Clinton Wins, And Ends Any Reason For Joe Biden To Enter The Race

In addition to doing everything she needed to do last night, Hillary Clinton also destroyed whatever logic remained for a Joe Biden candidacy.

Unlike James Joyner I did not watch last night’s Democratic debate, the Cubs and the Mets were providing much more entertainment value in their respective playoff games than any politician could from my perspective, however my review of the morning’s wrap-up’s of the affair would seem to indicate that his overall impression that Clinton walked away last night as the clear winner would seem to be largely correct:

On Tuesday night, after months of political heartburn, things finally started cutting Hillary Rodham Clinton’s way.

Her performance at the first Democratic presidential debate was so commanding that even her greatest vulnerability — the lingering controversy over her private email practices as secretary of state — ended up redounding to her benefit.

After she crisply explained that she made a “mistake” using a private email server and defended her judgment, the moderator, Anderson Cooper of CNN, turned to her biggest threat in the primary campaign so far, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, in hopes that he would attack her. Mr. Sanders instead came to her aid.

“Let me say something that may not be great politics, but I think the secretary is right — and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” Mr. Sanders said to cheers and a standing ovation from the Democratic audience.

“Thank you!” Mrs. Clinton said, reaching out and shaking his hand. “Me, too! Me, too!”

All night, the debate played to Mrs. Clinton’s advantage and to her opponents’ limitations. From gun control and banking regulations to debt-free college and Social Security benefits, Mrs. Clinton positioned herself as a champion of liberals, young people, and the elderly — the very voters who make up the Sanders coalition — while also repeatedly reaching out to women, as an advocate for families and children (and as, potentially, the nation’s first female president).

Mr. Sanders, whose plain-spoken disgust over the email controversy drew praise, looked sheepish and reactive at other points, hesitating to attack Mrs. Clinton forcefully over her ties to Wall Street, and running into trouble defending his past opposition to stricter gun control laws and immigration reform.

By the end of Tuesday night’s debate, Mrs. Clinton had seized every opening to try to accomplish her chief goal: re-establishing trust with Democrats who have come to doubt her honesty and political competence after months of difficulties and shifting policy positions.

Right from her opening remarks, Mrs. Clinton sounded a liberal rallying cry, saying “the wealthy pay too little and the middle class pays too much” in taxes. She sought to create a bond with voters by saying she would judge free-trade deals, which are broadly unpopular on the left, by whether she could “look into the eyes of any middle-class American and say this will help raise your wages.”

She called for increasing Social Security benefits for the poorest recipients and singled out older women who were “impoverished” because they had not earned enough money earlier in their lives.

And she was blunt in saying she has a liberal political philosophy but is also a pragmatic leader who would work with both Democrats and Republican to pass legislation.

“I’m a progressive, but I’m a progressive who likes to get things done,” she said. “I know how to find common ground, but I know how to stand my ground.”

(…)

The burdens on Mrs. Clinton were unusually heavy for the first debate of a presidential campaign, when candidates typically focus on introducing themselves to a national television audience and gently drawing distinctions with their rivals. Not so Mrs. Clinton: The continuing Republican attacks over her trustworthiness and judgment, particularly over her email have tarnished her in the eyes of many voters. Some are tired of endless Clinton melodramas, others tantalized by Mr. Sanders’s left-wing candidacy.

Given Mrs. Clinton’s vulnerabilities — she lags behind Mr. Sanders in polls of New Hampshire primary voters — she needed to use the debate to persuade voters to look beyond her political troubles and see her as likable, rather than programmed; as genuinely liberal, as opposed to strategic; and ultimately as electable, instead of as a damaged candidate compared with, say, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is considering entering the race.

Mrs. Clinton’s unspoken aim was to demonstrate such strength and spiritedness that Mr. Biden would see little point in challenging her for the Democratic nomination.

Indeed, her expertise as secretary of state translated into stature on the debate stage — a sophistication about global challenges and poise under fire. On dealing with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Mrs. Clinton crisply described the ways that the United States’ relationship with Russia had soured since Mr. Putin returned to the presidency.

“We have to stand up to his bullying,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I think it’s important, too, that the United States make it very clear to Putin that it’s not acceptable for him to be in Syria, creating more chaos, bombing people in support of Assad.”

Mrs. Clinton also put two rivals in their place when they challenged her judgment on foreign policy. Replying to former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, who questioned her 2002 vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq, she scoffed at “a lot of loose talk going on here” and noted how “pleased” she had been when Mr. O’Malley endorsed her in 2008.

And when another Democratic candidate, Lincoln Chafee, criticized Mrs. Clinton for “poor judgment calls” in authorizing the invasion of Iraq, Mrs. Clinton pivoted by noting that President Obama apparently had no problem with her judgment when he selected her as secretary of state.The most vexing challenge for Mrs. Clinton was how to handle Mr. Sanders. He has consistently taken the high road whenever controversy has engulfed her, as he did in refraining from trying to score points over her email controversy.

Mrs. Clinton is skilled at parrying direct attacks, like those she faced in 2008 from her Democratic rivals over the Iraq war, health care, and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. With Mr. Sanders, she needed to find ways to undercut him without undercutting her own goals of appearing personable and appealing to his supporters to give her a second look.

Mrs. Clinton chose to challenge Mr. Sanders carefully on issues that are important to liberals, and more forcefully on gun control. She was the first to criticize another candidate, chiding Mr. Sanders over his distaste for the excesses of capitalism and his embrace of democratic socialism and political systems like the government of Denmark.

“We are not Denmark — I love Denmark — we are the United States of America,” Mrs. Clinton said. “We would be making a grave mistake to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history of the world.”

That analysis comes by Patrick Healy at The New York Times, and Karen Tumulty at The Washington Post largely agrees:

LAS VEGAS — Front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton dominated the debate stage Tuesday night.

Her experience and self-assurance in a setting where she has found herself dozens of times put her in command as she and her four lesser-known rivals for the Democratic nomination stood side by side for the first time.

In several exchanges, she managed to put her leading challenger, the combative Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), in an unaccustomed position — on defense.

At the same time, Clinton and Sanders offered their party a choice. She presented herself as realist who would work from within to improve the political system; he, as an unapologetic insurgent who would smash the old order.

Clinton appeared to be ­positioning herself for a general-election campaign against whichever Republican emerges from that party’s nomination brawl.

“I’m a progressive. But I’m a progressive who likes to get things done. And I know how to find common ground, and I know how to stand my ground,” said the former secretary of state, senator and first lady.

Sanders brought to the debate the same umbrage that has been drawing liberal crowds that number in the tens of thousands at his rallies across the country

He bristled as he spoke of what he said is “a series of unprecedented crises. The middle class of this country for the last 40 years has been disappearing.”

“What this campaign is about is whether we can mobilize our people to take back our government from a handful of billionaires and create the vibrant democracy we know we can and should have,” added the Vermont senator, who describes himself as a democratic socialist.

(…)

Clinton began the race as the most formidable non-incumbent front-runner in memory. She was thought to have learned from the mistakes of her first presidential campaign, in 2008. Her dominance was such that virtually the entire Democratic establishment was lining up behind her, and she appeared to have effectively cleared the field.

But the controversy over her use of a private e-mail account and server, rather than a government account and server, while she was secretary of state has deepened public misgivings about her character and honesty.

Meanwhile, Sanders has capitalized on the deep populist discontent within the Democratic base.

One of their sharpest exchanges came on the question of how much government muscle should be applied to reining in Wall Street.

Sanders, along with former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, blamed the deregulation that took place during Bill Clinton’s presidency for creating the conditions that sparked the financial collapse of 2008. Specifically, they cited Bill Clinton’s role in the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, a Depression-era banking regulation that limited banks’ financial activities.

“Let us be clear that the greed and recklessness and illegal behavior of Wall Street, where fraud is a business model, helped to destroy this economy and the lives of millions of people,” Sanders said.

Hillary Clinton, who many liberals believe has been too close to Wall Street, said that she had used her influence as a senator from New York to press the banks to quit engaging in irresponsible financial speculation.

“But I’m telling you — I will say it tonight. If only you look at the big banks, you may be missing the forest for the trees,” Clinton said.

The other candidates also revisited the question that had dogged Clinton in her earlier bid for the Democratic nomination: her vote in support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Clinton, who has since said she regretted that decision, cited the man who beat her as validation that it was not a disqualifier.

“I recall very well being on a debate stage, I think, about 25 times with then-Senator Obama, debating this very issue. After the election, he asked me to become secretary of state,” she said. “He valued my judgment, and I spent a lot of time with him in the Situation Room, going over some very difficult issues.”

Clinton maintains a double-digit lead in the national polls, but Sanders is trailing her narrowly in Iowa, where the first caucuses are to be held Feb. 1, and is leading her in New Hampshire, which is set to hold its primary eight days later.

The debate was the first in a series of October events that Clinton hopes will change the trajectory of her struggling presidential campaign. Next week, she will testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, whose investigation she and her allies say is politically motivated and aimed at destroying her candidacy.

She did it again during the debate, pointing to a recent comment by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

“This committee is basically an arm of the Republican National Committee,” she said. “It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by the House Republican majority leader, Mr. McCarthy, to drive down my poll numbers. Big surprise. And that’s what they have attempted to do.”

Heading into this debate, Hillary Clinton faced many of the same issues and risks that many frontrunners have faced before in similar situations. As the person at the top of the pecking order, she was likely to be the person most subjected to tough questions from the moderators and attacks from her fellow candidates, all of whom except Bernie Sanders were looking for some way to raise their own profiles in a campaign in which they have generally been treated as irrelevant also-rans. In Clinton’s case, that meant that she would come under fire for many of her past positions on issues of concern to Democratic voters and the extent to which she has been seen to move to the left on certain issues in an effort to cater to both the Democratic base and to the voters who have coalesced around Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton also faced the prospect of being attacked regarding the ethical issues that have arisen since she announced her candidacy, especially those regarding her use of a private email server and donations to the Clinton Foundation that seemed to coincide with favorable action from the State Department during her tenure. In addition, Clinton also needed to make sure that she went through the debate without committing any of the gaffes that could end up becoming a problem for her campaign, or that would end up creating the kind of doubts about her candidacy that would make the summer-long drumbeat for Vice-President Biden enter the race.

In both respects, it seems fairly clear that Clinton did what she needed to do, and likely did her campaign some big favors in the process.

On the first part, while Clinton did face some attacks from Bernie Sanders and the other candidates for her positions in the past, and most especially for her ties to Wall Street, the former Secretary of State handled those attacks with the same kind of skill that we saw during her exchanges with Barack Obama during the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination. In no small part, of course, Clinton’s success in this area was helped by the fact that she was facing opponents who are far less formidable than Obama, or indeed almost any of the other candidates she faced seven years ago. Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee were largely non-entities, while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders apparently decided to stick to his previous strategy of only attacking Clinton on the periphery rather than going for the jugular as one might expect in a situation such as this. As a result, Clinton was able to push back against the attacks and tough questions she did receive rather deftly. Add to that the fact that she does not appear to have committed anything resembling a gaffe and that she managed to continue portraying herself as the natural successor to President Obama, and it seems fairly easy to score the debate as a win for Clinton simply because she did everything she needed to do and didn’t do anything that could have possibly harmed her.

As with the two Republican debates, the big question going forward is what impact this debate will have on the race for the Democratic nomination. Given Clinton’s performance, it seems likely that it will end up continuing the trend I discussed yesterday which is seeing Clinton’s poll numbers recover from the slide that they had been in for most of the summer. To the extent that Democratic voters had developed any doubts about Clinton’s viability as their party’s standard bearer in 2016, those doubts were largely erased last night and that alone will help her campaign. Perhaps the biggest impact from last night’s debate, though, will be felt by the man who wasn’t on the stage, because as Marc Ambinder notes, Clinton’s debate performance last night largely erased whatever remaining logic their might have been for Vice-President Biden to enter the race:

Going forward, Clinton’s donor base will be mollified. Her supporters will be ecstatic. And the rest of the party will see her as a very plausible nominee.

Where, in this mix, can Joe Biden fit? What interests would his candidacy serve, aside from his own?

Biden’s candidacy only works on the theory that Clinton is hemorrhaging support, or that her status as frontrunner is shaky, or that she seems unable to articulate a message capable of defeating an emboldened, excited Republican Party in the general election. On Tuesday, her preparation and experience, set against a rather underwhelming cohort of debaters, shows that none of these three conditions is operative.

To be honest, there wasn’t much logic behind a potential Biden candidacy to begin with. While there is a tremendous amount of goodwill for the Vice-President inside the Democratic Party, and nationally outside of it, he has never really had much of a constituency inside the party outside, perhaps, of the blue-collar workers that he was largely sent to appeal to during the 2008 and 2012 Presidential campaigns, but that’s a group that Clinton herself does well with as well. Biden can’t really claim to have much appeal with the minority groups that make up the Democratic coalition, and the polling that includes his name indicates clear that African-Americans and Latinos both seem to be largely lining up behind Clinton. Additionally, as I’ve noted before, Biden has never been a very good campaigner on the national stage on his own and there’s no reason he’d be any better this time around.

In the end, Joe Biden has always been what some pundits have called an “In Case Of Emergency” candidate who would step into the race in the event that Clinton’s campaign floundered or collapsed. The fact that this is what seemed to be happening over the summer is one of the factors that led to much of the speculation about Biden entering the race, and likely also influenced his own decision to take a second look at getting in the race. Whatever logic that argument may have had before, though, it seems fairly clear that it no longer exists. Clinton is not going to collapse, and barring something extraordinary her campaign for the Democratic nomination is not going to collapse in a way that allows a candidate like Bernie Sanders to actually have a serious shot at winning the nomination. The only remaining possibility for that happening any time soon, it seems, would be Clinton’s appearance before the Benghazi Committee next week, but unless that appearance goes far worse than most people seem to anticipate it seems unlikely that Clinton will do any real damage to herself, especially since it’s clear that Democratic voters now seem to universally view the committee as nothing more than a partisan attack machine.

So, not only did Hillary Clinton win the debate last night, but in doing so she ended whatever logic their might have been for a Biden candidacy. Say what you may about the Vice-President, but one gets the impression that he is politically astute enough to recognize this and act accordingly.

Photo via Associated Press

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Politicians, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    The single biggest take-away is that Hillary Clinton is the real deal, effortlessly dominating the men on the stage. It was a great debate performance, even better (though not as much fun) than when Obama destroyed Mitt Romney with, “Please proceed. . .”

    The second big take-away is that even with Chafee acting the idiot and Webb playing Grandpa Simpson, the ambient IQ was about 30 points higher than the GOP debates. You simply cannot contrast the Dems last night with either of the Republican performances and fail to conclude that this was the grown-ups table.

    Point Three: Joe who?

    Point Four: the Benghazi committee better bring their helmets because Hillary is going to beat them about the head and shoulders.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    Except for the fact that Biden is a contingency candidate – a placeholder in the outside event that Clinton’s candidacy implodes – you’re exactly right. To me Biden is, and always has been, an insurance policy. This morning, he remains that.

  3. Tillman says:

    @al-Ameda: Honestly, I think O’Malley made a convincing case to be the insurance policy. Now if he wasn’t the basis for Aidan Gillen’s Littlefinger-in-the-modern-day character on The Wire, I’d be okay with that.

  4. KM says:

    At this point, if Biden were to run I’d be hard pressed to vote for him BECAUSE of the will-he-won’t-he potty dance. He clearly doesn’t want to do it or he’d be doing it already. QED in terms of willing intent. If he runs, it will give the strong impression he’s caved to social pressure and that’s a terrible start to his campaign imagery. Nobody wants a pushover or indecisive person for a President. I like Biden but the man needs to @#&% or get off the pot, know what I mean?

    I agree with Al-Ameda about him being the backup but all the hype can be easily used against him, same as the length of time it took to make up his mind.

  5. @al-Ameda:

    The one problem for the Biden-As-Contingency-Candidate scenario is that, once we hit mid-November we start hitting the ballot access deadlines for many states. Entering after that point would make it hard for anyone to get the delegates they need to win without relying on the Democratic Party’s “Superdelegates,” and that would risk the possibility of a convention where the nominee is someone who didn’t get the support of the majority of primary voters.

  6. @Tillman:

    O’Malley’s problem seems to be that he isn’t even very well liked in his home state at this point.

  7. LC says:

    Unlike James Joyner I did not watch last night’s Democratic debate,

    In that case, it seems like this post should have ended there.

  8. grumpy realist says:

    @Doug Mataconis: As said, us old farts from NY are reminded of Mario Cuomo and his “Hamlet on the Hudson” schtick.

    I don’t think Biden ever has really been interested in running for POTUS this time around. If he were, he would have declared already and taken part in the debate last night.

    Pretty hard to convince people you’re interested in running for POTUS when you don’t participate in the process.

  9. @grumpy realist:

    Until he has a plane waiting on the tarmac to take him to New Hampshire, Biden still hasn’t approached the Cuomo-esque level of dithering, but he’s getting close.

  10. Modulo Myself says:

    The main takeaway from this debate will be Sanders saying he’s tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s emails. That and the fact that she appeared to be an actual presidential candidate. Jeb Bush, if he’s up yet, should be watching her and trying to figure out how the f–k to make himself anything other than a lamp.

    Overall the Democrats are the people who prize some sort of civic arrangement, whereas the GOP are the people who think this is a plot against them.

  11. Scott says:

    Two quick thoughts:

    1) I imagine that, in reality, Joe Biden is relieved.

    2) I am pleased that Hilary ( and Democrats in general) are tying themselves fully to the Obama presidency. This is the position of integrity and touting (which is not the same as defending) the accomplishments is the way to go.

  12. stonetools says:

    Hillary not only won the debate-she won ALL the debates. She is really the only candidate from either party who looks like she is ready to step into the job of being President and start performing on Day One.
    Daniel Drezner nailed it on Twitter:

    Shorter Hillary Clinton: look at these schmucks. I’m a grown-up. We all know what you should do. No one has to like it.

    At the end of the debate, it looked to me like Bernie would make a good Labor Secretary, O’Malley would make a good Energy Secretary, Jim Webb would make a good Defense Secretary, and Lincoln Chaffee should be put in charge of a Commission for Introducing the Metric System. Hillary should start looking into Oval Office window treatments.

  13. Davebo says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Perhaps that’s what’s killing Jeb! and Jindal.

  14. Jack says:

    HEADLINE: Morally bankrupt person whose position changes based upon political expediency and who is willing to sacrifice any person but herself wins Democrat Debate.

    Shocked! I’m just shocked!

  15. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    Hey, you could instead vote for Donald Trump -a REAL bankrupt. Heh, heh, I’ll show myself out.

  16. wr says:

    @Tillman: Oh my God, I’m such an idiot… I never realized the same actor played Carcetti and Littlefinger! This man has to be one of the screen’s all-time great weasels…

  17. Jack says:

    @stonetools:

    I’ll show myself out.

    Please do.

  18. wr says:

    @Modulo Myself: “Jeb Bush, if he’s up yet, should be watching her and trying to figure out how the f–k to make himself anything other than a lamp.”

    A lamp? A cast casts light… and can be useful. I think you owe lamps an apology.

  19. Gustopher says:

    @grumpy realist: I’m old enough to remember Hamlet on the Hudson, and this is a lot less annoying. Biden’s dilemma comes from whether he has it in him to do the campaign at this time, while Cuomo’s was all “I’m awesome and self-sacrificing, and I want to do what’s best for New York, but maybe what’s best for New York is that I run for President.”

    What a schmuck that Cuomo was. Biden is genuine.

    Anyway, all this talk of Biden makes me think Clinton should give him the VP nod. I have never seen a man so Vicepresidential.

  20. Joe says:

    Was it just me or do O’Malley’s speech patterns sometimes sound like Bill Clinton?

  21. Stan says:

    @Jack: You’re happy about taking health insurance away from 20 million people. Who are you to call somebody morally bankrupt?

  22. Moosebreath says:

    @Jack:

    “Morally bankrupt person whose position changes based upon political expediency and who is willing to sacrifice any person but herself wins Democrat Debate.”

    Well, after the Republicans chose such a person last time (gender aside), who is there to complain?

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: Hmm… I am a huge fan of Cuomo, actually worked on one of his campaigns, and I believe the conventional but mostly unspoken wisdom inside NY state was that Cuomo’s family had mob ties in their too near past. Even Cuomo’s enemies never considered him personally dirty but bringing up the family could have hurt. In this scenario Cuomo’s dithering was about whether he could subject himself and his extended family to the trauma if it were to be used against him in the Presidential campaign. Inside NY he was immune to such threats, given that at the time there were a number of personally mob-connected pols (Al Damato) in leadership positions who would help make sure that was never part of an intra-NY campaign.

    Disclaimer: As far as I know no one has every bought forth convincing evidence of such a Cuomo Family / Mob connection. It was just a widely excepted “truth” when I lived in NY in the 80’s.

  24. DrDaveT says:

    @stonetools:

    […] and Lincoln Chaffee should be put in charge of a Commission for Introducing the Metric System

    Awesome. You win.

    (Actually, I feel bad for Chafee. Most of what he said was quite reasonable, and his resumé is quite impressive — but he has all the leadership aura of mashed turnips.)

  25. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: I also grew up in NY in the 60s and 70s. The connection could be a couple of degrees of separation away. The “mob” is not a singularity but a loose network involving both legal and illegal enterprises. However, just a business relationship with a legal mob connected enterprise will bring a lot of innuendo.

  26. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I know how that whole thing works. I, too, have been assumed to have mob connections because I have a vowel on the end of my name. It’s an Aryan/Wasp thing.

  27. Ben Wolf says:

    . . .my review of the morning’s wrap-up’s of the affair would seem to indicate that his overall impression that Clinton walked away last night as the clear winner would seem to be largely correct.

    Let me get this straight: Clinton “won” because YglesiasMatthewsLizza. When every focus group indicates Sanders dominated, these guys know better.

  28. stonetools says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    For a man who claims not to be a Sanders supporter, it looks an awful lot like you are carrying his water. In any case, I got your Yglesias right here:


    This is the fundamental difference between the two. Clinton is a detail-oriented, practical-minded literalist, while Sanders is much more of a big-picture guy. On the stump, which is all about passion and oratory, this makes Sanders considerably more compelling. But in the context of a reasonably friendly debate, Clinton seemed comfortable and always on point.

    That naturally translates to more success on focus groups and on social media ( and I agree Sanders won social media). Clinton has to somehow inspire more passion, or she might be a bridesmaid again, despite winning the punditry race.

  29. Rafer Janders says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Hmm… I am a huge fan of Cuomo, actually worked on one of his campaigns, and I believe the conventional but mostly unspoken wisdom inside NY state was that Cuomo’s family had mob ties in their too near past.

    What? No, no. Ridiculous. There’s no “conventional but unspoken wisdom inside NY” that Cuomo had mob ties, and I say that as a lifelong New Yorker from a family with deep roots in local politics.

    There were rumors, sure, but there are rumors about practically anyone Italian. Beyond those baseless unfounded accusations, the general public and the political establishment never felt that there was anything remotely corrupt about Cuomo or about his family. They were completely middle of the road lower middle class to middle class solid citizens (his immigrant father was a grocer, his brother worked in the grocery and went from there to food retail, his sister is a librarian, Mario himself went to St. John’s, clerked, and then went into private practice as a lawyer. This is not the profile of a family with ties to organized crime).

  30. michael reynolds says:

    @wr:

    I did the same thing: stared baffled at @Tillman’s note then. . . Oh my God!

  31. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    No, Ben, Hillary won because the purpose of the debate was not to win the Brown University Most Popular Professor competition, but to become President of the United States. Sanders as POTUS? Absurd. Hillary as POTUS? Yep.

    This is not fundamentally a wonk-off, it’s a casting call. We are hiring an actor to play POTUS. He/she has to be sane, has to be essentially right on the issues, but also has to look and sound and act the part. O’Malley looked the part, didn’t quite sound it. Webb totally won the GOP debate. And Chafee is still looking for his pal Gromit.

    Hillary won because all she had to do was encourage her supporters. I am one of those donors, and I upped my contribution, so mission accomplished.

    Bernie lost because he is too far outside the mainstream and he looks and sounds like an angry college professor slash old testament prophet. He may be right on all the issues, 100% right, but he’s never going to be president. Not in this country, though Denmark is a possibility.

  32. steve s says:

    I’ve seen every ep of The Wire and Game of Thrones, and I never noticed. I just had to pull up pics. That guy’s a brilliant actor.

  33. the Q says:

    Amazing the Hillary cool aid slurpers here. The longer the night went on, the more I wanted to puke at the thought of the Dem party being lead by this shallow screeching sell out.

    OK boomers lets start here: “We would be making a grave mistake to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history of the world.”

    Ummm, I helped build that middle class and so did the New Deal Dems of the 1930s-1960s….just to clue you in boomers, many New Dealers in FDR’s admins WERE SOCIALISTS and some even Communists (oh my) so funny how boomers run away from those labels now…I’m in my 80s and let me assure you that when she said that “we’re not Denmark”, I almost did a Fred Sanford….

    “We would be making a grave mistake to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history of the world.”….says the woman who just can’t admit that big banks should be broken up and they were not responsible for the Lehman meltdown and concomitant financial depression and whose biggest donor is Citibank and other august Wall Street banks and investment houses.

    “We would be making a grave mistake to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history of the world.”…..says the woman who constantly voted for higher defense budgets (which BTW NO Dem on that stage said should be reduced) and whose husband gutted the welfare safety net and signed Gramm Bliley Leach Act into law abolishing Glass Steagall.

    “We would be making a grave mistake to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history of the world.”….says the woman who just now decided that TPP is horrible and whose husband pushed NAFTA and sponsored China into the WTO, which started our 3 trillion dollar trade deficit with China thus wiping out large swaths of blue collar manufacturing jobs. Also, no mention of Billy Clinton choosing not to regulate DERIVATIVES under the CFTC, caving into the rich Wall street donor crowd. This DID cause widespread financial chaos. And I will bet my left one that HRC would be in no mood to regulate derivatives in this manner. She is no progressive.

    The puke almost came when she said in a straight face I would “look into the eyes of any middle-class American and say this will help raise your wages.” Yeah, right.

    Then this gem, “I’m a progressive who likes to get things done,”…except she has done NOTHING. Its like when Ike was asked in 1960, “what has VP NIxon done during your administration?”….”give me a week to think about it and I’ll get back to you” was Ike’s retort.

    I can tell you from my life experience that what made the middle class great is what all you boomers are against.

    Raise your hands hypocrites…some of you seem to make big $$$$$, how many will still vote Dem when the tax on that is 90% like under FDR and Truman and JFK? or the 71% under LBJ and Carter?

    You see, what created the middle class in the USA was our unique brand of socialism.

    You go to college on the GI bill….paid for by Uncle Sam….get a stable job that lasts a lifetime, pay taxes and buy a house courtesy of Fannie or Freddie….retire and enjoy your old age courtesy of defined benefit pensions and/or Social Security….a retirement option which my grandparents could only fantasize about their life was hideously difficult due to all the “panics” of the 19th century which the New Deal legislation all but stopped for 50 years till you boomers decided to deregulate the S&Ls, a bedrock of community banking. We saw how that imploded and took out a whole financial sector.

    “We would be making a grave mistake to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history of the world.”….says the woman whose husband said, “the era of big government is over”.

    I shake my head at the gainsaying of the Clinton narcissism and small town backwoods country hick mentality by those on this blog.

    I’ve been a Dem my whole life. My Dad would tell me of how Jefferson and Madison on a butterfly catching expedition up the Hudson river hatched the idea of creating a new party. I saw FDR in person. 3 things were a certainty when I was a kid….FDR was always the President….Joe Louis always the Champ…the Yankees always in the World Series. And the GOP were worthless worshippers of wealth and greed, hence they walked the political wilderness till St. Ronnie resurrected them.

    The present Dem party is dead to me. Amazing how many here hold their noses and will vote for HRC. A hawkish hypocrite of little ability other than feathering her resume.

    “lets see, first lady…check……Senator….check……Secretary of State…check….ok, what do I do now?…oh Presidency….duh…

    A cynical sellout backstabbing liar boomer candidate leading the most worthless generation since the 1830s…I guess it makes sense, but with HRC it will be another 4 or 8 years of corporate hawkish Dem policies which hardly benefit the “greatest middle class in the history of the world”.

    So lets bring back those charming boomer Dems again like Larry Summers, the Podesta dipschitz, the Arkansas mafia – Hillary Rosen, fresh off her billion dollar PR campaign on behalf of BP, the Jack Quinns (championed the pardon of Marc Rich for $$$$$), Jamie Gorelick, Michele Davis, the Rubins et al.

    They are Dems in name only who betray the working class and the “greatest middle class in the history of the world” as the income inequality under Clinton was worse than every GOP President since Hoover.

    So bury your heads boomers….you guys are on your third round now with Bush the moron, Obama the timid and now Hillary the sellout clown….good luck….the Republic is shot to schitt anyway as not only the wingnuts, but also the Dem Party itself, dismantles the New Deal which is entirely responsible for creating the “greatest middle class in the history of the world”

    Peace out as some say.

  34. David M says:

    @the Q:

    So if I understand that correctly, you think it would be better for the middle class if the GOP controlled the House, Senate and Presidency?

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @the Q:

    You want a principled defeat letting the Republicans pick the next president so that not only do you gain nothing but you lose still more? Or do you want half a loaf?

    A person who genuinely cares about the issues takes half a loaf. The alternative is explaining to all the people we both like that they get nothing, nothing at all, because: purity. Tell that to the 12 year-old who’s spent his whole life here but because he was born in Guatemala he is being torn away and shoved over the border. Tell him how precious and pure you are. Tell the rape victim who can’t get an abortion. Tell the parents of the next black kid to get gunned down that you might have done something, but you didn’t want to dirty your spotlessly clean shirt.

    I have no patience with principled defeat. It’s narcissistic and unserious.

  36. jewelbomb says:

    What many people on this thread seem to forget is that Bernie’s candidacy is about more than simply winning the nomination. It’s absolutely possible to support Bernie in the primary in the hopes that he drags Clinton, who will probably be the nominee, leftward. Berrie’s presence in the conversation has undeniably helped make Hillary a better candidate. I’ve been a tepid supporter of Bernie’s for some time, but I must admit that all this snarky b.s. about how he looks like a professor and should therefore be disqualified is a little infuriating and more than a little simplistic. I fail to see what the harm is in actively supporting Bernie’s primary run in a state where Hilliary will inevitably win the nomination, especially if someone is willing to concede he may be right on 100% of the issues.

  37. stonetools says:

    Now here’s an interesting take via Garance Franke-Ruta on Twitter:

    RNC pushing the message that Bernie Sanders won the debate

    Now, why would the RNC want to push the message that Sanders won the debate? Is this in the realm of 10-dimensional chess or some kind of ratf@#king? Because the Republicans have been 100 per cent focused on damaging HRC as a candidate from day one. They, for one, are quite convinced that she would be the toughest general election candidate and that Sanders could be taken. Bernie fans, of course, don’t see it that way, but it is certainly interesting that the Republicans had never wavered from attacking Clinton, and only Clinton.

  38. MikeSJ says:

    I say this as someone who likes Bernie, even admires him…but Nope.

    That Accent? Nope.

    That Hair? Nope.

    That Age? Nope.

    Seeing him on stage, listening to him speak, I’m sorry but if you think he could get elected as President I’ve got a great deal on a bridge for you.

    Hold off on that offer from that Nigerian prince for now. This bridge deal I’ve got won’t last..

  39. the Q says:

    Hey, I hate the GOP,but we keep voting for the same watered down Liberal candidates.

    Why don’t the GOP ever settle for half a loaf? Christ when they get in, they DO WHAT THEY SAY THEY WILL DO.

    Shred the welfare safety net. Huge wealth distribution upward. Gutting the infrastructure and R&D investment. Get rid mostly of the inheritance tax. Create more pollution on and on.

    They never settle for half a loaf do they? Why do the Dems constantly have to put up with the hawkish corporate sellouts? why has the Defense budget gone up the last 8 years without a fight? Who instituted the ridiculous sentencing guide lines which only now are being reformed?

    I hate the bullschitt half a loaf is better than none argument.

    If the Dems like HRC actually governed like they talk to get all of your votes, maybe the middle class will thrive. Take that half a loaf and stick it up your azzzesss. That half a loaf is NAFTA.
    That half a loaf is huge and bigger banks that will fail. That half a loaf is more rich and more poor. That half a loaf will soon be a quarter loaf, then an 1/8 of a loaf.

    We are now down to crumbs with HRC. Principled defeat? As opposed to what? Another Clinton in the White House. Maybe if she loses to Trump or Rubio, finally we can schit can the “half a loaf” theory and start out with the whole phuckin loaf strategy.

    Oh, like destroying Wall Street finance capital like we did in the 30s, Its not so hard, Just grab your little nads and vote whats right and not whats politically expedient.

    Look in the mirror, we have one Party rule. Those on the liberal edge who believe in gay marriage and those in on the right who think we are destroying Christmas. All the while the ruling class go right on laughing at you clowns who ask questions like “so you think the middle class would be better off under the GOP?” Well yeah if we look at the last 20 years. Your problem is you actually think the Dems give a schitt about the middle class. They don’t. The jokes on you pal.

  40. gVOR08 says:

    @jewelbomb: Absolutely. I commented months ago that I’ll vote for Bernie in the primary if:
    A) He’s still in for the OH primary
    B) I’m confident Hillary will win the nomination

  41. MikeSJ says:

    @the Q:

    Q, who then do you recommend voting for if Hillary’s a non starter for you? Bernie? I don’t believe he has a snowballs chance in Hell of winning the Presidency.

    The next President will select several Supreme Court judges. Who do you want to do that? Hillary or Ted Cruz?

    There’s a song by the Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

    The key lyrics are:
    You can’t always get what you want
    But if you try sometimes you just might find
    You get what you need

    Sorry Q .

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @the Q:

    Why don’t the GOP ever settle for half a loaf? Christ when they get in, they DO WHAT THEY SAY THEY WILL DO.

    Really? They repealed Obamacare? They stopped same sex marriage? They put troops in Syria? They outlawed abortion? They stopped Common Core? They slashed the budget? They stopped the Iran deal? They de-funded Planned Parenthood?

    You have this exactly backward. The Republicans keep getting elected and never deliver on any of their promises. That’s why they are ass-deep in alligators, because their hard-right has gotten nothing. Election after election, and finally these cretins have started to realize it.

    In fact, we’ve been winning the war. And we are winning it because unlike the Republicans we don’t let our crazies run the party. Not so far, at least.

    This is not about feeling good, this is about power. To have power you have to win elections and have a realistic agenda. You need both, and they are obviously connected.

    Bernie cannot get elected, and if he did he’d get bupkis done because the American people are not with him, not yet, and probably never. We do not do radical in this country, we never have. This is the quintessential stable, middle-class country. The middle-class is under stress, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to vote for Bernie and overt socialism.

    The choice is not between the whole loaf and half a loaf. The choice is between half a loaf and nothing.

  43. stonetools says:

    @the Q:

    Q, I bet you voted for McGovern in 1972 and Nader in 2000. How did that work out?
    One thing I think liberals have to really focus on is that in 1972, 1980, and 1984-even in 2000 there was a margin for error. The Democrats generally had the House and the Senate and there was often a liberal or at least moderate majority on the SCOTUS.
    Now for all the liberal talk of how screwed up the Republican Party is, they actually hold most of the levers of power. They have the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the majority of the state governorships and something like two thirds of the state legislatures. It’s the Democrats, not the Republicans, who are playing defense. Let’s always remind ourselves of that when we talk about history is on our side, blah blah blah, and how we shouldn’t settle for half a loaf. Right now we have to make the smart and careful play, not risk everything on the hope that the liberal revolution is around the corner.

  44. David M says:

    @the Q:

    Shred the welfare safety net. Huge wealth distribution upward. Gutting the infrastructure and R&D investment. Get rid mostly of the inheritance tax. Create more pollution on and on.

    If that’s what you support, then by all means, don’t vote for the Democratic candidate.

  45. humanoid.panda says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    1. TV focus groups are actually not considered something that stands up to real professional standards.
    2. The polisci on the issue is clear: the winner in all debates is created by media coverage, not by immediate impressions. This had always been, and will always be, if only because most people don’t watch debates.

  46. Tyrell says:

    CNN pulled its punches and threw more fat pitches than the Cardinals bull pen. Most of the questions were meaningless. As usual, programmed, rehearsed, planned, and scripted. Major issues were dodged.

  47. Tony W says:

    @MikeSJ: I totally get your points about Sanders, he is very likely unelectable – but at the same time my wife sat in the chair and echoed everything he said. He is definitely dialed into a sentiment that is very popular in the US, one that the mainstream candidates are just telling us what we want to hear – and Sanders is telling it like it is, but in a non-crazy (Trump) way. Sanders has a brain and Hillary would do well to adopt many of his ideas.

    My wife’s takeaway from the debates, realizing Bernie doesn’t really have a shot – “maybe we are done with the US, perhaps we should consider moving to a real first-world country in Europe”

  48. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    Do you get paid to repeat this? I wrote more on your other comment on this line. It’s a deliberate lie put out by right-wing media to explain the far superior Democratic performance.

  49. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Martin is running for a cabinet position. He SHOULD be running for Mikulski’s Senate seat, but oh well. We’ll hold that one regardless.

  50. EddieInCA says:

    All you have to know about who won the debate last night is to watch Fox News today.

    All day long it was two different storylines:

    1. Bernie Sanders KILLED Hillary in the debate.
    2. Just a matter of time before Joe Biden wades in to save the Dems.

    Seriously. That’s what the majority of coverage was today.

    That tells you how clearly Clinton won the debate.

  51. TheoNott says:

    Sanders has some substantitively great ideas (single-payer healthcare, carbox tax) and some pretty bad ideas ($15 minimum wage) but beyond that it’s pretty clear that Hillary is by far the better qualified to be President. A Presidential candidate is more than just a bill of policy items, they’re a human being who you are entrusting to be the leader of a nation of over 300 million. Hillary is about as eminently qualified for the role as any present-day American citizen. Sanders? As much as I admire what he’s done as a Senator, I think that’s where he belongs. You simply cannot have an “authentic” head of state who “speaks his mind”. That’s how you start wars.

  52. Todd says:

    @stonetools:

    Now for all the liberal talk of how screwed up the Republican Party is, they actually hold most of the levers of power. They have the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the majority of the state governorships and something like two thirds of the state legislatures. It’s the Democrats, not the Republicans, who are playing defense. Let’s always remind ourselves of that when we talk about history is on our side, blah blah blah, and how we shouldn’t settle for half a loaf. Right now we have to make the smart and careful play, not risk everything on the hope that the liberal revolution is around the corner.

    Oh for F’s sakes, how do you think Democrats ended up in the situation they are currently in? The low turnout in the past two mid-terms was not because base Democratic voters are “lazy”, or “don’t care”. It’s because Democrats ran “careful” campaigns that seemed more designed not to provoke those who were never going to vote for them anyway, as opposed to trying to excite and turning out their own base.

    The biggest risk of “losing it all” is to continue this asinine strategy of “smart and careful”.

  53. Todd says:

    “Smart and careful” doesn’t work. I live in one of the most closely contested Congressional districts in the country (AZ-2). In this last election, Ron Barber made a point as often as he could to show his “bipartisan” chops by staking out positions that might appeal to “moderate” Republicans. While he’s serving his district during the two year term, absolutely, represent your entire district. But during the campaign, appealing to Republicans almost surely didn’t result in any of them voting for him (especially against a relatively mainstream, non-tea party opponent). But it is likely that some liberals found it easier to stay home on election day, since he didn’t even try to appeal to their interests.

  54. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @David M: No, what The Q is saying is that there are no Democrats any more. Only the name is the same.

  55. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: I see your point, but anyone who believes that Hillary is going to find her inner progressive if she gets elected is kidding themselves.

    Still as you note, the vote is for half a loaf or nothing. But I do share his frustration.

  56. David M says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Well sure, The Q is just the lefty equivalent of the Freedom Caucus in the House. Unable to get their entire agenda implemented, and unwilling to compromise.

  57. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Bernie cannot get elected, and if he did he’d get bupkis done because the American people are not with him, not yet, and probably never.

    Depending on what you mean by ‘with him’ I might agree with you. With him specifically, you are right. With his policies, most of them I think just not yet.

    We do not do radical in this country, we never have.

    That is patently untrue. This country was born in radicalism and has had periodic bouts of it throughout our entire history. We had a fwcking civil war for Gods’ sakes. It doesn’t get a whole lot more radical than that. The populist politics of the Dust Bowl era that birthed the New Deal was radical. We may be pretty milquetoast middle class at the moment, but that isn’t our history.

    This is the quintessential stable, middle-class country. The middle-class is under stress, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to vote for Bernie and overt socialism.

    That is true, but Benie’s policies aren’t overt socialism. He is a democratic socialist. All successful modern democracies find a balance between capitalism and socialism. Bernie is a bit heavier on the socialist end of that scale than Clinton, but we are talking about a matter of degrees, not kind. That a fair slice of Americans can be sold on him being ‘overtly socialist’ because he is a self avowed democratic socialist says more about their irrational fear of the word socialist than their actual policy preferences. However, as a matter of electoral politics right now I’m sad to say you are probably right.

  58. Grewgills says:

    @the Q:
    Your democratic party died in 1964. When the Civil Rights Act passed, the democratic party started losing the dixiecrats in national elections. Without the solid south voting for the economic interests of working poor blue collar workers and instead voting on cultural issues thinly veiled as states rights, the democrats couldn’t hold as close to socialism. Inevitably the economic scales shifted to less regulated capitalism with diminishing taxes and less robust social safety nets. It is a dispiriting loss, but we gained a lot for it. The lot of women and minorities has improved dramatically because of that same split.

  59. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: That’s an entirely subjective argument and I think you’d be very hard-pressed to demonstrate much agreement that Americans are electing the best phony they can find. The most objective evidence we have so far are a dozen online polls and three focus groups all showing a 2 – 1 preference for Sanders. Against that we have repeated appeal to the authority of media figures.

    A great many comments in this thread (stonetools for example) are illustrative of how inbred the thinking of many Democrats has become. Any failure to support the dominant media narrative is evidence of “water-carrying”, any questioning of logical inconsistency “naivety”. If one labels suspect the reasoning behind declaring a winner based on the opinion of grumpy middle-aged man Matt Yglesias (a logical fallacy) the response is to quote Matt Yglesias on why Matt Yglesias is correct that only the opinions of those like Matt Yglesias matter because he tells voters what to think.

  60. gVOR08 says:

    @the Q: @michael reynolds:

    The first duty of any politician is to get elected. – Adlai Stevenson

    (I could swear I’ve heard that quote attributed to Churchill.)

  61. gVOR08 says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    …the winner in all debates is created by media coverage, not by immediate impressions.

    I almost never watch debates. They’re long and boring and nothing interesting or instructive will happen. I avidly check the coverage and the punditry in the morning.

  62. Tony W says:

    @EddieInCA: With thanks to Chris Matthews: http://i.imgur.com/pmGYpD1.jpg

  63. michael reynolds says:

    @Grewgills:

    I think actually you made my case about radicalism: even during the great depression, when the rest of the world was choosing between communism and fascism, we abstained. And the Civil War had nothing to do with radical politics, it was southern big money vs. a northern insistence on unity. There was some radicalism in the nation’s founding, but that was two centuries ago, and it was only as “radical” as a group of Virginia planters and Boston merchants could generate. Contrast our revolution with what happened in France at roughly the same time.

    We do not do radical.

    @Ben Wolf:

    Well, we’ll get polls in the next few days and weeks. My guess is Bernie’s topped out. He might get a five point bump for a week, but then it’ll start to slide because, again: we don’t do radical, we do boring. We’ve got 200 years of picking some boring, more-or-less middle of the road president.

    I personally have no objection to you or anyone else criticizing Hillary. But don’t kid yourself, it’s Hillary or a Republican. That’s going to be the choice barring some health mishap. Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, then the big multi-state primaries. Bernie can win Iowa, he can even win New Hampshire, but then he’s done – too far left for NV or SC, too small-scale for the super primaries. Gene McCarthy isn’t going to win this time, either.

  64. MikeSJ says:

    @Tony W:

    My wife’s takeaway from the debates, realizing Bernie doesn’t really have a shot – “maybe we are done with the US, perhaps we should consider moving to a real first-world country in Europe”

    I understand the sentiment but I’d recommend New Zealand instead.

    I’m not convinced the importation of millions, followed by tens of millions of Muslim refugees in Europe is going to have a happy ending.

  65. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:

    even during the great depression, when the rest of the world was choosing between communism and fascism, we abstained.

    Almost all of the rest of the world abstained at that time as well. Only a handful of countries made either of those choices in that era and we were embroiled in that choice too.. The New Deal made radical changes that forestalled even more radical changes. Communism only really spread widely as a result of the Cold War replacing autocratic governments in most cases.
    Maybe you are defining radical much more narrowly than I am and we are just having a semantic disagreement.

  66. the Q says:

    I appreciate all the boys here commenting one way or another about my post.

    Of course I will vote for HRC over any wingnut, I am just opining that liberalism is not dead, its just been abandoned by the modern Dems.

    Someone said I must have voted for McGovern in 72…of course. Maybe some of you don’t remember but McGovern proposed ALL Americans have a stipend, clothes on their back, a roof over their head and food in their belly. This preposterous (to you modern Dems) proposal was not so outlandish back then,in fact, Nixon agreed in principle.

    McGovern suggested a Guaranteed Annual Income such that “every man, woman, and child receive from the federal government an annual payment,” a payment which would “not vary in accordance with the wealth of the recipient” nor be contingent on the family unit. In contrast to Nixon, McGovern believed payments should be made to individuals and childless couples.

    Here’s what Nixon said “What I am proposing is that the Federal Government build a foundation under the income of every American family with dependent children that cannot care for itself — and wherever in America that family may live.”

    This country is so piss poor conservative now, because the Dem party that I knew has disappeared, replaced by the likes of HRC.

    You see boys, even phucking Nixon and the GOP at the time, could be convinced that some guaranteed income go to poor folk.

    Can any of you imagine that happening with the Dems now? In fact, if Nixon ran today as a Dem, he would be seen as “too Liberal”.

  67. stonetools says:

    I’m not sure is Bernie is too left for America, objectively considered. He’s certainly no kook and deserves to be considered seriously, on the merits.
    What I am sure of is that when the right wing propaganda machine finishes with him, he will look like Leon Trotsky revividus . When people like Ben Wolf talk about taking a calm, considered look at Bernie Sander’s record, they’re talking about an alternate universe where Fox News, talk radio, and their power to warp reality doesn’t exist. Here on Earth Prime, you have to take all that into consideration, or you are entertaining a fantasy.
    The good thing about Hillary Clinton is that essentially the right wing media has done it’s worst. They’ve “vetted her” for 23 years and for the last two years, they’ve focused on her and only her. They’ve barely gestured at Bernie. What do you think is going to happen when they turn their attention to Sanders? . Are there going to be quotes that can be twisted out of context? Are there going to be pictures of him “paling around” with lefty figures or maybe Soviet officials? Are there going be the ads, with ominous music, of the socialist Bernie Sanders vacationing in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics? You betcha!
    Are Bernie and his followers ready for all that? My guess is no. He is certainly ready to talk issues. But you have to be ready for a lot more than that if you want to be a successful Democratic presidential candidate.

  68. DrDaveT says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    anyone who believes that Hillary is going to find her inner progressive if she gets elected is kidding themselves.

    Perhaps. Then again, perhaps the Supreme Court justices that HRC appoints will discover, in 2023, that the Constitution has all along required progressive policies that could never make it through our current Congress.

    I agree with you that HRC is not really a progressive, despite her claims. But I think she would appoint liberal justices — and that’s almost more useful to a progressive at this moment in history.