Bernie, Hillary

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sometimes I feel like at least part of Hillary 2016 is still geared around trying to make the point that maybe Obama should never have won in 2008. That is counter productive to Hillary 2016. Obama got so much of the big stuff done. The guy achieved FDR heights. Besides, 2008 ended in 2008. That suggestion also "liberates" a lot of the young Obama supporters. A lot of them seem to be going to Bernie.

Al Gore distanced himself from Bill Clinton in 2000. It might have felt good, but it ended up being a bad political move.

The Clinton brand name has such a long tail of people who have been associated with it for decades that it actually gets in the way of Hillary 2016 being something fresh. As in, the candidate might or might not be behind it, but some people who are part of that long tail are insinuating things that are counter productive.

For me personally Barack Obama was and is about 500 years of world history. America is getting more and more multi-cultural by the day. This is not Britain or Europe. Churchill killed 11 million Indians around the same time Hitler killed six million Jews. He said, "They will breed." Those 11 million did not breed.

As for Bernie, I have still to read up on the guy's platform. I guess I just did not see him winning both Iowa and NH. Obama didn't. Who is this guy? But I am going to take a fresh look at his proposals. What are they? A single payer health care system? University education that is paid for? Not new ideas. But work the numbers and present a credible budget. That is not me being skeptic. I think it can be done. But it is for Bernie to do.

One thing that hangs on me is that it would be nice to have a first woman president.

6 Answers to Bernie Skeptics
You need to see this. Robert Reich is one of the most respected economists in the world and was a cabinet member for Bill Clinton. He has known Hillary since she was 19, but has chosen to endorse Bernie Sanders. Here, he answers the 6 major concerns of Bernie Skeptics. Great stuff.
Posted by Shaun King on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hillary Clinton and the audacity of political realism
In 2008, Obama promised to transform American politics. By 2014, it was clear he had failed. Even Obama admits his presidency hasn't fulfilled the hopes raised by his campaign. "A singular regret for me is the fact that our body politic has become more polarized, the language, the spirit has become meaner than when I came in," he told Politico. ...... If Obama was surprised by his presidency's failure to change the tenor of American politics, Clinton probably wasn't. She had always been clear that Obamaism was, in her view, shot through with naiveté about the nature of both American politics and Republican opposition. ....... As the 2016 election came closer into view, Clinton looked more dominant than she had even in 2008 — her poll numbers were higher, her challengers weaker, her endorsements more impressive. Liberals, chastened by the disappointments of the Obama years, seemed to recognize Clinton's prescience. "It may be that coming out of this period, where Congress has been so obstinate, so difficult to move ... that people are looking for someone whose central skill is how to work the power structure," Larry Grisolano, a top Obama pollster, told Scheiber. ........ With less than a week to go before Iowa, Bernie Sanders has pulled even with Clinton in the polls.

He has done so without the money, institutional backing, and deep intraparty divisions over Iraq that powered Obama's 2008 win.

It is, by any measure, an extraordinary political achievement. But it also clarifies the challenge Clinton faced in 2008, and faces this year. .......

What Clinton is relearning in the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire is that there's nothing audacious about hope. Hope is the one commodity every voter wants to buy. It's pragmatism that you can't sell.

..... And Clinton is a political pragmatist — maybe even a political pessimist. ......

"I don’t believe you change hearts," she says. "I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate. You’re not going to change every heart. You’re not."

........ Clinton's theory of change is probably analytically correct, and it's well-suited to a world in which Republicans will almost certainly continue to control the House, and so a Democratic president will have to grind out victories of compromise in Congress and of bureaucratic mastery through executive action........ But it is not an inspiring vision — it does not promise grand advances, transformative change, or a kinder, gentler political sphere.

Clinton has the audacity to believe in the limits of her persuasive and political power, and an emphasis on limits doesn't fill arenas.

...... Hillary Clinton doesn't believe you can change hearts. Bernie Sanders doesn't believe you need to change hearts. ....... In Sanders's view, there's something akin to a populist silent majority lurking in America — a majority that already agrees with liberals but that's been alienated by Democrats who give in to wealthy interests and compromise their principles. ........ For Sanders, supporting the dissolution of the big banks or the nationalization of health insurance or free college tuition isn't so much about the details of his plans but about showing that he's on the side of the working class and unafraid to take on moneyed interests. .......... In his view, Obama had it within his power to upend the rules of politics in 2008, when he was pulling record crowds and creating a new model for political organizing. Then he got elected and ... stopped. He went from revolutionizing the outside game to trying to master the inside game. He let Organizing for America whither, and he compromised with every major interest group that stood in his way. .......

You gotta take your case to the American people, mobilize them, and organize them at the grassroots level in a way that we have never done before."

...... a vision that says liberals were right all along, and the American people have always been with them, and it's the corrosive influence of corporate donors that has snapped that bond and confused the country........ They remember being excited by the promise of Obama's agenda and then disappointed by the compromises he made, the fights he backed away from, the deals he cut with industry.

They remember being organized in 2008 and demoralized in 2010.

They remember feeling like they could accomplish anything, only to be told they needed to stop hoping for so much. ............ there's a sharp mismatch between the voters they could organize and the voters Republican members of Congress fear. ......... the role that rising polarization plays in undermining bipartisanship, the perverse incentives of the filibuster, or the enduring congressional advantage that Republicans get from gerrymandering and geography. ........ There's a belief that he hasn't so much learned the lessons of the Obama era as ignored them. "In place of any practical road map to enacting his ideas, Sanders substitutes the 'political revolution,' an event he invokes constantly that will sweep aside all impediments" .......

Sanders draws upon the left’s frustration with the limits of shared power in much the same way as Cruz has done.

............ a kind of learned helplessness among Democratic elites. They have so forgotten how to appeal to working-class Americans that they have come to doubt it can even be done. This is defeatism masquerading as realism — and it's exactly what corporations want you to believe........ If Obama and many pundits have lost faith in the hopes embedded in Obamaism, Bernie Sanders's rise is proof that ordinary liberals haven't. Sanders may have ignored the lessons of the Obama era in favor of a more congenial, if less realistic, theory of American politics, but Clinton's campaign is trapped by its pragmatism.

Clinton has once again found herself selling realism to voters who want hope.

........ There are some things in the United States that are deeply and profoundly wrong. Contemplating them could drive a person to despair. Or they could embrace hope. ...... The idea of politics as an unending, zero-sum war is part of why Americans hate politics in the first place. ....... The problem for Clinton is that the immediate future looks grim for the progressive agenda, and she knows it. Republicans are likely to hold both the House and the Senate. They have a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court and, at least for the moment, huge majorities in governorships and state legislatures. Americans are, if anything, growing more divided. Money is an ever more powerful force in American politics. The fact that voters don't want a fight doesn't mean they're not going to have one. .......... The compromises the next Democratic president will have to make, given the likely Republican dominance of Congress, are going to be even more brutal for liberals — and if they're not, it will likely be because nothing of importance gets done in the first place. ...............

The argument for Clinton is that she's best suited to handle this war of partisan attrition — she knows how to work the bureaucracy, defend against a hostile Congress, and find incremental gains where they exist.

This is a realistic vision of a Democratic presidency after Obama. It's a vision, as best I can tell, that's shared by Obama. But it's not a vision liberals want to believe in. It's not a vision that Hillary Clinton has figured out how to sell. Perhaps it's not a vision that can be sold.

What Donald Trump understands that Hillary Clinton doesn’t, and vice versa
Her responses to substantive questions are almost always crisp and informed. Her attacks on Bernie Sanders are exceptionally, sometimes counterproductively, precise — the specific charges are almost always narrowly true even when they are broadly false. ........ Clinton knows whom she needs to win over, she knows what they want to hear, and she figures out the policies they need to see. ........

Donald Trump is a master at figuring out what the issues he raises say about him. The words he says might be wrong, offensive, or completely incoherent — but with Trump it's the meta-message, not the message, that matters.

...... he's not poll-tested, calculated, and afraid of the media's opprobrium. Instead, he's a confident, take-no-shit kinda guy at a moment when a lot of voters think that's what Washington needs. ....... The same is true for Trump's policies, or

what passes for policies in Trumpland.

....... Washington calls Trump "an economic illiterate for threatening China with tariffs. They can't understand that this is not primarily an economic measure, but a nationalist one. ....... but then, Trump isn't really talking about the economic effects of tariffs — he's talking about Donald Trump. ....... Clinton's caution when discussing the issues — remember the months and months when she refused to take a position on the Keystone XL oil pipeline? — can often send the meta-message that she's just another politician; that she's poll-tested, scripted, a creature of the political establishment.

Watching her campaign underscores just how unscripted and unpredictable Trump is.

If people hate politicians as much as they say they do, a Trump-Clinton race would be an opportunity for them to show it. ..........

What Trump says about the issues often suggests that he's a lunatic

..... Cruz's ideology is more or less standard-issue conservatism — but the fights he's picked since coming to Washington have given him a reputation as an outsider unafraid of the Republican establishment. This is, to a large degree, why so many elite Republicans hate him so much — they feel he championed strategies that hurt the party in order to signal his independence from it.
Bernie Gets It Done: Sanders' Record of Pushing Through Major Reforms Will Surprise You
“I'm a progressive, but I'm a progressive who likes to get things done,” Hillary Clinton said at the first Democratic debate ........ the bipartisan, “warm, purple space” ..... he's actually one of the most effective members of Congress, passing bills, both big and small, that have reshaped American policy on key issues like poverty, the environment and health care. ...... Over the past few decades, the House of Representatives was only controlled by the Democrats from 2007 to 2010, and a flood of corporate money has quieted the once-powerful progressive movement that passed legislation moving the country forward between the New Deal era and the Great Society. Yet, as difficult as it may be to believe, a socialist from Vermont is one of its most accomplished members. ........ But Sanders was not content with tilting at windmills. He didn't want to just take a stand, he wanted to pass legislation that improved the United States of America. He found his vehicle in legislative amendments. ...... Despite the fact that the most right-wing Republicans in a generation controlled the House of Representatives between 1994 and 2006, the member who passed the most amendments during that time was not a right-winger like Bob Barr or John Boehner.

The amendment king was, instead, Bernie Sanders.

........ Sanders did something particularly original, which was that he passed amendments that were exclusively progressive, advancing goals such as reducing poverty and helping the environment, and he was able to get bipartisan coalitions of Republicans who wanted to shrink government or hold it accountable and progressives who wanted to use it to empower Americans. ...... Expanding Free Health Care (November 2001): You wouldn't think Republicans would agree to an expansion of funds for community health centers, which provide some free services. But Sanders was able to win a $100 million increase in funding with an amendment. ........ Once Sanders made it to the Senate in 2006, his ability to use amendments to advance a progressive agenda was empowered. ........ Greening the U.S. Government (June 2007): A Sanders amendment made a change to the law so at least 30 percent of the hot water demand in newer federal buildings is provided through solar water heaters. ....... Restricting the Bailout to Protect U.S. Workers (Feburary 2009): A Sanders amendment required the banking bailout to utilize stricter H-1B hiring standards to ensure bailout funds weren't used to displace American workers. ....... Exposing Corruption in the Military-Industrial Complex (November 2012): A Sanders amendment required “public availability of the database of senior Department officials seeking employment with defense contractors” – an important step toward transparency that revealed the corruption of the revolving door in action. ....... While Sanders was an amendment king who was able to bring bipartisan coalitions together to make serious changes to laws, he also knew how to be a thorn in the side of the establishment until it offered up something in return. Sanders was able to get the first-ever audit of funds given out by the Federal Reserve, which made transparent over $2 trillion of funds handed out by the secretive organization. This was a cause that Republican congressman Ron Paul (TX) had been pursuing for decades, but Sanders was able to get the votes to do it by forging a compromise that required an audit for the bailout period alone. ................

When the Affordable Care Act was in danger of not having the votes to pass, Sanders used his leverage to win enough funding for free health treatment for 10 million Americans through Community Health Centers. This gutsy move—holding out until the funds were put into the bill—has even Republican members of Congress requesting the funds, which have helped millions of Americans who otherwise would not have access.

....... Another moment came when Sanders, who was then chair of the Veterans committee, worked with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), to overhaul the Veterans Administration. McCain praised Sanders' work on the bill in an interview with National Journal. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) even went so far as to say the bill would never have passed without Sanders' ability to bring the parties to a deal. ....... But Sanders has a theory of change, in order to be an executive who can pass progressive policy even in the face of a recalcitrant Congress. He frequently talks about a “political revolution” that means vastly increasing voter turnout and participation in political activities so conservative lawmakers and Big Money are unable to overwhelm public opinion. ......... When Sanders was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, one of his big accomplishments was to increase civic life in the city. During the course of his terms, voter turnout doubled. In his eight years as mayor, he rejuvenated a city that was considered by many to be dying, laying out progressive policies that cities around the country later adopted, and he did all this without particularly alienating Republicans. As one former GOP Alderman noted,

he implemented ideas from the Republican party that he felt were not particularly harmful to working people, such as more efficient accounting practices.

........... He has strong convictions and he stands by them, and we're often told that makes one a gadfly—someone who is out to make a point rather than make an actual change. But with Sanders we have the fusion of strong principles and the ability to forge odd bedfellow coalitions that accomplish historic things, like the audit of the Federal Reserve or the rejuvenation of Burlington that has served as a model for cities around the country.
If Michael Bloomberg Runs, Be Prepared to Welcome President Donald Trump
Michael Bloomberg can't win as a third party — all he can do is screw Democrats by taking votes away from them.
Michael Bloomberg likes to portray himself as a moderate, sensible man whose supposed reasonableness contrasts with the partisan sniping that defines most American politics. .....

No reasonable person wants Donald Trump befouling the White House, but if Bloomberg throws his hat into the ring, the possibility of a Trump win rises dramatically.

...... Ross Perot chipped off enough Republican voters in the ’90s to secure wins for Bill Clinton. Ralph Nader chipped off a smaller percentage of the Democratic electorate in 2000, but he still got enough to throw what should have been an easy Al Gore win to George W. Bush. You don’t need a lot of voters to be a spoiler. Nader pulled it off with less than 3 percent of the vote. ....... Yes, at first glance, it seems like Bloomberg, who is business-friendly style conservative, would be taking votes off the Republican nominee. But the blunt fact of the matter is that Bloomberg is mostly known to Republican voters as

an anti-gun, pro-bike politician

who passed a law making it a little harder to guzzle gallons of sugary soda in one sitting. ......... many mainstream journalists will lazily dub him the “moderate” choice ..... the elaborate rationalizations said “socialists” come up with to explain why voting for a moderate Republican like Bloomberg is more acceptable than voting for a liberal Democrat like Hillary Clinton. ..... a not-insubstantial number of them will be so relieved to have a choice that is neither a Republican nor a woman that they’ll vote Bloomberg. Never underestimate the rationalization skills of the “I’m not a sexist, but” crowd on this front. ........ There aren’t that many legitimately moderate Republicans or independents who lean Republican but are open to switching their vote left, but they do exist. ...... Even if, taken together, they are less than 10 percent of voters, that could be enough votes chipped off Clinton to give the race to Donald Trump. ...... Bloomberg would be able to position himself as the moderate choice between an actual socialist and a guy who looks a lot like a fascist, picking off moderate Democrats from the Sanders column. Either way, Bloomberg damages the Democrat. ........ The two-party system can be frustrating, but that doesn’t justify third-party runs from vanity candidates. ....... If Bloomberg wanted to run, the time for that decision was last summer, when it was time to throw in for the primary contest. Even Donald Trump isn’t so full of himself that he thinks that the primary system is beneath him. ......

Simply throwing money around and getting on the ballot that way feels a lot like cheating, and for what? To spoil an election you can’t win? No. Bloomberg should stay out of it and if he wants a way to assuage his ego, buying another newspaper to name after himself should do it.

Robert Reich: Why the 2016 Election Is a Political Volcano in Full Eruption
The other day Bill Clinton attacked Bernie Sanders’s proposal for a single-payer health plan as unfeasible and a “recipe for gridlock.” ....... Yet these days, nothing of any significance is feasible and every bold idea is a recipe for gridlock. ..... This election is about changing the parameters of what’s feasible and ending the choke hold of big money on our political system..........

I’ve known Hillary Clinton since she was 19 years old, and have nothing but respect for her. In my view, she’s the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have.

....... Gilens and Page analyzed 1,799 policy issues in detail, determining the relative influence on them of economic elites, business groups, mass-based interest groups, and average citizens. ...... Their conclusion:

“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically nonsignificant impact upon public policy.”

....... lawmakers respond to the moneyed interests – those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns. .......

Gilens and Page’s data come from the period 1981 to 2002, before the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to big money in its “Citizens United” and “McCutcheon” decisions. Their study also predated the advent of super PACs and “dark money,” and even the Wall Street bailout.

........ If average Americans had a “near-zero” impact on public policy then, their impact is now zero. ....... I kept bumping into people who told me they were trying to make up their minds in the upcoming election between Sanders and Trump. ...... They wanted to end “crony capitalism.” They detested “corporate welfare,” such as the Wall Street bailout. ....... They wanted to prevent the big banks from extorting us ever again. Close tax loopholes for hedge-fund partners. Stop the drug companies and health insurers from ripping off American consumers. End trade treaties that sell out American workers. Get big money out of politics. ..... If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans who are working harder than ever but getting nowhere, and who understand that the political-economic system is rigged against you and in favor of the rich and powerful, what are you going to do? ....... Either you’re going to be attracted to an authoritarian son-of-a-bitch who promises to make America great again by keeping out people different from you and creating “great” jobs in America, who sounds like he won’t let anything or anybody stand in his way, and who’s so rich he can’t be bought off. .......... Or you’ll go for a political activist who tells it like it is, who has lived by his convictions for fifty years, who won’t take a dime of money from big corporations or Wall Street or the very rich, and who is leading a grass-roots “political revolution” to regain control over our democracy and economy.......... In other words, either a dictator who promises to bring power back to the people, or a movement leader who asks us to join together to bring power back to the people.
Donald Trump Is Wrecking the Conservative Movement: How the Billionaire Is Exposing Its Most Toxic Secret
Conservative activists have spent a generation building up their movement — and the Donald is ruining it all.
It turns out that a large number of their supporters don’t really care about ideology, morality or even their supposedly mutual loathing of the hippie Democrats on the other side. Their concerns run to something much more primitive. ....... They realized too late that all the movement propaganda meant nothing to a whole lot of right wing voters. In fact it looks as though the constitution itself means nothing. ........

the conservative movement of activists, writers and grassroots organizations has suddenly awakened to the fact that a good many of those they considered true believers are completely oblivious to conservative ideology.

........ But as sad as Cruz may have been when he started the day yesterday, realizing that he’d devoted himself to a conservative movement that turns out to be an empty shell, imagine how he felt when Jerry Falwell Jr endorsed the libertine billionaire later in the morning. .......

the man who inherited the legacy of the Moral Majority supplicated himself to a degenerate billionaire who says it’s never been necessary to ask God for forgiveness.

...... For Falwell, Trump is a strongman who can save America where the Christian right has failed to do so. ......

Trump has other qualities that many evangelicals admit they admire: wealth and success and — don’t let this surprise you — ruthlessness.

...... Donald Trump is an Old Testament leader for a New Testament world. ...... evangelicals are flocking to Trump. ...... Perhaps the most puzzled by what they’re seeing is the conservative movement old guard who spent decades creating the organizations that in recent years have risen up to challenge the Republican elites for supremacy of the party. They have made great strides, primarying apostates, defeating RINOs and even taking out good conservatives just to show they could. They showed the entire country that they are willing to destroy the government itself if that’s what it takes to demonstrate their commitment to their principles. They take no prisoners, give no quarter. And finally, after decades of hard work and strategizing, they are on the verge of total dominance.........

Or they were until Trump came along and proved that many of the people they had been counting on to be the foot soldiers in this conservative revolution weren’t paying attention.

......... “I’ve been in politics all my life, I’ve been dealing with politicians all my life,” Trump said .......

“When I’m president I’m a different person. I can do anything. I can be the most politically correct person you have ever seen,” Trump said

......... First, political correctness takes too long and “we don’t have time,” and second, with such a full slate of Republican candidates, Trump says he needs to be aggressive. “Right now they come at you from 15 different angles. You have to be sharp, you have to be quick, and you have to be somewhat vicious,” Trump said. .......

The Republican establishment is under a tremendous amount of stress right now. Donald Trump has the party functionaries running around like his personal factotums and the elected officials are all figuring out the angles to ensure they come out on the Donald’s good side. It’s possible it may not survive in the form we’ve come to know it.

....... But the conservative movement is equally under pressure. They thought their years of carefully growing and indoctrinating the right wing of the Republican Party had resulted in a common belief in a certain conservative ideology, strategic vision and commitment to a specific agenda.

It turns out that a good number of the people they thought had signed on to their program just wanted someone to stick it to ethnic and racial minorities and make sure America is the biggest bad ass on the planet — authoritarian, white nationalism.

If you’ve got a man who will deliver that you don’t need ideology.
Anne Frank's Stepsister: Trump 'Is Acting Like Hitler' -- Other Holocaust Survivors Warn of Historical Parallels
A critique that should chill all of us to the bone.

“If Donald Trump become[s] the next president of the U.S. it would be a complete disaster,” author and Auschwitz survivor Eva Schloss states in a recent Newsweek op-ed marking the annual passage of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

...... “I think he is acting like another Hitler by inciting racism,” Schloss says. “Fewer people would have died in the Holocaust if the world had accepted more Jewish refugees.” ....... She is not the only Holocaust survivor who has observed Trump’s ascendancy with fear and foreboding familiarity. With “Don’t stand by” as the theme of this year’s observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a number of survivors are speaking out about the ugliness of Trump’s message and those who have embraced it. These words of warning come as multiple polls indicate Trump currently holds comfortable leads among GOP voters in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire. ........

“The guy scares me,” Martin Weiss, an 87-year-old Auschwitz survivor who lost most of his family in the camp, said, speaking to the Washington Post. “I don’t want to make any comparison to Hitler, but believe it or not his delivery and the way he conducts himself is very similar to Hitler’s way of doing things. He discredits everybody who disagrees with him. He’s insulting. He discriminates against everybody.”

........ “When you see these mass rallies that Trump is able to attract, you really wonder: How are they buying into this message of hate?” ........ aren’t so much “buying into” hate as much as they are enthusiastically supporting the guy boosting the hate and racism they already felt. ....... He’s merely speaking directly to a huge demographic of overwhelmingly white voters who want blacks, Mexicans, Muslims and others out of country they believe belongs to them. This is what they mean by “making America great again.” ........ Rhett Benhoff of North Carolina told CNN that he was supporting Trump because white men have it so hard these days. "I mean, it seems like we really go overboard to make sure all these other nationalities nowadays and colors have their fair shake of it,” Benhoff complained, “but no one's looking out for the white guy anymore." ....... Patricia Saunders, a Trump backer from South Carolina, told the network Obama had spent the last eight years ruining things for white people, the natural inheritors of the U.S. "White Americans founded this country. We are being pushed aside because of the President's administration and the media." ......

For many Holocaust survivors, Trump and his followers are cause for an eerie and unsettling case of deja vu.

...... “It’s not Weimar, but it could become Weimar Germany if you have Mr. Trump here and people keep believing what he says...I think one has to speak up.

And that’s the one lesson from the Holocaust: Do not be a bystander.”