The New Yorker's Amy Davidson keeps an eye on Trump -- on the Trump card, really -- while Cruz and Christie and the rest of a ragged bunch of Republican candidates play with knives in New Hampshire. (Friendly advice: Watch out for that party's idea of "normal.")
The other candidates seem to have become franchisees of Trump’s brand of personal attack. He just sits back and collects the political equivalent of licensing fees. What may be more damaging to the G.O.P. is that Trump’s ideology seems to have been franchised as well. The hyper-nationalism, the insinuations of treachery at the highest level of government, the disdain for civil rights and international accords, the fetishizing of military force, and the raw bigotry—all have somehow become part of the Republican Party’s normal back-and-forth. ...Davidson,NYer
That's the first time I've noticed the word "fetish" applied to the right. It seems particularly appropriate.
The centrist Democratic Leadership Council, which fought and largely won a battle for the soul of the Democratic party in the 1990s, is on the verge of bankruptcy and is closing its doors, its founder, Al From, confirmed Monday.
The group’s decision to “suspend operations” marks the conclusion of a long slide from its peak of relevance in the Clinton era, and perhaps the beginning a battle over its legacy, as the organization’s founders and allies argue that it has been a victim of its own success – and its liberal critics are already dancing on its grave.
“A taproot of contemporary centrist ferment is no longer in business,” said Will Marshall, who co-founded the DLC and its allied think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute. PPI, which Marshall still runs, spun off from the DLC in 2009 and is one of a small handful of self-styled moderate groups seeking the DLC’s mantle as the true home for moderate Democrats. ...Politico
That comes from exactly five years ago, almost to the minute. A lot of us wanted that suspension to take place during the Clinton administration. The DLC was the more -- much more -- important stain on the Clinton presidency than the stain on the blue dress. The ties with Wall Street and corporate America turned out to be shackles for many honest Democrats. The chubby fleshiness of Clinton's face and body seemed to represent the self-satisfaction of the man. These were the days before we all got to know Karl Rove. When he appeared on the front line of national -- not just Texas -- scene, he had the same kind of pink and chubby self-satisfaction written all over him.
It's 2016, Hillary's turn again. Bill is back and with him the DLC and angry stabs at Bernie Sanders, a lean wiry man with none of the pro-corporate markings of the DLC. The flushed, energized former president is, it seems, pretty damn mad.
Now, as Hillary Clinton — who barely won the Iowa caucuses last week — seeks to seize momentum from Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in his own back yard, days before the New Hampshire primary, that moment of truth has come. The former president, uncharacteristically quiet in recent weeks even as Republican contender Donald Trump called him “an abuser,” lashed out at Sanders on Sunday, according to reports from Bloomberg Politics, Politico and the New York Times, while campaigning for his wife in New Hampshire, leveling charges that the senator is hypocritical and that some of his followers are sexist.
The former president appeared to get the most mileage out of his criticism of “Bernie Bros” — the name given to some supposed young male supporters of the senator. Bill Clinton did not use the term — but he offered quite the critique. As Politico noted, Clinton accused these people, some of whom have been denounced by Sanders, of sexist behavior online.
“People who have gone online to defend Hillary, to explain why they supported her, have been subject to vicious trolling and attacks that are literally too profane often, not to mention sexist, to repeat,” Clinton said, according to the Times. ...WaPo
The troll, it would seem, is Clinton himself. Why? Was Hillary supposed to be alone and unchallenged in this race? Did we miss the coronation ceremony? What's going on here? A democratic election process? Or yet another of those annual meetings of a corporations whose shareholders are allowed to have an opinion but are discouraged from urging any changes in the status quo ante?
Is Hillary grateful to Bill. Or horrified? I hope it's the latter.
Does Ted Cruz write off his campaigning as business travel? Could be. He certainly has profiteering on his mind as part of the benefits of "serving my country." The profits available from for-profit immigration are surely part of the Cruz family's portfolio.
Texas Sen. Cruz has a complicated relationship with private prisons. For one, as a lawyer, Cruz once represented the developer Robert Mericle, who is notable for secretly giving two judges cash in exchange for sending juveniles to his private detention facilities––one of the most flagrant judicial corruption schemes in recent history known as the “kids for cash” scandal. ...Alex Mierjeski,attn.com
But defending corruption doesn't make him corrupt. It's the lawyer's job... No, but -- as the Times points out today -- profiteering does when you're a public servant. The decisions about the treatment of immigrants is full of opportunities for politicians who use immigration "reform" as a handy source of personal income.
Fear and hatred stalked the Republican debate on Saturday night, aimed at every available target, including, as starkly as ever, the immigrant threat.
Donald Trump took credit for raising the alarm first — “Now everybody’s coming to me,” he said. Senator Ted Cruz boasted that his immigration solution was the most detailed — “11 pages, single-spaced” — though it focuses so intently on criminalizing unauthorized immigrants that it seems more like a blueprint for keeping millions of people in prisons, rather than sending them out of the country. ...NYT
Make that "fear and hatred and greed" stalking the most recent Republican debate even as real estate development -- in the form of private, for-profit immigrant processing -- adds new meaning to "give us your tired, your poor..."
The debates are ugly. Well, "ugly" in content, too. But I mean ugly to look at. This one could be seen as demonic. I don't know who chooses the venues or decorates them, but one after another they come across as something you might have seen in Ukraine in the early 1940's.
This isn't meant as a gratuitous slur on Ukrainian taste or the '40's -- or the University of New Hampshire where this debate took place. Tastes change. But the above image could come from the nutty imaginings of someone like Ayn Rand. With all our technical capabilities, couldn't we do better?
How about this?
Nice old New England meeting house -- this one is in Middleton, NH --and looks like there's plenty of room for the audience and the camera guys. Plus you'd have the additional thrill of hearing people stomping the snow off their boots as they arrive and the creaking of old boards.
A summer debate could be held outdoors in the evening. Need a lot of mosquito goop to hand around but that's par for the course during summer in those parts.
Or maybe we've just lost it. Maybe you can't get there from here.
Amy Chozick has such a good analysis of the Hillary Clinton/Wall Street relationship that it should be read in its entirety. But let's just look at Clinton's challenge in yesterday's debate and how Bernie Sanders responded.
For Mrs. Clinton, the key question should not be whether she received generous checks from Wall Street, but whether she did their bidding in return. At one point, she challenged her opponent to identify even one example of how her Wall Street contributions or paid speaking fees resulted in a favor from her, calling the implication an “artful smear” by Mr. Sanders. “If you’ve got something to say, say it directly, but you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received,” Mrs. Clinton said.
Mr. Sanders, eager to avoid suggestions that he is making personal or gendered attacks on Mrs. Clinton, did not bother to directly answer the question. As is his custom, returned to his old refrain: Wall Street is too big, too powerful, and no one in their right mind believes they contribute to politicians out of the goodness of their hearts. “That is what power is about,” he said.
But almost instantaneously, his campaign blasted out a “fact check” to the news media that included an excerpt from Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 2003 book, “The Two-Income Trap,” in which she accused Mrs. Clinton of shifting her position on bankruptcy legislation when she became a New York senator to appease her Wall Street donors, a charge Mrs. Clinton has denied. “She could not afford such a principled position,” Ms. Warren wrote. “Campaigns cost money and that money wasn’t coming from families in financial trouble.” ...NYTimes
Clinton is smart and she has -- way more than Sanders -- experience in how the Washington game is played. But here's a point at which progressive ("social") Democrats as well as mainstream Dems agree not only among themselves but with many of the original, cleaner tea partyers: the Washington game has been soaked in so much corruption for so many years that it needs a shakeout and new rules, not another Clinton whose skills lie for the most part in manipulating the old rules to achieve political and personal gain.
Obama's cold and often powerful stare-down with Congress has annoyed and wounded a lot of Congressional Republicans. Clinton wants to Bill them into more workable compromise but progressives and tea party purists want the same Republicans and Democrats removed from power. The left (and some few on the right) want "Washington" to shake itself loose from corporate money. Since that includes the Supreme Court, it positively requires presidents willing to appoint principled justices, not Thomases and Alitos and fellow justices who wear sponsored robes. Scalia. As Elizabeth Warren pointed out, Hillary Clinton "could not afford such a principled position."
Democrats are divided into two discrete groups: Those who believe we spoil our chances of winning if we stick to a principled position and those of us who believe America doesn't have a future if it gives in to a corporation-dominated government. The left is lucky to have -- unlike Republican voters -- a choice.
Hillary Clinton's supporters undoubtedly have good hearts. I guess. But I do worry about their brains.
Even as Hillary Clinton has stepped up her rhetorical assault on Wall Street, her campaign and allied super PACs have continued to rake in millions from the financial sector, a sign of her deep and lasting relationships with banking and investment titans.
Through the end of December, donors at hedge funds, banks, insurance companies and other financial-services firms had given at least $21.4 million to support Clinton’s 2016 presidential run — more than one of every 10 dollars of the $157.8 million contributed to back her bid, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings by The Washington Post.
Obama had the same problem -- only, if I remember correctly -- the scale of the banks' affection was a mere kiss compared to Hil's orgy. Hillary's dependence on Wall Street goes way beyond that of Bill Clinton, too. But they're both up to their ears in Street support.
More from the Post:
Clinton scooped up Wall Street donations during her first Senate run in 2000, turning to Rubin and investment banker Roger Altman, who served in her husband’s administration, to introduce her to key players.
Since that first race, the financial sector has been among the top industries that have supported her, a Post analysis found last year.
Along with the $44.1 million the industry has donated to back her campaigns, she personally earned more than $3.7 million for delivering paid speeches to banks and other financial-services firms since leaving the State Department in 2013, personal financial disclosures show. ...WaPo
What's kind of ironic, though, is that this frenzied dependence on Wall Street is driven by Bernie Sanders' ability to raise such large amounts from individual voters, though he, too, has the backing of PACs. A key component in Clinton's fund-raising is missing in Sanders' campaign.
The Sanders campaign also said in its news release that he has "refused to coordinate with a super PAC, which Clinton and other candidates have used to take unlimited contributions from millionaires and billionaires." ...WaPo
$999 -- That's how much it will cost you to buy a suit...made out of mushrooms. But it's not a suit to wear to your next formal event. The Infinity Burial Suit is designed to help the human body decompose when it's buried in the ground. As Buzzfeed writes, the suit is lined with mushroom spores that feed on the decomposing corpse. You'll just have to wait until June to purchase your own.
Revolting! But perhaps relevant if you annoy your spouse enough to make him/her really mad:
13 million -- That's how many Americans have a secret bank or credit account hidden from their spouse or partner. That's according to a new report from CreditCards.com. Part of the reason? Millennials grew up in a time when divorce became more common. Add to that that they're waiting longer to get married, which means they have more relationships, and it becomes more clear why they might be hesitant to share all of their financial stability with another person.
Back in the day, we didn't (yet) have to worry about real horrors like Cruz and Trump. Instead, we had (let's see) McCarthy and the A-bomb. Our reaction wasn't to duck and cover as much as to switch over to Bob and Ray. Ray died sometime back; Bob left us the other day.
The New York Times , a digital mess of flashing, color (violet! pink! baby blue!), seems to celebrate the Cruz numbers and to declare Hillary, its chosen candidate, the credible winner with her point dot-dot-dot superiority. Trump took a well-deserved beating in Iowa, that's for sure. But the more interesting results come from the Washington Post/AP where in plain, humble, black print the Clinton/Sanders race gets a harder look in terms of what could actually propel a mere candidate into office: delegates. Sanders is not -- not yet, anyway -- an "also-ran":