Why We’re Screwed, Part Infinity

I’ve been thinking about the Democratic presidential candidates and how it is we ended up with such a weak field. My impression is that in the past few years Dem party elites and the bigger contributors simply assumed it was Hillary Clinton’s turn, and that she was the strongest candidate who could take the White House. So few other Dems thought about running.

And now that assumption is not looking so good. Although she’s still a clear front runner, polls show support for her is falling. And the constant drumbeats about the email issue, even though I’ve yet to see a credible allegation she did anything illegal, could be hurting her. Some people on the Dem side are griping she’s not handling the email thing well. There are headlines about her campaign imploding.

I don’t think her campaign has imploded yet, but what if it did? This is what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket, Dems.

Joe Biden may jump in, and while he wouldn’t be my first choice, I think he’s a better campaigner and debater than people remember. Especially compared to whatever loony tune the Republicans eventually shove into the nomination, IMO Biden might strike most voters as a safe alternative.

However, given the realities of modern presidential campaigns, if Biden jumped in now he’d be millions of dollars and many months behind the rest of the field. That’s another argument for campaign finance reform, IMO. The current system forces everyone to commit too early, unable to switch gears if the one and only candidate stumbles.

As much as I love Bernie Sanders, asking America to vote for a “socialist” Jew for President is still too much of a gamble, IMO. I wish things were otherwise. Although in a sane world, considering the Republican field, the Dems ought to be able to elect a pastrami sandwich in 2016. Also, Martin O’Malley doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, although that could change once there are debates.

But, ultimately, if the Dems blow the 2016 election it’s going to be the fault of party leaders who didn’t encourage some healthy competition in the nomination process.

For another perspective on why the Dems can’t get their act together, see Charles Pierce.

28 thoughts on “Why We’re Screwed, Part Infinity

  1. As usual, the great Mr. Pierce is spot-on!
    The Dem’s have been taking a shellacking at the Gubernatorial level in the last few election cycles, so the cupboards are more bare than usual.
    Who could step in if Hillary falters?


    I easily could see myself backing Elizabeth Warren and/or Sherrod Brown – but neither has shown any interest, with Warren flat-out denying running.
    I’m not sure she went a full W.T. Sherman, but…

    I think Hillary and her people will get their acts together.
    It’s early still.
    And besides, the GOP candidates couldn’t do a better job than anyone on her staff, of showing why she’s far superior to them.
    Eventually, after Trump’s runs his mouth and ego, people will look for a sane candidate. Or, at least I hope so.
    Sanity is as rare as rooster’s eggs on the GOP side!

    Btw – I’m a white anchor baby, so I imagine I’ll be safe.
    Besides, my late father, and my 83 1/2 year-old mom became citizens.

  2. Hey lady, been a while.

    I remember last time I was all full of testosterone for the primaries and got fully behind John Edwards cuz I just didn’t think America would get behind a black guy – and feared Hillary’s baggage and the endless attacks the GOP would bring on her.

    Just saying.

    There is simply no human more qualified for the job, no one with more experience, or better on the issues within the confines of what is possible vs what is preferred than Hillary. And when push comes to shove, she prefers much the same things we do.

    • Mark — in 2008, when Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses and then the New Hampshire primary, I was reasonably confident that he would be the most electable candidate in the general election. Before that I had no idea.

      There is simply no human more qualified for the job, no one with more experience, or better on the issues within the confines of what is possible vs what is preferred than Hillary. And when push comes to shove, she prefers much the same things we do.

      I sincerely wish I could believe that, but I don’t. However, if she’s the nominee I will fully support her in the general election.

  3. That said, why would you fear the electability of a northeastern Jewish socialist more than a black “Kenyan usurper?”

    If we were ready for Obama, and they are now ready for fucking Trump, we can get behind Bernie, or Hillary, or whomever we think is the goddamn best out there. Joe works too, so much more than anything the other side is even thinking about.

    • That said, why would you fear the electability of a northeastern Jewish socialist more than a black “Kenyan usurper?”

      I could be wrong; it’s too early to know. Once the actual primaries begin and there have been a couple of debates, I’ll get a better sense of it. My guts are telling me that Sanders would be a harder sell to centrist voters than Obama was. But, times do change. I’m living in Brooklyn now, and I’m sure Brooklyn would be fine with Sanders. Minneapolis or Cincinnati, not so sure.

      We Democrats will get behind whoever the nominee is; it’s the general election that worries me. If the GOP nominee is a faux “centrist” like Jeb! or John Kasich, you can pretty much count on news media to minimize the Republican’s extremist positions and make Sanders out to be a wild-eyed radical, because that’s the narrative they’ll want to go with.

  4. “There is simply no human more qualified for the job, no one with more experience, or better on the issues within the confines of what is possible vs what is preferred than Hillary. And when push comes to shove, she prefers much the same things we do.”

    I see your “more qualified”, “experienced”, and “electable” Hillary and raise you Christine Gregoire. Or to lower the bar to just above Hillary level: Claire McCaskill. If Hillary is the best we can do then we’re really screwed.

    I admit her “I’m less incompetent and corrupt than the opposition” strategy has served her well, so far. But she can’t get away with that forever. If the base isn’t fired up about the candidate; enough of them will stay home on election day to let the last GOP clown standing win. Who’s fired up about Hillary? African-Americans? Latinos? Labor? College students?

    • //Who’s fired up about Hillary?// She’s passionately supported by well-to-do white ladies living in Scarsdale. I have seen this myself.

  5. I do lay some of the blame at Obama’s feet. When he was first elected he filled his cabinet with a lot of up-and-coming democratic talent. Kathleen Sebelius had been a two term governor from Kansas before being tapped for HHS. I’m sure Kansas wished they had her back instead of governor nutjob that they have now. The only talent I can see in the pipeline is California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. He’ll likely take over for Governor Moonbeam in the next statewide election.

  6. If tRUMP is the GOP nominee, will the motto be:
    Vote for Donald tRUMP!
    He’ll make the deportation trains run on time!!

    We are ripe for Fascism.
    Tell me where we’re not already there, or almost there, in these 4 defining points of Fascism:


    • Somewhere I saw a definition of fascism that was something like “A populist movement supporting an authoritarian ruling class.”

  7. Ooops!
    14 defining points.
    I wish it were only 4.

    And yes, grannyeagle, it’s very, very scary.

  8. Thanks for for the link Cundgulag, I suppose when I awake in the small hours, I’ll have something to take my mind off the technological singularity and the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

    There were a lot of unpleasantly familiar things in the article, but one of the lines that resonated in view of our Republicans was, “The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way.” That strikes me as a summary of their evolution over the last few decades. At this point, there are powers in the driver’s seat, but, I am not sure that any are really driving, the madness has taken on a life of its own, with a strong instinct for self preservation.

  9. Gulag, where did you get a hold of the GOP’s not so secret 14 point platform? I think Hillary will recover, this email “scandal” is being pushed by the MSM to make the race seem close, once they get the eyeballs they need and the GOP’s witch hunt ends like whitewater, travelgate, filegate, Vince Foster, etc. Hillary will recover. That being said she doesn’t seem any better at campaigning than she was against Obama, she certainly is not a lock for either the nomination or the general. Sanders being a socialist Jew is certainly a tough thing to get past for many voters but it is his policies that will attract the hateful scorn of the GOP and their spokesmen in the corporate media. He is the Modern Oligarchs worst nightmare! I’m with Maha I don’t think he could win but I certainly would support him. I think we are going to end up with President Kasich?

  10. Big Dog could run again. The rule is, three-termers must skip after the second term, I believe, which he has. And there is a lot more Dem talent without the Clintons to pick from amongst non-Clintons— it’s just a matter of ramping up the PAC tap.

    Anyway, I *think* Hillary will be fine; her servers are probably more secure than the official Government ones. This really is much ado about nothing.

    And I do think Bernie is electable in the general. His ideas really are not extreme by any rational standard.

  11. Tom,
    They’re not extreme at all. It’s just that like Pavlov’s dogs, the GOP’s rubes – and much of the rest of the country – has been trained to growl and bark, if not bite, when the word “Socialism” is mentioned.
    The MSM will use that in EVERY story about him.

    Obama’s been a pretty centrist Democratic POTUS – leaning towards the left, especially lately – and he’s called The Kenyan SocialiFasciCommuniHeatheAtheiMuslim Usurper.

    Sure, that’s FOX – but the other networks have rabid conservatives on who ape the FOX “MORANS!!!”

    Down the roller-coaster we GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    Take a look at not only America’s stock markets this morning, but the worlds.

    Economic hardship is one of the keys to Fascism – like we haven’t had enough already.

    If the markets go down and stay down, and people lose jobs, it’ll make one of the Theocratic GOP Plutocrat/Oligarch-supporting Fascists that much more likely to win.

    Let’s pray to the FSM that this is just a correction.
    Read Krugman this morning, for more info – I’d link, but my freebies are up, and I can’t yet afford to subscribe to the NYT’s for online access.

  13. Yes it’s tempting to over analyze HRC’s competency and judgement over email servers.

    That in mind, try a quick mind exercise.
    Try to imagine her or any Democrat in the same position without a huge over-hyped Ratf**k based scandal to deal with up front with at least 5 backup embryonic made-up Ratf**k based scandals developing in the bakground.

    You can’t.

    You want a Democrat as president in the years 1992-infinity? This is the landscape. This is the battle to fight. To the opposition, Democratic presidents are not legitimate. Period. By any and all means necessary they are to be made illegitimate.

    Biden is not the solution to HRC’s email vulnerability or the Dem party’s shallow bench. Especially when you consider how quickly he folded during the Neil Kinnock plagiarized speech non-scandal during his first POTUS run. Joe has a glass jaw. HRC does not.

  14. I remember the comment by Ann Romney where she said.. “It’s our turn now”. That comment really turned me off. Although Hillary has never expressed a comment to that affect I somehow have picked up the sense of a similar projection coming from Hillary. That’s one of the things that gnaws at the back of my mind concerning Hillary.
    Another thing that didn’t sit well with me regarding her email situation is the idea that she’s used humor to dismiss the attacks against her. It brings to my mind George Bush’s little comedy routine about looking for weapons of mass destruction. To my mind, I wouldn’t be using comedy to deflect accusations of wrongdoing unless I absolutely knew I was 100% clean of any wrongdoing. I’m not saying that Hillary compromised our national security, but it seems clear that she did violate — with intention — security protocols. And that shows me either arrogance, stupidity, or disdain.

  15. I”m sure Kansas wished they had [Kathleen Sebelius] back instead of governor nutjob [Brownback] that they have now.

    Oh Bucky, you have no idea. Instead of providing good governance in Kansas, I’m afraid all Sebelius will be remembered for is apologizing re the healthcare.gov website.

  16. Swami,
    Please note that no one – NO ONE! – is mentioning the 22 million (plus?) e-mails that mysteriously disappeared when w and dick were in charge of multiple disasters!

    No, a few of Hillary’s e-mail might be questionable, even missing – but by what rules?

    The same rules that governed Powell, Rice, w and dick. The e-mail security requirements weren’t changed until AFTER Hillary left the State Department.

    And now, after a whole bunch of US government e-mails got hacked, how is it a bad thing that none of hers on her server, was even touched – at least that I know of.

    And let’s not talk about the $9 Billion that were mysteriously missing in Iraq – only some of which was later accounted for.

  17. Excellent point Cund. I read your point as being made not from a “Its unfair, they do it to!” standpoint, but as a way to define the problem at hand. To identify the attack strategies being employed by the opposition and at least not buy into the trap of concern trolling this admittedly imperfect candidate and undermining more important concerns. There are plenty of problems with which to criticize HRC, but for Democrats and liberals, this is not one of them. Its important to separate the real scandals from the fake ones.

  18. gulag.. You’re offering a rationalization. I have no idea how I would handle an attack by the GOP slime machine, but I’d like to believe I would use complete honesty and openness as my best defense.
    I guess what I’m trying to point out is that if people perceive they are not being dealt with in complete honesty it affects how they are willing to put their trust in that person. Hillary could very well be the victim, but the fact that she put on the brakes and allowed the GOP dig out just enough information to give suspicion a toe hold shows she’s got a characteristic that I’d be reluctant to embrace in a President. Not that I wouldn’t vote for her if she gets the nomination, but the expression of holding my nose would certainly apply.

  19. Maha, I stand corrected. Just because I don’t know anyone fired up for Hillary doesn’t mean she doesn’t have strong support.

  20. “My impression is that in the past few years Dem party elites and the bigger contributors simply assumed it was Hillary Clinton’s turn, and that she was the strongest candidate who could take the White House. So few other Dems thought about running.”

    Seriously, we can keep saying this until we’re blue in the face, but it’s just not true and isn’t going to become any truer going forward. “Party elites”* didn’t preordain Clinton, poll after poll after poll showed her with historically strong favorability ratings in 2013-14, and massive support from a strong cross section of Democratic voters, and so the number of potentially credible candidates who wanted to enter the race against those odds was extremely limited.

    Her numbers coming down isn’t especially troubling either, really. Her numbers were always going to come down once a real campaign started (otherwise we’d be talking about the biggest blowout in history by a longshot) and they’re still quite strong on her own terms.

    *You could, however, make the argument that a good many Democratic voters decided it was time to nominate a woman for President (to which I say HUZZAH), and so once Elizabeth Warren really did refuse to run it was pretty much sealed for CLinton.

    • //“Party elites”* didn’t preordain Clinton// Not so much pre-ordained but assumed. This is what happened, if you pay attention to insider Dem politics. This is how the game is played in both parties, although more by the Republicans than the Democrats. The insiders in the upper echelons of the party decide who they want to run and make sure all the ducks are lined up for that person. This is how George W. Bush became the nominee in 2000. What’s happening on the GOP side now is that the party has completely lost control of the process, mostly because of the influence of PAC money. You’ve got a bunch of independently funded candidates running under the GOP brand who don’t really need the GOP apparatus, or won’t until the general election.

      HRC’s support numbers were mostly about name recognition, not that vast numbers of people were that much in love with her. She was just about the only person who was ever mentioned in news media as a probable candidate (because that’s how the game is played). Probably most of the Dem base is okay with her, but progressive activists on the whole don’t trust her on economic or foreign policy issues. I don’t think that many people are that fired up to elect a woman just because she’s a woman.

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