Thursday, April 07, 2016

On qualifications

The temperature inside the Democratic bubble increased overnight, with Twitter hashtags and their subsequent hijacking the order of the morning.  I think I'll dodge the catfight except to point out that Hillary and her people have always been just this progressive in their acidity, and she appears to have dragged Bernie down to her level at last, with this 'who's qualified' crapola.

Following a week where Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign refused to agree to a New York debate unless Bernie Sanders “toned down” his campaign, the Clinton campaign escalated its negative tone against Sanders, with one aide telling CNN their goal was to “disqualify” and “defeat him.”
One day after losing the Wisconsin primary by a sizable margin, Clinton appeared on “Morning Joe.” POLITICO’s Glenn Thrush gave Clinton a flattering interview. The New York Daily News published a cover story headlined, “Bernie’s Sandy Hook shame.” It accused Sanders of callously defending gun manufacturers against a lawsuit brought by relatives of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
As CNN reported, “It’s the latest chapter in Clinton’s approach to Sanders. She’s tried ignoring him, brushing him aside, gently dismissing his policies.”
“The Clinton campaign has refrained from going nuclear on Sanders, aides say, in large part to keep at least some goodwill alive in hopes of unifying the party at the end of the primary fight,” according to CNN. “No more, a top adviser [said]. The fight is on. Extending an olive branch to Sanders’ supporters ‘will come later.'

This is what her supporters refer to as her being "battle-tested", this fighting dirty like a Republican business.  It's one of the descriptions they file under 'qualified' (that she's withered the assaults from the right-wing and come out smiling).  The difference with Clinton is that all of her constant battling has left her weary and reactive in the most negative sense.  It has absolutely changed her for the worse over time.  Bearing scars from past scrapes has made her a much more bitter, vindictive candidate, one completely tone-deaf to her own hypocrisy.

To be redundant about it, I just don't think this long experience of fighting with everyone qualifies as a worthwhile presidential qualification.  And to be clear, I like my Democrats to be fighters, as a long list of archived posts here would show.  But in 2016, as in 2008, as her campaign loses enthusiasm and momentum, she and her subordinates aren't actually battling anything; they're flailing like a fish on the dock, trying to stick a spiny fin into somebody as they gasp for breath.

(T)he Clinton campaign and media outlets like CNN promote a false narrative that the campaign has not been in attack mode. Since September, she has used a network of surrogates and rapid response super PACs to push anti-Sanders talking points into the media.
Shadowproof has documented a pattern of dishonest attacks and rumors, particularly since January. The attacks include: Sanders supports Minutemen vigilantes and similar anti-immigrant hate groups, Sanders opposed bailing out auto workers, Sanders supports the NRA, Sanders wants to dismantle the Affordable Health Care Act, Sanders supported the indefinite detention of immigrants, and Sanders sees President Barack Obama as “weak” and will not support Obama’s legacy.
Voters have yet to see the full scope of what the Clinton campaign will sling at Sanders, but today’s interviews indicate she will return to her effort to paint Sanders as a gun-lover. She will focus on the fact that he is an independent senator, and, therefore, he is not a Democrat who will help the Democratic Party win in down-ballot elections in November. She also will attack him on regulating “too big to fail” banks and re-up her artful smear that Sanders has no respect for President Obama.

Let's take one example: the two candidates' perches on money in politics.  She has chosen the Rovian path -- attack your competitor's strength -- with her lambasting his responses in the now-infamous NYDN interview.

Hillary Clinton fashions herself as the ultimate general in a war against big-money politics.
“You're not going to find anybody more committed to aggressive campaign finance reform than me,” Clinton said following the New Hampshire primary.

But the Democratic presidential front-runner stands poised to bludgeon her general election opponent with Republicans’ favorite political superweapon: the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which earlier this decade launched a new era of unbridled fundraising.

Clinton’s massive campaign machine is built of the very stuff — super PACs, secret cash, unlimited contributions — she says she’ll attack upon winning the White House.

Indeed, a Center for Public Integrity investigation reveals that Clinton’s own election efforts are largely immune from her reformist platform. While Clinton rails against “unaccountable money" that is “corrupting our political system,” corporations, unions and nonprofits bankrolled by unknown donors have already poured millions of dollars into a network of Clinton-boosting political organizations. That’s on top of the tens of millions an elite club of Democratic megadonors, including billionaires George Soros and Haim Saban, have contributed.

She has to keep having $700,000 fundraisers with George Clooney headlining because Bernie Sanders gets $1.5 million dollars a day from people who can only give $27 on average.  I'm sure it's been humiliating for Candidate Clinton to have to keep beating the streets for more big donors even as Sanders outraises her with his legions of small ones.  This is to say nothing about the ethical standards of the people who are raising her money.  They're not all as squeaky clean as Clooney.

Her ability to pump this much jack -- specifically the craven panhandling for it -- has become a liability, one holding sway with Republicans as well as Democrats.

A Center for Public Integrity/Ipsos poll conducted in late February indicates many potential general election voters are likewise concerned about how serious Clinton is about remaking the nation’s campaign system —a monumental challenge under any circumstance, but a goal supported by the vast majority of Americans.
Half of all poll respondents overall — and nearly four in 10 self-identified Democrats — said Clinton is relying on super PACs and big money too much. That compares to 18 percent overall who said Clinton is relying on them the “right amount” and 5 percent who said “too little.”
And when asked, “If elected president, which of the following would do the most to reform the campaign finance system and make it less reliant on big money?” Clinton trailed both Sanders and Trump among respondents.

Her deeds don't match her words.  She has no credibility on the issue.

Citizens United reformer or no, she's very unlikely to be getting things done, progressively or not-so-much, with a Congress gone putrid after eight years of obstructing Obama.  (Sanders will have this same problem as well, of course.)  Supreme Court justice nominees with a freshly-Democratic Senate in 2017 should fare better, but climate initiatives that include something as innocuous as a BDS effort are a non-starter in a Clinton II Administration, and forget about $15/hour minimum wage jobs and an economy for the working class and not the investor/donor class.

As with our government-approved, private sector profit-motivated healthcare insurance, we're all just going to have to "keep shopping" until we find something we can get by with.  If the definition of 'qualified' includes the public duty of First Lady as her longest term of experience -- neither an elected nor appointed position -- yet you wish to have that experience considered only when it suits you and not when it doesn't, then we might just have to agree to disagree.

No comments: