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.
10:47 PM – 11 Feb 2016 Twitter
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.
So, too, she surely will assure African-American voters that she obviously is just really fond of Barack Obama, not to mention every last one of his policy initiatives and legislative successes—although she does mention this, mantra-like, in canned statements, like a Chatty Cathy doll. But only to illustrate the point that she’s really fond of him, not to piggyback on what she presumes is wholesale, categorical deification of him among Black voters.
Including those Black voters who still don’t have healthcare insurance, or who have or fear large healthcare expenses notwithstanding that they do have insurance. Obamacare must be preserved because it’s, well, Obamacare. Which is why universal healthcare, while a theoretical goal of hers, is not something that she would pursue. Because she knows how offensive that would be to African-Americans.
Luckily, too, she knows how offensive it would be to African-Americans if they knew that her campaign accepted $133,246 from the two largest private-prison companies, CCA and GEO, and their lobbyists. That’s barely less than the $133,450 that that crowd donated for Marco Rubio—longtime puppet of the owner of the second-largest of the two, GEO, dating to his time as speaker of the Florida House, that resulted in what appears to have been actual quid pro quo legislation and contracts he pushed through. So Clinton didn’t mention her campaign-finance ties to this industry.
Instead, she said she wants to end private prisons.
Good idea! Especially since it probably played well with African-American and Hispanic viewers last night, given that Sanders—who has campaigned on ending private prisons—(inexplicably) didn’t mention her campaign-finance ties to that industry. But presumably he will, and soon, in ads, at rallies, and in interviews.
Clinton learned the wrong lesson from Pavlov. Even if dogs could vote. There has to be some actual meat involved.
Clinton’s not a single-issue candidate, and she does not believe we live in a single-issue country. That’s what she said in her closing statement last night, which the pundits apparently think is her breakthrough line. Neither, it seems, is she a single-industry beneficiary.*
And Sanders is not a single-issue candidate. Nor is he someone who’s so late to this particular party.
Maybe Clinton hasn’t noticed that Sanders has been talking regularly since the outset of his campaign about the private-prison industry. Or maybe she just thinks that no one else has noticed; well, no one who’s Black or Hispanic, and on that she might be right.
She also reiterated last night in that closing statement that wants to get unaccountable money out of politics. But only unaccountable money. The donations that the private-prison industry paid to her, and to Rubio in this campaign and his earlier ones, are accountable, although I have no idea to whom. But I guess that explains why she didn’t mention them along with her assurance that she wants to kill the industry. They’re accountable.
Sanders does not believe we live in a single-issue country, either. He can, and does, connect the dots among issues.
He also can do basic math and assumes that most voters can, too. Clinton said last night that she is “very proud of the fact that we have more than 750,000 donors, and the vast majority of them are giving small contributions. … We both have a lot of small donors.” According to a report discussed in The Blaze today, “[l]ast year’s fundraising reports show that Sanders raised fully 72 percent of his campaign money from people who gave $200 or less, while for Clinton those donors accounted for just 16 percent of her funds.”
Sanders, for his part, is very proud of the fact that he can do multiplication and division and knows how to use a calculator to figure out that one donation directly to a campaign of $2,700 is the same amount as 90 donations of $30 each. And that, say, five donations totaling $333,246 total the same amount as 4,441 donations of $30 each. This is a sleight of hand that Clinton repeats often. In the name of honesty, of course.
An article titled “Top Hillary Clinton Advisers and Fundraisers Lobbied Against Obamacare and Dodd-Frank,” by Lee Fang, published in The Intercept on February 8, downright stunned me (AB reader Beene linked to it a few days ago in a Comments thread to one of my posts here, which is how I know of it it). It has received surprisingly little attention but surely will receive quite a bit if Clinton wins the nomination and Trump is her general-election opponent. It describes a revolving-door setup by which several people very close to the Clintons dating back to Bill Clinton’s presidency are now consultants who represent a slew of financial-services, healthcare insurance, and other industry mainstays of intense political lobbying, and who lobbied against Obamacare and Dodd-Frank and proposed legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate drug and medical-device prices, are now major financial benefactors of the Clinton campaign as key consultants to the campaign.
It’s damning not just for the obvious reasons, but also for its highlighting of an especially troubling aspect of Hillary Clinton: her dependence for just about everything upon a large group of people closely affiliated with the Clintons since the early 1990s. People who owe their extensive wealth to this couple. It strikes me as creepy. Like something out of the old Soviet Union Politburo apparatus.
Then again, it’s not like she’s a male, or anything.
It seems to me that in considering which of the two candidates would be the strongest in the general election, Democrats need to consider the breadth of topics that would be extremely helpful to the nominee but that Clinton will be severely hamstrung in pressing.
As for Sanders, it’s past time that he begin informing the public of Clinton’s financial support from the private-prison industry. Democratic voters are entitled to this information. As well as to the information about the consultant/Clinton-affiliates Politburo apparatus.
*Sentence originally used the word “benefactor” rather than “beneficiary”. “Benefactor” many or may not be accurate. “Beneficiary” definitely and obviously is. 2/13 at 10:08 a.m.