Still going (update)

Screen Shot 2018-04-06 at 6.26.12 PM

…so, about nine hours later, another 1.6 million impressions, or nearly two hundred thousand views per hour.  Completely ridiculous.

Oh, and a couple of people alerted me to this bit of nonsense, which also happened:

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That’s on Instagram, and I’ve been told it was cross-posted to Facebook as well, both with a goddamn “people for Bernie” watermark smacked next to my name and Grond’s face.  I do not approve.  I am very much not a Person for Bernie.  I’m not gonna do anything about it (I thought about posting “I voted for Hillary” in the comments and didn’t) and at this point I’m more entertained by it than anything else, but they could at least have put that asshole’s name next to the first tweet and not mine.

25,000 impressions while I was typing this short post, by the way.  This thing isn’t going away for a bit, yet.

Why I’m voting for Hillary Clinton today

This post is adapted from my comments on this thread at James Wylder’s website.  source-hillary-clinton-will-announce-her-2016-campaign-this-weekend-660x400.jpg

I spent the majority of the primary season formally undecided between the two Democratic candidates.  I officially “endorsed” Hillary Clinton, if I can pretend I’m important to be able to use that word, about a month ago.  But if you read that post you will note that it’s mostly a post about why I’d decided not to vote for Bernie, as opposed to a post about why I was voting for Clinton.  And after some prodding on the matter by James Wylder, I figured that a more affirmative post was something worth writing– and if I’m going to write such a thing, why not post it on the day my state actually votes in the primary?

So, yeah:  by the time you read this, I will either be about to cast my vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary, or I will have already done so.  (Also, for those of you local enough for it to matter, Lynn Coleman, Dan Cruz, and Randy Magdalinski.)

I have said some terrible things about Hillary Clinton. If my 2008-era blog were still online, I could point you at some of them. Despite that, I’ll be proudly voting for her today. There are a bunch of reasons why that’s the case; I’ll touch on several of them. And I’ll say this right now: there will be people who can look at my reasons to vote for her and see them as reasons to not trust her. I’m aware of that, but these are MY reasons, so I don’t have to care.

My first reason to be happy to vote for Hillary is one that I know is probably going to catch me some crap: I am deliriously happy to be able to cast a vote for a woman for President. Period. We can argue about whether identity politics are “good reasons,” but ultimately I don’t care. We elected Obama; now I want a woman President. I want the stranglehold white men have on the corridors of power in this country broken, and this is another big crack in that foundation. Others may feel differently; that’s fine.

Second: one of the things I was very likely to tell people in 2008 about Barack Obama was that they should watch his campaign to see how he would govern. Obama ran a master-class campaign in 2008. Clinton did not, and she paid for it. She has– and this is a theme with her– watched and learned from her mistakes, and she is a VASTLY better candidate in 2016 than she ever was in 2008. People give her crap about changing her opinion, and only adopting more leftward positions when forced to. I see someone who’s willing to change her mind and learn from her mistakes. She’s running a clean, leak-free, no-drama campaign for office this year, and her advisors and the people close to her are all competent and doing their jobs. I was LIVID at some of the bullshit her campaign manager and some of her prime surrogates were pulling in 2008, and I know this isn’t about Bernie, but one of my problems with him is that he’s not controlling his people. I know the candidate can’t control their base, but they CAN tell their campaign staff to shut their yaps and do their jobs.

Third, and again this was a reason I frequently cited when I voted for Obama: I want the President to be clearly and obviously smarter than I am. Obama has spent his Presidency being the smartest guy in the room, and when I hear Clinton talk, while I don’t think she’s at his level (very, very few are, I think) I hear someone who is in full command of the details and the minutia of policy and someone smart enough to know their own mind and understand the nuances of what they’re trying to do. This has hurt her in the past (one of the big complaints about her health care bill was how complicated it was) but I need that from a Presidential candidate. She’s got the facts and figures and numbers at her fingertips, and she earned a reputation in the Senate of being 1) a very hard worker and 2) someone who was not afraid to get into the weeds of a new subject rather than rely on advisors. I want that type of person in the Oval Office, and I think she’s the only person in the race who IS that type of person. Maybe Cruz, actually; there are lots of reasons to vote against him but “he doesn’t know what he’s doing” is generally not one of them.

She’s a team player. I was very, VERY worried in 2008 about the PUMAs not coming home to Obama after the convention– much, much more worried than I have been about Bernie’s supporters. And then Hillary waded into the crowd at the floor of the convention and called for Obama to be nominated by acclamation. That was the first moment I’d been personally inspired by her, and it immediately revised my opinion of her up several points. She lost, she got over it, and she immediately went to work for her former opponent. No drama. She has worked hard to fund-raise for down-ticket Democratic candidates and she understands something that I think is critical for this race– that the President can’t do it alone, and if we want real change, just holding on to the White House isn’t enough– we HAVE TO change Congress, and we have to recapture more of the states. If she had lost this election, I have absolutely no doubt that she’d have worked as hard to get Sanders elected as she did for Obama.

Finally, and this ties in with my first point, I find a lot of the reasons people cite to not vote for Clinton to be, frankly, unconvincing.

I do not care about speaking fees. I care about results. I do not believe that Hillary Clinton, to pick one example, would not to work to rein in campaign finance because something something Wall Street. I’ve literally laughed at people for suggesting she doesn’t want Citizens United overturned. Citizens United existed so that right-wingers had a clever way to call Hillary Clinton a c*nt.

Is she ambitious? Absolutely. This is true of every single Presidential candidate in the history of forever. I think that she catches more crap for it than she has any reason to because she’s a woman. Is she untrustworthy? I don’t think so, and, again: “untrustworthy” and “ambitious” are words men use to describe powerful women. I want to be clear; I don’t think everyone voting for Sanders or against Hillary is a sexist, but I DO think sexism very much plays a role in the way we describe her.

Is she warm, empathetic, kind? Maybe. Sometimes. And I feel like she’s, again, done a much better job during this campaign of letting her personality out and being less outwardly controlled. But I don’t need the President to be my mother, or my drinking buddy, or my personal moral exemplar.  I need her to be President.  We’ve got countless examples of male politicians where “I’m a hardass” is virtually their entire reason for their candidacies; I do not need a female Presidential candidate to be huggable.

(Obama ran into a similar thing. He couldn’t ever be angry, because he knew that as soon as he got genuinely mad about something it would get turned back against him because he was a black man. Hillary is in a similar spot.)

I also find accusations that she’s a warmonger to be unconvincing. Is she more hawkish than Sanders? Sure. So am I. But the idea that she’s going to start six wars the day after she enters office is flatly ridiculous, ESPECIALLY in a context where her opponents on the other side have literally and unapologetically threatened to glass the entire Middle East as if it wasn’t a big deal.  She might be slightly more hawkish than Obama, but not much; say what you will about drones, but I’d rather have drones than another goddamned land war.

(You’d rather not have drones either?  Cool.  I ain’t mad atcha.  But your choices are “drones” or “nuclear weapons and land war.”  Trump and Cruz are both openly and obviously itching to use nuclear weapons.  Choose.)

I’ll post a picture of my sticker if I get one.

I’m not going to get a sticker again, am I?

In which I endorse


I’ve been leaning for a while, so it’s not as if this is likely to surprise anyone, but at this point I’ve officially made a decision, and I will be voting for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.  The primary itself isn’t until May 3rd, but I tend to vote early– possibly as soon as next week, since I’ll be downtown a fair amount.  I fully expect to also vote for Clinton in the November election, as I’ve expected her to get the nomination for a while now (and will continue to do so regardless of the results of the Wisconsin primary tonight; Sanders will win, but not by enough to make a difference) although I will happily vote for Sanders in November if it turns out that I am wrong about that.

That said, Sanders’ interview with the New York Daily News’ Editorial Board was what convinced me that my vote belonged with Hillary.  In general, in Democratic primaries, my vote tends to go to the candidate who pisses me off the least during the primary.  Pete Buttigieg earned my vote in his first election, by example, by being the last person in a field of several acceptable candidates to do something I found personally annoying.  And, again: should Bernie get the nomination somehow, I’ll vote for him.   I would vote for a half-eaten mayo and banana sandwich or something I scraped off the bottom of my shoe before I would allow any of the current Republican candidates anywhere near the White House, honestly.

But this interview.  Holy fuck, this interview.  It’s bad enough that it should end his candidacy, honestly, and it calls his readiness to run into question in some very serious ways.  It’s really, really, really bad.  I don’t have time to fisk the whole thing– the post would be ten thousand words long, easy, but here’s a few choice bits:

Sanders: So I think we need trade. But I think it should be based on fair trade policies. No, I don’t think it is appropriate for trade policies to say that you can move to a country where wages are abysmal, where there are no environmental regulations, where workers can’t form unions. That’s not the kind of trade agreement that I will support.

Daily News: So how would you stop that?

Sanders: I will stop it by renegotiating all of the trade agreements that we have. And by establishing principles that says that what fair trade is about is you are going to take into consideration the wages being paid to workers in other countries. And the environmental standards that exist.

This is far from the most egregious part of the interview, but scrolling through it again it was the first thing that jumped out:  this man is in the Senate.  If he’s not fully aware that “I will renegotiate every trade agreement that we have” is a bunch of crazy nonsense, nonsense I would expect to hear from Donald Trump or Sarah Palin, then … God, I don’t even know.  How, exactly, are you going to do that?  Because that’s batshittery of the highest order.

It’s the bit about the banks that’s the scariest.  It’s a bit too long to excerpt properly, but again, you need to read this interview.  Hating on Wall Street is Sanders’ entire schtick, and he reveals in this interview that he doesn’t have the faintest idea what he’s talking about, by his own admission:

Daily News: Okay. Well, let’s assume that you’re correct on that point. How do you go about <breaking up the banks>?

Sanders: How you go about doing it is having legislation passed, or giving the authority to the secretary of treasury to determine, under Dodd-Frank, that these banks are a danger to the economy over the problem of too-big-to-fail.

Daily News: But do you think that the Fed, now, has that authority?

Sanders: Well, I don’t know if the Fed has it. But I think the administration can have it.

Daily News: How? How does a President turn to JPMorgan Chase, or have the Treasury turn to any of those banks and say, “Now you must do X, Y and Z?”

Sanders: Well, you do have authority under the Dodd-Frank legislation to do that, make that determination.

Daily News: You do, just by Federal Reserve fiat, you do?

Sanders: Yeah. Well, I believe you do.

He doesn’t know if he has the authority to break up the banks.   He doesn’t know if the Fed has the authority to break up the banks.  And, as he reveals later:

Sanders: You would determine is that, if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. And then you have the secretary of treasury and some people who know a lot about this, making that determination. If the determination is that Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan Chase is too big to fail, yes, they will be broken up.

Daily News: Okay. You saw, I guess, what happened with Metropolitan Life. There was an attempt to bring them under the financial regulatory scheme, and the court said no. And what does that presage for your program?

Sanders: It’s something I have not studied, honestly, the legal implications of that.

He “hasn’t studied the legal implications” of what is probably a test case for his entire reason for existing as a candidate.

How do we break the banks up, an astonishingly fucking complicated task?  Underpants gnomes.


This bit here is fun too:

Sanders: No, I wouldn’t say they were in the tank. I’m saying, a Sanders administration would have a much more aggressive attorney general looking at all of the legal implications. All I can tell you is that if you have Goldman Sachs paying a settlement fee of $5 billion, other banks paying a larger fee, I think most Americans think, “Well, why do they pay $5 billion?” Not because they’re heck of a nice guys who want to pay $5 billion. Something was wrong there. And if something was wrong, I think they were illegal activities.

Daily News: Okay. But do you have a sense that there is a particular statute or statutes that a prosecutor could have or should have invoked to bring indictments?

Sanders: I suspect that there are. Yes.

Daily News: You believe that? But do you know?

Sanders: I believe that that is the case. Do I have them in front of me, now, legal statutes? No, I don’t. But if I would…yeah, that’s what I believe, yes. When a company pays a $5 billion fine for doing something that’s illegal, yeah, I think we can bring charges against the executives.

“I believe,” “I suspect.”  This man is running for President.  How the fuck do you not know?

And then, later on, there’s this:

Daily News: Do you support the Palestinian leadership’s attempt to use the International Criminal Court to litigate some of these issues to establish that, in their view, Israel had committed essentially war crimes?

Sanders: No.

Daily News: Why not?

Sanders: Why not?

Daily News: Why not, why it…

Sanders: Look, why don’t I support a million things in the world? I’m just telling you that I happen to believe…anybody help me out here, because I don’t remember the figures, but my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right?

Daily News: I think it’s probably high, but we can look at that.

Sanders: I don’t have it in my number…but I think it’s over 10,000. My understanding is that a whole lot of apartment houses were leveled. Hospitals, I think, were bombed. So yeah, I do believe and I don’t think I’m alone in believing that Israel’s force was more indiscriminate than it should have been.

I’m sorry, guys: he spends most of this interview sounding like a more articulate version of Donald Trump.  And, to be clear, that’s not a compliment, at all.  This interview is awful, awful in every way, and it reveals that Sanders just is not prepared right now to take on this job.  Is he better than the Republican alternatives?  Abso-fucking-lutely, which is why I’ll vote for him if he wins the primary.  And, for that matter, he’ll win the general if he somehow gets past Clinton.  But he’ll be a one-term President, and not a good one.

(Also: genuinely pissed about the fact that he’s refusing to help down-ballot Dems.  That’s basically coming as a coda at the end of a longish piece, and it doesn’t quite fit thematically, but he’s already got little enough chance to get his agenda passed with a Democratic Congress, and he’s not trying to get a Democratic Congress.  That’s political malpractice.)

So.  Yeah: #Imwithher.


A quick history lesson for Bernie Sanders supporters

bernie_2.jpgOnce upon a time, there was a guy named Barack Obama.  You may have heard of him.  No one outside the great state of Illinois had any idea who Barack Obama was until 2004, when he delivered the (brilliant) keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.  I lived in his district in Illinois at the time, and I spent a couple of hours on the phone after that speech telling everyone I knew that Obama would be the first black President so that I would get credit.

“You wait,” I said.  “2012 or 2016.  He’ll be President.”

You may see my mistake already.  In 2007, when Obama first declared that he was running for President, I was, with no trace of hyperbole, one of his biggest fans.  How do I know?  Because, again, virtually no one outside of Illinois knew who he was, and as someone in his district as a state Senator and Illinois Senator, someone who knew where his house was, I’d been following his career for a while.

And I wasn’t sure he was ready to be President.  Somebody else was running.  You may also be familiar with her: her name was Hillary Clinton, and her nomination was widely believed to be unstoppable.  (There was also John Edwards, but for the purposes of this conversation he’s irrelevant.)

I started off as a Clinton supporter, who felt that Obama would be a good President, would certainly grow into the job, but didn’t think he was ready.  It was the campaigns that convinced me otherwise.  Clinton displayed a startling talent to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and Obama’s team out-hustled and out-thought hers at every available opportunity.  Obama won Iowa, and got crushed in New Hampshire.  For the most part, especially early on, most of his victories were at caucuses.  Why was he winning the caucuses?  Because he out-organized Clinton, and eventually he was winning enough that that inevitability argument got punctured, and it was only a matter of time after that.

You may have heard something about superdelegates, and you may think it’s unfair that Secretary Clinton is so far ahead in delegates right now.  You may have even used the word “corrupt” to describe the system.

How many superdelegates do you think Barack Obama started off with?

How many do you think he had by the end of the primaries?

You are aware that these people are able to change their minds, right?  From what I’m hearing, Bernie Sanders supporters tend to be young people, a phrase I can no longer apply to myself.  It is possible you are not aware of these things.  Superdelegates have been a part of the process for a long time, and convincing them to vote for you is part of running for the Democratic nomination.  If Bernie Sanders was not aware of them already, and if he does not have a plan to (eventually) win their support, he is doing this wrong.   It is not as if these rules were decided behind his back, or were hidden from him somehow.  And, again, if he wins contests, they’ll come around.

“But the people are behind us!” you say.  Well, some of them.  Some of the white ones, anyway.  The rest of us haven’t had a chance to vote yet.

Speaking of voters of color.

You may be under the impression that Barack Obama was able to coast to these victories mostly on the strength of the black vote.  You may not be aware that the initial knock against Obama was that he was not black enough to court black support.

Go read that article.

I’ll wait.

Not only was Obama mixed, not only was he young, not only was he relatively unknown, not only was his middle name Hussein when we’d been fighting against Iraq for most of the previous administration, but he was running against Hillary Clinton, the wife of a man who was declared by no less a black luminary than Toni Morrison herself to be the first black President.  There is a good argument to be made that the Clintons do not deserve that support, but the fact is especially in 2007-08 black voters loved Bill Clinton and Hillary was widely believed to have inherited that support.  Obama was not supposed to be the candidate of black voters.  Clinton was.

Your candidate, Bernie supporters, is also perceived as having a problem with minority voters.  I’m using the word “perceived” intentionally, because insofar as the problem is real, it’s fixable.  But he’s going to have to acknowledge it, and he’s going to have to do it now.  Black voters– and Latino voters and Muslim voters and Asian voters and and and and and– are not monolithic and they’re not dumb.  They’re not going to vote for Hillary Clinton because they liked Bill.  Obama proved that.  Sanders can too, but he’s going to have to try.

Whining about a corrupt system and superdelegates is not going to get your man the nomination.  Whining about women voters going to Hillary is not going to get your man the nomination.

Whining, in general, is not going to get Bernie Sanders nominated for President.

Hillary Clinton is a lot of things.  Unfortunately for her, one of her previously displayed qualities is the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  She is not inevitable.  She is beatable.  But the Sanders people are going to have to put in the work, and they’re going to have to engage with voters of color and with women voters in a serious way, and they’re going to have to convince the superdelegates– who are, in case you don’t know, mostly Democratic elected officials— that he’s the right man for the job.  Convincing the superdelegates might be difficult, seeing as how Sanders has only been a Democrat for, what, a year or two?  One of Clinton’s strengths is that she’s perceived as much more able to have coattails– to bring in other Democratic elected officials behind her, to alter the balance of power in the House and the Senate so that some of these nice things both candidates want to do become possible.

Is Bernie going to be able to do that?  Is he trying?

He probably ought to start.

See y’all in South Carolina.

In which I endorse


Killer Mike for President.