Unintended Consequences

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.

11 thoughts on “Unintended Consequences

  1. Hillary Clinton is by far the best qualified candidate for president.

    By what standard? Is it just her resume or is there a quality to her character and trustworthiness that sets her apart or above Sanders? There is no substitute for or countervailing accomplishment that can overcome basic honesty..Yeah, we all fall short with human frailties, but Hillary, in my eyes, has fallen below the level of acceptability, at least in regard to being the most qualified candidate. I guess at this point the question should shift to..Do you know what you’re getting?
    How does that expression go?…The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour .

  2. I’m no great lover of Hillary, but, in her defense, I tnink I can see the reason behind the enmity she has towards even a decent man and candidate like Bernie.

    She has been shit on from every and all angles by consevative vermin for over 20 years.
    She’s the bull-dyke who killed her male lawyer lover.
    Remember that one?
    What The Fucking-Fuckety-Fuck !?!!??

    It doesn’t make a “lick” of sense, but it’s out there…
    “Google” Hillary Clinton, and see millions of (s)hits that range from the sickening to way beyond the grossly obscene!

    I know I sound like I’m defending her.
    And I guess I am…
    As a 58 year old man, I wish I had half of her cojones!!!

  3. Does anyone think that had Clinton beaten Obama in 2008, she would have invited Obama into her cabinet?

  4. Well, Doug….Hillary has become such a Soul Sister that I expected her to break out singing We shall Overcome during the South Carolina primary to help reinforce her firewall.
    But seriously, I think Obama chose Hillary for Secretary of State in an effort to secure party unity and give her a leg up as his successor. I don’t think Hillary would be as thoughtful or as gracious as Obama to do the same thing.

  5. “but Hillary, in my eyes, has fallen below the level of acceptability”

    I’d have to agree with Swami and the general tenor of maha’s post. However I’m not sure it’s Hillary that is so deceitful, she admitted during the debate the other night that she is not “a natural politician”. I’d have to agree and I’m not sure she is really running her campaign, I believe it is being run by Bubba and his operatives, they know how to win at all costs and they are pulling out all the stops. I really think Hillary could be a great president unfortunately she will never shake the “Clinton Legacy” so one can only assume her Presidency will be executed in the same fashion as her campaign. They need to save the nastiness for the general, but they seem convinced that us lefty’s will vote for her no matter what. That is the danger of having such a bizarre GOP, the presumed Nominee on our side takes our votes for granted.

  6. It’s a sad state of affairs. I can’t get excited about any of the candidates. I do agree with Berney on a lot of issues but that does not mean I think he could make a difference as president. I have to admit that I am thoroughly fed up with the system and as I have mentioned before, I don’t think there will be any changes until the people demand it. I guess that means a revolution. Is that what is driving the Trump phenomenon? He says what people want to hear and what they would like to say themselves. They are tired of political propaganda. If it comes down to HRC versus Trump, what is one to do? Choose the lesser of two evils? Even if Trump does not get the nomination, who else is there? Is Romney planning to put on his cape and rush in to the rescue? These are just thoughts roaming around in this old head and I’m getting a headache.

  7. Hillary Clinton apologizes for praising Nancy Reagan’s nonexistent AIDS activism

    a natural politician?

  8. If anybody has any Hillary bashing to do now is the time to do it..Once or if she gets the nomination it won’t be cool to point out her shortcomings..Sorta like a marriage..speak now or forever hold your peace.
    Here’s a comment I read about Hillary that I thought was rather clever and apropos..
    Fortune rides the shoulders of thems that schemes. – Long John Silver

  9. That comment about Sanders and the f**king Minutemen at the Mexican border was just flat-out bizarre.

    Does Hillary Clinton come up with this stuff herself, or has she got some “advisers” feeding her gotcha lines? I suspect the latter.

    I expect a lot of half-truths in the rough and tumble of presidential politics, but anyone who knows anything about Sanders knows he has no links to the Minutemen. WHoever fed that line to Clinton is as dumb as a rock.

    • Joel — today on social media the Clintonistas are pushing the claim that Sanders “hates” President Obama and plans to undo everything he accomplished. I’m sure they’re getting that from the Clinton campaign, somehow.

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