw Cheney being the traditional VP attack dog, but did we learn that that was the real Cheney? Or, again, that that really mattered?

                When I hear someone from the media say that a campaign is an good indicator of how a person/admin . would govern, I hear “Don’t criticize me for covering the horse race instead of the issues. The horse race is important! For realsies!”Report

              • Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

                “the campaign”… yes, it can’t be disassociated from Obama’s campaign.
                “Something went horribly horribly wrong”???
                Totally deliberate.

                Though I admit “drive around honking at things” was probably still Romney’s idea. It’s too hairbrained even for the crazy trolls.Report

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                This may be partially (but only partially) explainable by the somewhat schizophrenic problems within the GOP itself.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Stillwater says:

                What Still/Will say about the Romney campaign is objectively right. And I really didn’t like him personally much then, either.

                Now, when I see him (on TV, like at the Final Four), somehow I am filled with tremendous warmth for the guy. He looks content. I guess that’s what they said about Gore, too.Report

              • How close? Mitt lost by 126 electoral votes and 5 million popular ones. John Kerry in 2004 did much better (35 and 3 million, respectively). The notion that 2012 was a squeaker is … what do you call a thing the right-wing noise machine repeats so loudly and so insistently that people start to believe it? That’s right, a lie.Report

              • KatherineMW in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Yes, 2012 was a solid victory: 332 to 206 electoral votes is pretty convincing, and the popular vote differential wasn’t bad either. It’s not one where a single state or two held the balance: even if Romney had flipped Florida, Virginia, and Ohio, he still would have lost, and in every other state Obama won, Obama had a margin of victory of over 5%.

                But it was close relative to many previous elections, measured by the electoral votes taken by the victor: 2008 (365), 1996 (379), 1992 (370), 1988 (426), 1984 (525), 1980 (489), and 1972 (520).

                Looking at the history of US presidential politics, the close elections of the W. Bush years were an aberration, and victories with very wide margins (2/3 of electoral votes or more) have been the norm. Obama 2012 falls in between those two extremes.Report

              • 2000 was an aberration because the GOP candidate got 100% of the black vote.Report

              • It wasn’t a squeaker, but I consider any election within 5% to be close.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Will Truman says:

                I think it’s more about where the 5% lies.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Will H. says:

                From a strategic standpoint, yes, but from a standpoint of whether an election was competitive, not so much. It would have taken a much smaller number of votes to flip the EC than the popular vote, And yet the gulf was wider.Report

  23. Kazzy says:

    Re: Warren

    I saw her recently on The Daily Show and while I find her engaging beyond all belief, I was really troubled by her position on student loans. She spoke as if the very idea of charging interest on them was uniquely evil. But why? Student loans are but one way that people attempt to improve their lot in life; why should we privilege it above others?Report

    • zic in reply to Kazzy says:

      A friend recently said she’s been paying off her student loans for 20 years now. She’s paid $45,000 on $14,000; and she’s not done yet. She’s trained as a therapist, works with troubled teens, and barely makes more than minimum wage for high-stress work.

      Some people get good jobs and earn a lot of money. Some end up as baristas. And many do important work that’s really undervalued because we’ve got screwy priorities.

      So I think there’s more than ‘education makes you privileged’ going on here.Report

      • North in reply to zic says:

        The problem with the whole student loan thing is that if one screws around with it much then no one will be willing to issue student loans*. In that case then you have to make the case that the government must issue student loans and if it does it’ll lose money hand over fist.

        *Now there’s perhaps a case to be made that without the distortions of easy money that university administration is going to have to face the music but who knows for sure.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

          Theoretically, ending student loans should cause colleges and universities to face the music but I’m not so sure. We don’t know what the market rate for a university education is. Getting a degree in something is seen as so important that the market rate could be very high still. Its not like college was cheap when it was completely unsubsidized.Report

          • North in reply to LeeEsq says:

            There are a lot of unknowns to be sure.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Its not like college was cheap when it was completely unsubsidized.

            When was that?Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater says:

              Before the Second World War maybe. I’m not sure how colleges were funded during the 19th and early 20th century, particularly the private ones.Report

            • Road Scholar in reply to Stillwater says:

              Its not like college was cheap when it was completely unsubsidized.

              When was that?

              When it was cheap or when it was unsubsidized?

              To the latter, I don’t believe there was much, if anything, in the way of blanket subsidization prior to the G.I. bill subsequent to WWII. There were endowments and scholarships and colleges supported by religious groups and such,but nothing like Pell grants or guaranteed student loans. I would include the Land Grant schools amongst the endowments.

              As to cheap, I’ve been led to believe by folks a bit older than I, think the Sixties, early Seventies and prior, that paying your way through college, at least a state U, was doable on a part-time minimum wage job. Of course minimum wage was relatively better then than now and state subsidies for the land grants were relatively more generous as well.

              Prior to the G.I. Bill era college was a decidedly an elitist deal. Heck, my Dad didn’t go past ninth grade and my Mom was the only of her siblings to attend high school. And that was about normal for most people back then (my folks were born in 1914 and 1918, respectively). I didn’t learn that about my Mom until just recently — I mean, I new she graduated, I didn’t know she was the smart one of the litter. It was funny, when she told me that she ended the story with, “And you know, I never regretted it.” Like the idea that anyone would regret finishing high school seems so bizarre to us, right?Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to zic says:

        This is a winning policy position in suburban Colorado — make college affordable sans loans. It was interesting to watch my neighbor across the street some years back, who was a reactionary conservative, make radical changes in who he supported when we got to the situation that (a) his daughter became a freshman in high school and he started thinking about college costs and (b) the local Republican pundits started saying “If you can’t afford private school tuition, you shouldn’t be going to college…”Report

        • Road Scholar in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Michael Cain: local Republican pundits

          Oh, I think I know who you’re talking about! If it’s the same guy he had a morning show on KOA. I remember this guy saying once that the wealthy played a vital role in the economy as the custodians of society’s wealth. Poor people would just piss it away, you see. Classism pure and simple. I could totally see that jerk making that college / private school comment.Report

          • Brandon Berg in reply to Road Scholar says:

            Poor people would just piss it away, you see.

            I have seen this very claim made many, many times by leftists. “Rich people save their money, and poor people consume it.” And it is in fact true that on average people with lower incomes have a higher marginal propensity to consume. Many leftists argue that this is a good thing, because they subscribe to vulgar Keynesian and don’t know about the Solow growth model.

            Empirically, countries with more redistribution do in fact tend to grow more slowly, which is a big part of how very-low-spending formerly poor economies like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have managed to catch up with and surpass most European countries in the space of a couple of generations.Report

            • Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              So, Nigeria is now your poster child?
              Nope, sorry, you can’t tell me most of the third world, where the income inequality is crazy large can be ignored simply because you find it ideologically convenient.

              47% of American jobs will be gone in 20 years. What the fuck you gonna do about it? (I like the “give everyone a set amount from the government, no strings attached” philosophy, personally– don’t let me fool you into thinking i’m a liberal all the time.)Report

            • Mo in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              Poor people have a higher marginal propensity to consume because at low levels of spending, consumption is higher value and things are closer to the “must have” end of the scale than the “nice to have” end . At $40K, marginal consumption is around things like high speed internet instead of the library, a newer car to replace the beater, etc. At $4 million, marginal consumption is the $17K Apple watch instead of the $600 one.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Mo says:

                @mo Not sure what your point is. “Poor people would just it away” was @road-scholar putting words in other people’s mouths. The actual argument is as I described. Economically, consumption is consumption, whether it’s necessary or completely frivolous. What matters for long-run growth is investment. Redistributing from people with low marginal propensity to consume to people with high marginal propensity to consume means less investment and less long-run growth.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Michael Cain says:


          I think part of my outrage is personal as well.

          Before passing, my grandma left a chunk of change for my siblings and I to spend on our schooling. It paid for all of our undergrads and what was left at the end was divvied up. I stuck mine in savings and then paid for grad school. My brother pissed his away and his now accruing debt for his post-secondary degree. When I started hearing OWS folks saying that all student debt should be forgiven (which is a more extreme position than Warrens, granted), I got frustrated because it would seem to punish people like me and reward people like my brother… despite one of us taking an objectively more responsible path.

          We do not want wealth to be the primary deciding factor in who gets what education. But we also don’t want to reward irresponsible behavior. I fear that even Warren’s plan does a lot of the latter without really addressing the former.Report

          • Road Scholar in reply to Kazzy says:


            So I take it you’re not a fan of the parable of The Prodigal Son? 😉

            That’s why, at least for existing loans, the best way to handle it is restore the ability to bk out of them. That doesn’t come without a real cost to the borrower so your brother would still suffer, which seems important to you.Report

          • morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:


            Make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy again, and remove (if it hasn’t been already) private student loans. Tie the rates to the prime rate (this is an implicit subsidy, yes, but not a large one. The government is, ultimately, loaning the money so their interest rate should be the one used and the government has little need of profit in this case), allow consolidation for all loans at lower rates when available.

            These things were true in the 90s, but not the 2000s. Which is why I’m paying off my undergrad loans (consolidated) at 1.2%, but my wife’s master’s loans at 6.8% (and consolidation will not lower my rate an iota).

            Bankruptcy is a giant hassle, people don’t declare it on a whim. But it allows an out for people drowning in student debt.

            It seems strange that somewhere between 2000 and 2007, the student loan industry was changed to make someone a lot of money while screwing students.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to morat20 says:

              I think there are risks if you allow discharge right after graduation, but I think it would become significantly more rare with a five year requirement, and extremely rare with 10.Report

              • morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                Possibly, but bankruptcy is a terrible PITA as it is. perhaps a 22 year old wouldn’t find it as much of one, but even a few years later the downsides are so large that few people are willing to do it unless forced.

                Since they USED to be dischargeable, we could just look back to see if it was a real issue then. We have directly relevant past data.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Will Truman says:

                Agreed, even a 5 year hold on bankruptcy would discourage spurious cases. People can build up a lot of good credit in 5 years and the spectre of bankruptcy would trash that. For those who were unable to get a decent job & unable to build credit, bankruptcy won’t be a big deal, but then, those would be the people for whom bankruptcy would be for.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I became interested in the reasoning behind making all student loans non-dischargeable, and the only thing I’ve come up with is from Wiki:


                It’s an interesting read! Apparently, the leg. was intended to curtail “fraud” and “abuse” of existing bankruptcy laws, by applying a method of means testing (based on percentage of median income in the debtors home state), tho for some inexplicable reason student loans are excluded from that testing mechanism.

                Alsotoo, there’s this!!

                According to George Packer in his book The Unwinding, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and Hillary Clinton helped pass this bill.

                Good ole Hillary….Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                They were non-dischargable before 2005. I remember getting my first one in the mid-90’s and being told I could not default or declare bankruptcy to avoid repayment.

                This has background:

              • Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                From what I’ve gathered, the first bit of leg. directly effecting dischargeability was in 1976 (five years), then another bit of tightening in 1986, and then the Act from 2005 which excludes them from just about any means test available (disability suffices tho).Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                That aligns with what I was reading.

                Now, why did we move away from the 5 year rule that was in place in 1976? The link I posted didn’t discuss the why, only the what & when.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Not 1986. Rather, “the Bankruptcy Amendments and Federal Judgeship Act of 1984 made it so all private student loans were excepted from discharge too.

                Seems like a lot of the work leading up to the 2005 bill happened at the level of the IRS Code and that bill was an attempt (??) to clarify legislation in terms of enforcement decisions? (Maybe???)Report

      • Kazzy in reply to zic says:


        I’m not saying education makes you privileged.

        I’m saying Joe wants $100K for a degree. Jim wants $100K to start a business. Why should the government give Joe a better rate?Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:


      One of the problems I have with Warren’s position on this is … well, in the words of former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers,

      “The core problem is that there aren’t enough jobs. … Unless you’re doing things that have things that are affecting the demand for jobs, you’re helping people win a race to get a finite number of jobs.”

      So making it easier to get a degree is only good for job-placement if demand for those degreed jobs increases. Check out the article. It’s a good read. And even tho there aren’t any specific proposals to create more high paying jobs at least the conversation is shifting in the right direction.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:


      The issue seems to be

      1. There are not enough high-paying or even decently paying jobs.

      2. The jobs tend to only go to people with college educations.

      3. 1 and 2 turns education into a 100,000 dollar lotto ticket for a lot of people.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:


        So shouldn’t we sell fewer tix? Not just make them cheaper?Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:


          “So shouldn’t we sell fewer tix? Not just make them cheaper?”

          The problem with this tactic it that it is more likely to help the already advantaged. Like your students for example. Making it cheaper broadens access from the privileged.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            I disagree Saul. Look at Germany’s educational system. There are ways to construct an educational system where privilege is for-the-most-part excluded from determining educational attainment or job placement and most of the cost is born by the state. Course, that would be a distinctly UnAmerican way of doing things, but it’s not unimaginable. (Or is it?…)Report

            • North in reply to Stillwater says:

              You allocate it by money or you allocate it by merit Still, either way you’re allocating and either way the wealthy will squirm through. Try and control for the influence of money and you get, well, more influence from money.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:


                Does the logical impossibility of excising monetary privilege from expressing itself mean that we ought to subsidize educational opportunities to allow for the non-economically privileged to compete with the thing which we logically can’t eliminate?Report

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                In theory sure, then again in a post scarcity economy that would require everyone could just go to university as a hobby. The cold fact is that university slots are rationed, either by cost, by connections or by scholastic merit. You can shove the balance one way or the other but it’s always going to be one of those things and whichever one you shove it closest to money is fungible and will gain you access to it.
                I could see a case being made for maximal scholastic merit, it’s the hardest one for money to game. It can, mind, by buying tutors and perfect educational environments and total focus on educational achievement but those things are not absolute like the other two points on the triangle are.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                Try and control for the influence of money and you get, well, more influence from money.

                Not sure about that, North. I’m hearing that the next cycle could be a $5 billion affair. This link seems relevant.

                Edit: Hey, two linkies doesn’t send me to the spam filter? And an edit function! CK, you’re a genius!Report

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                What’ll be especially interesting to see is how much that money can buy. My own inexpert impression is that past a sort of basic maslow level money struggles to budge high profile races like for the Presidency. Where it really shines is low profile races.Report

        • Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

          Maybe. Abolish higher education would be something fun to run on, wouldn’t it?
          Maybe we can get higher education back in 30 years? When we know what to train people for?

          47% of current Jobs will be gone in 20 years, and that’s the ROSY prediction.Report

    • ACIS in reply to Kazzy says:

      The problems with student loans are twofold.

      First, they wouldn’t be necessary if state institutions were actually state funded, instead of this “20% state funding = a state college” crap that has developed since about 1976.

      Second, they’re predatory in nature as anyone who’s seen the mound of debt that a student can wind up in after signing up at a diploma mill or “private university” can attest.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to ACIS says:

        Part of the problem is that cheaper student loans mean more student loans mean more money in the system mean higher prices. So, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.

        We should make it REALLY prohibitive for people to take out six figures worth of debt without a demonstrable plan for paying it back. I mean, the system simply can’t support more and more people doing this…

        Here are some tweaks I’d make:
        1.) Address rising tuition costs. Yes, yes, but how? Well, I do think that addressing loans will be a big part of it.
        2.) Make student loans dischargeable (after a minimum period of time) and allow them to be refinanced. Basically, treat them MORE like other loans… not less.
        2a.) Allow lending institutions to vary rates/terms/availability based on certain criteria (e.g., major). We’d have to be careful here but most loans are offered with some consideration of the likelihood of being repaid. If they can be discharged, we need to offer some protection to the lenders. It seems reasonable for a bank to say, “We’ll give 3% interest and a full loan to the engineering major because they pay back at an 85% clip but we’re giving 12% and only 50% of costs to the basket weaving major because they default half the time.”
        3.) Forbid college/universities from offering loans. THIS is where things become really predatory.
        4.) Offer similarly structured loans for other paths people may take to self-improvement: vocational training, licensing fees, business expenses.

        Might this lead to fewer people — and probably fewer middle- and lower-income people going to college? Yea, maybe. But taking on student debt — and by extension, going to college — is a horrible idea for many people. Making it slightly less horrible but a bad idea pursued by more people is not a good thing.

        We’re not doing John from the meager beginnings any favors by selling him a false bill of goods with a $100K price tag. And knocking the cost down from $100K to $95K doesn’t really help. Especially if we create three more Johns in the process.Report

        • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kazzy says:

          Or we could public higher education an actual common good and pay for it the same way we do national defense, K-12 education, and public roads – taxation of everybody, at a hopefully progressive rate.Report

          • North in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

            So basically turn university into high school? Okay so in four to eight years we’ll be having this same discussion about whether to publicly finance grad school.Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


              I don’t think Jesse is saying that we should pay for every undergrad education but there is something to be said about the time when States did really fund their public colleges and universities and tuition was low or non-existent.Report

              • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I don’t see throwing more money at the problem to be a plausible solution University administration has long since evolved the ability to expand to suck up any quantity of dough thrown into their maws.

                Also, the same factor remains: if we’re going to publicly subsidize university education then the slots in the schools will have to be rationed by some other means, either scholastic merit or connections.Report

              • ACIS in reply to North says:

                @North So aside from just trying to demonize educators, do you have an actual point?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to ACIS says:

                Now *THIS* is a strawman!

                North was talking about administrators and you’re argument against his argument is arguing as if he were talking about educators.

                Since he’s *NOT* talking about educators but instead talking about administrators, you are beating up a strawman.Report

              • ACIS in reply to Jaybird says:

                I was replying to his nonsense about “turn university into high school.”

                But it works either way since claiming that anyone working in administration is deliberately trying to waste money is just being ridiculous.Report

              • North in reply to ACIS says:

                ACIS there’s zero demonization of educators going on in the “turn university into high school” comment unless you’re projecting. It’s a simple calculus that doesn’t have anything to do with educators. If you reduce the cost of university to zero then one can expect that that attendance will become very close to universal. With that volume of students the idea that the University experience will not become significantly more like the high school model (the closest model that deals with that volume of students) is laughable.

                In addition with university degrees becoming nearly universal once could logically expect the job/business community to move on to graduate degrees as the new means of identifying ideal employment candidates. This is without any negative assumption regarding teacher quality or capability at all.

                Also your characterization of “waste” is somewhat subjective. Administration does not see multiple layers of employees with responsibilities divided across multiple people with handsome salaries, benefits and assistants as even remotely wasteful. Whether a student, teacher or outside taxpayer funder viewed that as wasteful would likely be a different story.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to ACIS says:


                You seem to be having trouble understanding the dynamic at play here at OT. Think of this place as a Dojo, where we all come to learn & refine our critical thinking & debate skills. We, in effect, spar with each other.

                If all you want to do is hang about & throw punches, you are going to find that no one will stand by & be your punching bag.

                Learn how to do a charitable read, and how to form a cogent argument. But mostly learn how to do a charitable read.Report

              • Dave in reply to ACIS says:


                1) That was one hell of a strawman.

                2) The difference between you and North is that North contributes, doesn’t act like a whiny asshole, is not easily offended, and most importantly, I like him.

                3) Chill out. You’re too uncoordinated and clumsy to successfully skate on thin ice.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Dave says:

                Is ACIS MA, or have we been blessed with another person with that same combination of intelligence and charm?Report

          • j r in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

            The problem is that if you turned state universities into something that the government could actually fully fund, most people who had a choice wouldn’t go to those schools.

            People don’t want no-frills educations. People want lots and lots of frills.

            Do you guys think that state governments should just say, “fine, we’ll pay for your bigger dorms and plentiful dining options and new gyms and administrative bloat?” Short of that you solution is not a solution.Report

            • ACIS in reply to j r says:

              @J-r Have you been on a college campus lately? “Plentiful dining options” is not something I would describe them as having. “New gyms” either. And they’re packing more kids into less dorm space these days than would have been dreamed of 30 years ago.Report

              • j r in reply to ACIS says:

                @J-r Have you been on a college campus lately?


                And more to the point I had the experience of going back to grad school more than ten years after leaving undergrad. There are simply more amenities and services on college campuses than there were ten years ago and I am guessing that there were more ten years ago than there were twenty years ago and will be even more ten years from now.

                Don’t remember seeing much like this when I was in school:

              • Will Truman in reply to j r says:

                When I was in college, my university had three types of dorms. Towers, with floor-level bathrooms/showers, classic dorms with two-to-a-room and four-to-a-bathroom, and a limited amount of apartment-style dorms (I think you got a room to yourself, though shared some amenities with others).

                At the time, they were talking about building more towers. That never happened. My impression is that most of the new housing construction has been in the “apartment-style” category (individual rooms, or the options for them).

                It seems to me to be my school’s race for the better student. Same goes for the $50m rec center they started construction on while I was there. (As a faithful alum, I’m entirely on board with this. As a matter of public policy, I cringe a little at the collective action consequences.)Report

              • Murali in reply to Will Truman says:

                I am going to depart from my usual libertarianism and make a rather statist point: There is nothing significantly wrong qua higher education policy* if state universities in America picked up a larger share of the bill. Not everything mind you, but perhaps about significantly more of it for everyone with some need and merit based bursaries for lower income students. It seems reasonable for local students to pay about $2000 in tuition per semester on average. If, as per @j-r, new amenities, then less money should be spent on new amenities. If administration is sucking up the money, then start downsizing those administrators. A university doesn’t need quite that many levels of bureaucracy. If more exotic degrees like puppetry and basket weaving cannot be supported by the university budget, then those degrees have got to go. A system of heavily subsidised no frills universities is one that would be a compromise between liberal and conservative factions. The liberal faction gets more affordable education. The conservatives get to do away with “frivolous” degrees. Win-win right?

                *Arguably, we might have issues with spending priorities. As with spending on any set of things which middle and upper middle-class people tend to consume more, anything not spent on the poor might as well be money taken away from them. Means testing the subsidy would be one way to go about mitigating this.Report

              • ACIS in reply to Murali says:

                The liberal faction gets more affordable education. The conservatives get to do away with “frivolous” degrees. Win-win right?

                I disapprove of letting conservatives decide what constitute “frivolous degrees” for the same reason I disapprove of letting conservative creationists decide what constitutes “frivolous” scientific research. It’s because they don’t know what they are talking about. If you want proof, observe the Golden Goose Awards.


              • RTod in reply to ACIS says:

                I actually spent much of last year touring college campuses with my oldest, and I can testify that what @j-r says is true; if anything it’s understated.

                My son is now a fresman at a state university. He has a choice of dinner at eight different on campus restaurants that all have different themes; all of them purchase farm-to-table produce from local organic farmers. I’m addition, there are on-campus chains of places like Subway and Panda Express where they use their meal card.

                As for the dorms, they are identical to what they were 30 years ago — mostly because you couldn’t pack any more kids into that amount of space. They do now have luxery dorms though, if you want to pay for them.

                Say what you want about the state of higher education today, the kids that go are treated like valuable customers, not like 19th century orphans.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to RTod says:

                mostly because you couldn’t pack any more kids into that amount of space.

                Sure you can. My daughter’ dorm room at Davis looked to be the same 12×12 as mine at Berkeley, but there were three people in it instead of two. You add a bunk bed, raise the third bed to put a desk under it, and accept that the only unused floor space is a narrow walkway leading to the door.Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Kazzy says:

      Re: Warren

      I saw her recently on The Daily Show and while I find her engaging beyond all belief, I was really troubled by her position on student loans. She spoke as if the very idea of charging interest on them was uniquely evil. But why? Student loans are but one way that people attempt to improve their lot in life; why should we privilege it above others?

      Warren’s point seemed to be that Student loans were a profit-earning enterprise, while at the same time, student borrowers don’t have access to mechanisms like refinancing that are available to other sorts of borrowers.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Alan Scott says:

        I refinanced all my student loans at a much lower interest rate as soon as I got out of college.Report

        • morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          They don’t let you do that anymore.

          No kidding. My wife has her Master’s degree (earned 2004ish) in loans at 6.8%. You can consolidate them, but the effective rate remains…6.8%. (if you had 20% at 7% and 80% at 5% consolidation would yield a rate that…was identical to not consolidating in terms of interest).

          I’m REALLY interested in how and when that change was made.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to morat20 says:

            Seriously? They don’t? That’s an issue then. I re-fi’d mine in 2000/2001 and shaved ~1.5% off, plus consolidated them all (as did my wife). Made a huge difference.Report

            • morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              I consolidated my undergrad loans the same way. I believe the federal consolidation program was barred from altering your effective rate sometime around 2004 or 2005 — attempting to ‘privatize’ student loans (which are backed by the government and enforcement handled by the government) always seemed a pretty transparent attempt to toss some cash to banks.

              I’m not sure why I’d pay Private Bank X 6.25% on a loan they got from the government at 5% and which, if I default, the government makes good on. What’s that 1.25% getting me? Or the government?

              You CAN do a private consolidation, but your rate — and whether you can consolidate at all — relies entirely on your personal credit. Doing so, of course, tends to exempt you from forgiveness programs and other such things. As my wife qualifies for 5k (we’re doing the paperwork now) I can’t consolidate privately.Report

          • j r in reply to morat20 says:

            You have to refinance with a private lender.Report

            • morat20 in reply to j r says:

              Which, as noted, depends entirely on your personal credit rating AND forecloses a ton of relief programs, forbearance programs, or other useful little things that are only available under federally consolidated loans.

              Which goes back to the point — WHY did the federal loan consolidation program stop allowing people to consolidate to a lower interest rate? What purpose did this serve? Who benefits?

              Student loans are very, very strange loans. From the weird sweetheart private lender racket (again — lender gets guaranteed funds from the Feds — and if it defaults, Fed makes good. Private lender is pretty much entirely administrative — Feds even handle collection of deadbeats. And for this they charge a point or two on the loan?) to excising them from bankruptcy, it reads as a very real market distortion.

              In the one sense, student loans are very bad loans –they’re to 18 year olds with no credit rating AND no collateral), which is why the money, collections, and all that comes from Uncle Sam in the first place — but the distortions often feel like intermediaries are tossing their weight around for a cut. (The fact that the same folks acting as a private face to government money ALSO wanted to give you a credit card with 20k of room and 17% rate to the same 18 year olds probably does not make me think better of them.

              But again, in the end — it’s a government program not designed to make money, but to offer a way for 18 year olds to afford college.

              Honestly? It’s like the weird partial privatization of student loans left a whole mess of profit-seeking rules and changes that still linger, despite the fact that the government has mostly reverted back to using private entities as pure administrators.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Alan Scott says:

        I do think that the inability to discharge a student loan via bankruptcy is an issue that is tough to solve (allow it & banks will tighten up lending, or demand a say in the course of study, or demand the government cover their losses, etc.).Report

        • morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          I think the government DOES already cover the losses.

          Student loans have always basically been federal money. Private banks merely act as administrators. That was altered in the 2000s — sort of like Medicare Advantage, but IIRC, it was recently pulled back.

          Mostly because it just cost the government a lot of money without any noticeable benefit to customers. The banks made a lot of money (more than as pure administrators).Report

  24. Pyre says:

    Well, I imagine that the thinking goes

    1) Her base is going to vote D anyway. Doesn’t matter who is nominated. Whether Hillary appeals to her base as the best candidate or not is irrelevant. Those votes are in the bag.

    2) Feminism is pretty hot as a social trend. Combined with the Republican tendency to field candidates who talk about legitimate rape and that, if Hillary retains her 2008 deftness with this card (where it was only really trumped by the race card), she’s got a pretty good line to 50% of the population. Even if the Republicans front Carly Fiorina to try to neutralize the feminism card, Carly has her own baggage that would nullify that attempt.

    3) Speaking of the Republicans, while driving them to distraction is a good skill, a better one is:

    What are they going to hit her with that they haven’t already?

    She, on the other hand, can just direct the debates to social issues where Republicans just can’t resist crapping on themselves.

    4) Many political sites (including the League) talk about the relative unimportance of the swing voter or the third party voter so, if we are to believe all the past discussion on the subject, they aren’t that big an issue.

    5) Hillary: Remember the 90s and how everyone was doing well when my husband was President? Hey, Carly, what are you known for? Starting the process of turning HP into a demoralized sweatshop? It sure was pretty funny how you gave that speech after you got let go about knowing what it’s like to get fired. Admittedly, unlike the people you let go, you got a pretty sweet severance package. Good times. Really helped cement your place in the 1%

    Nostalgia is going to be a powerful weapon and, despite the Clinton’s own wealth (which Republican pundits will try to use against her but will then fail with Centrists given the GOP’s reputation), class warfare is going to be a powerful ticket to combine with that nostalgia.

    Yeah, this election is pretty much in the bag. I’ve already started propagating out my new hashtag of #AwHellHillary for the coming 8 years.Report

  25. Tod Kelly says:

    One quick comment down here, regarding the reasoning used by some in this thread that the fact that HC was so competitive in 2008 is a sign that she’s a force with which to be reckoned…

    Honestly, I don’t remember it that way. In retrospect, sure, the Obama-CLinton matchup was a fight of two Titans of early 20th-century Democrats. But at the time, it was the presumed runaway candidate being shoved out of the light by someone most of the country had never heard of, and most of those who had only knew him from a single speech he made in 2004.

    Again, if I’m a Dem I find that history worrying.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:


      That’s the way I remember it as well. Hillary was Anointed (see the bird all pointy, pointy. Anoint the bird…) right outa the blocks back then as well, only to be rather quickly overtaken by a relatie unknown. I get what you’re saying in all this: that Hillary just isn’t very likeable… And it seems to me that her team (some of them proven incompetents) has leveraged the costs of contenders entering the race to a painful enough level that they aren’t even considering doing so. That’s bad for a couple of reasons. One is Saul’s point that having a ROBUST primary will actually help her come general time. The other is that people just don’t seem to like her all that much…Report

    • CK MacLeod in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Tod Kelly: it was the presumed runaway candidate being shoved out of the light by someone most of the country had never heard of, and most of those who had only knew him from a single speech he made in 2004.

      Except to the extent it was the candidate who suited the conjuncture in multiple interrelated ways defeating the one who didn’t as well – or, as Machiavelli put it:

      [A] prince can be seen happy today and ruined tomorrow even without having shown any change of mood or character. I believe this happens mainly because… the prince who relies exclusively on fortuna is lost when it changes. I also believe that he who suits his action to fit the times will prosper, but he whose actions do not accord with the times will not be successful.

      M. stresses that for people in general there is no possibility of changing character. The same candidate and campaign – liberal-interventionist on FP, experienced, comfortably ensconced in the existent power structure, etc. – might be a loser during a “fundamental change” election/conjuncture and a winner during a “continuity” or “apathy” or “fear” or “denial” election/conjuncture. I am, of course, speaking in relative and general, not absolute and precise terms: “Fundamental change” is in the eye of the beholder, and Obama neither offered, nor sought, nor achieved what most people would consider “revolutionary” changes.

      As a bonus, of course, a country that felt horrible itself ca. 2008 was able to congratulate itself a little, or persuade itself that it still had contact with its best traditions, by elevating a member of an historically oppressed group – that he from name down also evoked the image of our adversaries and our victims may have been at that peculiar moment an unconscious mass-psychic positive. Obama’s “charisma” was a typical feature for a character in such situations. Elevating a woman is also an all-things-being-equal bonus for a country looking for low hanging narcissistic-supply fruit, it’s just that elevating a “Hillary Clinton” is not as big a self-stroke as elevating a “Barack Obama.”

      In short, the 2008 moment found, in some ways created, and anyway chose BHO. It’s now “done that thing.” It may do it again sometime in some new way, but HRC could be or seem a good transitional figure for this next moment, whose possible shapes I won’t attempt to trace even a little because, in point of fact, I STILL haven’t done my taxes.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      The buzz around Obama had started with that 2004 speech (and is the very reason he was selected for it). Even just by the fact of his selection, comparisons were quickly drawn to 1988 and that Bill Clinton had the same speaking spot. When Obama’s speech surpassed (by far) the quality of Clinton’s 88 speech, the buzz grew louder.

      Yes, the ‘even louder buzz’ was only heard by political junkies and party insiders, but that’s who matter in the period between the last presidential election and the kickoff of primary/caucus season of the next cycle. It’s the equivalent of the combine/draft day hoopla that the NFL & ESPN now exploit for profit.

      Even Hillary Clinton was aware of this buzz. The timing of her candidacy launch (via Youtube video) was moved up from the initial plan because Obama had been getting so much traction, and was formally in the game earlier than anyone with a non-crank candidacy* had ever done – February of the year before the election. (In contrast, Howard Dean was in June 03, Kerry in September, Gore & Bush Jr both in June ’99, McCain in April, Bradley in Jan of 00)

      Clinton was the presumed *favorite* in 2008, but she was far from a presumed runaway. Though, yes, early on, her presumed top rival was Edwards, not Obama. By mid-2007 though, it was readily apparent that the Dem contest was shaping up to be a three-way race going to the first caucuses and primaries. Everyone, particularly political junkies, knew that the 2008 cycle would be uniquely intriguing with a fairly open field on both sides of the partisan divide due to an incumbent president that was not particularly popular and an incumbent VP that didn’t want the top enchilada job.

      *crank candidates file as early as the close of business of the previous presidential election.Report

      • Will H. in reply to Kolohe says:

        Bradley who?

        Oooohhh . . . . that guy . . .
        Forgot there was ever a campaign from those quarters.

        Edwards was definitely the favorite of the more Lefty of the Left, and I admit, I liked him as well.
        I think an Edwards presidency could have done a lot of good for this country.
        That said, the scandals (and their avoidance) could have done a lot of harm to this country.

        Scandals really change the nature of the landscape, and in a big hurry.

        Which brings up the retrospective voting angle.

        Arguing about “what ‘Is’ is” is exactly the sort of thing I would expect from Clinton.

        If it’s all about selecting a concubine of Bill’s I would prefer this one:

        I saw that in communications class a few weeks back.
        Floored me.Report

  26. F says:

    There are advantages to a non-competitive primary that didn’t exist before. Citizens United has led to a situation where third party groups can spend as much money as they want on advertizing with no input from the candidates. This hurt the Republicans last time, and will undoubtedly hurt them again.Report

  27. F says:

    I would also point out that the difference between a Republican and Democratic president is:

    A national right-to-work law.

    Repealing Obamacare.

    Overturning Roe v. Wade

    If the base isn’t motivated for that, well…Report