Browsing the blog archives for March, 2016.


So If Trump Supporters Riot at the Cleveland RNC Convention, Will Gov. Kasich Call Out the National Guard?

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Obama Administration

Interesting thought, huh? Ohio governors do have history regarding the Guard.

This is a scenario Charles Pierce alluded to, after DT hinted that his people might riot at the convention if he doesn’t get the nomination, and I confess it hadn’t occurred to me before. This might give us a clue why Kasich is bothering to stay in the race. Maybe he’s planning a coup.

Since this is Saint Paddy’s Day, let’s quote the Irish Times:

With most of the remaining states allocating delegates proportionally, Kasich’s aides believe he could prevail at a convention at which no candidate enters with a majority.

“The plan is to win Ohio, and some other states, and if that happens, nobody is going to have enough delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot,” said John Weaver, Kasich’s chief campaign strategist, who also worked on Republican Senator John McCain’s losing presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2008.

Kasich’s plan, according to aides, is to leverage the momentum to gather more endorsements from mainstream party insiders and Republican donors.

With the wind at his back, he hopes to score more victories in upcoming primaries including Pennsylvania, Maryland, Wisconsin, Connecticut and California, where he believes the terrain is friendlier to his brand of Republican moderation.

It’s a long shot, but it’s a shot. And, frankly, I’m not sure Hillary Clinton could beat John Kasich in a general election. He’s anodyne enough to pass for normal; she is more hated than loved.

Thanks again, Debbie Wasserman Schultz …

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Another Anthony Kennedy

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Obama Administration, Supreme Court

First-term President Obama made a surprise reappearance today and announced the nomination of a “centrist” SCOTUS pick, Merrick Garland. Some guy at Salon wrote,

It’s easy to understand why. Garland is the epitome of a bland choice: a centrist, impeccably credentialed white man. In choosing him, Obama passed over several more interesting and/or liberal picks, and nominated someone whose judicial history suggests he might actually move the court to the right on criminal justice issues. In an election year, at a time when Democrats are fervently pitching themselves as the party of a changing, increasingly diverse nation, when the nominee could have been the potential embodiment of a leftward transformation on the court, Garland is a deflating sort of pick.

In other words, he sounds like another Anthony Kennedy to me. We’re squandering a court pick for this?

This is from ThinkProgress:

The former prosecutor also has a relatively conservative record on criminal justice. A 2010 examination of his decisions by SCOTUSBlog’s Tom Goldstein determined that “Judge Garland rarely votes in favor of criminal defendants’ appeals of their convictions.” Goldstein “identified only eight such published rulings,” in addition to seven where “he voted to reverse the defendant’s sentence in whole or in part, or to permit the defendant to raise a argument relating to sentencing on remand,” during the 13 years Garland had then spent on the DC Circuit.

To be clear, Garland’s record does not suggest that he would join the Court’s right flank if confirmed to the Supreme Court. He would likely vote much more often than not with the Supreme Court’s liberals, while occasionally casting a heterodox vote. Nevertheless, as Goldstein wrote in 2010 when Garland was under consideration to replace the retiring liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, “to the extent that the President’s goal is to select a nominee who will articulate a broad progressive vision for the law, Judge Garland would be a very unlikely candidate to take up that role.”

Nancy LeTourneau at Washington Monthly wrote,

There are some on the left who are expressing disappointment that President Obama didn’t chose a nominee with a more progressive legal record. But those folks don’t understand this President’s commitment to pragmatism as a strategy. For those who prefer battle analogies, he prefers to defend the high ground.

Yeah, the high ground and $5 will get you a 20 pierce Chick McNuggets, I understand. I don’t want the high ground; I want another Ruther Bader Ginsburg. Now now now!

If the Republicans ain’t gonna hold hearings anyway, what’s the point of trying to appease them? Paul Waldman and Charles Pierce both think this is a smart political move, and maybe it is, but I don’t like it.

 

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National Review Dumps the White Working Class

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Obama Administration

I don’t normally quote the National Review, but this article was so extraordinary — not in a good way — that I felt compelled to point to it. And jeer.

The original article, by Kevin Williamson, is behind a subscription firewall, but here it is quoted in another article. Speaking of white working-class supporters of Donald Trump, Williamson said,

The white middle class may like the idea of Trump as a giant pulsing humanoid middle finger held up in the face of the Cathedral, they may sing hymns to Trump the destroyer and whisper darkly about “globalists” and — odious, stupid term — “the Establishment,” but nobody did this to them. They failed themselves.

If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog — you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that.

Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence — and the incomprehensible malice — of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain’t what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down.

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.

One might ask, where can these people drive a U-Haul to find steady jobs that pay a living wage, so that they might put down roots and raise families, etc.? Because I sure as hell don’t know, either.

Of course, in National Review land, these people aren’t being marginalized because the economy has no place for them. It’s all the fault of government handouts! The author of the linked article, David French, seems to think all these rednecks on narcotics are living off bogus disability checks. There’s no evidence supporting claims of rampant fraud in the SSD system, but it’s a beloved myth on the Right.

Weirdly, while David French thinks the fracturing of the Holy Nuclear Family is what’s wrong with America, in the past he has defended Bristol Palin as a perfectly wholesome roll model for American youth. Of course, he also mentioned this —

My wife, Nancy, worked with Sarah on her most recent book, she worked with Bristol on her book, she edits Bristol’s blog on Patheos, and I represented Bristol in a lawsuit — when a man sued her after he profanely accosted her at a bar. (He lost.)

And French is a staff writer at National Review. I ask you, who is a bigger freeloader on society? French, his wife, and the Palins? Or some injured, unemployed guy attempting to keep himself alive on stingy SSD payments? Hmm…

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We Knew This Was Coming

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Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Regarding the violence breaking out in Trump rallies — how many of us have been saying for years that the Right would probably turn violent if they perceived they were losing power? Inflammatory rhetoric has been priming them for years. And they finally figured out the Republican Party elites weren’t leading them where they thought they were going.

All they needed was some two-bit demagogue giving them permission to act out their inner bigot.

The Los Angeles Times has a story about how some student groups at U of Chicago got together to shut down Trump’s rally Friday night.

Planning for the event started Monday night, when leaders from a range of groups gathered in a campus lecture hall. They included the Black Student Union, the Muslim Student Assn. and the Fearless Undocumented Association, which advocates for immigrants in the country illegally.

Other local and national activism groups also got involved, including some local labor organizations, Black Lives Matter and MoveOn.Org, which has endorsed Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.

Interesting. Anyway, I agree with Dave Neiwert, who writes,

Any kind of violence, even defensive or responsive, from Trump’s opponents is going to be used as an excuse to escalate, ad infinitum.

This is a very dangerous time, and progressives are going to have to be smart about how they confront this tactic, which is going to happen increasingly as the election year drags along. They are going to have to be incredibly disciplined, and incredibly committed to nonviolence when confronted with the viciousness of the budding Brownshirts on the other side.

Yesterday Trump tweeted, “Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disruptors aren’t told to go to my events. Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!” To which Sanders responded, “Send them. They deserve to see what a real honest politician sounds like.”

David Atkins has been writing some great stuff at Washington Monthly this weekend, such as why Karl Rove and David Brooks are worse than Trump. And why Donald Trump is Merely the Symptom. The Republican Party Itself is the Disease. But I want to call your attention particularly to How Clinton’s Reagan-AIDS Gaffe Helps Explain Why Populism Is Rising.

When we look at the populist movements taking hold of both of the left and the right in America, a common thread is anger at elites who seem to be more interested in maintaining a comfortable duopoly than in actually solving problems. There’s a sense that America is governed by a set of wealthy and entrenched incompetents who are so socially and economically enmeshed with one another that they’re incapable of holding one another to account or feeling the pain of normal Americans.

As Chris Hayes explains in his tremendous book Twilight of the Elites, American contempt for institutions and their leaders derives from the poisonous effect of the social connection and comfort of those classes: wealthy political elites go to all the same cocktail parties and their kids all go to the same fancy schools. They buy into each others’ myths, they lose touch with reality and they lose the ability to hold each other to account.

Pretty well said.

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Unintended Consequences

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Sanders and Clinton

Even the major news outlets are calling out Hillary Clinton for bad behavior. This is the editorial board of the New York Times:

Even with a double-digit lead before the primary, she failed to avoid the type of negative tactics that could damage her in the long haul. A new Washington Post-ABC poll says that nationally, Mrs. Clinton’s margin over Bernie Sanders has shrunk: she polls at 49 percent compared with 42 percent for Mr. Sanders; in January her lead was more than double that. If she hopes to unify Democrats as the nominee, trying to tarnish Mr. Sanders as she did in Michigan this week is not the way to go.

Mrs. Clinton’s falsely parsing Mr. Sanders’s Senate vote on a 2008 recession-related bailout bill as abandoning the auto industry rescue hurt her credibility. As soon as she uttered it in Sunday’s debate, the Democratic strategist David Axelrod registered his dismay, tweeting that the Senate vote wasn’t explicitly a vote about saving the auto industry. Even as reporters challenged her claim, she doubled down in ads across the state. As The Washington Post noted, “it seems like she’s willing to take the gamble that fact-checkers may call her out for her tactic Sunday — but that voters won’t.”

Charles Pierce made the same call.

During Sunday night’s debate, HRC hit Bernie Sanders with something of a cheap shot—David Axelrod’s term, and mine—regarding the auto bailout. (In merciful brief, Sanders supported a bill bailing out the auto industry as a stand-alone measure. The auto bailout eventually got folded into the release of the second part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and Sanders voted against that, on the grounds that the Wall Street bailout included in the TARP program lacked sufficient government oversight, which it did.) At the time, the argument was considered something of a well-timed coup for the Clinton campaign, blunting Sanders’ ferocious attacks on Clinton-era trade policies.

But, as I talked to more and more people around Flint, I got the sense that the resonance of the exchange was not what HRC and her campaign thought it would be. The UAW members I talked to clearly considered HRC’s use of the auto bailout against Sanders to be at best a half-truth, and a cynical attempt to win their support, and they were offended by what they saw as a glib attempt to turn the state’s economic devastation into a campaign weapon. These were people who watched the auto industry flee this city and this state, and they knew full well how close the country’s remaining auto industry came to falling apart completely in 2008 and 2009. They knew this issue because they’d lived it, and they saw through what the HRC campaign was trying to do with the issue. I have no data to support how decisive this feeling was in Tuesday night’s returns, but it seems to me to be one of the more interesting examples of unintended consequences that I’d heard in a while.

James Hohmann of the Washington Post writes that Clinton was making downright reckless charges against Sanders in last night’s debate. He sides with “minutemen” militia? He is a tool of the Koch brothers? WTF? You should really read this whole thing.  I’ll just quote this bit:

By coming at him from all sides, Clinton’s overarching message was mushy and discordant. What’s so baffling is that Clinton did not need to go this route. Despite Tuesday’s setback in the Midwest, she’s marching toward the Democratic nomination. Because of her huge margin in Mississippi, she actually received more delegates. Even if she wanted to attack, a lot of this dirty work is best left to surrogates – or even paid advertising.

I keep saying this is the only way she knows how to campaign, and it reveals something flawed in her character.

Gail Collins: “Hillary Clinton is by far the best qualified candidate for president. But at this point in the campaign, you can understand why some people feel that voting for her against Bernie Sanders is like rewarding Washington for its worst behavior.”

Charles Blow had an interesting observation:

As I have been saying on social media, both Clinton and Sanders had electoral hurdles that they had to clear. Clinton’s was to win by large margins in states not in the Deep South that are reliably Democratic or that are swing states in the general election. Sanders’s hurdle was to demonstrate that he could win in states where the portion of nonwhite Democratic primary voters was greater than a quarter of the whole.

Only one person cleared his hurdle Tuesday: Bernie Sanders.

I said awhile back that if Sanders can survive March, he gets more competitive in the later primaries. March 15 is going to be a hurdle for him. Michigan may have been a fluke, or it may have been a turning point. We’ll see.

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Oh, Wait …

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Bad Hair, Sanders and Clinton

Yesterday’s upset in Michigan has the FiveThirtyEight crew reeling. The polls said that Hillary Clinton would take Michigan by at least 20 percentage points, if not 30. But she lost. The algorithm gods were wrong.  I dare say Nate Silver and crew have never been off by that much. “Sanders’s win in Michigan was one of the greatest upsets in modern political history,” said one.

And I must say I was surprised, too. During the two Michigan pre-primary debates/town halls/whatever, Hillary Clinton had attempted the Karl Rovian trick of saying  Sanders had voted against the auto bailout bill, leaving out the part about it being part of the TARP bill. Clinton did carry Flint and Detroit, but, glory be, the rest of electorate didn’t fall for it.

It’s possible Michigan was a fluke. It’s also possible that what happened in Michigan could happen in Ohio and Illinois next week. If the Dem establishment were smart — and I don’t think they are that smart, frankly — they would be paying attention to what Sanders supporters want, and taking it seriously.

I like what D.D. Guttenplan wrote in The Nation:

…what Michigan shows is that Bernie’s voters are every bit as important to a Democratic victory as Hillary’s. Especially if, as the Michigan results also suggest, those voters include an increasing number of African-American voters. Perhaps instead of telling Sanders voters to “get in line” behind the inevitable nominee, Clinton supporters should tell their candidate to stop telling lies.

We’ve all read thousands of words about how Bernie needs to respect Hillary, and how the Bernie Bros need to lay off Hillary supporters (much of which I agree with). And as the veteran broadcaster Salim Muwakkil pointed out recently on Facebook, Sanders needs to keep listening and learning to correct his racial blindspots—“and his supporters must not rush to keep [those] blinders intact.”

But we also need to say clearly that the Hillary supporters need to stop denigrating Bernie as a racist or sexist when he clearly isn’t, stop condescending to his supporters for wanting fundamental, rather than cosmetic, change to our rigged economy and corrupt politics, and stop using the kind of underhanded, Nixonian tactics that seem designed to keep Sanders voters home in November.

Meanwhile, as Sanders pulled off what was arguably a historic upset, the cable news networks were glued to Donald Trump’s utterly surreal victory speech. In a way I don’t blame them; it was so bizarre it was hard to not watch. Here’s just a bit:

And Mitt got up — and he really shouldn’t have done it, it wasn’t becoming, honestly — and he talked about the water company. Well, there’s…

Trump steaks — where are the steaks? Do we have steaks? We have Trump steaks. He said the steak company, and we have Trump steaks. And by the way,…

We have Trump Magazine. Let me see the magazine. He said Trump Magazine is out. I said, it is? I thought I read one two days ago. This comes out and it’s called The Jewel of Palm Beach and we…

So — and the airline, by the way, I sold the airline. You know, he said Trump Airline. Well, I sold the airline and I actually made a great deal,…

And by the way, Trump University, it’s — we’re holding it. When I win the lawsuit, which I’ll win, the — they did an ad — Rubio did an ad…

And I’m — I just want to explain. I — and the United States should be this — I don’t settle lawsuits, very rare, because once you settle lawsuits,…

So when I saw the different things — and by the way, the winery, you see the wine, because he mentioned Trump vodka, it’s the largest winery on the…

And so I just want to — so I want to put that to rest. So you have the water, you have the steaks, you have the airline that I sold. I mean, what’s…

That’s copied directly from the CSPAN transcript. He went on like that for nearly an hour.

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Community Service

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Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

It’s only March and I’m already in the ohgodwhenwillthisend phase of the political year. So let’s think about something more cheerful.

The Malheur Malcontents are still in jail. That’s something.

Saturday the faithful held demonstrations of support for the imprisoned, um, patriots. More than one hundred people rallied outside the Portland federal courthouse.

The so-called patriot movement made efforts to broaden its message to connect with other activist groups like Black Lives Matter. …

…“These people that are in these cells up here, right now, they’re guilty of a community service act,” said Rich Morelan, an Aumsville, Oregon, man who helped organize the protest. “They came in and they cleaned that [refuge] building up. There was no violence.”…

…The Malheur refuge was found in a state of disarray, the manager calling it “one big mess.” The Paiute tribe is still reeling from the disruption of their sacred sites on refuge grounds.

“Imagine if I went to Washington, D.C., to the cemetery where all the military are and dug a hole and made a latrine out of it, like they did to my people’s burial grounds,” he said. “That’s the only way I can explain it to non-natives.”

Cliven Bundy appeared before a federal judge Friday.

Bundy, 69, stood with a deputy federal public defender at his side as he heard the 16 charges against him including conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, assault on a federal officer, threatening a federal officer, obstruction of justice, interference with interstate commerce by extortion and several firearms charges.

There is some question about whether Cliven qualifies for a public defender.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Carl Hoffman said Bundy would remain in custody until at least next Thursday. The time will let him hire a lawyer or file revised financial disclosure forms.

The judge expressed doubt about whether a report that Bundy filed in Oregon qualifies him for a lawyer at federal expense.

Cliven own a ranch and a whole lot of cattle, right? Turns out rounding up Cliven’s cattle won’t be easy.

The 69-year-old landowner, whose ranch 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas was the scene of a 2014 standoff with the Bureau of Land Management, was arrested last month on charges related to the Nevada incident when he left his ranch to travel to Oregon, where his sons were involved in another standoff with federal officials. Meanwhile, his 1,000 head of cattle are still roaming federal lands due, in part, to his absence and also to what officials call his “unconventional, if not bizarre” ranching methods.

“Rather than manage and control his cattle, he lets them run wild on the public lands with little, if any, human interaction until such time when he traps them and hauls them off to be sold or slaughtered,” said court documents filed by federal prosecutors last month. “He does not vaccinate or treat his cattle for disease; does not employ cowboys to control and herd them; does not manage or control breeding; has no knowledge of where all the cattle are located at any given time; rarely brands them.” …

… With Bundy in prison, his cows are “left to fend for themselves year-round, fighting off predators and scrounging for the meager amounts of food and water,” according to federal prosecutors. In addition, the authorities maintain that the surviving cattle are “wild, mean and ornery” and are destroying fragile plant species and even destroying sacred Indian artifacts.

No wonder he had plenty of time to stand around talking to journalists. He doesn’t do any work. Apparently if he needs to sell some cattle he goes out and traps some. They also show up on roads and golf courses and other people’s property. Sounds like rounding them up and getting them off that land would be a real community service.

There were more arrests last week of “militia” members who participated in the 2014 standoff. These included two more of Clivin’s sons — Davey, 39, and Mel, 41 — and Jerry DeLemus, the New Hampshire co-chair for Donald Trump.   I’m surprised there were enough un-arrested people left to hold demonstrations. Lots of felony charges are being brought against these guys; I suspect their bad ranching days are over.

Meanwhile, the people who run Malheur say it’s a big mess. Not much structural damage, but files were scattered and the offices need a lot of cleaning. Also there was a lot of habitat work that had to be postponed because of the occupation.

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Nancy Reagan, 1921-2016

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American History

I’m sure she’s already ordered new china and is planning to replace the celestial draperies.

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How to Kill a State

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Republican Party

There’s a devastating article in the Washington Post about how falling oil prices and Bobby Jindal’s policies have pretty much destroyed Louisiana.

The math is daunting: For the fiscal year that ends June 30, Louisiana is facing a $940 million deficit, roughly one-eighth of what the state typically doles out from its general fund in a year. For 2016-2017, which begins July 1, the gap is $2 billion.

“This was years of mismanagement by a governor who was more concerned about satisfying a national audience in a presidential race,” said Jay Dardenne (R), the lieutenant governor under Jindal and now the state’s commissioner of administration. Dardenne said Jindal had helped the state put off its day of reckoning in a way that mirrored a “Ponzi scheme.”

Of course, the shit is hitting the fan just as a Democratic governor is taking office. Watch the Republican Party blame Louisiana’s pain on John Bel Edwards. And then they’ll persuade voters that the way back to prosperity is to run the state the way Bobby Jindal ran it. They might not use his name, but it’ll be the same Ponzi scheme.

And then there’s Chris Christie.

What Christie did when he endorsed the brashly divisive billionaire is between him and his conscience. How he got there is the more interesting question.

When this whole process started eons ago, many experts predicted that voters who found President Obama’s experience lacking would find executive records appealing. And indeed, the field filled with governors, not just Christie but Florida’s Jeb Bush, Texas’ Rick Perry, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich and of course, Louisiana’s own Bobby Jindal.

Turns out governing experience what not what most primary voters wanted. 

…There are many reasons this is so, but one could be how these governors have behaved in office. Rather than show the world what they could do by running a state well, Jindal and Christie in particular tailored their policies and priorities to sell on the national stage.

And both paid the price back home. Jindal left office in January with stunningly low approval numbers, and anger over his fiscal irresponsibility is about the only thing Republicans and Democrats in Baton Rouge have in common. Christie too is deeply unpopular in his own state. After he shocked the world by signing on as a Trump surrogate, six New Jersey newspapers published a joint editorial calling him to resign.

“We’re fed up with Gov. Chris Christie’s arrogance,” the papers wrote. “We’re fed up with his opportunism. We’re fed up with his hypocrisy.”

I don’t think we yet know how much damage Christie did to New Jersey, although NJ’s proximity to New York City tends to buffer it from total ruin.

Perhaps Jeb Bush didn’t destroy Florida, but Jeb wasn’t quite as “conservative” as his successor Rick Scott.  From what I can see from here, Scott and Rick Perry of Texas are very much alike. They can both pull all kinds of statistics out of their butts to show how their policies helped their states, but when the dust settles somehow low- and middle-income people are still getting poorer and poorer.

And what can one say about Scott Walker, except … damn, what a maroon. See Scott Walker destroyed his state’s economy and A closer look at Wisconsin’s economy under Gov. Scott Walker, which begins,

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is looking for a new job but, unfortunately, so are too many of his constituents.

At least Sam Brownback, who destroyed Kansas; and Rick Snyder of Flint, Michigan lead poisoning fame are not running for President.

And now we get to John Kasich, the allegedly “centrist” Republican still running for President. You can find a lot of puff pieces about the wonderful things Kasich has done for Ohio, but others are not so sure. Ohio has mirrored the national recovery rate; Kasich takes credit. However, for 32 consecutive months, the state has trailed the national average for monthly job growth, says an article published in August 2015. About the best thing one can say about Kasich’s Ohio is that it doesn’t seem to be as bad off as Kansas. Or Louisiana. Or Wisconsin …

In short, if you really want to destroy your state’s economy, elect a Republican governor. That’ll do the job.

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Hillary Clinton: “Shame on You, Barack Obama”

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Obama-Biden, Sanders and Clinton

Hillary Clinton really cannot learn. The longer her campaign goes on, the more it seems like a re-run of 2008 against Barack Obama.

Example: In his rallies Sanders has been calling Hillary Clinton the “outsourcer in chief” because of her past support of trade deals such as NAFTA and the TPP. She very recently changed her tune on TPP — her pollsters must have told her it’s not a popular position. (In one of the debates, Anderson Cooper accused her of “political expediency.”)  And now she’s playing one of her classic victims games to say she’s being smeared.  “Bernie Sanders stoops to desperate tactics” her surrogates shriek.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a blast from the past. Here is a moment from the 2008 campaign against Barack Obama.

 Sen. Hillary Clinton, needing wins in delegate-rich Texas and Ohio to overtake Sen. Barack Obama in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, ramped up her criticism of Obama Saturday, accusing his team of negative campaign tactics “straight out of Karl Rove’s playbook.”

Clinton addressed two mailings the Obama campaign distributed in Ohio – one that lambasts her position on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which her husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed into law, and another that criticizes her proposed health-care plan.

“I have to express my deep disappointment – he is continuing to send false and discredited mailings with information that is not true to the voters of Ohio,” she said, shaking the mailings to punctuate her remarks.

The NAFTA mailer accuses Clinton of switching her position on the trade agreement, saying the senator from New York was a “champion” for NAFTA while first lady, but now opposes it. …

The mailers are “blatantly false and yet he continues to spend millions of dollars perpetuating falsehoods. That is not the new politics that the speeches are about,” she said. “It is not hopeful; it is destructive.”

She added, “Shame on you, Barack Obama – it is time that you ran a campaign consistent with your messages in public. That is what I expect from you. Meet me in Ohio and let’s have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign.”

Obama spokesman Bill Burton denied Clinton’s assertions that the mailers were false.

Her pattern is to just love those job-killing trade bills until she’s running for the presidency, and then she suddenly realizes they were a bad idea after all — until the next job-killing trade bill comes along later.

Here’s another one, from another 2008 news clip.

Hillary Clinton accused Barack Obama of stooping to “desperate” tactics, as polls put her on track for a solid, morale-boosting win in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania presidential primary. …

The New York senator argued in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer that despite trailing Obama in nominating wins and elected delegates, she was still the most likely Democrat to beat Republican John McCain in November.

“He can be elected; I will be elected,” Clinton said, and accused Obama of resorting to sharply negative tactics in the final hours of the battle for Pennsylvania, which heralds the end-game of the contentious White House battle.

“I think he’s doing what candidates do when they get desperate at the end of an election,” Clinton said. “He is now undermining his message. He has spent all this time crossing Pennsylvania talking about how he runs a positive campaign, except when he gets pressed, and he starts throwing … the ‘kitchen sink’ at me.” …

… She argues that only she can capture big states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, by wooing socially conservative blue-collar voters that Democrats need to piece together a route back to the White House.

Clinton’s people also are pushing for Sanders to get out of the race, as she has a nearly (but not completely) insurmountable lead. This is rich, coming from someone who didn’t concede to Obama until June, and even then was spectacularly ungracious about it.  Read this post by Chris Suellentrop from the New York Times, June 4, 2008:

Maybe it was her night after all: Hillary Clinton decided not to withdraw from the presidential campaign tonight, and the liberals in blogville are not happy about it, to put it mildly. Matthew Yglesias of The Atlantic begins his blog post on Clinton’s speech by writing, “I probably shouldn’t write any more about this woman and her staff. Suffice it to say that I’ve found her behavior over the past couple of months to be utterly unconscionable and this speech is no different.” He continues, ” I think if I were to try to express how I really feel about the people who’ve been enabling her behavior, I’d say something deeply unwise. Suffice it to say, that for quite a while now all of John McCain’s most effective allies have been on Hillary Clinton’s payroll.”

At The American Prospect’s Tapped blog, Dana Goldstein calls Clinton’s speech “troublesome.” “The more I think about it, the more it seems that Hillary’s entire speech was manufactured to rile up her supporters — instead of priming them to shift their allegiance to Obama,” Goldstein writes. “Yes, there’s a situation with Michigan and Florida. But is it really fair for Clinton to claim that her 18 million supporters nationwide have been made ‘invisible?’ Who’s supposed to be the bad guy here, scary Howard Dean? Clinton is offering more fighting rhetoric. But the fight should be over. Hillary tonight was a woman standing down more than half her party’s supporters and practically the entire Democratic establishment.”

The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait uses even tougher language. “I’d say that anybody on her staff who cares about their party has a moral obligation to publicly quit and endorse Obama,” he writes at The Plank, TNR’s staff blog. Chait also writes of the speech:

Incredible. She justifies her continuing the campaign by saying that she finished the campaign. She doesn’t concede that Obama has a majority of delegates, let alone that he’s won. She repeats her bogus popular vote argument. She congratulates Obama’s campaign on its “achievements,” but barely musters a single good word about him.

Chait’s colleagues at The New Republic are almost as exercised. Isaac Chotiner, also writing at The Plank, calls the speech “combative and petty” and headlines his post, “A Total Disgrace.” He concludes, “If Clinton wants people to believe that she cares more about the Democratic Party than her own career, she is failing badly.”

There’s a lot more to that. It’s not pretty.  I guess a lot of people have forgotten this; I have not.

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