No Ideological Battle?

By this time next year the presidential primary campaigns are going to be getting serious. A lot can happen in a year. Candidates with early media buzz often fall apart. I refuse to predict anything now. Still, it’s getting a little late for someone we don’t already know to get traction and become a serious contender.

So who are we stuck with? The GOP, according to this article, has Paul, Cruz, Christie, Perry, Walker, Rubio, and Jeb Bush in the first tier, but each of these guys has some kind of big oozing liability going on. Governors Bobby Jindal, Mike Pence and John Kasich are possibilities if the first tier falls apart. Jindal is his own liability, although I haven’t spent much time looking at Pence and Kasich. There’s even some buzz about Mitt Romney running again. Good luck getting a personality transplant, dude.

But the Democratic possibilities depress me. I don’t want Hillary Clinton. I rarely hear from anyone who does.Yet I keep hearing she is popular! But with who, I wonder?

This article talks about five potential challengers to Clinton. And who are they?

We all love Liz Warren. The entire progressive Left would take a bullet for Warren. But she says she’s not running.

I have mixed feelings about Joe Biden. I like him, but I don’t have a strong sense of what sort of President he might be.

I keep hearing great things through the grapevine about Martin O’Malley, but if he wants it he’s got to start making a bigger splash.

I love Bernie Sanders, but he’s not really a Dem, and of all the possibilities I think he’d be the weakest general election candidate, I’m afraid.

Russ Feingold? Really? The article says he’s not been on anyone radar of late. There’s a reason for that. He’s flaked out on us once too often.

Martin “Booman” Longman brings up Al Gore. Out of politics for too long, I say. Martin says O’Malley hasn’t caught fire with the grassroots, but I think that’s because they don’t know who he is.  If we assume Liz Warren really isn’t running, then of this entire field he’s in the best position to offer himself as the I’m Not Hillary candidate. But he’s got to make more noise.

Are we really going to just sit down and hand the nomination to Hillary Clinton? Martin writes,

Is the left even in the mood to have an ideological battle in 2016? Perhaps there is some appetite for it, but I haven’t seen it reflected in our elected leaders. The Republicans are acting so badly that the left has united in response and reaction.

Personally, I’d be up for an ideological battle, but I am not going to lie to you and say that I see many people by my side.

But, dammit, we should be having an ideological battle. Now is the time progressives ought to be pushing the the Democrats as far left as they can be pushed. Hillary Clinton does not reflect many of our values. Why aren’t we fighting about this? I honesty don’t understand.

31 thoughts on “No Ideological Battle?

  1. Well, if Hillary can break the gender barrier then for that reason alone it might be worth supporting her. It seems to me that no matter who gets elected they’re not going to meet our expectations anyway. There’s an old cliché in baseball that goes.. A hit is as good as a run. Maybe that idea could be applied to advancing women’s voices in America. Of course it can be used to the opposite effect by claiming that women have arrived and their struggle for equality has been achieved, much like Obama’s election brought an end to racism in America.

  2. Given the stakes in 2016 — not the least of which is the SCOTUS — I will swallow my self-respect, hold my nose, and vote for the Democratic nominee. (And, barring some unforeseen circumstances, I suspect that nominee will be HRC by default.)

  3. She did zilch in the Senate. She’d set back economic populism for the rest of our lifetimes. She’s way too much of a hawk. Yeah, compared to any Republican she’s brilliant, but we can do better.

  4. Hey, you forgot to mention Herman Cain. You know, if he tweaks his 9-9-9 plan to maybe something like 9-6-4 it might give him the traction to propel him into the White House. I hear he’s still kicking around the idea of taking another shot for the presidency.

    ” Damn the sexual harassment claims, full speed ahead”

  5. I’m going to stick my neck out and predict that Hillary Clinton will not be our next president even if she wins the nomination. In fact, I doubt she could become president if the Voice of God came down and annointed her during the Superbowl halftime. The reason: too much experience in the executive branch of the Federal government. The powers that be do not want a candidate that is actually qualified AND who has his or her own constituency inside the government. Hillary would be too independent. Regardless of what she says now, the fact that she was once an Alinsky fan would send tremors throughout the establishment. Look at the presidents since Nixon. Only one had any experience in the executive branch of the Federal government before becoming president, and he served only one term. Most were governors of states with no federal experience. I admit that this is just a hypothesis (and a cynical one at that), but it will be tested in a couple of years. My guess is that a Jimmy Carter-type candidate will come out of nowhere and get the nomination and maybe the presidency. Or maybe Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio that gave the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic convention (a form of annointment). Hillary will be sidelined.

    • TomL — I can’t see how one could call Hillary Clinton independent of the Dem establishment, Her web of associates and connections pretty much IS the Dem establishment. And can we retire poor Saul Alinsky? He really wasn’t the boogyman, you know, and invoking his name amounts to a big, sparkly “Look at me! I’m a troll!” sign. Give it a rest.

  6. It seems that both sides have little to offer. I do like swami’s Herman Cain idea, he’ll be down to 6-6-6, a reliable fertilizer for avocado and citrus. I think Herman was in the mix for comic relief and to prove there is no race factor in the republican party.
    I see Hillary fatigue at the moment and doubt she will put any sizzle in the steak. Al Gore is thought a bore, don’t think we’ll get a Jewish candidate, but don’t rule it out.
    Jeb may be the default on the right. His campaign slogan might be “new and improved” or “smarter than dubya, less insane than Cheney”
    Maybe the lord-a will send us a savior.

  7. I’m not HRC’s biggest fan, either.
    But, if she’s the candidate, I will volunteer and work just as hard as I did for the Obama campaign, in 2008.
    She’s the Democratic Parties “name” candidate.
    The rest of the D’s would have to battle for name recognition – including Elizabeth Warren – AND, O’Malley.
    And that might open-up the election for a Republican – something not only we can ill afford, but wcould be disastrous!
    So, if she’s “IT!”, then I’ll be volunteering for her.
    If it’s someone else – terrific!
    But it has to be someone who’ll win the general election.

    What happened to my perplexed yellow circle-puss?
    DAMN YOU, NEW LAPTOP!!! (On my Dell charge account, which is now $20 more per month!!!!!).
    Now, I’m a one-toothed light blue cross-eyed uni-browed six-sided moron?
    Oh well…
    If the shoe fits…

  8. It seems Hillary is already slipping ion the polls:,%202014%20McClatchy_Marist%20Poll%20Release%20and%20Tables.pdf

    There are several petitions out there to get Bernie Sanders to run, if only to push a more progressive agenda into the eventual nominee’s campaign. I do believe he said he would if enough public support is out there. Finances are one major stumbling block.

    Just a note there are Sanders/Warren 2016 bumper stickers out there:

    Perhaps if sales of these products grow, it will be enough to nudge him that much more more into running. As Colbert says, the market has spoken. It just needs to speak louder.

  9. Sigh. I suppose this will be my only opportunity to express my preference for Joe Biden. It sure does look like the PTB will not accept nominating the sitting VP of a (IMO) successful administration.

    This is the point in time where I put off thinking about presidential politics to wait and see.

  10. What happened to my perplexed yellow circle-puss?

    Did you change your email address where you enter it into the Leave a Reply required information dialog box? The avatar is linked to the email address.

  11. I’m in the “hold nose & vote for Hillary” camp. Both EW and Bernie (hoo, boy, do I ever love Bernie!!) are too liberal for the country. Either one as candidate would hand the election to almost any Repub you can think of. I live in the state next door to O’Malley’s. My daily paper (WaPo) covers him extensively. He strikes me as very plain vanilla–totally personality- and policy-free. Still, I’ll vote for any Dem over any Repub. Because SCOTUS. And because coattails.

    OT: Gulag: your new persona is utterly charming.

  12. I have a couple of clients who are raging right-wingers (this IS Mississippi, after all) who regularly forward me idiotic diatribes against Alinksy, whom I greatly admire, so maybe I erred in bringing him up. Sorry. Still, the fact that the presidency has been occupied for a long time by men with little to no federal executive experience (with one exception) is quite remarkable for a superpower. If my hypothesis is wrong and Hillary is elected president I’ll be eating a lot of crow.

  13. Hey, my perplexed and semi-angry yellow puss is back!

  14. But, dammit, we should be having an ideological battle…Why aren’t we fighting about this? I honesty don’t understand.

    It’s really simple. Warren isn’t running, and for whatever reason, Bernie Sanders is perceived as too far from the outside to get much traction (decades of demonizing “socialism” worked), and Paul Wellstone is dead.

    In other words, there is no one individual to pick up the banner and lead.

  15. For me, the blow of two terms of Shrubbie has dulled my enthusiasm for ideological battles which will weaken the democratic nominee. I want a more liberal candidate who’s not sold out to the establishment. Warren impresses me but she would be the vulnerable candidate running against (for example) McCain or Romney.

    If Bush had lost even one of his elections, the change in the Supreme Court would have limited the role and power of corporations and upheld the rights of women. Whatever democrat runs must win for the right to nominate replacements to the federal courts. That deprives democrats of two branches of the federal government over the long haul.

  16. As much as I like watching the Right tear each other apart over who’s the least afraid of Hillary Clinton, I hope there will be a long, drawn out process to find the best Dem to succeed Obama and not just give the nomination right to her. I keep thinking back to how Jon Corzine basically handed the NJ governorship to Chris Christie, spending the entire election season saying nothing more than pointing out how Christie is a Bush guy then paying for the “Keep it going!” billboards all over the state–it amazes me how “Democratic governor of a blue state” was all Corzine thought he had to do to keep his job. I don’t want to see that again.

  17. I think back to The Powell Memo. Part of this was changing the climate at universities. Stop providing a training ground / incubator for leftist leaders. It worked.

  18. Who likes Hillary? A lot of people who are not progressive activists on the internet – which happens to be almost everyone in the country.

    Regarding whom, I have been watching with great interest and concern the split that developed in the wake of Snowden’s big media splash. It appears that some on the left appreciate the government as our strongest tool against the forces of organized money, while others hate the government under any and all circumstances and do not trust laws and regulations to keep its dangerous powers in check.

    Until we get this resolved, our already modest political and organizational resources are going to be stretched to the point of meaninglessness. I fear that we are in for a slow and frustrating time. Life was easier in its way when we had no responsibility for governance, and were united in our hatred of the criminal Bush administration.

    • Ana — Yes, Hillary is widely popular, and I believe she is electable. I just don’t think she’d be good for progressivism, or the Democratic Party, in the long run.

      I’m not sure the Snowden issue is going to have that much bearing on 2016. I know there’s a subset of progressives who care about it passionately while others do not, but there is also widespread agreement that overreach in government surveillance really is not OK and is something that needs to be addressed. The difference as I see it is that some have the attitude this is the ONLY issue that matters, while others see it as one item on a list that includes economic populism, immigration reform, unions and workers rights, reproductive and marriage rights, etc.

  19. The correct baseball adage is: “A walk is as a good as a hit.”

    OK, I’ll file that away in my compendium of baseball knowledge… 🙂

    Maybe Gulag might consider issuing a ruling seeing how he’s shown himself to be a baseball aficionado. Be easy on me, Gulag!

  20. Yep, it’s true.
    You can’t score at home, if you’re not on base.
    The only was to score with no one on base, is to have a hitter knock one out of the park.

  21. The way I see it the rightistas own the republican party right now and they WILL nominate a wingnut. I’m hoping for Ted Cruz, most fun election in history. Nearly anyone will be able to beat the conspiracy theory wingnut they put up. I’m not voting for Hillary. She has way too many qualities that make me want vote against republicans but instead she is a democrat. I will vote in the primary for most anyone else. If Hillary is the nominee i will vote 3rd party (and piss off yellow dog democrats) for pres and for democrats down the ticket.

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