I won’t bore you with any more Hillary bashing, apart from saying that her phony baloney populism is an insult to anything with a forebrain and opposable thumbs. I think she has genuine liberal sentiments, but ambition trumps sentiments in politics, and she’s running for president of the United States, not president of Sweden or Denmark, and we don’t truck with too much liberalism. Not one minute after she she snookers us libs into voting for her, she’ll be off to brunch with Lawrence Summers and Lloyd Blankfein, and they won’t be eating hot dogs and spare ribs like the folks. They will, however, be having Very Serious Discussions about raising the retirement age and cutting those wicked entitlements. They will be drafting her inevitable speech about “fiscal responsibility” that we’re all going to have to endure. Just watch.
I can hear it in my nightmares. I can hear it in my daymares. I can see it, smell it, feel it and sense it as if it’s a tangible, living presence hovering over my shoulder getting ready to pounce, the Ghost of Establishment Politician’s Past come to smother me with smugness, condescension and hypocrisy. ...O'Hollern@BadAttitudes
The Senate failed to move forward on legislation to reform the National Security Agency or renew the Patriot Act early on Saturday morning, making it almost a sure bet that portions of the Patriot Act expire at the end of the month. ...TheHill
Although I don't think the Senate merits even a weak, warm gringorita given its track record, it looks like they're allowing the Patriot Act to die a slow death in the next week or so. That's better than nothing.
At the end of the month, three parts of the Patriot Act are set to expire, including the controversial Section 215 which the NSA has used to collect in bulk records about millions of Americans’ phone calls. The program was revealed by Edward Snowden two years ago, and has been the target of reform for civil libertarians ever since.
Failure of the USA Freedom Act — after a similar setback in the closing days of Democrats’ majority in the Senate last year — sends the loudest message yet that Congress is unable to agree on reforming the nation’s intelligence powers.
Senior administration officials have said that uncertainty caused by inaction on the bill would force them to wind down the NSA’s bulk phone collection program in the coming days. They also said it would present a host of operational problems for the NSA and FBI. ...TheHill
As Kevin Drum points out, this is a serious surprise. Even more so when it's revealed as a trend, not a blip in an otherwise reliable leaning towards conservativism on the part of most American voters.
... This really is a milestone. For a long time, one of the rocks of political analysis in America has been the simple fact that conservatives outnumber liberals. That's been true since at least the 60s, and probably for the entire postwar period—and it's been a perpetual millstone around Democratic necks. They couldn't win national elections just by getting the liberal vote and a little bit of the center-right vote. They had to get a lot of the center-right vote. But it now looks like that era is coming to an end. With social issues increasingly defining politics, a social liberal is, for all practical purposes, just a plain old liberal—and the trend of increasing liberal ID is already underway. ...Drum,MoJo
The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty has interesting insights into Hillary Clinton's propensity to muddle friendship with politics -- loyalty with discretion. Her work as Secretary of State was "an archetype of crisp managerial efficiency." As distinct, the Post notes, from how her presidential campaign was managed. It was a mess.
But her time at State does show ongoing problems, lapses in judgment ... even defiance. Her side-stepping of the policy when it came to her private email account is only one example, it seems.
...A trove of newly released e-mails suggests that one of Clinton’s tendencies persisted during her time as secretary of state — an inability to separate her longtime loyalties from the business at hand.
The e-mails from her private account reveal that she passed along no fewer than 25 memos about Libya from friend and political ally Sidney Blumenthal. Blumenthal had business interests in Libya but no diplomatic expertise there.
Moreover, she did so after the White House had blocked her from hiring Blumenthal at the State Department. The president’s team considered him untrustworthy and prone to starting rumors. ...WaPo
Clinton defends her rule-breaking as a way of staying in touch with reality, of not being trapped in an agency bubble. But pulling old friends into her decision-making process proved to be destructive during her 2008 campaign.
Her 2016 organization has been built with those mistakes in mind. Relatively few of those who were involved in 2008 remain; in their place is a new generation of data-driven operatives, few of whom have long or deep ties to the candidate herself.
Her new campaign chairman, John Podesta, was picked in part for his willingness to act as an enforcer.
“With Podesta in charge,” said a longtime Clinton friend, “it’s a new game in the sense that Podesta’s big skill is the ability to tell people to go to hell.”
In other words, they are building a different kind of Clinton campaign. The question is whether the candidate can be a different kind of Clinton. ...WaPo
Who is Hillary and what are her strengths?
Peter Beinart reports that the Clinton campaign -- this year's edition -- is showing a good deal more savvy in handling their candidate.
Soaring rhetoric and grand themes have never been Hillary’s strengths. That’s one reason so many liberals found her so much less inspirational than Barack Obama in 2008. And it’s a problem with deep roots. In his biography, A Woman in Charge, Carl Bernstein describes Hillary, then in law school, struggling to articulate her generation’s perspective in an address to the League of Women Voters. “If she was speaking about a clearly defined subject,” Bernstein writes, “her thoughts would be well organized, finely articulated, and delivered in almost perfect outline form. But before the League audience, she again and again lapsed into sweeping abstractions.”
Team Clinton appears to understand this. And so it has done something shrewd. Instead of talking vision, Hillary is talking policy, which she does really well. ...Beinart,Atlantic
But this vision thing will be demanded of any serious candidate for the presidency. Hillary will have to face the hightone rhetoric of one or another Republican candidate.
Sooner or later, Hillary will have to move from policy to philosophy. It may be a rocky transition. And if the Republicans nominate Marco Rubio (which at this point looks like a decent bet), she will face a candidate who interweaves personal biography and national aspiration better than she does. But if Hillary stumbles, these opening weeks of her campaign may offer a template for how she regains her footing. She’s at her best talking about America not abstractly, but concretely. She’s most inspiring when talking not about what she believes, but about what she wants to do. And she most effectively humanizes herself by being true to who she is: knowledgeable, passionate, and vaguely obsessive about making government work. Against Rubio, or any other likely Republican challenger, that identity should provide an excellent contrast. ...Beinart,Atlantic
The GOP is producing candidates who, for the most part, have eagerly climbed to the top of the mast but who wouldn't know what to do if you handed them the tiller.
And/or fire the Supreme Court? A report in the Times last Tuesday certainly suggests those solutions to a society in trouble.
The court sided with two San Francisco police officers who in 2008 shot Teresa Sheehan, a mentally ill woman, when she resisted being moved from her private room in a group home to a mental health facility.
When the officers first entered Ms. Sheehan’s room, she told them to leave and grabbed a kitchen knife. After retreating and conferring, the officers forced open the door, blinded Ms. Sheehan with pepper spray and repeatedly shot her.
She survived and sued, and the federal appeals court in California allowed her case to go forward. The appeals court said the officers’ initial entry had been justified and did not violate the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. But, the court went on, “a jury could find that the officers acted unreasonably by forcing the second entry and provoking a near-fatal confrontation.”
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for a six-justice majority, said the officers were entitled to qualified immunity because there was no clearly established law barring their conduct. ...NYT
Okay, stupid. Stay in the left lane and you're in trouble. First, we double both your mortgage and car payments. Then we stop you from reading anything but romance novels for the rest of your life. Next, we launch a new TV series called "Ridiculously Inept Sexual Partners" and you're the star. If, by then, you still haven't learned that the left lane is for passing only, we give you a seat in the House, the ultimate punishment for certified jerks.