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

Oh, Please.

The Democratic National Committee brought on a new chief of staff Thursday: Brandon Davis, the former national political director of the Service Employees International Union.

The move is a sign Hillary Clinton is moving to consolidate control of the DNC now that she is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. Davis was introduced as the new chief of staff at committee headquarters by Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook on Thursday, SEIU confirmed.

“The 2016 election is one of the most consequential of our lives,” SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said in a statement. SEIU has endorsed Clinton. “Throughout the primary season, SEIU members have come out by the thousands to get out the vote for Hillary Clinton and fight for the issues that will build a better future for our families. Together they have shifted the national consciousness and dialogue around inequality in this country.”

DNC brings on new chief of staff, David Strauss, Politico, today

Yup. It definitely was Clinton who was the Democratic primary candidate who shifted the national consciousness and dialogue around inequality in this country.

No mistaking it.  I think it was that thing she said at the first debate last fall about Denmark not being a capitalist country.

And that she opposes Sanders’ proposal of a FICA tax of $1.56 (or some such sum) a week in order to pay for guaranteed, paid medical and family leave because she wants to increase wages, not decrease them.

And that she opposes Sanders’s idea of tuition-free public universities and colleges because Donald Trump’s grandkids might use it, and because while Sanders also proposed much higher taxes on Donald Trump and his children (the parents of those potential freeloading state U. students) that would go in part to help support those universities and colleges instead of forcing them to rely almost entirely on tuition to fund them, as occurs now, she herself would tax Trump and his kids more but would not use any of that money for that purpose.

And that she told the public, repeatedly, that Sanders’s single-payer healthcare insurance plan would raise taxes substantially but that families, individuals and employers would continue to pay premiums to private insurance companies and that families and individuals would continue to pay large deductibles and co-payments to healthcare providers.  Or that taxes are the only expenses that matter to families and individuals and employers.  (It was never clear which of the two she meant, although now that she and the SEIU have managed to have shift the national consciousness and dialogue around inequality in this country, she might reveal which one of those she meant in order to push that consciousness and dialogue still further.)

And that she opposes a national $15/hr. minimum wage increased incrementally over a period of a few years because $12 would be better.

And that she opposes Sanders’s proposals to decrease the economic and political power of Wall Street and to rein in publicly-held-corporate top executive compensation, that her own proposals in this area have been, let’s say, not at the forefront of her campaign.  And that she jumped on the New York Daily News editorial board bandwagon to say that Sanders doesn’t know what’s in Dodd-Frank and that Dodd-Frank doesn’t provide what he said it provides–which is what she had said at two earlier debates (including a then-recent one) that it provides.

And that she’s oddly unwilling to campaign against Trump by pointing out that Trump indeed is taking orders from the Republican donors, which is why his policy proposals—which everyone keeps saying he doesn’t have, but he does—are being written by the Republican Billionaire Donor Foundation, a fact that finally, finally, was discussed at length by someone other than me*: Jonathan Chait, on the New York magazine website.  (YAY!!)  But not by, say, the Pennsylvanians interviewed by NYT columnist Thomas B. Edsall.

The Strauss article goes on to say, “Davis has also served as political director to Sen. Claire McCaskill.”

Which is good to know, because McCaskill implied on national television last fall in her capacity as Clinton surrogate that Sanders is a Communist.  Which doesn’t mean that Davis would imply that Sanders is a Communist.  Although, who knows?

I recognize that Clinton thinks she should be trying mainly to woo Republicans, because they won’t know enough about Trump’s views on Mexicans, Muslims, women, immigration policy, wall building, NATO and nuclear proliferation to make that choice all by themselves, and Clinton needs to educate them.  But if she thinks having surrogates say it was Clinton (along with a labor union whose top brass strongly supported her in the primaries) who shifted the national consciousness and dialogue around inequality in this country will help her secure the votes of supporters of the primary candidate who, everyone knows, was the one who did, she’s again highlighting her hallmark obliviousness.

____

*ALSO:  HereHere.  Here.   And here.

I’m tired of saying the same obvious thing again and again.  And I’m tired of being attacked for it. I’m happy to pass that torch to Chait–and anyone else with an actual media voice who is interested in picking up that mantel.

____

POSTSCRIPT:  Just to be clear, I’m absolutely going to vote for Clinton.  I wouldn’t be caught dead not voting for the Democrat.  And that’s in very large (but not exclusive) part precisely because I know what Clinton isn’t saying: that Trump would be Paul Ryan’s puppet on fiscal policy, labor policy, regulatory policy–and court appointments.

The Heritage Foundation would be staffing the administrate agencies from top to bottom and the Federalist Society would stocking the federal bench at all three levels. It does look like Clinton has decided not to go there in the campaign; she really, really wants all those Republicans to vote for her, every last one of them.  And partly because maybe she plans to be Heritage Foundation Light and Federalist Society Light on the non-identity-politics/culture-wars issues.  I.e., on fiscal and regulatory issues.  I just don’t know, at this point.

But Heritage Foundation Light and Federalist Society Light are better than Heritage Foundation Heavy and Federalist Society Heavy.  By a lot.  There truly is no equivalence there.  So I’ll be voting for her.  It’s not a close question, in my opinion.

But that’s because I actually know what the Federalist Society bench has done–the stuff that almost no one else knows. And because I know enough about the Heritage Foundation to really feel for any blue-collar voter who is confused about whose back Trump would have.

Clinton thinks it’s important to educate Republicans about what they already know about Trump, but it’s not important to educate most other voters about what the pig many of them think is in a poke about, say fiscal policy, but who is not would do through abdication of decisionmaking. Because, she thinks, these are mutually exclusive choices.  And she’s chosen.

Sanders and Warren will choose, too, once they start campaigning for Democrats. Their choice, of course, will be different than that of the person at the top of the ticket.

Added 6/16 at 5:15 p.m.  Postscript edited for clarity, 6/16 at 7:30 p.m.

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The Bizarre Attempt to Present Bernie Sanders As the Democrats’ Donald Trump

Stranger things have happened in American politics, but the sudden surge of Democratic/populist Bernie Sanders and Republican/populist Donald Trump puts one in mind of alternate universes.

And I don’t mean Miss Universes.

Both men are holding second place in some polls behind Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, respectively. And both are steadily ascending in the polls at a greater pace than anyone could have predicted — or imagined.

Sanders, a socialist running on a platform that should send shivers up the spines of most Americans, drew his largest crowd of the season — nearly 10,000 — in Madison, Wis., last Wednesday night. The anti-establishment candidate, who wants to break up big banks and redistribute wealth, makes President Obama (and Clinton) look like robber barons by comparison.

— The unexpected rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, Kathleen Parker, Washington Post, Jul. 3

Stranger things have happened in American political journalism, but really, it’s not a shock that political pundits equate Sanders and Trump.  Not all political pundits.  Just some of them.  Several, actually; Parker’s piece is one of three or four commentary or analysis pieces I’ve read in the last few days that suggests not simply that the surge of attention and poll recognition is, in each case, unexpected, but that these two both are on the crackpot fringe.

Since Trump is appearing mentally unhinged, Sanders must be borderline-crazy, too.  After all, neither is part of his respective party’s establishment, and therefore, necessarily, both are extremists.  And equally so, since they both rose dramatically in their party’s polls during the same short period of time.

Yup, reinstituting the Glass-Steagall Act separating deposits-and-lending banks from investment-banking-and-derivatives-speculation financial institutions, and federally insuring only the former, is just like accusing Mexican immigrants of bringing drug traffic to this country and raping American women!  Not to mention babbling incoherently. The resemblance is striking, although not to me.  Especially since Glass-Steagall was in fact the law for forty-six years until its repeal in 1999.  During which time this country had several Communist presidents, including Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

Yes, Elizabeth Warren may send shivers up the spines of most Americans, but a majority of Americans probably would vote for her as a presidential candidate.  Especially since she would be running against a Tea Party Republican or a George W. Bush Republican.  As will the eventual Democratic nominee.  Whether it’s Clinton or Sanders.

And while, in the opinion of many of the targeted wealthy, Parker among them, raising taxes on them to levels above those enacted under George W. Bush, and reinstating meaningful estate taxes to, say, inflation-adjusted 1960s levels, should send shivers up the spines of most Americans, including the ones who aren’t wealthy—at least the ones who don’t like safe and modern infrastructure and access to college by the non-already-upscale—it doesn’t appear, judging from poll answers, that these policy proposals would be deal-killers for a nominee who proposes them.

And while single-payer Medicare-for-all-type healthcare insurance—another of Sanders’ proposals— would solve, once and for all, problems such as these, it’s likely that most Americans shutter at the thought.  Especially those who think Medicare itself is socialized medicine and want it repealed.  And all those Democrats who considered Ted Kennedy and extremist because he fought for decades for single-payer healthcare insurance.

First among those Democrats being Claire McCaskill, who as a Clinton surrogate told an interviewer last week that Sanders couldn’t win the general election—against Scott Walker, Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush—because he’s an extremist.  Luckily for her—and for Clinton—McCaskill wasn’t asked which of Sanders’ proposed policies she, and Clinton, thought a majority of the public would consider extremist.

And which of Walker’s, Rubio’s or Bush’s she thought a majority of voters wouldn’t consider extremist.  Rubio’s proposal to repeal the estate tax completely?  Walker’s to effectively end collective bargaining in the private as well as the public sector, and his attempt to turn Wisconsin’s state university system into a lightly-funded job-training apparatus?  Jeb Bush’s Romney-esque cut-taxes-even-further-on-the-wealthy-and-corporations-and-we’ll-see-an-annual-4%-rise-in-the-GDP promise, because that worked so well for his brother?  (Glenn Hubbard for Treasury Secretary!)  Every single one of the Republican candidates’ Romney-esque cut-taxes-even-further-on-the-wealthy-and-corporations-and-we’ll-see-an-annual-4%-rise-in-the-GDP promise, because that worked so well for Jeb’s brother?

Ah, I know!  It’s their completely-deregulate-the-financial-services-industry plans!  And as a bonus, their Koch brothers’-dictated environmental policy proposals.

The point here being that while the claim of a mirror-image symmetry between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump is preposterous, an analogy of that sort between Sanders and Walker, Rubio and Bush would be pretty close to spot-on.  And this is so even though those three rose in the polls weeks and even months before Sanders and Trump did.

Don’t think so, Ms. Parker?  Strangely enough, it is.

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