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Is it just me, or is the Clinton campaign’s take on how to appeal to African-American voters really demeaning?

It’s worth noting that Clinton has an interesting built-in advantage here. Clinton is campaigning as the candidate of continuity, at least in the sense that she is promising to build incrementally on the Obama agenda, while Sanders is implicitly arguing that the change of the Obama era has been woefully insubstantial when compared with the scale of our challenges. Clinton’s positioning as the steward of the Obama agenda may alone give her an edge with nonwhite voters.

Hillary Clinton is placing a huge bet on nonwhite voters, Greg Sargent, this morning

To me, one of the most striking things about Clinton’s campaign is the ships-that-pass-in-the-night feel between the very nature of her campaign and the public mood, generally but certainly among a very large swath of Democrats and Dem leaners.  Mostly, her campaign is about her.  A week or two ago, I clicked a link to a video of an event in New Hampshire a day earlier in which Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s introduction of Clinton, as the latter stood nearby waiting to take the stage, consisted (at least in the clip I saw) of reminding the crowd of how awesome Clinton was throughout that 11-hour Senate-committee Benghazi hearing. As if that absolutely, definitely, for sure indicates that she will cow Republican senators and House members into enacting progressive legislation she wants.

It really fascinates me that so many prominent Democrats and progressives think that’s the end-all-and-be-all as an indicator of a successful Hillary Clinton administration.  These folks really should get out more. To, say, well, almost anywhere outside of Washington, DC or New York City.

No surprise that Clinton talks incessantly about herself.  On Tuesday it was that SHE WON THE IOWA CAUCUSES.  Earlier it was that she’s now a grandmother.  And in between these persuasive arguments was an equally persuasive one: That she knows how it feels to be the one to have to decide whether a presidential inauguration public ceremony should go on in the face of a credible threat of a terrorist attack.

That link is to a post of mine from two weeks ago in which I also said this:

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.

Which I think makes the point that that quote above from Greg Sargent highlights: Clinton believes that African-Americans think 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.  And that they think that everything else Obama did must be preserved in granite because, well … Obama.

They like him and support him.  And aren’t as discriminating in their analyses as, y’know, whites.  Or at least as whites who don’t feel that very same way about Ronald Reagan (a rapidly diminishing crowd now, although the Republican Establishment hasn’t noticed).

I just don’t know about that.  Me?  I suspect that most African-Americans know well that Obamacare was a necessary comprise, and know that there are still many millions of people who have no healthcare insurance.  And that large premiums to private insurers, and large co-payments and deductables requiring very significant personal expenditures, don’t make for a situation in which huge numbers of Americans aren’t pervasively in fear of needing expensive medical care, or of being unable to pay the premiums, or both.

And that citizens of no other wealthy Western-style democracy live this way.

Clinton’s marketing pitch is that she is a progressive who gets things done.  “I come to you with a lifetime of service and advocacy and of getting results,” was, as noted by Dana Milbank in a commentary post that otherwise itself misses the ship, “her less-than-soaring pitch” at a community college in Nashua yesterday.  But what results exactly has she gotten?  She’s never specific, except about foreign-policy achievements as secretary of state.  And either are her many boosters among the mainstream-commentary crowd, although they recite this mantra regularly.

Milbank worries about what he says is Clinton’s tendency to get bogged down in the details of her policy proposals when she speaks at events, boring her audience.  (Maybe it’s the policy proposals themselves that are the problem.)  But from where I sit, which is not at a Clinton campaign event, the problem is the opposite of too much detail.  It’s the incessant two-or-three-sentence soundbite stupidities she repeats, again and again.

Like that she wants to raise incomes, not taxes. (A winner!)  Or that we don’t want to subside college tuition for Donald Trump’s grandchildren.  (Sanders doesn’t either; he plans to tax Donald Trump enough to pay Trump’s grandchildren’s public college tuition, should they deign to attend a public college, and have a bit left over to subsidize others’ grandchildren’s college tuition, to boot!)

The New York Times reported yesterday that some supporters close to Clinton (read: her husband, I’m betting) want her to demote the campaign’s manager, Robby Mook, whose strength is in organizing and implementing get-out-the-vote drives.  But unless he also is the one who feeds her those soundbites and tacks—and I’m betting he’s not—replacing Mook would be as effective as killing the messenger.  Mook got out the vote.  It’s Clinton who didn’t.

And it’s not promising that Clinton and some people close to her apparently don’t see this.

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FOMC Projections of Fed Funds rate

Here is the graph from FRED for FOMC Summary of Economic Projections for the Fed Funds Rate, Central Tendency, Midpoint. (link)

fomc ffr

1.15% for 2016.

2.45% for 2017.

3.20% for 2018.

LOL… lots of luck.

“The projections for the federal funds rate are the value of the midpoint of the projected appropriate target range for the federal funds rate or the projected appropriate target level for the federal funds rate at the end of the specified calendar year or over the longer run. Each participant’s projections are based on his or her assessment of appropriate monetary policy. The range for each variable in a given year includes all participants’ projections, from lowest to highest, for that variable in the given year; the central tendencies exclude the three highest and three lowest projections for each year. This series represents the midpoint of the central tendency forecast’s high and low values established by the Federal Open Market Committee.”

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Open Season Primary Thread: Paulite Bros for Bernie, Sleepy Ben Wakes Up on Open Evangelical Highway

Pick a topic relating to New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Nevada. The floor is open. Except for that whole Impractical Bernie vs. Electable HIllary thing, that’s been done to death. Some topic teasers for you.

The shakeout from Iowa more intense than I predicted, first O’Malley and Huckabee and now Paul and rumors have it Santorum. And this morning Kasich saying “Do or Die” in New Hampshire. All of which shuffled the lanes particularly on the Republican side.

For example Paul’s dropout slams the Libertarian lane shut. Leaving College Libertarian Bros adrift. Where do they wash up? Where does some Ayn Randian atheistic personal liberty gold bug anti-Fed pot smoking small government guy go? Evangelical Ted? Authoritarian Donnie? Big Government Bernie? It sure ain’t Hillary or Marco. I think there is a good case for Bernie. After all who really wants to throw your Grannie off Social Security, and Aqua Buddha knows your chances of meeting good looking college girls are better at the Sanders rally. And you can bring your blunt, or number, or joint (whatever kids call it these days).

So topic one: Liber-Bros for Bernie

Another lane, another topic. Nobody I know expected Ben Carson to actually get on track. But four things happened. First it looks like both Huckabee and Santorum have dropped. Meanwhile Trump revealed that he literally couldn’t navigate around the New Testament even with a native guide (Ralph Reed). Two Corinthians forsooth? And mistaking the Communion Plate for the Offertory? Meanwhile Dr. Carson is mightily chapped that Cruz workers played dirty by saying he had dropped out. How do evangelicals in South Carolina take this diss? AFter all Carson still finished in fourth in Iowa with all kinds of competition for evangelicals. Now he has the opportunity to take on board the Huckabee and Santorum contingent while siphoning away actual church goers from Trump and Christians who woke up to what a nasty piece of work Cruz is.

So topic two: Carson Wakes up on Highway Evangelical racing with whom?

Topics: three, four and five? Open buffet, diner’s choice. But make it a little original please, no equivalent of green jello with carrot salad.

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Why I think Clinton did not win the Iowa caucuses: The spread between Clinton and Sanders remained at 49.8 to 49.6 percent for soooo long, increased a bit, a few times, but always returned to 49.8 to 49.6, never quite getting to 49.7 to 49.7. And Des Moines was at 83% percent for evvvvver. Until REALLY LATE.

Clinton received 49.8 percent support and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) received 49.6 percent support, according to the Iowa Democratic Party’s website.

Talking Points Memo, 1:11 p.m.

Okay.  I do not think Clinton won the caucuses.  I watched the entire count, on my computer, on the New York Times website, which had a map of Iowa, divided into counties.  When you moved your cursor over one county, up popped a window showing the current tally and the percentage tallied for that county.  I did this, obsessively, until about 97% of the total statewide results were tallied.  Then I went to bed.

At that point, it was 49.9 to 49.6, and had been for almost as long as it earlier had been steady at 49.8 to 49.6.  Mostly.  The spread had increased to 49.9 to 49.5, but then narrowed back to 49.9 to 49.6.  That’s what it was when both Clinton and Sanders made their speeches and Clinton said she was breathing a big sigh of relieve and thanked Iowa for her victory.  It remained there until about 1 p.m.

I don’t remember what time it was that the tally first showed 49.8 to 49.6, but I think it was about two hours into the counting. It remained at that spread for a long time, which surprised me.  Then it bounced around slightly, increasing the spread, then returning to 49.8 to 49.6, but never going to 49.7 to 49.7.  Never.

Then suddenly the spread increased to 8/10 of a point.  I figured that a large group of precincts from Des Moines had just reported.  Which would have made sense, because there had been no movement at all in the percentage of votes tallied in Polk County for what seemed like eons.  But, no, Polk County’s tally hadn’t budged.  The spread started increasing slightly.  Then it dropped back to 49.8 to 49.6.  But not to 49.7 to 49.7.  Then back up to 49.9 to 49.6.  Where it remained until the final tally was announced about midday.  The final spread: 49.8 to 49.6.

I’m not the only one who questions the result.  The Sanders campaign does, too.  They base their suspicions on rumors that in some precincts delegates were assigned based on a coin toss, and (like me) on the interesting timing of tally reporting from certain precincts in certain counties.  Or (in my case) at least in one county: Polk.

Clinton, for her part, was her usual graceful and unstilted self about the whole thing.  “I am so thrilled that I’m coming to New Hampshire after winning Iowa,” she told a crowd of about 800 at Nashua Community College this afternoon. “I’ve won and I’ve lost there. It’s a lot better to win.”  Because of course it’s perfectly natural to say to a crowd of mostly community college students, “I am so thrilled that I’m coming to New Hampshire after winning Iowa.”  Chatty Cathy couldn’t have said it better.

And according to CNN’s website:

After an anxious night for both sides, the state Democratic Party declared Clinton the winner just before 1 p.m. Tuesday — and she immediately seized on her moment of triumph.

“I am so thrilled,” Clinton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview minutes later. “My luck was not that good last time around, and it was wonderful to win the caucus, to have that experience.”

She’s convinced me. It’s a thrilling experience to have watched that percentage spread hit 49.8 to 49.6, again and again, and remain at that spread for relatively long periods of time, but never, ever hit that elusive even split of 49.7, even for a moment.

I know how breathtaking that is, because I watched it happen, too.

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