Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

A Particularly Poignant, and Revealing, Juxtaposition of Politico Articles Published a Day Apart

Terry Havener, 62, a retired union carpenter, pictured with Johnstown in the background. He was hoping for Bernie. He voted for Jill Stein. | Scott Goldsmith for Politico Magazine

– Photo caption in THE FRIDAY COVER: What Trump Voters Want Now The blue-collar workers who put Donald Trump in the White House are ready for him to deliver. How much time will they give him?, Politico, article by Michael Kruse, yesterday

Juxtapose that article with a Politico article by Ben White, from a day earlier, titled “Bankers celebrate dawn of Trump era: A populist candidate who railed against shady financial interests on the trail is putting together an administration that looks like an investment banker’s dream.

Yesterday’s article is mostly about lifelong Democrats in Johnstown, Penn., who voted at least once for Obama (who won the town and its county both times) but who voted for Trump, who there decisively.  So Mr. Havener is the exception in that he didn’t vote for Trump.  But neither did he vote for Clinton.

These are not Trump’s “base” voters, and they make clear that Trump will not hold them for long by trying to lie his way through his administration.  The Mad Hatter routine will not work with them.  This will be the most virulently pro-corporate, pro-already-extremely-wealthy administration since Warren Harding’s, and they will know it.

Elizabeth Warren on Thursday gave a fairly detailed speech on the Senate floor listing Trump’s many statements and explicit promises to working-class voters, juxtaposed with the express positions of the people in charge of respective relevant parts of Trump’s transition team: an aggressive proponent of privatizing Social Security in charge of selecting top people at HHS, as just one of many specific examples Warren listed.

I would love to see ads run on Rust Belt media markets showing that part of Warren’s speech.  And then warning that Trump will simply say that he’s doing exactly the opposite of what he’s actually doing.  This is the way to fight this.  It is the only way to fight this.  These are not terribly expensive media markets.

These ads also should run through social media, on Facebook as ads and in news feeds, and in Twitter feeds.  They should become a regular feature of American life.  They would be funded in the same way that the Sanders campaign was.  And they should say that.

Meanwhile, there is the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.  People should get this information to their relatives through Facebook ahead of the holiday, if possible, and at the Thanksgiving dinner if Trump is discussed.

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ADDENDUM: Reader EMichael, who is originally from Pennsylvania, and I just had an exchange of several comments in the Comments thread that readers of this post will be interested in, I think.

Added 11/19 at 10:40 a.m.

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A question looming before the debate last night was: Which of two mutually exclusive positions Clinton has taken recently on Dodd-Frank’s too-big-to-fail provision would she repeat in the debate? The answer: Both. [Updated 4/16]

As for Clinton herself, her bandwagon-jumping nature is a big reason why so many people dislike her.  But in this instance there was the additional element of dishonesty: she knew that Sanders rather than the editorial board members had it right about what Dodd-Frank provides. She had said so publicly, recently, in a statement in which she also said she had said that before.

ForExTraderProfits.com, linking to my Apr. 13 post here

Which in turn was excerpted from a post of mine from Apr. 10.

The instance I was referring to was Clinton’s decision a day after the New York Daily News published online its editorial board’s interview of Bernie Sanders—a truly weird interview in which the board members asked questions based upon their inaccurate factual beliefs across a panoply of issues, including that Dodd-Frank does not include a provision that allows the Fed together with the Treasury Dept. to designate a financial institution systemically important and dangerously large and order the institution to pare down.

And including that most experts, including those from the finance industry, believe that the best mechanism by which a financial institution would be pared down would be for the government to give them parameters such as a cap-size and permit the institutions to determine for themselves how to accomplish it.

This, while also demanding that Sanders comment on a lengthy opinion, issued four days earlier and reported about and analyzed in the media three days earlier, in which a single federal trial-level judge ruled unconstitutional the Dodd-Frank provision that allows the Fed together with the Treasury Dept. to designate a financial institution systemically important and dangerously large and order the institution to pare down—the Dodd-Frank provision that the Daily News editorial board said doesn’t exist.  The opinion also was based partly on the judge’s erroneous belief that that provision requires something that it actually does not: a cost-benefit analysis, which, Paul Krugman notes, would be absurd.

And also while repeatedly conflating legislation that Sanders has proposed to augment and clarify that provision of Dodd-Frank with Dodd-Frank itself, making it impossible for Sanders to follow what even was being asked.

Nonetheless, the political—but curiously, not the finance-law pundits and experts nor economists (including the ones who double as pundits, with the exception of Paul Krugman)—put out word that Sanders’s answers indicated that he has no understanding of this seminal issue of his campaign: current law on breaking up the banks as too big too fail, and the mechanism by which this would be decided either under current law (Dodd-Frank) or Sanders’s proposed legislation.  (Krugman subtlely walked back his take three days after he included that take in a column published three days after the interview transcript was released.)

Clinton, in an interview the morning after the transcript was released, characteristically parroted the take of the in mainstream political pundits and journalists that it was Sanders rather than the editorial board members who lacked knowledge and understanding of that relevant part of Dodd-Frank and of what the consensus mechanism to pare down the financial institutions would be—that the institutions themselves, like MetLife in the case in which the new court ruling was issued, would be allowed to determine themselves how to comply with the cap order.  Sanders, Clinton said, hadn’t done his homework.

But if so, then neither had she, since, as a couple of dismayed non-household-name journalists quickly noted, she had said at the February debate, repeating what, as she herself pointed out, she had said earlier in the campaign: that Dodd-Frank indeed authorizes a forced breakup of too-big-to-fail financial institutions and that she as president would have her administration invoke the provision.

So a question looming before the debate last night was, which of these mutually exclusive positions would she take?  The answer: Both.  This is, after all, Hillary Clinton we’re talking about.

A few minutes after she reiterated her position of February, December, November, and October that her administration would invoke the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t-now-you-see-it-again Dodd-Frank provision that authorizes the compelled paring of huge financial institutions, she turned to Sanders and repeated her parrot line that Sanders’s answers to the New York Daily News editorial board indicated that he didn’t even know much about his own signature policy: break up the big banks.  But this time (if I recall correctly), Clinton being Clinton, she phrased as something like, “The New York Daily News editorial board said Sanders ….”  Because a cool way to mislead is to note that you’re repeating (and thus adopting) a claim made by someone else.

I have no idea why neither Sanders nor the debate questioners didn’t ask her why she claims Sanders was wrong and that editorial board right while repeatedly saying, before that Sanders interview and now after it, exactly what Sanders said in that interview.  And why they didn’t ask her why, if Dodd-Frank doesn’t authorize the too-big-to-fail designations and a mandate to pare down, she nonetheless keeps saying, when asked, that her administration would invoke the provision.

And I have no idea why neither Sanders nor the questioners asked her why she thought it was a bad idea to allow the banks themselves to decide how to pare down in compliance with the Dodd-Frank order.  Other than, y’know, that the editorial board thought it indicated incompetence and unpreparedness on Sanders’s part and that lots of pundits agreed.  In fact, some still do; this is a meme that is proving particularly resistent to actual fact, especially among big-name baby-boomer and Gen-X major-media writers who themselves are clueless about, say, Dodd-Frank.

What the questioners did do, though, is ask Sanders questions that gave him the opportunity to in essence respond to the punditry’s sheep stampede, such as why he would prefer to allow the banks to decide for themselves what path to take to comply with a pare-down order.  Which he did, beautifully, although Nicholas Kristof (probably among others) didn’t notice.

I don’t want to continue to beat this horse, which I’d hoped and expected would have been explicitly killed last night but instead was merely wounded: Not just about Clinton’s shamelessly snakelike handling of this particular matter but that it is part and parcel of who she is, at least as a candidate.

My concern–obsession, really–with this isn’t so much because I support Sanders, who mostly is defending himself just fine, but because I expect that Clinton will win the nomination, and then I will switch my allegiance (without enthusiasm) to her.  Clinton clearly does not get how much this type of thing hurts her as a candidate; presumably, she thinks it helps her, which itself indicates a problem with her perception.  So it is part of her regular repertoire.

As I’ve said before, it probably won’t matter in the outcome of the election.  She will be opposing (almost certainly) a pathological liar who (absolutely certainly) will be pushing most of the same fiscal-policy snake oil, dictated by the donors and their puppets and fellow travelers who comprise the Republican establishment, as the folks who unabashedly are part of that establishment have been pushing for decades now.

But Clinton has a dangerously weird thought process in some key respects, and her failure to recognize that her incessant sleight-of-hand misrepresentations, or outright misrepresentations, confirm what so many people already think about her: that she’s dishonest, that she’s untrustworthy, that you can’t simply accept at face value what she says.

Another example of this, albeit of a slightly different nature, is the ridiculous claim, repeated again last night, that she‘s not part of the establishment.  The very last thing the Democrats need in this particular election is a nominee at the very top of their ticket who is the very definition of “establishment” but doesn’t know it because she doesn’t know what voters mean by “establishment” and therefore why the word matters.  I have no idea whether Clinton is feigning that she doesn’t know what is meant by “establishment” or whether instead she actually misunderstands the term.  I suspect the former**, but will take her at her word.  And I don’t know which is worse.  It’s a fielder’s choice, I think.

Sanders is by no means a perfect candidate, and I have to say that Krugman finally made a criticism of Sanders that I agree with, in his column today.*  But Democrats fail at their own peril to reckon with Clinton’s inability to understand that some of her tactics and gimmicks are counterproductive.

—-

*Krugman does think that only Sanders among the Democratic primary candidates misrepresents things.  Guess he doesn’t follow the Clinton campaign as closely as he follows the Sanders campaign.  Or at all.  He just shills for it.

Added 4/15 at 5:42 p.m.

**Originally and erroneously said “latter”.  Corrected 4/17 at 10:08 a.m.

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UPDATE: In response to criticisms of this post in the Comments thread, which insist that Sanders really, really doesn’t understand the relevant Dodd-Frank provisions and that Clinton was right to say last week that he didn’t do his homework and that he doesn’t understand this key issue of his and hint that this means he’s unqualified to be president—and that it’s fine for Clinton to talk out of both sides of her mouth, one the side that says Sanders is clueless about a key issue, the other the side that agrees completely with Sanders on the issue and expands upon it, going further than Sanders does—I wrote:

NYT The Upshot blogger Peter Eavis, who actually specializes in coverage of Dodd-Frank and related finance-industry matters, begs to differ with you.

His post, which is lengthy and detailed, is titled, “At Debate, Hillary Clinton Leaves Questions About Approach to Banks.” It’s theme, which it establishes damn clearly: That Sanders knows more that Clinton does about the relevant provisions of Dodd-Frank, and wayyyy more than the Daily News editorial board members or any of the mainstream political pundits who bought the editorial board’s line, know.

The subtext is that Clinton is either truly confused or being deliberately misleading. And that either way she well knows that it was the Daily News editorial board members and the political pundits who jumped on their bandwagon, rather than Sanders, who actually is clueless about what is a really complex and not precisely clear statutory provision, but a provision that the editorial board members had no understanding of at all.

Clinton’s invoking of that editorial board’s belief that Sanders is confused and clueless—he didn’t do his homework!—is necessarily also a statement that Clinton too is confused and clueless. Either those editorial board members and all the pundits who adopted their line are wrong or both Sanders and Clinton are wrong; she knows this. And Eavis makes clear that what Clinton said about her intentions under Dodd-Frank are seriously weird, implying that she didn’t do her homework or that her homework reading assignment included a suggestion that she repeat the editorial board’s bogus claim that Sanders doesn’t understand this key premise of his campaign.

All the way back on April 5 the day that that interview transcript was released, Eavis in blog post at The Upshot deconstructed the claim that it was Sanders rather than his interviewers that was clueless about Dodd-Frank.  Most pundits, including those at the Times, who commented on the interview presumably didn’t read (and at least one, Nicholas Kristof, still hasn’t read) Eavis’s April 5 post.

Ditto for some straight-news reporters covering the campaigns.  Politico’s Annie Karni, who covers the Clinton campaign but who I mistakenly said in a recent post, covers the Sanders campaign, is a case in point.

Which is understandable, I suppose, since The Upshot is just a blog, and The Times hides Eavis’s work there.

But the real purpose of my post was to highlight a major problem with Clinton’s candidacy that Democrats need to recognize: That the fairly widely held view of her as less-than-honest, less-than-trustworthy, and not particularly admirable in character, is not solely the result of relentless, decades-long Republican efforts to portray her that way, nor mainly because of her asinine email mess.  It also is because she consistently goes for the misleading cheap shot in an effort to con voters about, in this campaign, Sanders’ policy proposals or Sanders himself. And that she has no idea that this tactic is counterproductive rather than productive.

I was delighted that one of the questioners at the debate Thursday night—Dana Bash, if I remember right—pointed out her attempt to mislead last week that Vermont is the state from which the most guns come from that are used in crimes in New York state.  That claim is emblematic of the dual problem here that Clinton does this kind of thing regularly and that she thinks it helps her.

The Times today has an editorial online that will be published in tomorrow’s paper that I think pretty clearly is a quickly revised, post-debate draft of what originally was written as an endorsement of Clinton and instead endorses neither Clinton nor Sanders.  Here are the last two paragraphs of it:

Too often, Mrs. Clinton appears defensive in answering legitimate inquiries, for which she should have sound answers. This tendency has led to some errors and has prevented her from correcting others. Her decision to use a private server for her government emails was a lapse in judgment that she has yet to explain convincingly. Criticism of her lucrative speeches to Wall Street is also legitimate. She could easily deprive Mr. Sanders of one of his strongest points if she simply released the transcripts, instead of concocting absurd reasons not to. [Link in original.]

The breadth of experience that Mrs. Clinton — former first lady, senator from New York and secretary of state — would bring to the presidency is impressive and rare. But as tough as this long fight with Mr. Sanders has been, a tougher challenge could lie ahead: appealing to younger Democrats and resolving doubts about her forthrightness and her policies. She will need to do both if she is to stake a clear claim to the White House.

Watching that debate Thursday night, a majority of the Times editorial board members finally got the essence of the problem with Clinton’s campaign: It’s Clinton herself.  My hope, since she almost certainly will be the nominee, is that someone high up in her campaign also gets it and gets that maybe if it is explained to her and illustrated to her that her misrepresentations and incessant sleight-of-hand gimmicks in addressing Sanders and things related to him are reinforcing the belief among so many voters that she’s slimy and that she will say almost anything to win an election, she will finally get this herself.

Democrats are fooling themselves if they think this is trivial.

Added 4/16 at 1:35 p.m.  Addition re Karni inserted 4/16 at 2:15 p.m.

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Oh, Dear.

[GLENN] THRUSH: When [Sanders] puts his head on a pillow at night, do you think he goes to sleep a Democrat?

CLINTON: [Laughs] Well, I can’t answer that, Glenn, because he’s a relatively new Democrat, and, in fact, I’m not even sure he is one. He’s running as one. So I don’t know quite how to characterize him. I’ll leave that to him. But I know there’s a big difference between Democrats and Republicans, and I know that Senator Sanders spends a lot of time attacking my husband, attacking President Obama, you know, calling President Obama weak and disappointing.

Transcript of Politico’s Glenn Thrush interviewing Clinton, published today

Okay, so Clinton knows there’s a big difference between Democrats and Republicans, and she knows that Senator Sanders spends a lot of time attacking Clinton’s husband, attacking President Obama, you know, calling President Obama weak and disappointing.

But she doesn’t know that Sanders’s attacks on her husband’s, and on Obama’s, presidencies are that their policies were not different enough from Republicans’.  She thinks instead that Sanders’ criticisms of the Clinton and Obama administrations are that those administrations’ policies were and are too different from Republican policies.  Sanders’s complaint, she says, is that they gave too few concessions to the Republicans, and resisted Republicans too much. Obama has been too weak to resist Democrats’ pressures to cave to Republicans more.  He gave into the Democrats–who wanted less resistance to the RepublicansClinton says Sanders thinks, and Sanders is disappointed at Obama about that; he wanted Obama to rubber stamp the Republicans’ proposals, just as all the other Democrats wanted him to do.

I’ll take her at her word that she thinks this.

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Liberals, and especially African-American liberals, should not encourage Senate confirmation of Garland to the Supreme Court

Repubs apparently now think they can have the last laugh.  Senate Repubs reportedly now are considering whether to confirm during the lame duck session after the election if Clinton wins.  But of course, then Garland would be expected to withdraw if Obama does not withdraw his name saying that Clinton and the new (Democratic-controlled) Senate should handle it.

– Me, here, yesterday

Today, Greg Sargent writes at length about that possibility:

[T]here is a scenario worth entertaining here in which Obama has the last laugh — and the GOP posture ends up leaving Republicans with only downsides, and zero upsides.

That scenario goes like this: If Republicans don’t give Garland any hearing, and a Democrat (most likely Hillary Clinton) wins the presidential election, Republicans could then move to consider him in the lame duck session, to prevent Clinton from picking a more liberal nominee. But at that point, Obama could withdraw his nominee, to allow his successor to pick the next justice, instead.

The Republican argument for refusing to consider Garland (or anyone Obama nominates) is that the selection of the next justice is so hugely consequential that only the next president should make that choice, so that the American people have a say in it, by choosing who that president will be. Lurking behind this rationale is the understandable fear that if the court is tilted in a more liberal direction, it could deal a serious blow to a number of conservative causes — so better to roll the dice by holding out and hoping a Republican is elected president.

But with Donald Trump tightening his grip on the nomination, and the more electable “establishment” GOP candidates falling like dominoes, the prospect of Clinton winning the presidency is looking very real, and may continue to look even more likely as the campaign progresses. Republicans themselves fear that a Trump nomination could cost them the Senate, too. If all of that happens, Republicans might see no choice but to try to confirm Garland in the lame duck, before Clinton takes office and picks a nominee, possibly with a Dem-controlled Senate behind her. Some Republicans are already floating this idea.

But Obama could decline to play along with that scenario.

His post is titled “How Obama could get last laugh in Supreme Court fight.”  He posted this update:

It occurs to me that I probably should have argued that in this scenario, Democrats and liberals would be getting the last laugh, as opposed to Obama getting it. After all, Obama by all indications does want Garland confirmed; he’d merely be deferring to Hillary after the election. And liberal Dems (some of whom are already disappointed by the Garland pick) would be getting their preferred outcome. I’m not predicting this will happen, just floating it as an interesting possibility. You may also see some liberal pressure on Obama to do this, if Democrats secure a big victory in November (though whether Obama would bow to it is anybody’s guess), which would also be an interesting scenario to see play out.

But liberals should not push this man’s confirmation, and certainly African-Americans should not.  To quote Politico’s Josh Gerstein, “A former prosecutor, Garland often split with his liberal colleagues on criminal justice issues.”

Garland would not bring the court leftward in the absolutely critical realm of criminal justice issues, including jurisdiction to challenge via federal habeas corpus petition anything state-court criminal convictions or sentences on grounds that some aspect that lead to the result was unconstitutional–including police or prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel, and including immunity of cops and prosecutors from civil liability in civil rights lawsuits.

That, in fact, reportedly was a big plus for him in Obama’s opinion in 2009 and 2010 when he was being considered to replace Souter and Stevens–even though the Dems controlled the Senate.

Thomas Friedman, of all people, had a terrific line about Obama in his NYT column a day or two ago, something like, “Let’s face it; you wouldn’t want President Obama to be the one selling your house for you.” The column, which really was quite good, was about the TPP, and what Clinton should say about it now. But that comment about Obama was hilarious, and absolutely spot-on.

I’ve thought for about seven years now that Obama’s primary concern is to be considered a moderate by The People Who Matter. I don’t think he cares all that much about anything else, really.

Or maybe he thought in 2009 and 2010 and today that what the Supreme Court needs is a former prosecutor who will join with Samuel Alito in anything related to criminal law and law enforcement.

Garland is being hailed in some quarters as a brilliant legal mind, but I have yet to see an iota of evidence of it.  On a par with Samuel Alito, maybe? Or maybe just in comparison to Samuel Alito. And best as I can tell, not by all that much.

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UPDATE: This article by Janell Ross on the Washington Post’s The Fix blog about both Obama and Garland is outstanding.  I disagree with her that the anger toward Obama among what she calls the far left (which as a Sanders supporter I guess I qualify as part of, right?) is misplaced, but I agree with her about pretty much everything else she says in the article.  It’s a terrific analysis of Obama’s presidency as well as of Garland’s career.

Added 3/17 at 4:40 p.m.

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SECOND UPDATE: Just saw this article on Politico via Yahoo News, titled “Black lawmakers irked by Obama’s Supreme Court choice“. Their concerns are that Garland is a moderate rather than a progressive, and that Obama didn’t consult them before finalizing and announcing the selection.  Some of them also are angry that a member of a racial minority wasn’t selected.

Good for them.  I myself don’t care one whit about the nominee’s race, gender, family background, religion, ethnicity.  I care only about the person’s professional experience, views on legal issues I care about, and intellect, because that is what will determine how this person will effect the law. I can’t think of a clearer in-your-face affront to African Americans, at this particular moment, than the nomination of a pro-police, pro-prosecutor, anti-habeas corpus judge to be the swing justice on the Supreme Court for, very likely, the next several years.

I also have to say how very retro it is that Obama thinks the public is 1980s-’90s-era pro-police, pro-prosecutor. Then again, for some people–i.e., politicians–it will forever be the 1980s or ’90s.

Added 3/17 at 7:15 p.m.

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Hillary Clinton’s not very good at math.

The truth is, we aren’t a single-issue country.  We need more than a plan for the big banks. The middle class needs a raise.

– Hillary Clinton, last night in her Nevada-caucuses victory speech

We’re not a single-issue country?  Who knew?  That’s a peculiar message on which to hang her campaign—as she has been doing for the last two or three weeks, since the previous tack proved ineffective—given that that previous tack was that, for women, there actually is only a single issue: breaking the glass ceiling for women presidential candidates.

But every time Clinton makes this baldly false claim about Sanders’ campaign, Sanders should refer her to, perhaps, a mathematician.  Or to a Feb. 16 article by John Wagner, the Washington Post’s lead reporter on the Sanders campaign (and my favorite reporter covering that campaign; he’s just really straightforward in his reporting, very much like reporters of yore), titled Post Politics ‘Single-issue’ candidate Bernie Sanders touches on 20 issues during a Michigan campaign stop.

Wagner, unlike Clinton, can count.  All the way up to 20.

Not incidentally, the campaign stop that Wagner was reporting on was at Eastern Michigan University’s huge Convocation Hall in Ypsilanti, a largely African-American city that borders on Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan.  It also is near many metro-Detroit blue-collar suburbs.  The rally gained media attention for its huge crowd and very long waiting lines that began forming several hours before the event, in very cold weather.  And also for the crowd’s raucous enthusiasm—a crowd, it was clear from the videos and photos, that truly did look like America.  Or a large segment of Democratic and other non-Tea Party America.  Except that metro Detroit does not have a large Latino population.

But Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and California do.  And in Nevada, which also does, Sanders won the Latino vote by eight points, according to entrance polls.

In other words, Sanders no longer has a racial-minorities problem.  He has an African-American problem, and possibly mainly one that does not extend to rustbelt states.  Latinos apparently have no longstanding emotional tie to the Clintons, and African Americans in the rust belt may not have an unbreakable emotional tie to this couple.

Colorado, whose primary is on Mar. 1, not only has a large Latino population and (like Nevada) a relatively small African American population; it also has, I read a few months ago, the youngest population in the country.  And it is home to one of the country’s most liberal college towns, one with a population of nearly 100,000 and a student body of about 30,000, and also another state university with a good-size student body (27,000) in a city of more than 150,000.

The state also has a very large information-tech industry and a relatively huge number of environmentalists.  While the state itself is split politically about evenly between Democrats and Republicans and their respective leaners, its Democrats skew much more progressive than Nevada’s.

But Clinton may very well be wrong that she has a winning campaign soundbite even in the rust belt with “The truth is, we aren’t a single-issue country.  We need more than a plan for the big banks. The middle class needs a raise.”  Partly, that’s because she doesn’t seem to have a plan for the big banks.  And partly, because Sanders’ policies would result in larger raises than hers for the middle class and for those who make minimum wage and therefore are not in the middle class.

And partly because it is likely, I would think, that the information contained in a February 19 Politico Magazine article by William D. Cohan, titled “Too-Big-to-Fail Comes Back to Haunt Hillary,” will begin to gain real attention.

The article details Clinton’s ongoing close personal ties with top players in the banking and investment banking industries, and the number of banks and investment firms in addition to Goldman Sachs that paid her more than $200,000 for anodyne speeches at which the guests included top executives at firms that are major clients of these banks and hedge funds.  That, according to Cohan, was the purpose of these events: introductions between Clinton and these clients.

I’m guessing that eventually someone will juxtapose this information with Clinton’s statement at a debate last month that, by definition, she can’t be a member of the establishment because she is running to the first woman president. (This, of course, was still during the height of her multi-issue “Elect me because I’m a woman” campaign phase, the multi issues being “I” and “am” and “a” and “woman”.)  It’s a safe bet that if the person who employs the juxtaposition isn’t Bernie Sanders it will be Donald Trump.  If Clinton and Trump win the nomination of their respective parties.  Or maybe before that.

I read that during the caucuses yesterday Clinton tweeted that “We can’t let a Republican win the election in November,” or something close to that.  I couldn’t agree more.

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UPDATE: Apparently the entrance polls regarding Latino voters yesterday are looking wrong.  In a Politico article by Bill Scher, who mentions this, Scher also says that Clinton won African-American voters by pushing a line last week in Nevada that economic issues of the sort Sanders’ campaign has focused on don’t address what matters most to Blacks: systemic racism, particularly its effect of Black wealth.  But apparently Clinton has not offered any clue to how she plans to erase it.  Mainly she just wants African-Americans to know she knows about this and cares about it.

Unlike Sanders, who has no clue about this, or does know but doesn’t care.

Added 2/21 at 2:21 p.m.

____

Two additional points: One is this by Bruce Webb in the Comments thread:

Bruce Webb

February 21, 2016 3:32 pm

The Latino numbers may not be wrong. The ‘corrective’ was taken by measuring Latino neighborhoods without considering the possibility that these might skew older (and so more Hillary) even as younger Latinos are more dispersed.

Which is typical of ethnic neighborhoods everywhere once outright discrimination starts melting away.

The major exception being the African American community because some very explicit discrimination is likely NEVER to go away. But otherwise you can go to your standard Little Korea or Chinatown or Little Italy and all you find is old people and immigrants. Your third generation native English speakers are out and about in your hipster enclaves and suburbs alike.

So wait for the actual crosstabs before giving this one up.

The other is this: That a huge part of Clinton’s campaign modus operandi consists of misrepresentation of one or another thing about Sanders’ campaign, including the nature or specifics of his policy proposals—er, proposal.  (There’s only one, after all.)  That he is a single-issue candidate is just the latest.  I wish someone would ask her why she’s so reliant as a candidate on misrepresenting her opponent’s campaign—but this has been absolutely the case since she began to realize last fall that Sanders is an actual threat to her candidacy.

It’s hard to see how this helps a candidate who many voters, including many Democrats, believe is less-than-honest.  And yet that apparently doesn’t occur to her.

Added 2/21 at 5:35 p.m.

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Apparently there’s a special place in hell for Democratic politicians who criticize Barack Obama as insufficiently progressive. And a special place in heaven for politicians who have accepted $133,246 from the private-prisons industry but tell Black and Hispanic voters at a debate shortly before the Nevada caucuses and South Carolina primary that they want to end the private-prison system.

Nicholas Kristof 

✔@NickKristof

Clinton is accusing Sanders of being anti-Obama. Feels fake and contrived to me, and rather nasty.

10:47 PM – 11 Feb 2016 Twitter

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What worries me more than anything else about a Clinton general election campaign is her propensity to say obviously silly things. Elsewhere in that speech, in Clinton, IA on Friday, she again repeated her (and her daughter’s) complaint—without any hint of recognition of irony—that Sanders’ single-payer healthcare insurance plan would kill Obamacare.  As if it weren’t the very purpose of a single-payer healthcare insurance system to eliminate private healthcare insurance for the benefits that the single-payer plan provides.  As if the purpose of Obamacare was to create some living monument to Obama, rather than to provide healthcare insurance to people who had no access to it, and provide decent insurance to people who had policies that provided almost no coverage. [Italics added.]

Is it just me, or is the Clinton campaign’s take on how to appeal to African-American voters really demeaning, Me, Feb. 3, quoting myself in a Jan. 24 post.

Okay, good.  It’s not just me.  It’s also New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.  And David Strauss of Politico, who at 9:57 last night posted a short article titled “Clinton namechecks Obama over and over again.”  There was still an hour left in the debate then, so make that “Clinton namechecks Obama over and over and over and over and over again.”

But, hey.  All three of us are white.  And Black folk might not get what she’s doing.  And any who think they do would be wrong.  Like all of us women who mistakenly thought Clinton had, throughout her campaign, bludgeon-like, been asking women to vote for her because she’s a woman.

All those incessant Pavlovian references to women?  And last week, her declaration that Sanders must be the only person who thought she was a member of the political and economic establishment, because she’s running to be the first woman president and by dint of that fact clearly has no connection whatsoever to the politically and economically very, very powerful?  Or even to the slightly powerful?  She disabused us last night of the misconception that she was asking women to vote for her because she’s a woman.  Instead she was asking us to vote for her because she has no connection to the politically and economically powerful.

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Hillary Clinton’s Interesting New Math. (It doesn’t appear to have been devised by academics, and hopefully it will not become part of public school curriculums.)

Defending herself from claims that she’s too cozy with Wall Street, Clinton responded, “Not only do I have hundreds of thousands of donors, most of them small….”

The Federal Election Commission defines a small donation as less than $200. Her campaign has received $13.3 million in small donations, just a fraction of her total haul of $76.1 million this cycle. There’s no way to know how many individual donors made up that group, percent, because they don’t have to be disclosed. But her statement is certainly misleading. Her money comes from chiefly big donors.

—     Clinton’s money isn’t from “small” donors, Isaac Arnsdorf, Politico, today

Hmmm.  And how many of the big donors are from the private-prison-industrial complex—directly and indirectly?  How sick.  Good thing Bernie Sanders made private for-profit prisons an issue back when Clinton was losing ground to him.  After all, Clinton probably will be the nominee, and then (hopefully) the president.  And now she’s promised to … something about them.  The something probably isn’t aggressively supporting enactment of a law prohibiting them federally and in state and local systems, but we can’t have everything, can we?

And how many of her “bundlers” are lawyers or lobbyists for the finance industry?

And how long does she expect to get away with her version of the new math, in which, y’know, $76.1 million is wayyyy less than $13.3 million, and in which long division doesn’t exist?  As in, the fewer the number of people who provided the donations in the $76.1 million group, the more influence those folks are likely to have over her?

Just askin’.

Also wonderin’ how many people out there think the big finance guys who’ve maxed out their direct donations and are supporting her two super PACs are doing this in gratitude for all that federal assistance she helped obtain for Manhattan after 9/11, as she (dismayingly) claimed last night.  And how many people think the federal government wouldn’t have provided extensive recovery assistance to Manhattan were it not for Clinton’s absolute insistence that it do so.

I think AB should take a poll on this.

UPDATE: So Clinton’s fondness for ridiculous non sequiturs has finally caught up with her. Usually she uses these as cutesy slams against her campaign opponent, these days Bernie Sanders.  But this time it was in defending herself against the charge that she is compromised by her acceptance of huge amounts of money in donations from the finance industry, and it was so transparently absurd that no one needed to explain the background of the falsity, or whatever.

This penchant of hers for non sequiturs suggests she thinks that most of the public won’t catch on because the public will learn of the underlying facts only later.  And, y’know, … women.  But catching on to this one didn’t require some background information.  So now I’m wondering: How stupid does she think the public is?

Added 11/15 at 8:59 p.m.

P.S. Was I the only one who was surprised that Clinton mispronounced Paul Krugman’s name?  I said when I heard that, “Okayyy. She’s definitely not Jewish.” But she also is definitely not someone who’s ever watched or listened to him being introduced.

Just sayin’.

Added 11/15 at 9.29 p.m.

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The Oklahoma Republican Party calls Walmart and the mega-corporate fast-food and hospitality industries animals dependent on food stamps. And its chairman wants a national discussion about it. Oblige him, Democrats.

In any event, it’s completely unclear where people will stop in for hamburgers and fries, and where they will buy extremely cheap household items, once the fast food industry and Walmart have ceased to exist because there no longer are Americans who lack the skills and qualifications for good jobs and they’ve all found good jobs because we elected a Republican president who has persuaded Congress to enact a law that says that the way for people to get good jobs is for people to get good jobs.  Rather than, say, electing a Republican president who has persuaded Congress to enact a law that says that the way for people to get full-time jobs is for people to get full-time jobs although with no promise that they will be good jobs and instead might be full-time minimum-wage ones.

– MeScott Walker vs. the Walton Family and McDonald’s’ CEO, yesterday

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Am I reading too much into this, or did Oklahoma’s Republican Party call Walmart and fast food chain minimum-wage workers who receive food stamps animals who live in national parks?

Whoa. If the Republicans keep this up, the Walmart family and fast food chain executives will start their own Super PAC.  To help Democratic candidates!  If a Republican wins the White House, their companies might have to start paying their employees enough for them to afford groceries.

– Me, in an update to Scott Walker vs. the Walton Family and McDonald’s’ CEO, later yesterday

This actually is a really serious matter: Apparently, most people do not know that a substantial percentage of people on food stamps work—including many who have full-time, very-low-paying, no-benefits jobs.  Much less do most people know that most of the people who work yet receive food stamps are employed by mega-corporations or franchises of mega-corporations in the fast-food industry, in retail stores and in the hospitality industry, and have dependent children.

Prominent Democrats—Obama, Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and others—need to engage in a mass education campaign on this.  Especially now, in response to Scott Walker.

Key to this is to point out that the food stamp program is, to a surprising extent, corporate welfare—to which these companies have, like the animals in our national parks who have become dependent on the government (or at least on people visiting the parks, which are funded by the federal government) food handouts.

The article I linked to above is from Politico, and explains:

The Monday post, which has since been taken down, first sarcastically declared that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is proud to be distributing a record number of food stamps. It then said, “Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us ‘Please Do Not Feed the Animals.’ Their stated reason for the policy is because ‘The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.’ Thus ends today’s lesson in irony ?#?OKGOP?”

To answer my own question, yes, Oklahoma’s Republican Party did call Walmart and fast food chain minimum-wage workers who receive food stamps animals who live in national parks.  Sort of.  The Party said that Walmart and fast food chains and the hospitality industry are like national parks, in that many of their workers receive food stamps.  The Party also said that Walmart, the fast food industry and the hospitality industry are, themselves, like animals who live in national parks, because these business are subsidized significantly by the food stamp program.

They’re right about Walmart, the fast food industry, and the hospitality industry.  I mean it.  And Democrats need to say this, again and again and again, when discussing the minimum wage or the social safety net.

Again and again and again.  No Democrat should ever talk about the minimum wage or about social safety net programs without saying this.

The Politico article, by Eliza Collins, goes on to say:

On Tuesday, Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Randy Brogdon apologized.

“Last night, there was a post on our OKGOP Facebook page, and it was misinterpreted by many. I offer my apologies for those who were offended – that was not my intention,” Brogdon said.

He said the original statement was supposed to compare two separate situations and illustrate “government dependency in America.”

In addition to the apology, Brogdon used the new statement to continue the discussion on welfare programs.

“However I do think that it’s important to have conversations about government welfare programs since our dependency on government is at its highest level ever,” it said. “Quoting President Reagan, ‘We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.’”

Do oblige him, Democrats.  Give the man the conversation he wants.

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Okay, so Douglas Holtz-Eakin thinks that proposing policies that have been proposed before but have not been adopted (or are no longer in force) is the same as proposing policies that have been adopted and are still in place. Seriously, he completely conflates the two.

Many conservatives breathed a sigh of relief after the speech, having feared a fresh set of innovative proposals that might have required serious responses. “I think it’s a horse race between what’s more tired, her or the material,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “There really isn’t anything new here. It’s really more of the same, and I don’t understand how that would produce an outcome different from the last six or seven years.”

Clinton speech react: ‘Is that it?’, Ben White, Politico, today

Okay, I realize that the Republicans have settled on a tactic of pretending that Democratic economic policy proposals that either never were in place or that have been repealed (e.g., Glass-Steagall) or have been dramatically altered (a progressive income tax system; e.g., large government expenditures for infrastructure, college funding, science and medical research) don’t work because they currently aren’t working.

But if Douglas Holtz-Eakin truly doesn’t understand how implementing policies that have never been implemented, and reimplementing ones that worked very well during their existence, might produce an outcome different from the last six or seven years, he’s not very smart.

The subtitle of White’s article is “The Democratic front-runner manages to underwhelm both Wall Street and its reformers in her signature economic policy speech.”  And I myself certainly would like to see an end to what feels like a repeated tease.  It’s past time for her to stop announcing (or hinting) that she’ll be announcing specific policy proposals on such-and-such day, and actually announce specific policy proposals.  The generics phase of her campaign has more than worn out its welcome, I think.

I, of course, hope that the Republicans actually expect to convince people that the George W. Bush administration’s and current Kansas’s, Wisconsin’s, New Jersey’s detaxification/disinvestment policies—the ones that were enacted, not just proposed—worked, and that earlier, far more progressive tax policies didn’t, and that the deregulation of the finance industry was a good thing and the laws that the deregulation juggernaut repealed held back the economy of the postwar decades.  That way they’ll keep up their Mad Hatter routine long enough for someone—Bernie Sanders, if not Clinton—to ask them, rhetorically, which of the policies Clinton and other Democrats are proposing are currently in place.  And which of the policies that the Republicans are proposing more and more and more of worked during the Bush administration.

Or, for that matter, during the Hoover administration.  Jeb Bush has said that the way to raise GDP substantially is for people who have part-time jobs and want, but can’t find, full-time jobs to get full-time jobs.  Isn’t that similar to what Herbert Hoover’s economic plan was in 1930, and in 1931, and in 1932?  The way to end the Great Depression was for the unemployed to get jobs?

Maybe not.  Maybe Hoover just never thought of that plan.  Jeb Bush, though, has thought of it.  And if he’s elected, we’ll see how it works.

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Anthony Kennedy Adds the Fifth Vote in the Citizens United Against Gerrymandering Opinion

Tomorrow, in addition to the predictable ruling in the EPA/mercury-emissions case, and in addition to a declaration of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage—another 5-4 ruling, in Obergefell v. Hodges—the Court will issue an opinion in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, a case that could directly implicate continued Republican control of the House of Representatives.  So the only question is, which way will Kennedy vote—and most people expect that he will vote Republican.

Which is to say, most people think he’ll make up the fifth vote to strike down as unconstitutional an amendment to Arizona’s state constitution, passed by the state’s voters in 2000, that removed the legislature’s authority to draw boundaries for federal congressional districts away and placed that authority with an independent redistricting commission.  The legislature is challenging the amendment’s constitutionality under the Elections Clause, which states: “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for . . . Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.”  (Scotusblog notes that California has a similar setup.)

Obviously, since state legislative gross gerrymandering is largely responsible for Republican control of the House, presumably until after the next census in 2020, the Republican justices don’t want to invite, say, Pennsylvania voters to push through something similar in a voter referendum, reversing the extreme gerrymandering there by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2011. That includes Kennedy.  But Kennedy authored Citizens United and reportedly was the one who encouraged his cohorts to take on issues that had not been raised in the case, in order to destroy the McCain-Feingold law, and he’s been on the extreme defense about it ever since.  He could see this as some sort opportunity to regain some semblance of credibility on the nonpartisan front.  I mean, you never know.

Okay, you probably do know.  It won’t happen. The CW will prove right.

– In its ACA opinion today, the Court significantly narrowed its “Chevron-deference” doctrine.  I’m glad. Even despite the immediate repercussions for EPA authority., Me, Jun. 25

Okay, well, the EPA/mercury-emissions opinion, in Michigan v. EPA, and the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission opinion were released today rather than on Friday.  As expected, both were 5-4 opinions with Kennedy as the swing vote.

Also as expected—by me and pretty much everyone else—the EPA’s interpretation of a phrase in the Clean Air Act was stricken as beyond the reasonable meaning of that phrase within the context of the Clean Air Act.  This is a big, big win for power plants and the Koch brothers.

But as not necessarily expected, by me or (to my knowledge) many other people, was the result in the Arizona Redistricting Commission case.  Which is to say, Kennedy’s decision to join Ginsburg’s opinion interpreting the Constitution’s Elections Clause as referring not to the actual legislative body but to a state’s general authority—vis-à-vis the federal government’s—to determine such matters, in this case via a voter-led referendum in 2000 that established a bipartisan state commission for the purpose of redistricting congressional districts.

“Arizona voters sought to restore the core principle that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around,” Ginsburg said in a statement she read in the courtroom.  The full provision in the Constitution’s Article I, Section 4, Clause 1, states:

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but Congress may at any time make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of chusing Senators.

“Arizona voters sought to restore the core principle that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around,” Ginsburg wrote.

What I find curious is the majority’s interpretation of “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives” as referring to redistricting methods at all.  And theoretically, it’s interesting that Scalia, Thomas and Alito, after all the venom they spilled last week in their King v. Burwell dissents—words no longer have meaning, etc., etc.—think “Times’ means something other than “times”; “Places” means something other than “places”; and “Manner” means something other than, well, “manner”.  I haven’t read the Ginsburg opinion yet, and I don’t know whether it addresses this. And while Ginsburg wrote the opinion, Kennedy controlled the basis for it.

But in my opinion, the grounds that the majority settled on are broader and better than a decision limited to the issue of gerrymandering. Which, it seems to me, this isn’t.  I’m certainly no expert in election law, but off the top of my head the ground on which the opinion is based—that the Elections Clause as referring not to the actual legislative body but to a state’s general authority to determine such matters, including by voter-led referendum—then states (Think: Wisconsin; North Carolina; but not, of course, Texas) might reverse the uber-restrictive voter-ID laws enacted the moment that the Tea Party gained control over the state’s legislative and executive branches together.

Well, we’ll have to see what the experts say about that.  Sit tight.  But even if limited to voter referendums on creation of anti-gerrymandering commissions, this opinion is a very big deal.  I think.

Citizens united in Arizona in 2000 against extreme gerrymandering. Now citizens can unite in other states to do the same.

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UPDATE: Richard Hasen, a professor at UC-Irvine law school and a leading liberal election law expert (he blogs on election law at electionlawblog.org), just published an article on Slate on the opinion in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, in which he conjectures about the reasons for Kennedy’s surprising vote and notes that, as in King v. Burwell, Kennedy seems to have changed his mind after the argument in the case this spring.  Slate notes at the bottom of the article that he has a book forthcoming called Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections.  Cool.

Added 6/29 at 3:42 p.m.

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SECOND UPDATE:  Hmm. Two terrific articles about the actual effect of the EPA decision on coal-powered power plants. One, by Michael Grunwald in Politico, discusses both the specifics of the ruling and the quickly progressing demise of the coal industry, which is rapidly being replaced by gas and solar and wind power. His article is titled “A great day for coal? Not exactly.” It’s subtitled “Why the Supreme Court’s strange EPA decision won’t matter as much as people think.”

The other, by Eric Holthaus in Slate, is called “Bad News: Supreme Court Blocked Power Plant Rules. Good News: The Era of Coal Is Over.

Since I’m one of the people referred to in Grunwald’s subtitle, I thought I should mention these articles.   This is just a  big win for coal-powered power plants, not a big, big win for them.  The Koch brothers are still pretty happy tonight, though.

Added 6/29 at 9:40 p.m.

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