I get Bernie Sanders’ appeal, and I am impressed by Hillary Clinton

The Democratic presidential primary is causing me trouble. I like both candidates for very different reasons. As I’m writing this, I’m wearing my Hillary t-shirt and Bernie hoodie.

I get Bernie’s appeal.  His laser like focus on economic inequality as the primary problem in US politics resonates with me (and lots of voters) for very good reasons. The disproportionate distribution of wealth and its corrupting influence on US politics cannot be allowed to continue. James Carville once described campaign finance reform as the reform that makes all other reforms possible. Bernie’s narrow focus on income inequality feels like its not nuanced enough for a nation as large as ours.

Hillary, by contrast, impresses me with her command of policy. Watching her testify before Trey Gowdy’s laughable Benghazi committee reminded me of why I’ve long found her impressive. She spent 11 hours being grilled by intellectual midgets and didn’t lose her cool. She laughed at the risible question if she “home alone.” She demonstrated a greater command of facts than any of the Republican yutzes on the committee.

After the Benghazi hearing, Matt Taibbi observed:

With Thursday’s interminable, pointless, haranguing, disorganized, utterly amateurish attempt at a smear job, the Republicans and their tenth-rate congressional attack schnauzer, South Carolina’s Trey Gowdy, got people feeling sorry for Hillary Clinton. Over the course of 11 long hours, they made the most eloquent argument for a Hillary Clinton presidency yet offered by anyone, including Clinton herself.

But there is one overriding principle that does animate and define the Clinton campaign, and that’s keeping Republicans out of office. For years, this has been the Democratic Party’s stock answer for every sordid legislative compromise, every shameless capitulation to expediency, every insulting line of two-faced stump rhetoric offered to get over: We have to do this to beat the Republicans.

I never bought that argument, for a lot of reasons, but Trey Gowdy made it look pretty good Thursday. Those idiots represent everything that is wrong not just with the Republican Party, but with modern politics in general. It’s hard to imagine a political compromise that wouldn’t be justified if its true aim would be to keep people like those jackasses out of power.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/trey-gowdy-just-elected-hillary-clinton-president-20151023#ixzz40DCtrVlB
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

I agree wholeheartedly with Matt Taibbi. If nominating Bernie makes is an even shot that a Republican becomes President while nominating Hillary makes it 40% likely a Republican wins, I’ll support Hillary without a moment’s hesitation.

But there is a deeper reason I can support Hillary. She’s possesses a deep strength of character, as a powerful, educated woman in a deeply sexist society:

It is strange, then, to find myself, eight years later, not only rooting for Clinton, but feeling exasperated by her left-wing critics. I know their case against Clinton. I agree with a lot of it. I worry about what Clinton’s many flaws would mean for a potential presidency. Now, however, watching her be rejected by young people swept up in an idealistic political movement, I feel sadness instead of glee.[snip]

Since the 2008 election, I’ve grown more understanding about why Clinton made some of the ugly compromises I once held against her. Last year, I wrote a cover story for the Nation about her sometimes vexed relationship with the left. Reading biographies of her and histories of her husband’s administration, talking to people she worked with, and revisiting news stories from the 1990s, I was reminded that before she was excoriated as a sellout corporatist, she was excoriated as a feminist radical. She was widely seen as being to her husband’s left, in a way that threatened his political viability. Time after time, under intense pressure, she would overcorrect, trying to convince a skeptical mainstream press that she was a sensible centrist. Eventually, her tendency toward triangulation became almost instinctive.[snip]

Empathizing with Clinton, however, is a painful business. It means wincing along as she endures yet another round of public humiliation, another batch of stories about women’s indifference to her feminist appeal, another explosion of punditry about her lack of charisma. It means being constantly reminded that people on the left as well as the right find aging women pathetic. It means watching the Sanders phenomenon, in most ways a hugely welcome renaissance of American socialism, with dread as well as delight. There was no shame for Clinton in losing to Obama. But the fact that she’s fighting for her political life against Sanders, a man who initially joined the race more to make a statement than to contend for power, is a mortifying public rebuke.

Hillary Clinton has spent her public life – almost three decades now – on the losing side of America’s complicated misogyny. In the 1990s, she was excoriated for not being a stay at home wife and mother. She was feminazi shrew, a controlling iron bitch, a crazy lesbian murderess, a soulless Lady MacBeth. The genuine Hillary – who is apparently funny, warm, and caring – cannot safely emerge.

Hillarys’ line – “I am not a single-issue candidate and I do not believe we live in a single-issue country” – is brilliant. It’s accurate. It also feels like the basis of a great general campaign theme that could easily separate her from the Republicans.

Watching her run circles around Trey Gowdy and his gormless stooges convinced me that she’s got the chops to be president.

She’s also an awkward candidate. Bernie shouldn’t be giving her a run for her money – he’s not a great speaker or campaigner. But I suspect he’s also more cunning and cagey than I previously thought. He might pull off a general election win. But then, so could she.

I’m torn. The rational part of my brain says “Hillary all the way.” My heart tells me its Bernie.

I want it to be both.

Here’s the bottom line: No matter which candidate wins the Democratic primary I will support them.  I will vote for them.

But right now?  I’m not sure which one I want to win. I know for damn sure there’s not a single Republican running for the Presidency that I’d trust within a hundred miles of the office.

  1. #1 by Nathan Erkkila on February 15, 2016 - 12:39 pm

    Personally I’d choose the candidate who didn’t vote to send us to a war that mentally scarred my cousin. I’d choose a candidate who doesn’t praise a war criminal that ordered the bombing of Cambodia. I’d rather vote for a candidate who isn’t a corporate shill. Hillary supporters have little to stand on.

  2. #2 by Larry Bergan on February 15, 2016 - 12:43 pm

    Big money being thrown at all of our politicians and effecting our laws accordingly, isn’t a “one issue” thing. It’s all encompassing, and something Sanders has proven he can do without. We’re never going to have another chance like this. The man is synonymous with integrity, and a very long record of that to show.

    He does pound on the same issues, but Americans have been pounded with bumper sticker nonsense for decades. I look at him as a dutiful teacher in that respect, but he’s been able to answer any question thrown at him over the years.

    Hillary has done well in the debates, but Sanders is right, she is the establishment candidate. Saying she’s going to be working with Republicans to get things done is just more of the same two steps back strategy. She’s not going to have millions of people in the streets to help her with that old, worn out plan.

    Of course I’ll vote for her if she’s the nominee, but any more of this dirty tricks stuff on Sanders and I’m afraid I’m not going to be her most avid follower.

  3. #3 by Glenden Brown on February 15, 2016 - 4:40 pm

    @Nathan – Hillary’s vote for the Iraq war is troubling. It represents what even her supporters see as her tendency to be fickle and follow the political winds rather than standing on principle. Of course, very few members of congress voted against the Iraq war. (http://www.democrats.com/node/6890) Too few Democrats were willing to stand up to the Bush administration.

    Her vote in support of that war is a black mark on her record.

    That said, unlike the Republicans, I believe she has learned from that mistake.

    @Larry – you’re right – that’s why I referred to Carville’s statement about the reform that makes all other reforms possible. In and of itself, Hillary’s status as the candidate of the establishment is not disqualifying. The Democratic establishment is far from perfect, but as a general rule it is ethical, prudent and follows policies that benefit America and Americans.

  4. #5 by Larry Bergan on February 15, 2016 - 5:27 pm

    The Democratic Iraq war vote in the House was more impressive then the Senate.

  5. #6 by Larry Bergan on February 15, 2016 - 5:45 pm

    Here’s what I mean by dirty tricks. I’m not saying the Clinton’s have anything to do with this, but the establishment Democratic leaders and the establishment media are not giving Sanders an even break.

    Here’s what you can do with headlines and PAC’s.

    The Seattle Times slipped this one by, without telling you it’s only money from a nurses PAC in the headline.

    Sanders getting more super PAC money than Clinton

    Look what the video in this New York Times article says:

    Congressional Black Caucus Backs Clinton

    You only get the truth from this Twitter message by Keith Ellison:

    And the timing couldn’t be better. Just before the South Carolina vote. Sneaky, no? 🙁

  6. #7 by Richard Warnick on February 15, 2016 - 6:27 pm

    Please don’t tell me you’re buying the Hillary campaign’s “Bernie is a one-issue candidate” malarkey. They are getting really desperate now, and it shows.

  7. #8 by Richard Warnick on February 15, 2016 - 8:28 pm

    The World Wide Web is a wonderful invention…

    In case anyone needs the context for this:

    When asked during Thursday night’s head-to-head debate in Durham, New Hampshire if she would be willing to make the transcripts of the speeches public — not just to [Goldman Sachs], but all of her paid speeches — Clinton responded: “I will look into it. I don’t know the status, but I will certainly look into it.”

  8. #9 by Larry Bergan on February 16, 2016 - 12:46 am

    Some of this pertains to Hillary Clinton’s Iraq vote:

    It was interesting that Jeb W. Bush 🙂 touted his leadership during – I think he said – 8 hurricanes in Florida while he was governor, in his South Carolina GOP debate, closing statement.

    Since his brother and his mom are on his election tour now, maybe he can invite John McCain to join in and reminisce about eating cake and playing guitars together while Americans were dying in New Orleans. George Jr. can remind us about praising “Brownie”, and Barb can tell us about not wanting to bother her beautiful mind with such unpleasant things.

    It was a very interesting debate though. Donald Trump told the truth for once and stuck a 911 knife right in George W’s spleen while Rubio came to the rescue and used ancient Fox “news” propaganda to blame Bill Clinton and say that George W. kept us safe.

    If memory serves me, the buck should have been on George W’s desk during 911. Trump was right.

    • #10 by Richard Warnick on February 16, 2016 - 8:44 am

      Remember Barbara Bush’s comments about the Katrina evacuees in the Houston Astrodome?

      “What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas,” Barbara Bush said in an interview on Monday with the radio program “Marketplace.” “Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.”

      “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway,” she said, “so this is working very well for them.”

    • #11 by Richard Warnick on February 16, 2016 - 10:07 am

      Former Bushie Andy Card: 9/11 Was A ‘Spectacular Day’

      That was the day President Bush ran away and hid in a bunker in Nebraska while Dick Cheney took over.

    • #12 by Larry Bergan on February 16, 2016 - 10:55 am

      Rubio also felt it necessary to throw in how much worse it would have been if Al Gore had been in the white house.

      911 wouldn’t have happened with Gore in office.

      Let me say that again Rubio: 911 wouldn’t have happened if the presidency hadn’t been stolen by your esteemed right wing supreme court. Turn off the Fox “news”.

    • #13 by Larry Bergan on February 16, 2016 - 10:59 am

      Poor Jeb is up there saying to stop talking like that about my mom, dad and brother.

      Maybe we should vote for him out of sympathy.

  9. #15 by Richard Warnick on February 17, 2016 - 9:56 am

    Bernie Sanders Releases the Most Powerful Ad You’ll Ever See (VIDEO)

    Watched this ad this morning on MSNBC. Knocked my socks off!

    • #16 by Larry Bergan on February 17, 2016 - 7:01 pm

      I went to see Michael Moore’s, long awaited, film today. He reminds us of something we all know now. Black people were targeted with crack cocaine to land them in prison, starting under George H. W. Bush. The “prison industrial complex” was the largest public works project during the Clinton administration. Hillary even admitted at the very start of her campaign that they had made mistakes. Was that just to get it out of the way, so she could later say she already addressed that? I’ve heard she’s even accepted money from the prison corporations for this campaign.

      I think there’s a whole lot more addressing that should have gone on before South Carolina. I’m sure blacks aren’t going to be voting for Clinton just because the media is telling them they’re going to doing that. I’m going to be skeptical if those sorts of stories come out.

  10. #17 by Richard Warnick on February 17, 2016 - 10:17 am

    2 Point Race Between Sanders and Clinton in NEW National Quinnipiac Poll (44 Clinton – 42 Sanders)

    Dead Heat In Nevada

    Overall, 48% of likely caucus attendees say they support Clinton, 47% Sanders.

    • #18 by Larry Bergan on February 17, 2016 - 6:51 pm

      Sanders is filling up stadiums everywhere he goes and they won’t even show Hillary’s events. Who the hell are these pollsters calling?

  11. #19 by Richard Warnick on February 17, 2016 - 3:10 pm

    Hedge Fund Billionaires Fund Super PAC Ad Against Bernie Sanders and Minimum Wage Hike

    As part of his plan to make public colleges tuition-free, Bernie proposes to impose a 0.5 percent speculation fee on hedge funds. When the right screams “Bernie will raise your taxes,” that’s what they are angry about.

    This ad is running on cable news channels now.

  12. #20 by Larry Bergan on February 17, 2016 - 7:29 pm

    Brad Friedman, virtually the ONLY journalist bringing you stories about this sort of thing, reminds us of how strange the voting results in South Carolina can be. Here’s a short explanation Brad gives of one previous race he covered extensively.

    …All of which offers another swell excuse to remind you about the oft-failed, easily-hackable, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems that will, incredibly enough, once again be in use across South Carolina this year.

    That, despite the infamous 2010 election in SC which resulted in a guy who nobody had ever heard of (Alvin Greene) — a 32-year old man who did not campaign, had no campaign website, had no job, didn’t even own a cell phone — somehow being named the winner of the state’s Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate! Somehow, as we covered in great detail at the time, he managed to “defeat” a popular former Circuit Court Judge named Vic Rawl (who did campaign across the entire state!) in the bargain.

    Pretty damned impossible, but it’s America.

    On Brad’s latest blog post, which always includes great daily discussions with varied experts for free. [but you should donate, I do]:

    The congressional Democrats are all supporting Hillary, with two exceptions. The congressional Democrats at the time of the legislation, saw nothing wrong with these voting machines being rolled out all across the nation under HAVA.

  13. #21 by Larry Bergan on February 18, 2016 - 3:18 am


  14. #23 by Richard Warnick on February 18, 2016 - 10:52 am

    NYT article: Meeting on Wall Street, Hillary’s big-money fundraisers “expressed bewilderment… [at] criticism of Mrs. Clinton as the establishment candidate representing big money.”

    Not The Onion, The New York Times.

    • #24 by Larry Bergan on February 18, 2016 - 2:42 pm

      It appears Clinton didn’t need to move her event to a stadium again.


  15. #26 by Richard Warnick on February 22, 2016 - 4:29 pm

    Jon Solz warns Dems: Thirteen Years Later, GOP Voters Reject Iraq War and Interventionism

    For years, many Democrats were skittish about going too hard after the decision to go to war in Iraq, or use it as a basis to oppose further military intervention in the region. They saw folks, like myself and others, being tarred as “defeatist” or “Neville Chamberlain” or worse. Even recently, a lot of Democrats were afraid to oppose the idea of getting deeply involved in the Syrian civil war, lest they get tagged as weak on national security.

    To them and to the eventual nominees up and down the Democratic ballot, it couldn’t be clearer — the position of those opposed to the Cheney/Bush view of America’s role in the world, is the prevailing opinion of voters in both parties. The Iraq war wrong. We were misled into the war. It caused the upheaval and explosion of insurgent groups that has brought us ISIS. Our best move, militarily, is to stay out of Middle East sectarian conflict.

    Politically, there is no reason, anymore, to support military interventionism. Now the question is whether the entirety of the Democratic party will realize it.

    Hillary is a neocon on foreign policy. Trump is already running to the left of Hillary on this and a bunch of other things.

  16. #27 by Richard Warnick on February 23, 2016 - 12:59 pm

    This guy (OPOL) is posting every day on DKos. Always look forward to reading his latest rant.

    How this time it’s different

    This is no time to be mired in the past. This is not your grandpa’s election, not your pa’s, not even your last. This one is different. This one’s not about democrat vs republican or left vs right, this is about up or down, the 1% vs the 99. This is the working class vs the ruling elite. This is about class war, the one the 1% have mercilessly waged against the working class for lo these many decades and centuries, and which they have in recent years taken to new extremes to the detriment of everything we care about: justice, freedom, democracy, the general welfare and sane, humane, well-reasoned government policy.

    This is about doing the right thing vs doing the same thing…

  17. #28 by Richard Warnick on February 23, 2016 - 2:11 pm

    MSNBC Cuts Away From Bernie Sanders as he Condemns Trans-Pacific Partnership

    MSNBC owner Comcast has lobbied for the TPP. Last year, it fired host Ed Schultz, an outspoken opponent of the agreement.

    A Media Matters study found that outside of Schultz’s show, the TPP was mentioned only twice on MSNBC during an 18-month period.

  18. #29 by Larry Bergan on February 23, 2016 - 8:15 pm

    OPOL is right on the money. This is definitely different from any race we’ve seen in modern history, because it’s probably our last chance.

    I’m not really expecting Sanders to do well in Texas or South Carolina and the media is going to be making real hay out of that and telling us to give up. It’s crazy that something called super-delegate’s hold our future in their hands and it’s crazy that virtually every single Democratic leader is backing Hillary.

    It’s particularly disturbing that civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis, seems to almost walk away from the microphone in shame after making Hillary Clinton out to be some sort of civil rights activist in the mid sixties, but hasn’t yet admitted that Sanders actually was, and got arrested doing that.

    At [3:45] in, and followed by a telling of what Hillary was really doing in those years:

  19. #30 by Larry Bergan on February 23, 2016 - 8:23 pm

    Spike Lee turns in a good radio spot for Sanders, and Danny Glover is fired up too.

    ‘Wake Up, South Carolina!’ Endorsing Sanders, Spike Lee Slams Rigged System

    I worry that even this year, where it is so important that we end up with the right Democratic candidate, people are not aware that this has to happen BEFORE our candidate runs against the Republican opponent.

  20. #31 by Richard Warnick on February 24, 2016 - 11:12 am

    The Fight Between Bernie Sanders And Hillary Clinton Is Officially Super Ugly

    A former executive director of the congressional Joint Economic Committee on Thursday accused columnist Paul Krugman and four prominent Democratic economists of dishonestly smearing an academic in order to score political points for Hillary Clinton.

    Krugman made the claim that Bernie’s economic proposals would only work if we had 5.3 percent GDP growth. In fact, Friedman’s analysis used standard models to predict Bernie’s program might result in 5.3 percent growth.

    • #32 by Larry Bergan on February 24, 2016 - 11:49 pm

      Say it ain’t so Paul.

  21. #33 by Richard Warnick on February 25, 2016 - 12:38 pm

    The hastily re-branded “Progressive Hillary” needs truth in labeling.

    Sanders Brings Clinton’s Record On Welfare Into The Democratic Primary

    Welfare reform passed in 1996 went “after some of the weakest and most vulnerable people in this country,” Sanders said.

    Watch: Hillary Clinton Confronted For Racially Loaded Remarks

    “We want you to apologize for mass incarceration… I am not a superpredator, Hillary Clinton.”

  22. #34 by Richard Warnick on February 25, 2016 - 1:03 pm

    Hillary Clinton needs to explain why she called young black kids ‘superpredators’

    “Hillary angrily responded that she never apologized because she’s never been asked and then declined to apologize and changed the subject,” said Alexander. “Yes, the question was hostile and disruptive, but Hillary’s response speaks volumes.”

    Could it also be that because Clinton has failed to take a single question from her traveling press crew for months on end that questions like this never get a chance to be addressed?

  23. #35 by Richard Warnick on February 25, 2016 - 4:26 pm

    Clinton On ‘Super-Predator’ Speech: ‘I Shouldn’t Have Used Those Words’

    From 1996:

    “They’re not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called super-predators,” she said at the time. “No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

    “Progressive Hillary”(TM) would never say such a thing today.

  24. #36 by Larry Bergan on February 25, 2016 - 10:25 pm

    …the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Dontre Hamilton, and Jordan Davis have all joined Clinton on the campaign trail in the Palmetto state to help Clinton make the case that she’s the best choice for African Americans.

    Sanders can’t seem to get a break for being light years ahead of Clinton on civil rights.

  25. #37 by Richard Warnick on February 26, 2016 - 11:35 am

    Walmart billionaire Alice Walton just dumped $353,000 into @HillaryClinton’s campaign

    Could this be the reason that Hillary won’t join the ‘fight for fifteen’? You betcha! Walmart’s wages are so low that they have cost taxpayers 6.2 billion in public assistance!

    Did the donation go to “progressive Hillary” or her evil twin “corporatist Hillary”?

  26. #38 by Larry Bergan on February 26, 2016 - 11:46 pm

    The New York Times is pulling out the stops on election reporting to make Hillary look unbeatable. I’ll bet you didn’t know the delegate count right now, is 502 for Clinton, and 70 for Sanders.

    NYT Used to Report Delegate Count as if It Was Voters Who Mattered

    • #39 by Richard Warnick on February 28, 2016 - 11:23 am

      Real Clear Politics has the delegate counts. After South Carolina, Hillary now has 90 delegates to Bernie’s 65, with a total of 2,383 needed for nomination.

      • #40 by Larry Bergan on February 28, 2016 - 5:36 pm

        Stop cookin’ the numbers Richard. 🙂

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