Everything I Love About Bernie

Attention Conservation Notice (w. apologies to Cosma Shalizi)What follows is roughly 1,000 words of navel gazing on the subject of winners, losers and charity.  The shorter: In this I’m with some of our sane Bernistas in thinking this is chill time, not the occasion to go all Michael Corleone on the Sanders campaign over the next couple of weeks.

The longer:

I think y’all know I’m a Hillbot.  I have said as clearly as I can that I affirmatively prefer her to Bernie on her substantive policy choices, and that where I disagree with her, I at least understand what she’s on about.*

And now I love Bernie and his (sincere) supporters.  Not because I have come to agree with his or their view of the Presidency, or the likely shape of the fall campaign, or the most effective path to actually changing policy, and hence lives, on the ground.

Rather, I love Bernie and the Bernistas for a couple of reasons.  At their best, they’re making the right call:  C.R.E.A. all of us — and whatever we can do to get more cash in the hands of the poor and the middle class we should do. That’s a core Democratic Party value and it has to be reasserted every damn election.

They’ve made the right call (one anticipated and shared by Hillary) that Citizens United and all it’s substructure is a disaster.

They’ve made the right call on student debt, even if the slogan that passes as policy isn’t likely to get us far; at bottom, the theft of opportunity my generation has committed against the next several is both stupid and wrong, and we should be looking for all the ways to redress that harm.

These are all basic Democratic views, and it’s good to be reminded of them, and it will be excellent to remind the electorate that Democrats know how to address such issues in ways that the Republicans simply cannot — for to do so would require them to cease being Republicans and become Democrats.  I don’t think for a moment that Bernie knows how to do what needs to be done to advance the Democratic vision in response to those policy goals, but one of the things you hope for in a presidential campaign is for the candidates between them to help the party figure out who it is and what it needs to do.  Bernie, at least on his best days, did all that.

TL:DR for the above:  Lord, how I love the Bernie that reminds us that Democrats think about society where Republicans think about their friends.

And second, I love Bernie and the Bernistas because they and we now have a job to do together.

Jan_Sanders_van_Hemessen-Enfant_Prodigue_IMG_1469

I take second place to no one in my rage and disdain for the worst moments in the primary campaign.  I loathed how, it seemed, the Sanders camp would scorch the earth with right wing talking points, threatening to leave Hillary an utterly wounded candidate (shades of 1968, and to some extent, 1980) — or, in the vanishingly unlikely event of a Sanders upset, present the GOP with a perfect punching bag of a candidate that, to me, was unbelievably vulnerable to the thug noise machine. (Socialist who honeymooned in Moscow and will raise taxes to fund more intrusive govt….)

And then I remember 2008, and a Democratic primary in which the losing candidate painted her opponent as feckless, young, not to be trusted close to the button….and (say this softly) Black!

And going even further back, I turn to that sage of sages, Hunter S. Thompson.   His Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail captures one aspect of American politics perfectly:  there is no insanity like the madness that flares in the heat of a campaign.

Bernie got close — far closer than he expected or (as is now obvious) planned for.   You get that near to power and you change — I don’t think there’s any doubt of it.  Hell!  Most of us have experienced a pale version of that fever, a rush of hope and expectation and fear of disappointment and all the rest when we get called back for the second interview, or submit the application that feels like the one and so on.  Magnify that times a gazillion and you have politics at the highest level.

All of which allows me — now the contest is over — to find some charity where a couple of weeks ago I felt only contempt for a Bernie who couldn’t seem to let go of what most of us recognized as obviously already beyond his grasp.

In other words:  it’s hard as hell to lose, and it’s impossible for all but saints to do so with full and instant equanimity.  That’s why I can’t go all “F**k Bernie and his demands.”  I just can’t.

It may not be fair that the winning side has to extend the olive branch first, and maybe most…but it’s fully human, and in the context of a non-zero possibility of any Republican in the White House, it’s necessary too.

So, unless he doubles down, unless he heads further down that path of excoriating Clinton and Democrats in general, unless he acts to sabotage the most important campaign I can recall — the need to defeat America’s home-grown fascist — I’m ready to like me some Sanders, and his Sandernistas too.

I’ll come to love him and them if they take the last step: not just get out of the way of the campaign to come, but dive in.  Which many of them will, with or without Bernie himself.  I think it will be with, by the way.   He’s got plenty of reasons, some base, some noble, (just like all of us) to  do so, and having come so close, I don’t think he wants to stumble at the final straight-away.  I could be wrong, but I’m not going to assume I am until events force me to.

TL:DR — The parable of the prodigal, like all good stories, can be read many, many ways.  But its simple gloss is the one Hillary gave us last night. We are stronger, and very much better — together.

*For one example:  a post I’ve not yet and may never get around to writing is on how the Rwandan genocide shaped the views of those on whose watch it occurred.  Hillary was one of those, and I think what some see as neo-colonial interventionism is at least partly shaped by a “never again” reaction to the collective failure that allowed such evil to(re)occur.

Image: Jan Sanders (no relation) van Hemessen, The Parable of the Prodigal Son, 1536.






144 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:

    You are pretty thoughtful.

  2. 2
    Robin G. says:

    I’ll be waiting for that post on Rwanda, which sounds fascinating.

  3. 3
    petesh says:

    In Obama I trust. He made it clear that Sanders asked for a meeting, he said sure, and the all-time master of “give them enough rope” is on the game.

  4. 4
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    We must show mercy in the manner of Jesus Christ and Bilbo Baggins.

  5. 5
    chopper says:

    oy, the asshole’s back again ^.

    anyhoo,

    So, unless he doubles down, unless he heads further down that path of excoriating Clinton and Democrats in general, unless he acts to sabotage the most important campaign I can recall

    yeah, this is bernie’s moment to show us all who he really is.

  6. 6
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Reupping: “New”? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  7. 7
    Cacti says:

    When he concedes and endorses Clinton, I’ll trust him.

    Not a moment sooner.

  8. 8
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Cacti: Never said you have to trust him. Just love him….;-)

    (And yes…the proof is in the pudding. Which is being made as we speak.)

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    Well said, Tom. Also, to echo something Aimai said in a thread downstairs, the Sanders dead-enders we’re likely to encounter online =/= the ones most of us know in real life. Hell, my husband voted for Sanders, and he’s gonna vote for Clinton in November, as will the vast majority of Sanders voters. It’s a mistake to lump guys like my husband in with jackholes like the Sanders trolls at Balloon Juice.

    @chopper & @Tom Levenson: Who?

  10. 10
    chopper says:

    @chopper:

    lol, troll got taken out and now it looks like i’m calling pizzled an asshole.

  11. 11
    Reggie Mantle says:

    Well said, sir. There’s hope for the old blog yet.

  12. 12
    Corner Stone says:

    The most foolish thing that can happen is for President Obama to be sidelined for even one day more than necessary. We have a popular president, even more popular with the voting coalition we need, and in NFLTG Mode.
    For God’s sake, let the man do this damn thing!

  13. 13
    Tom Levenson says:

    @chopper: That was fast.

  14. 14
    Chris says:

    I live with two Bernie Sanders supported. We went and voted in the primary at the same place, and all came out concluding that yeah, we’re basically fine with each other’s candidates and even if we have a preference, we’ll happily vote for either one come November.

    That’s anecdotal, but polling suggests that it’s far more representative of the Democratic primary electorate than the rage I see in the blogosphere. So I’m very happy the primary’s close to being done.

  15. 15

    @Tom Levenson: He is easy to identify all his multiple handles begin with R for Republican troll.

  16. 16

    Income inequality; dragging this nation straight to the bottom. I’m glad Occupy got it out there, I’m glad Bernie ran on it. But neither one of them were able to sell it to the public. I don’t think Madame President Clinton can either – but she knows it’s a problem and can start laying the prep work. Gonna take decades to fix in any case – and the one thing Madame President Clinton has is a long view of Washington and what it takes to get things done. Took sixteen years to get a health care plan enacted, right? And hers was better, but one step at a time will still get us there.

  17. 17
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m not quite there yet. I’ll be there when people stop screaming that election and voting laws that have been in place for 30 years were deliberately designed to prevent their special snowflake selves from voting.

    IOW, I probably shouldn’t have looked at Facebook before coming here. So many people so confused by the basic principle that if you want to vote in the Democratic Party’s primary, you have to say so.

  18. 18
    chopper says:

    @Corner Stone:

    hopefully, thanks to O, Bernie and the Butthurts’ world tour will be canceled before the first show.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Tom Levenson: Adam ban-hammered him last night.

  21. 21
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yeah. I saw that. Didn’t know if it was a time-out or a more extended hammer. Happy with the latter. Ill mannered lout…

  22. 22
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @chopper: I was gonna say!

  23. 23
    dmsilev says:

    @Mnemosyne: What, you mean it’s unreasonable to expect the county Registrar to be clairvoyant or a mind-reader?

  24. 24
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Cacti: That’s pretty much where I’m at, I’m afraid. I have noted before that one thing I’m really grateful to Sen. Sanders for is that he demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is a strong segment of the population ready, willing, and eager to listen to a message about income inequality – and that that’s a winning message for Democrats to promote now. I’d like to see more Democratic candidates come out swinging aggressively against the sheer, monstrous way that the deck has been stacked in favor of the 1%, and how the care, comfort and feeding of the 1% is the Republican Party’s sole concern when it comes to “governing”.

    But I’m not going to be able to think really well of him if he can’t have a Howard Dean moment upon being told, “it’s not about you – it’s about the country” – and act accordingly.

  25. 25
    chopper says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    there’s that asshole talk again.

  26. 26
    MattF says:

    @Betty Cracker: Some of the Bernie Bros we see here are trying to do the right thing– and I’m for that. One thing to bear in mind, which Tom alludes to above, is that the candidates are all politicians, and one of the reasons ordinary people don’t become politicians is that it’s a brutal business.

  27. 27
    PST says:

    It’s all a bit in flux still, but if I read the papers right Clinton picked up a net of around 90, making the gap more than 350 among committed delegates. Every one of those Tuesday results ought to make it easier for Sanders to gracefully say to his supporters, “the Democratic Party is a democratic party, and the people have spoken.”

  28. 28
    PhoenixRising says:

    Please do the Rwanda post. I don’t have time & it will help the pacifist Sandersnistas to grasp why we Hill-bots don’t think she’s ‘a hawk’ in the way they believe.

  29. 29
    piratedan says:

    Tom, good point about Rwanda, I think that for many of us, what takes place in Africa is out of sight out of mind (to our detriment) and while GOP loves bombing them some brown people to make them feel all self-righteous, I think they chose to ignore everything else that they can’t put into clearly defined terms (for them, good vs evil). Perhaps it would have mattered to them if there was some natural resource they could have exploited, otherwise, they don’t care.

  30. 30
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dmsilev:

    These people are so lucky I’m not a poll worker. SO lucky. People behind me in line didn’t understand why they had to vote a provisional ballot just because they didn’t bring their mail-in ballots with them to surrender for the ballot they wanted. Why couldn’t they have two ballots? Why?

  31. 31
    Betty Cracker says:

    @MattF: Good point, and I should clarify that I don’t consider all Sanders supporters online insufferable jerks at all. I’ve had substantive discussions with many of them. I’m talking about the one-note cranks who piss all over the joint and then demand that we kiss their asses. Fuck those guys.

  32. 32
    aimai says:

    I think I would be more able to love Bernie again if he hadn’t proven what a lousy person he is. I’ve said this before, and Tom knows it about me more than most, I come from a long line of Bernie like characters. My paternal great grandfather was a kropotkinian anarchist who ran two separate anarchist communes, my maternal grandfather was an iconoclast and an on again off again curmudgeonly hero of the left, my uncle is a former member of SDS and a professor of marxist philosphy (and a poet) at a major University. I get this type of person–I get iconoclast, I get marxist, I get socialist, I get anarchist, I get old white dude. But I had some hope that Bernie would be as loveable as my (other) grandfather, or as reasonable as other people in my family. Instead you get all of the rigidity, paranoia, anger, and spite of this kind of loner iconoclast and none of the loveable grandpa stuff.

  33. 33
    nonynony says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    the Sanders dead-enders we’re likely to encounter online =/= the ones most of us know in real life.

    Keep in mind that there’s a chance that the dead-enders you meet on-line who are not people you know IRL are just trolls. People who like to push buttons and get people angry or people who are actually conservatives who are putting on a troll persona to throw crap around. This will be more and more true the closer we get to election day, just as it was with the PUMAs in 2008. There will be some honest, sincere folks who are in the Sanders camp or who will be voting for Jill Stein instead of Clinton, but on the Internet you can’t tell them apart from the trolls and, to be honest, you probably have about as much chance of convincing them to vote for Clinton as you do the trolls anyway.

  34. 34
    aimai says:

    @Mnemosyne: Sometimes (I’ve been a poll worker) what needs to happen is for there to be a change in signage or something that forces people to treat the original ballot like a form of currency.

    Please bring this Ballot with you to the poll to exchange for a special On the Day Ballot” might be all that is required.

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PST:

    I’m not sure what you mean by net? California has been called for her and she gets 257 delegates just from us.

  36. 36
    Eric U. says:

    had to unfollow a facebook friend for bernibro butthurt this morning. I’ve been controlling myself, but the ones that are now talking about how corrupt the primary system is are going to be unfollowed for at least a while. He’s going to write in Sanders in the general. not that it matters, because he lives in Ga, but he also mentioned that he’s not voting for the democratic candidate for senator

  37. 37

    These people are so lucky I’m not a poll worker. SO lucky. People behind me in line didn’t understand why they had to vote a provisional ballot just because they didn’t bring their mail-in ballots with them to surrender for the ballot they wanted. Why couldn’t they have two ballots? Why?

    @Mnemosyne: Heard this at my polling place as well. The askers were not first-time voters and were, dare I say, obvious Republicans attempting a bit o’ ratfucking. Being a saint to be a poll worker must be a job requirement; you got a HUGE notice with your mail ballot that you had to bring your old ballot to the polling place (to “surrender” it) to request a Dem one. They ended up keeping their original ballots, which was probably smart of them.

    “Please bring this Ballot with you to the poll to exchange for a special On the Day Ballot” might be all that is required.

    @aimai: That is virtually word for word what is in your ballot envelope when you get it. I don’t know what the hell else they can do.

  38. 38
    Mike J says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    the Sanders dead-enders we’re likely to encounter online =/= the ones most of us know in real life.

    The ones I’ve met in real life are worse. Of course I live in a caucus state and go to party meetings.

  39. 39
    D58826 says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    Took sixteen years to get

    A bit longer than that if you go back to when Teddy Roosevelt (yes a republican) pushed the idea

  40. 40
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Eric U.: Were you to respond to such a former friend, you might remind him that there is a name for people who make those kinds of voting decisions: Republicans. In effect if not in law.

  41. 41
    Miss Bianca says:

    @aimai: Everybody…SING!

    Oh, it’s Uncle Ivanovych’s turn to throw the bomb
    Last one it was thrown by Cousin John
    Mama’s feeling bad, and the copskis all know Dad
    So it’s Uncle Ivanovych’s turn to throw the bomb

  42. 42
    TriassicSands says:

    Not about Bernie —

    Hey, it’s already 10:30 PDT and Trump hasn’t stolen the headlines from Clinton’s victory by claiming he would nuke Botswana or execute everyone working for Planned Parenthood. He must be slipping to let Clinton have more than the “midnight edition.”

  43. 43
    WaterGirl says:

    Thank you, Tom.

  44. 44
    joel hanes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Young Bernie guy in front of me in line (CA primary) was apparently not registered at all, took up 15 minutes of the poll workers attention while they explained voter registration and how primaries work.

  45. 45
    nonynony says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    IOW, I probably shouldn’t have looked at Facebook before coming here. So many people so confused by the basic principle that if you want to vote in the Democratic Party’s primary, you have to say so.

    To be fair, our national primary/caucus system is screwed up and undemocratic. It’s not the most undemocratic part of our system – that would go to the Senate and then the Electoral College right behind it – and the way that the Dems do things are better than how the GOPers do it[*], but it is screwed up. Especially in this day and age where people in general are not “joiners” and don’t actively belong to a political party and don’t really feel like they should have to join one to have a say in who is going to be President.

    Frankly, I like the way Ohio does it where you can declare a partisan affiliation on the day of the primary. Sure it opens the process up to some shenanigans, but in general it doesn’t seem like that happens.

    [*] At least as long as the “superdelegates” remain a symbolic set of votes to indicate the will of the party political apparatus but that go along with the consensus of the majority of Democratic primary voters – if they ever actually use that stupid superdelegate rule they came up with to prevent another “Jimmy Carter situation” then they’re idiots.

  46. 46
    Miss Bianca says:

    @joel hanes: And this is the thing that pisses me off – if the Sanders campaign had been really serious about winning – is that voter education is PART of what it takes to win! You have your people on the ground making sure that people KNOW HOW TO VOTE FOR YOU, and that the crucial first step is actually *registering* to vote.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @aimai:

    It does say that. In fact, every permanent vote-by-mail registree who’s registered as “Decline to State” got a letter in the mail explaining how to request a party ballot and what to do if you miss the deadline. There has also been a lot of media coverage explaining the process. People. Don’t. Read.

  48. 48
    aimai says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Well, against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.

  49. 49
    laura says:

    Thanks for this post.
    My hub and I voted for Bernie in cali and will happily vote for Hillary in the general.
    Why Bernie first? Because he has reminded the Olds like me that the New Deal was what this party stood for -and can/should again. And because he’s given the youngun’s a reason to believe that there’s a need for change from the reality that they’ve known and suffered under in their own lives. And finally, because Hillary’s message has been to keep expectations lowered.
    We had free higher ed in cali until prop 13 and governor Reagan and we can have it again. So that’s not unreasonable or undoable.
    I really felt shitty that the anti-bernie and his Bros sentiment meant that late primary voters don’t have a right to exercise the franchise and AP announcing it’s poll results but delivered the night before a primary may well have screwed down ballot candidates. That’s bullshit and should be called on it.

    Now, on to the white house and Senate and congress!!!

    I look forward to your post on Rwanda and hope that it includes how radio Rwanda fomented the murderous rage against fellow citizens -and what I fear are parallels here in the US. These are perilous times and I fear my fellow Americans who have been conditioned to think of libs, minorities, women as the enemy and they are armed to the teeth.

  50. 50
    srv says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    Income inequality

    When she’s wearing an Armani jacket worth more than Trump’s suit, that might not play well at the debates.

  51. 51
    nonynony says:

    @joel hanes:

    Young Bernie guy in front of me in line (CA primary) was apparently not registered at all

    As an early Sanders supporter, one of the things that disillusioned me about his whole campaign was that he didn’t appear to be educating his potential voters on how the voting system works at all. There seemed to be no real voter registration/GOTV initiative to get the young first-time voters that he was targeting registered and out to vote. I figured at first that it was happening behind the scenes – I’m not a first-time voter so I wouldn’t see it – but as more and more demographic information from various primaries came in it became apparent that he wasn’t getting a massive influx of younger voters at all.

    Getting your supporters registered to vote is seriously Politics 101 level material. You can’t have a political revolution if your supporters aren’t voters. (ETA – I see @Miss Bianca got to this before I did…)

  52. 52
    WarMunchkin says:

    They’ve made the right call (one anticipated and shared by Hillary) that Citizens United and all it’s substructure is a disaster.

    Not sure this is the correct representation. There’s a difference between supporting DISCLOSE or removing dark money and believing that big contributor donations are harmful whether you know where they come from or not. Democrats still cared about money in politics prior to Citizens United, so I think there is a genuine ideological divide in the party that will contribute to fragmentation down the line. The majority sees big dollar donations, as long as they are public, as a vital tool in defending civil rights, and I think that’s expressed by Clinton’s continued use of the phrase “remove unaccountable money in politics”.

  53. 53
    nonynony says:

    @srv: The problem is that Trump’s suits look so cheap she’ll have to show up dressed in a burlap sack to look like she spent less on clothes than he did. (Mostly because anything Trump wears looks instantly cheap just because of who’s wearing it.)

  54. 54
    aimai says:

    @nonynony: I don’t understand why a public which is perfectly capable of putting its name down in advance for a toy, or a gun, or a hotel room, or a place at a good school all of a sudden needs all this help putting their name down to reserve a place to vote for a primary candidate. If I were Queen, and if unlike our government I actually wanted everyone to vote,I’d do voter registration completely differently.

    Everyone would be given something in exchage for registering their cel phone, name, or name and address in advance to “reserve their spot” to vote in their local primary. No party affiliation, no reserved spot. Then they’d get text notifications remind them of the importance of voting. We’d have vote by mail. And I would reward State Parties with actual money or government services for getting more people to vote. Parties that don’t do enough voter outreach simply wouldn’t get the reward.

  55. 55
    Miss Bianca says:

    @nonynony:

    You can’t have a political revolution if your supporters aren’t voters.

    Well, not one that you’re going to VOTE on, anyway.

  56. 56
    philadelphialawyer says:

    “It may not be fair that the winning side has to extend the olive branch first, and maybe most…but it’s fully human, and in the context of a non-zero possibility of any Republican in the White House, it’s necessary too.”

    Actually, no and no.

    The loser concedes and congratulates (and, no, not one primary, but the whole deal). That is the human thing, and the fair thing, and the expected thing.

    THEN the winner extends the olive branch. That’s the way it has always been done. And that’s the way it went when the shoe was on Hillary’s foot, viz a viz Obama. Hillary had a much, much better case for fighting on than little Buhn-Buhn, but she sucked it up, saddled up, and acted the good soldier for Obama. Bernie? Not so much. Even though HIS tired ass “we waz robbed” excuse is not only preposterous, but stirred up hate filled death threat level craziness. He needs to concede and congratulate, big time, AND walk back all of his “rigged” process BS.

    As for beating Trump, most Sanders’ supporters are already onboard. Those that aren’t possibly can’t be reached at all, even by Sanders himself. In any event, Hillary has to balance reaching out to Sanders’ supporters with the damage that might do to her with centrist voters. Sanders voters are not special snowflakes, and their votes don’t count more than moderates’. Indeed, Sanders’ voters seem to be concentrated in the bluest of blue states and in red state enclaves that won’t matter much in November. It is possible that they are actually LESS important that MOR voters in Fla, Ohio, etc.

    So, no. It is not always on the woman to be the peacemaker, when she loses AND when she wins. Let Grandpa puts his precious hurt fee-fees aside and do the right fucking thing. Finally, and for once.

  57. 57
    Major Major Major Major says:

    Well said, Tom. Much better than I could.

  58. 58
    nonynony says:

    @aimai: I’d make it even easier. Why do we register to vote at all? Any time you have any interaction with the state or federal government at all – up to and including paying taxes, registering at the post office, getting a driver’s license, or applying for state benefits – your voter registration should be automatically updated. There should be a process to register if you don’t have regular interaction with the government (mostly to cover the homeless and the unemployed who don’t qualify for benefits) but frankly at the very least paying taxes should provide the government with enough information to determine your precinct and register you, let alone if you apply for a driver’s license or a change of address card.

    Registering to vote is just a hurdle to make it so that fewer people vote. We shouldn’t need to register at all except in certain exceptional circumstances.

  59. 59
    Mike J says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    In any event, Hillary has to balance reaching out to Sanders’ supporters with the damage that might do to her with centrist voters

    For every sanders voter that says there is no way they will ever vote for Clinton, she has to go elsewhere to make up that vote. If the soi-disant left won’t vote for her, she’ll have to concentrate on Never Trumpers.

    There was a study talked about in the last week or two that showed that the best predictor of how liberal a Democrat will be in office in their wining margin. It worked across districts, it worked within districts across years. A Democrat that wins 51-49 will be less liberal than a Democrat that wins 60-40. If you want Democrats to be more liberal in office, you need to run up the score.

  60. 60
    aimai says:

    @philadelphialawyer:
    Amen!

    And, following on that, I’d like to point out that the work of re-legtimitizing Hillary and de-legitimizing Bernie is actually on Bernie’s voters who are now coming over to vote for Hillary. That’s not fair, either, but its the reality of the system. If Bernie is so intransigent that he continues to try to play the spoiler at the nominating convention (with his “minority report” and his “roberts rules of order” crap) and HIllary and the Dems have to bring the hammer down on him the only thing that can prevent his dead enders from staging a hysterical last stand of some kind are other former Bernie voters. There is nothing Hillary can do to protect herself from the kind of havoc these guys will try to wreak, by coming at her from the left, except a left flank/progressive bulwark against these sore losers. So I hope Hillary is lining up plenty of people to say, calmly and gently on national tv “I was a Bernie supporter but I’m very happy to be supporting Hillary as the nominee…those other trouble makers don’t speak for us at all.” Because the press, and trump, are gearing up to never let her forget the shit Bernie and his followers slung at her.

  61. 61
    Tom Levenson says:

    @philadelphialawyer: I think you mistake my point. Extending an olive branch is exactly what Hillary and POTUS both did last night. They were both right and smart to do so. No one I’ve read has suggested that Hillary needs “to be the peacemaker.” Rather she, and as importantly we, have to be clear we’re standing on ground on which peace can be made. And that includes not suggesting now that Bernie should be told to fuck off and die. If he chooses to burn the house down around him, that’s different; we’ll know soon. But until and unless that happens, being prepared to welcome those with whom we were just hammers-and-tongs-ing is both good sense and good manners.

  62. 62
    aimai says:

    @Mike J: Right, this is something else that puzzles me no end about Bernie comments at Kos. People talk sulkily about “holding her feet to the fire” or “making her keep her promises” but they never, ever, talk about voting as a strategy for creating the kinds of ties that politicians have to respect, that politicians work for. They have this idea of politicis which is essentially protest oriented, in which you “pressure” someone by making things publicly difficult for them, or shouting whore at them. But you don’t form a coalition with other voters and then send delegations to the politician, you don’t do the work of politics.

  63. 63
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Mike J:

    I don’t see how any of that contradicts what I wrote. Yes, she wants to run up the score. And, yes, Sanders supporters would help in that. But so would neverTrumpers. And you can’t necessarily appeal to the most leftist of the former without alienating the latter. (And, it is true, vice versa). So, therefore, what?

  64. 64
    PhoenixRising says:

    @Mike J:

    A Democrat that wins 51-49 will be less liberal than a Democrat that wins 60-40. If you want Democrats to be more liberal in office, you need to run up the score.

    Don’t tell us, tell the newly minted Jill Stein voters.

    I muted a bunch of idiots on FB due to the fact that life is too short. But a link to that study might be a good passive-voice data point.

  65. 65
    aimai says:

    @Tom Levenson: If I may speak for PL for a minute–he’s just expressing the justified feelings of rage and disgust that many of us, especially women but also plenty of other people, are feeling about how totally assholic Bernie has been about this race, a race which he has been losing for months. Hillary was much, much, closer to winning the race and she took literally a day to concede (in private, by phone) to Barack and then another day to notify her supporters and another two days to write an incredible speech. Bernie just has no excuse for this. He had plenty of time to figure out his end game. He chose not to. Sure: everyone is fallible and sure, everyoen else is going to be the grown up in the room and deal with Bernie’s tantrum. But we don’t have to like it.

  66. 66
    Mike J says:

    @philadelphialawyer: I never meant to imply it did contradict you. I adding my thoughts to yours.

  67. 67
    D58826 says:

    I guess my problem with Bernie was he would talk about a great goal but was rather vague on the details about getting there. In addition his goals seemed to be driven more by his ideology rather than what would work. Single payer was a big part of his campaign but Hillary could not get a national healthcare plan passed in 1993 and Obamacare, with all its faults, has given millions of Americans access to healthcare. Yet Bernie blew it off as not really being a big step toward universal health care. His plan, such as it was, to break up the big banks is another example. His policy seemed driven more by his socialist banks/capitalism are bad rather than the best way to regulate the big banks. Hillary’s plan to tax risk-based activities might have achieved the same goal with less risk.

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:

    @joel hanes:

    G works in a library that used to be a polling place years ago, and people still show up with a vague notion that that’s where they’re supposed to vote.

    They also had some guy wander in yesterday who wanted to vote but lived in a different city, so that was extra interesting to explain.

  69. 69
    Mike J says:

    @PhoenixRising: I wish I could remember where I saw it. I’m googling furiously, but not finding it yet. If you stumble across it, please post a link,

  70. 70
    philadelphialawyer says:

    “Extending an olive branch is exactly what Hillary and POTUS both did last night. They were both right and smart to do so. No one I’ve read has suggested that Hillary needs “to be the peacemaker.””

    Um, I think the person who first extends the olive branch IS “the peacemaker.” Not sure what distinction you are drawing here. I do agree, though, that Hillary, even though it shouldn’t be on her, is the one doing it.

    “Rather she, and as importantly we, have to be clear we’re standing on ground on which peace can be made. And that includes not suggesting now that Bernie should be told to fuck off and die. If he chooses to burn the house down around him, that’s different; we’ll know soon. But until and unless that happens, being prepared to welcome those with whom we were just hammers-and-tongs-ing is both good sense and good manners.”

    First of all, what “we,” ie folks on a blog, do, is not at all the same as what Hillary does. I can, and will, tell the Bernie die hards, the folks who can’t or won’t shut up about the “rigged” process and what a horrible person Hillary is and how only the white youth vote matters and so on, to fuck off and die.

    Secondly, again, “good manners” is when the loser congratulates the winner, and offers his hand. NOT the loser acting like a little baby and expecting the winner to come and kiss him and make it all better.

    Finally, to repeat, that is how it has always been. Bernie is not special. Neither are his supporters. Please stop trying to re write the rules of politics and manners in a sexist way.

  71. 71
    PhoenixRising says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    And you can’t necessarily appeal to the most leftist of the former without alienating the latter. (And, it is true, vice versa).

    Premise disputed.

    Left/right distinctions don’t apply here. Bernie’s voters are white, educated, want government to do more and are willing to pay for it through higher taxes (that they will pay). NeverTrump independents didn’t want to pay those higher taxes but want a country that works and is governed by non-crazies…which is what Hillz is offering them.

    Will they have to pay a little more than they would like? Yep. But they can rely on a functioning economy and their incomes being stable. She doesn’t have to move toward their ‘deficit hawk through destroying services and public goods’ preferences to get their votes, because that’s not on the table–the 15 clowns who got thrown out of the car by the GOP base had ideology (which has failed over and over) and voters didn’t care. All HRC has to do to earn their votes is stay sensible and stable.

  72. 72
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @philadelphialawyer: I assume Senator Sanders will come around to supporting Secretary Clinton pretty soon. There is nothing to gain from playing hardball with Secretary Clinton now that she’s the presumptive nominee. She has zero reasons to bargain or haggle with him to get his support. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and wait for him to concede the race and vigorously support the Democratic nominee, knowing how dangerous a Trump presidency would be.

    We’ll be alright.

  73. 73
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Mike J: Sorry, my bad.

  74. 74
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @PhoenixRising: Whatevs. I’m not gonna quibble with you. Hillary can only suck up to the hard core Sanders supporters so much, w/o alienating other potential supporters. How you choose to label and describe the two groups is not important.

  75. 75

    @Mike J:

    A Democrat that wins 51-49 will be less liberal than a Democrat that wins 60-40.

    And the counter-argument would be that this is because more liberal Democrats get more votes.

  76. 76
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @aimai: yeah

  77. 77
    Cacti says:

    MoveOn acknowledges that Hillary should be the Dem nominee.

  78. 78
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Patricia Kayden: I hope so.

  79. 79
    aimai says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    I’ve got to agree with this. I’m actually gobsmacked at the disrespect Bernie is showing both Hillary and Obama in asking for this special meeting with Obama. I assume that he is doign it because he doesn’t have a functioning campaign, or any high level surrogates, who can negotiate his surrender to Hillary’s campaign, and he’s too proud to do it himself because he won’t deal one on one with Hillary’s subordinates and she doesn’t need to see him herself.
    So Obama courteously calls Bernie to congratulate him and tell him to get out of the race and Bernie insists on a meeting with Obama? What is Obama supposed to be doing here? Getting the little lady in line? How fucking tone deaf do you have to be, as Bernie, to treat the first woman nominee this disrespectfully? How rude are you to the first AA President to ask to see him and leave your supporters with the impression (because they sure have it) that all powerful no fucks to give party outsider Bernie is layign down the law to Obama? I mean this is just bizarre behavior, on a par with the visit to the Pope. Is Bernie looking for some male deus ex machina to force Hillary out? Maybe he believes his own lies about how only Obama is preventing Hillary from being indicted and he thinks he can persuade Obama to tell Comey to go ahead and throw her in the pokey so Bernie can seize power.

  80. 80
    AxelFoley says:

    Y’all are too forgiving. Fuck Bernie and his legion of Berniebros.

  81. 81
    aimai says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Its an argument. But its not based on anything more than wishful thinking.

  82. 82
    aimai says:

    @philadelphialawyer: Oh, and hi philadelphialawyer, haven’t seen you around in a while. Don’t you usually post at LGM? I hope you’ve been well.

  83. 83
    Mike J says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    And the counter-argument would be that this is because more liberal Democrats get more votes.

    But it happens with the same congressperson who only starts voting more liberally after winning by a larger margin. And then reverts to less liberal after winning by a smaller margin.

  84. 84
    Tom Levenson says:

    @aimai: I don’t expect anyone to like it. I don’t. And I get the sense of rage and just amazement that Bernie could behave so poorly for so long. But I also don’t think my disdain counts for very much against the obvious fact of life: people rip folks apart in politics and then combine — often very gingerly — against the greater threat. We really, really need to do so this year and I’m prepared to be pissed off that I don’t get to go all Cato the Elder on my recent opponent because I’ve got a bigger problem looming. If this helps me and us get to Madam President, I’m good with it — just as its fine to rage against that necessity in the highly inconsequential arena of a hot air factory like ours. What’s the point of a comment thread if it isn’t that? But by no means make the mistake that I think what happened since the New York primary is OK; it wasn’t and isn’t. I’m only arguing that it just ain’t that important right now.

    @PhoenixRising: Ummm. Offering an olive branch does not make peace. It creates the opening in which peae can be made.

    As for your suggestion that my post above is a sexist rewriting of the rules of politics or manners — well, I’ll be polite and say we disagree. What I’m thinking …. ;-)

  85. 85
    PhoenixRising says:

    @philadelphialawyer: I don’t think she needs to suck up to anyone at all. She just won the nom walking away and the positions Bernie voters want the party to adopt and press for were her preferred policies back in the day when Bernie was honeymooning in Moscow. Literally. If you want to define ‘doing what she’s been advocating for 35 years’ as ‘sucking up to Bernie voters’ to *them* so they feel better in their tummies…be my guest.

    I think it’s pretty important that we begin to frame what happened in this primary accurately: The ideology that has driven the GOP since 1976–a government that does nothing for the common good and transfers tax payments to crony capitalists–has been sharply rejected by 75% of voters. From the left and wherever the hell The Donald is located.

    That’s…not a quibble. That’s something between a miracle and a hard-earned victory for our kids’ futures. Let’s have some fun promoting that fact!

  86. 86
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @aimai: Yeah, it really is amazing. Bernie is just a total asshole. As are many of his supporters. The racism, sexism and ageism wrapped up in his campaign are astounding.

  87. 87
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @aimai: once in a while at LGM or alicblog. doing fine, thanks, hope you are too. By the way, I always enjoy your comments, and your blog posts

  88. 88
    Trollhattan says:

    @srv:

    When she’s wearing an Armani jacket worth more than Trump’s suit

    Will there be a clothing allowance klaxon horn? This is weak stuff, even by your (non)standards.

  89. 89
    Schlemazel Khan says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    I assume the “r” designation relates to the turds he drops here. On another blog he starts all with an “s” and so on. That way he can keep track of who he is pretending to be at each place and his minders can search for posts since they probably pay him by the piece.

  90. 90
    Andy says:

    @Betty Cracker: —yeah, he’s pretty good about throwing his weight around…(Literally).
    He should start his own blog.

  91. 91
    PhoenixRising says:

    @aimai: Simmer down, there. I’m guessing that Bernie asked POTUS to help guide his surrender in the most effective possible manner. He’s looking for help getting the toothpaste back into the tube, and if I’d bungled the endgame as badly as he has I would be asking the historically gifted retail politician and orator who is currently the President to help me out too.

    Now, if it turns out he thinks he can negotiate for anything aside from terms, timing and not getting assigned to the Men’s Washroom Committee of the Senate…I’ll embrace your reading of this development. And take a lash with a wet noodle for attributing good motives again.

  92. 92

    @aimai: @Mike J: I didn’t say it was a good argument.

  93. 93
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Tom Levenson: Of the two, the one offering the olive branch or the one who refrains from offering it and waits for his opponent to do it, which one is usually thought of as “the peacemaker?”

    As for re writing the rules of politics and manners, it seems to me that you are doing precisely that. And doing so in a way that disadvantages a woman. And not just any woman, but a woman who just achieved a great milestone for all women. Mere denials and coy hints about what you are really “thinking” are not counterarguments.

  94. 94
    aimai says:

    @Trollhattan: How does Mr. gilded hair follicles, with his bevvy of armani clad women, attack Hillary for the expense of her clothing?

  95. 95
    Mnemosyne says:

    @philadelphialawyer:

    FWIW, having Obama and Hillary make the first friendly move is Obama Politics 101. It puts Bernie in a corner where he has to accept their friendly overtures or look like a major asshole. He can either accept and be able to participate, or reject it and lose even more Democratic support than he already has.

    I’m pretty sure that, as the current leader of the Democratic Party, Obama is going to lay out the facts for Bernie and give him a chance to save a little face after he got beat by a girl. If Bernie rejects that, he will discover that caucusing with the Democrats only works when you’re willing to work with them.

  96. 96
    aimai says:

    @PhoenixRising: Lets get real–Bernie is 74 years old. Its not that hard to concede and he certainly doesn’t need to take Obama’s time in the Oval office to figure out how to get out of the campaign. I just can’t with this soft bigotry of low expectations for a grown man, who has been in politics for more than thirty years. Its just embarrassing.

  97. 97
    pat says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    My sentiments exactly. GO HILLARY!!!!

    I start door-to-door on the 18th. We absolutely MUST win this one.

  98. 98
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Andy:

    He should start his own blog.

    Who – Rambling/Rolfing/Ralphing etc? Who’d read it? Missing him already, are you?

  99. 99
    Schlemazel Khan says:

    Please keep in mind this tidbit I related a couple weeks ago: a couple of liberal blogs say that a quick check of IPs showed them that some of the ugliest comments where coming from addresses of known GOP trolls. There appeared to be a concerted effort to cause animosity on the D side.

    Maybe if we all just stepped back and ignored some of the vitriol we would be better off

  100. 100
    rikyrah says:

    @srv:

    When she’s wearing an Armani jacket worth more than Trump’s suit, that might not play well at the debates.

    Because, of course, a candidate for President, should be dressed in clothing from Walmart.

    Whatever

  101. 101
    aimai says:

    @Mnemosyne: I agree that Obama and Hillary are doing all th eright things. Naturally. They are both consummate politicians, negotiators, diplomats and all around grown ups. I think what PL and I are complaining about is how fucking typical it is that the black guy and the woman are forced to waste time coddling the old white guy and no one thinks its at all strange or odd. Its like we have so internalized the racism and sexism of this country that we don’t even stop and scratch our heads and say “wow! that’s odd! Bernie’s treating the first woman and the first AA president as his errand boy and servant girl.” I mean, come on, when has this kind of back stage negotiating ever taken up the time of a sitting president? When has it ever been appropriate for the loser of the primary contest to call up a former President to have him broker the concession? Men don’t do this to other men, do they?

  102. 102
    Terry chay says:

    @aimai: it is because Bernie is so close to heroes you identify that makes it harder to forgive him. I think that’s also why Bernie was so vindictive to certain Democrats and not others this season.

  103. 103
    Mike J says:

    OK, I found a cite
    Do voters affect or elect policies? A new perspective, with evidence from the U.S. Senate
    http://davidalbouy.net/dovoters.pdf

    Corrected estimates are more favorable to the hypothesis that candidates moderate their policy choices in response to electoral competition.

  104. 104

    @Miss Bianca: I never pie’d him. He was too amusing. It was like a performance art train wreck.

    It’s the reggie mantles of the world that really get to me.

  105. 105

    @Terry chay: The narcissism of small differences, I believe Freud called it.

  106. 106
    aimai says:

    @aimai: I shouldn’t pretend the animosity between bernie and hillary is anything new or his treatment of her is only down to sexism. Certainly Carter and Kennedy had an equally awful power struggle–but Bernie and everyone else knows that so how does Bernie get off trying to repeat this diasterous history?

  107. 107
    aimai says:

    @Terry chay: Well, its more like I would never vote for any of those family members for dog catcher.

  108. 108
    burnspbesq says:

    @Reggie Mantle: I

    I’m willing to judge Sanders supporters on a case-by-case basis.

    You, sir, on a personal level, remain a loathsome piece of garbage.

  109. 109

    @Mike J: Thanks! I look forward to my friends on Facebook completely ignoring it when I post a summary.

    Bookmarked for later, too :)

  110. 110
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @aimai: Yeah, it is not that Hillary and Obama are doing anything wrong, and they are certainly doing the pragmatic thing. But, just as you say, why do they have to clean up the white man’s mess? Bernie should be doing the right thing. But he isn’t. And so the woman and the Black guy have to go the extra mile. And one of them is the Democratic nominee for president and the other is a sitting Democratic president. But, no matter, they must, as must of all of us, bow to Bernie and his Bros. I think it stinks.

  111. 111
    Miss Bianca says:

    @aimai: Oh, that’s what I’m seeing. Believe me. Others may tell me I’m wrong to look at it that way. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been told I’m “over-sensitive” for seeing slights and insulting behavior where others don’t or won’t. As far as i’m concerned, BS is on probation, and I think he’s acting like a petulant jerk.

    But I’m not getting paid the big bucks to promote party unity to this year’s PUMA model spokesman, so I’ll be happy to let cooler heads prevail at the national level.

  112. 112
    Tom Levenson says:

    @philadelphialawyer: OK. Here’s how I see it. There’s nothing gendered in my post: I’m not saying Hillary has an obligation to make Bernie happy, nor that she must do anything any other candidate would not be asked to do.

    I’m not saying that Bernie and some of his supporters weren’t assholes, nor that at least some of that bile was born of misogyny and sexism.

    I am saying that there is a strong pragmatic reason to be as open and welcoming as possible to Bernie’s supporters — and that kindness as well as electoral calculations play into that judgment.

    As for your suggestion that I or my argument is motivated by sexism? Well to tell you she I’m thinking, that follows the form of BernieBro argument pretty precisely. I’m a warmonger and a corrupt hack to those who disagreed with my support for Hillary; to you I’m sexist because we disagree here. To which I respond, bullshit.

  113. 113

    @Tom Levenson: I have to be kind to people with scarcely distinguishable political beliefs who mildly irritate me? Politics really does make for strange bedfellows. ;)

  114. 114
    aimai says:

    @philadelphialawyer: This. I think this is what really sticks in my craw. It reminds me of Fred Clark’s term the Persecuted Hegemon. Bernie is a persecuted hegemon–he believes he is both the alpha and omega of purity ideology and politics, the rightful winner of the nomination, and also persecuted and attacked by everyone (including the voters). As such he seems to think and act as though everythign must be done for him, and he is responsible for doing nothing for the party (since it, too, is a persecutor). The other Persecuted Hegemons that Clark talks about are Christianists and White Dudes in general. Bernie has an ironic, for a Jew, connection to both these categories and his behavior is tediously similar. Bragging, bloviating, claiming turf, then whining, wailing, and complaining about things being rigged, then demanding special attention and hand holding for a perfectly ordinary lost election. The biggest laugh line of this election is going to turn ot to have been “Not Me: Us.”

  115. 115
    Mike J says:

    @Major Major Major Major: It was easier to find when I thought about how to quantify such things and thought, “Aha! [D|W|DW] NOMINATE scores!”

  116. 116
    Terry chay says:

    @aimai: all the above is true, but I think it speaks to why the Democratic electorate chose the better candidate this primary. That Hillary was the better woman 8 years ago is exactly why she won this time. Her behavior is who she is, just like Obama being patient with Bermie is who he is.

  117. 117
    aimai says:

    @Tom Levenson: Tom, PL and I are arguing that the sexism and, frankly, the racism, are built in to the structure of this situation. Not in your analysis, but in Bernie’s behavior. This is a very difficult thing for people to grasp but when you are in a situation in which your white or your white male privilige (Bernies) is at issue you have to take special care not to take advantage of it. Bernie’s kind of leftist assumes that he can’t be sexist, or he can’t be racist, because (he would argue) he treats Obama and Hillary just as oligarchs and individuals. He doesn’t regard their sex or their color so his treatment of them can’t be racist or sexist. But that’s not true. He probably wouldn’t have treated a male opponent with as much contempt or prposed fighting all the way to the convention, and he probably wouldn’t have demanded that a white sitting president hold his hand while he climbs down off his high horse. And even if he thinks he would her supporters, and obama’s supporters, see it differently. Its an insult. A literal insult to the voters of this woman and of President Obama that Bernie Sanders is demanding all this extra time, attention, stroking, and special promises. Sure, he can do it. But he shouldn’t. Just like Hillary Clinton had to back off and realize that it was Obama’s turn at bat, Bernie has to realize that its not his turn this time. And race and sex are indistinguishable parts of the equation.

  118. 118
    philadelphialawyer says:

    “OK. Here’s how I see it. There’s nothing gendered in my post: I’m not saying Hillary has an obligation to make Bernie happy, nor that she must do anything any other candidate would not be asked to do.”

    Nothing explicitly gendered. But no other victorious candidate, in my experience, has been asked or expected to “offer the olive branch” UNTIL the other candidate conceded and congratulated.

    “I am saying that there is a strong pragmatic reason to be as open and welcoming as possible to Bernie’s supporters — and that kindness as well as electoral calculations play into that judgment.”

    I agree, to an extent. But there are limits, both in terms of rewarding her own supporters and not being dragged too far to the left.

    “As for your suggestion that I or my argument is motivated by sexism? Well to tell you she I’m thinking, that follows the form of BernieBro argument pretty precisely. I’m a warmonger and a corrupt hack to those who disagreed with my support for Hillary; to you I’m sexist because we disagree here. To which I respond, bullshit.”

    Frankly, I don’t care what the Bernie Bros said to you. And I do not think that you are a sexist, per se. Just that, in this instance, your rewriting the rules of manners and politics to the disadvantage of a woman is sexist. Not merely because we “disagree,” but because of what we disagree about, and the gendered nature of the matter under dispute.

  119. 119
    Citizen_X says:

    @srv:

    she’s wearing an Armani jacket worth more than Trump’s suit

    Don’t assume Trump’s suits are not expensive as fuck just because they fit like shit.

  120. 120
    aimai says:

    @Terry chay: Sure! I’m just sick of it. They said this when Obama got in, and we need to say it when Hillary gets in. The test of equality isn’t going to be when a once in a lifetime phenomenon, two massively overqualified, exceptional, people can win the presidency but when as crappy a black guy, or as crappy a woman, as the white guys that the Republicans have put up can win the presidency. Both of themhave had to be ten times the candidate than Bernie ever dreamed of being, but he will go to his grave insisting that the system was rigged against him and that her being a woman was a huge advantage to her over his being a man.

  121. 121
  122. 122
    PST says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m not sure what you mean by net? California has been called for her and she gets 257 delegates just from us.

    I just mean that she picked up 90 more than Bernie. I might be a little high. Also, I might have over-estimated. I think I forgot North Dakota. In any event, it was a sweeping coast-to-coast win that makes any “rigged” claim look absurd to anyone but a true believer.

  123. 123

    @PST:

    anyone but a true believer.

    Soooo not Bernie then.

  124. 124
    Brachiator says:

    @piratedan:

    Tom, good point about Rwanda, I think that for many of us, what takes place in Africa is out of sight out of mind (to our detriment) and while GOP loves bombing them some brown people to make them feel all self-righteous, I think they chose to ignore everything else that they can’t put into clearly defined terms (for them, good vs evil). Perhaps it would have mattered to them if there was some natural resource they could have exploited, otherwise, they don’t care.

    The Rwandan genocide happened on Clinton’s watch. It is pointless to simplistically talk about the GOP here, or to trot out the tired BS about them not caring about “brown” people. Nobody in the West gave a fuck about Rwanda. And good liberals watched what was happening on TV, and then lulled themselves to sleep with insipid parables about how “the history of colonialism” was really to blame.

    Clinton, with memories of failures in Somalia fresh in his mind, was afraid to do anything.

    But to be absolutely clear, the Belgians and the French had huge responsibility for this. There is even some evidence that the French provided arms and supplies to the murderous regime. However, the US, as the big dog with influence over the UN, could have twisted arms to get something done to prevent or stop the carnage. Sophisticated weapons were not used. We are talking about clubs and machetes used to hack innocents to death. Instead, despite a lot of high minded talk about revulsion when acts of genocide were advocated or committed, everyone from the UN to the Pope to various governments bent over backwards to deny knowledge and to avoid any responsibility for putting a stop to the terror.

    And yes, some people, including clergy on the ground there, did what they could to help, and even sacrificed their lives, you also had stuff like this:

    In 2006, Father Athanase Seromba was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for his role in the massacre of 2,000 Tutsis. The court heard that Seromba lured the Tutsis to the church, where they believed they would find refuge. When they arrived, he ordered bulldozers to crush the refugees within and Hutu militias to kill any survivors

    Atrocities like this could have been stopped with a small force. Instead, in the US, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans alike, sat on their fat asses and did nothing.

    Now, for what it’s worth, Hillary Clinton as First Lady, was simply a private citizen, not an official of the government of the United States. Anything that she had to say, any advice that she had to offer, might or might not have been persuasive, and might be interesting to know about, but I would no more look to see whether she was hawkish or dovish over this than I would give a shit about what Laura Bush thought about the Iraq War, with respect to any direct responsibility for anything. But Bill Clinton was a triangulating piece of shit, and the government of the US, and all the members of Congress, without regard to political party, a bunch of cowards.

  125. 125
    Terry chay says:

    @aimai: but you love them to death. :-)

    You certainly have the right to rage against the misogyny and racism inherent in the expectation of Obama and Hillary being the better people and tolerating and accommodating Bernie, while I can only marvel at their actions and feel a swelling pride that, yes, the Democratic Party elected the better man… AND woman. :-)

  126. 126
    Applejinx says:

    @aimai: Right, and that attitude is just stupid. It’s not even helped the Tea Party, it’s just caused them to implode. We’ve got to find ways to bridge the gap that don’t involve constantly attacking our politicians (note the plural) as demon spawn hell kin and weakening them.

    I think the Sanders people have to make a leap of faith, in some sense. We have no choice, it’s that or throw rocks and I cannot go along with every wingnut spin on Clinton history, for fuck’s sake. Sometimes it’s just insultingly ridiculous, or disingenuous. It’s easy to spot that stuff when it’s been against Bernie, so it’s not that big a stretch to ask if the criticism of Hillary are fair. Some so totally weren’t. Or when you know more, it tells a different story.

    I respect the frustration: looks like decades of Republican obstruction and fucking up all our political and media systems DID stop people understanding how to politics. I think you’ve got a better idea of how to politics than most. Wish other people I know saw it in that light.

    We do have to teach ’em somehow rather than yelling at them for having such wrong ideas. That’s the next challenge.

  127. 127
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    IIRC, one of the things people in the West don’t like to talk about is that Rwanda was, in large part, a massacre by Christians of non-Christians, and it was the Muslim Rwandans who were willing to shelter refugees.

  128. 128

    @pat: We absolutely must. Trump makes the previous Republican nominees look like saints in comparison.

  129. 129
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    IIRC, one of the things people in the West don’t like to talk about is that Rwanda was, in large part, a massacre by Christians of non-Christians, and it was the Muslim Rwandans who were willing to shelter refugees.

    It might be more fair to say that being Christian did not prevent or deter the killers from acting. But you bring up a good point. And there is this (from the Wiki):

    During the Rwandan genocide, Islam as a faith was not the main target of the genocide. There were only a few incidents in which Tutsis in mosques were attacked. The most widely known example occurred at Nyamirambo Main Mosque, where hundreds of Tutsi had gathered to take refuge. The refugees in the mosque fought off Hutu militias with stones, bows and arrows, putting up stiff resistance against the soldiers and militiamen of the Interahamwe. Only once the soldiers attacked with machine gun fire were the Interahamwe able to enter the mosque and kill the refugees….

    The number of Rwandan Muslims increased after the 1994 genocide due to large numbers of conversions. Many Muslims had sheltered refugees, both Hutu and Tutsi.[citation needed] Some converts state that they converted to Islam because of the role that some Catholic and Protestant leaders played in the genocide. Human-rights groups have documented both incidents in which Christian clerics permitted Tutsis to seek refuge in churches, then surrendered them to Hutu death-squads, as well as instances of Hutu priests and ministers encouraging their congregations to kill Tutsis.

    Personal accounts relate how some Tutsi converted for safety, as they feared continuing reprisal killings by Hutu extremists, and knew that Muslims would protect them from such acts. Many Hutu converted as well, in search for “purification”. Many Hutu want to leave their violent past behind them and to not have “blood on their hands”. There are also a few isolated instances where Hutu have converted in the hope that they could hide within the Muslim community and thereby escape arrest.

  130. 130
    Jess says:

    Thanks for the great post, Tom–I always read your stuff with pleasure. PLEASE do the Rwanda piece! I had a student that survived the massacre (and another who survived the Cambodian horror as child), and I will forever struggle to comprehend how people can live through that with their humanity intact.

  131. 131
    ruemara says:

    @aimai: the mantra of every special snowflake who ever defied a rule they fully understood is, “but when I do it, I’m special! My reasons are valid!” Berns is a 74 year old toddler emotionally with the worst of the patriarchal, misogynistic approach that infused much of the social movements of his era. He’s never had to be intersectional or consider others, he left those movements relatively early on and could stand on the sidelines saying things that seemed good while still earning the same level of cred as people who literally put their lives on the line to move civil rights forward. If he behaves as the month progresses, I’ll be surprised and happy. If he comes out his meeting with a case of the foot stamps and more regurgitation of right wing propaganda against Hilz & the corrupt Democratic Party, I won’t be surprised or happy.

  132. 132
    Monala says:

    @aimai: President Obama has something similar in place to help increase access to and compliance in various federal programs: his Social and Behavioral Sciences Team. They are doing such things as sending text messages and emails to high-performing low-income students to encourage them to fill out the FAFSA, to remind federal loan borrowers of repayments, and to encourage military service members to sign up for savings programs.

  133. 133
    mr natural says:

    “[W]hatever we can do to get more cash in the hands of the poor and the middle class we should do. That’s a core Democratic Party value and it has to be reasserted every damn election.” If that’s a core Party value, then the party has been doing a crappy job for the last 15 years or so. During those years the trend has been increasing numbers of poor, who are, relatively speaking, poorer and poorer. As a parent of three college students I know that they justifiably fear historically crushing levels of debt and weak job prospects. Please don’t just blame the Republicans. I love and admire Obama and voted twice for him, but in 2008 he gave the bunch of millionaires and billionaires who had just violently plundered the country half a trillion public dollars and a pass on criminal investigation. Hillary now says she’s running for Obama’s third term. That’s pretty good in some way but in other ways, pretty fucking horrible. I don’t think this is a controversial thing to say. I will work for and vote for Hillary in the general but I simply do not understand the sheer outrage directed at Bernie and his supporters for pushing what ought to be, but really haven’t been, “core Democratic party values.”

  134. 134
    Tom Levenson says:

    @aimai: @philadelphialawyer: OK. Back from my errands, and hence back into this likely dead thread.

    We have some points of vehement agreement: Clinton — and by extension her supporters — face overt and coded sexism. Bernie’s framing of the race, and his actions and language in pursuing a nomination that would require overturning the small “d” democratic result have a lot to do with the nature of ambition and the insanity of big league politics — and at the same time are shot through with entitlement, sexism and the assertion of privilege that holds that whatever is done by the pure man is thus pure. Le droit et mon dieu and all that.

    It’s thus unfair, and in some ways reinforcing of old ills to ask any victor, but especially this one, the first woman nominee of a major party, to take any action first that appears to legitimize in any way the assumptions implicit in the way Bernie has run his campaign and the worst of his supporters have advocated for their candidate.

    All of which I assumed as the background of my argument above — that’s the meaning I hoped was obvious in language like “contempt,” “rage” and “disdain.” Could I and should I have said explicitly that Bernie’s refusal to accept the reality had sexism shot through it — yes and probably, since it clearly didn’t come through above. In any event, that’s what I think.

    But the point of the piece wasn’t that Clinton needs to do anything at all, beyond what she said last night, which was both traditional and very well phrased. Here’s (to me) the core point I was trying to express:

    …it’s hard as hell to lose, and it’s impossible for all but saints to do so with full and instant equanimity. That’s why I can’t go all “F**k Bernie and his demands.” I just can’t.

    What should I — and by extension, other Clinton supporters — do in the immediate aftermath of the effective end of the nomination competition? My answer was above and remains that telling Bernie and his voters to fuck off is a bad idea, and unnecessary for the next little while. If in fact Bernie doubles and redoubles down then, yeah, salt his fields. But explicitly grabbing those of his goals that are smack down the fairway of broadly popular classically Democratic ideas? Makes only good sense, as well as, I hope, a good society.

    IOW: I don’t argue with you on the fact that Hillary is winning within and despite the sexism of our society at large, and the daily reality of American politics. I don’t argue with you on the odiousness of that fact, and the importance — which I did not fully state in the post at top — of holding that reality up to the light at all relevant points, of which the selection of the first woman nominee of a major party is surely one. And yet, I do think pragmatic politics and at least some empathy for the shittiness of losing gives us some cues as to what to do in the immediate circumstance we find ourselves in: winning this fucking election, no matter what it takes.

  135. 135
    Reggie Mantle says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    It’s the reggie mantles of the world that really get to me.

    That’s the plan, Stan.

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    gwangung says:

    @mr natural:

    I will work for and vote for Hillary in the general but I simply do not understand the sheer outrage directed at Bernie and his supporters for pushing what ought to be, but really haven’t been, “core Democratic party values.”

    I think it’s because Hillary and Obama and a lot of other Democrats have been pushing for it, but have been blocked by Republicans…and getting shit for Republican obstructionism has got to be more than a little irritating.

  137. 137
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Tom Levenson: I’ve heard Hillary say several times that she knows losing an election after a year-plus of grueling campaigning is like choking down a shit sandwich. (Well, she expressed it more elegantly, but that’s what she meant!) If anyone can haul Sanders back from the Nader abyss, it’s the tag team of Hillz and B. Barry Bamz.

    @Reggie Mantle: So you’re deliberately needling others while bellowing like a ruptured cow in every other thread about internet meanies savaging your own precious, outraged fee-wings. It’s a weird way to get your kicks, but whatever, man.

    @gwangung: Yep. And one thing that doesn’t show up on the incomes chart and is thus forgotten: President Obama engineered the largest top-down transfer of wealth in U.S. history via the ACA.

  138. 138
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    “But the point of the piece wasn’t that Clinton needs to do anything at all, beyond what she said last night, which was both traditional and very well phrased.”

    I know that. And I knew it all along. There is no “failure to communicate” here. I simply disagree. I do NOT think Clinton “needed” to do what she did last night. Nor do I think it is “traditional” for her to do it (I agree it was well phrased, though–LOL!), even it it was pragmatic. What is traditional, and what is needed, and what is only fair, as well as customary and the embodiment of good manners, is for the loser to concede and congratulate. Which he has not done. And now, as Aimai points out, he has even drawn President Obama into his pity party.

    And, for all of your acknowledgments and caveats and so on, you are still, in my opinion, holding a woman to a novel and completely unfair standard. And I think that shows a sexist bias, even if an unknowing and unintentional one. Again, as Aimai points out, that bias can exist without overtness, and even without intent or knowledge. Hillary does not “need” to do squat. Bernie, as the loser in an election that was completely fair to him (and where, if there was any “rigged” ness at all, it was in his favor, ie the caucuses), needs to graciously concede and congratulate, and walk back his “rigged” process horseshit. Then and only then (at least when it comes to custom, manners and fairness–pragmatism is a different story, but even there I think you are overstating it) will it be on Hillary to make nice-nice with him.

    I also flatly disagree that I, a Hillary supporter, but not Hillary herself (obviously!), nor a member of her staff, paid or unpaid, has any obligation at all (manners, custom, fairness, or pragmatism) to make nice-nice with King Asshole himself or any of his more obnoxious minions.

  139. 139
    Tom Levenson says:

    @philadelphialawyer: We do disagree.

  140. 140
    Tom Levenson says:

    @philadelphialawyer: To be more specific: I am not holding Clinton to a standard to which I would not hold a male candidate. I think it was incumbent on Obama to do everything he could to make it easy for Hillary and her supporters to switch to him. Hillary herself made that task easy, but it still needed to be done. I think that in any closely contested primary there are bitter wounds and that it is both smart and good to address them. Not to surrender the point of victory, nor to give in to stupid shit (Fire Barney Frank!) but to lubricate good will and to recognize whatever actual value the other side brings to the race to come.

    I get that you think that this is somehow a unique demand on Clinton. But it’s not. And, fortunately from my point of view, the nominee herself seems to agree, going further than I think I would be able to on her night of triumph:

    Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton reflected on her victories in an interview Wednesday and said she intended on “reaching out” to the supporters of opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

    Clinton said that she had called Sanders Tuesday night after declaring herself the presumptive nominee following her wins in New Jersey and California primaries. The Associated Press had determined she was the presumptive nominee the night before.

    Clinton said on CNN that she “totally” understands how Sanders’ supporters feel and she congratulated the Vermont senator on his “really extraordinary campaign” in her call to him. She said she looked forward to working with Sanders to defeat presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

  141. 141
    mr. natural says:

    @gwangung: I understand and share the frustration with R obstructionism. But the Wall Street bailout wasn’t an R move–it was Geithner and Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s people. And the Obama administration’s failure to help out little people with the HAMP was, well, the Obama administration’s failure. And Hillary’s paydays for talking to Goldman Sachs look pretty damn Geithner-y and Emanuel-y. I celebrate the nomination of a woman, but still, most of the women in this country are poorer than they were in 2007. Most of the men, too. And most of those who aren’t poorer are treading water. I’m a big supporter of the ACA, but I wince when I talk to people who’ve actually used it to get insurance, as they all say it’s a huge financial burden. Yes, these inequities represent the desired state of the Rs, but it’s still odd to see the fury that meets the Democratic candidate who comes along to the make the case that these inequities are the major problem facing the country. Indeed, it seems to represent a certain evidence that some in the Democratic party establishment want to take credit for being serious about income and wealth inequality when they’re not serious, as if that’s why they get furious, and blame the Rs, when the discrepancy is pointed out. To the credit of both Hillary and Obama, they’re currently not getting furious. They’re saying the right things about Bernie’s success in highlighting these issues. Whether Hillary will walk the walk remains to be seen. But if she and the Democratic party do walk the walk on these issues, Bernie should get some good portion of the credit.

  142. 142
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @Tom Levenson: Come on Tom. Citing Clinton’s pragmatic decision to play nice even though Bernie isn’t hardly disposes of the question of whether this notion of Winner Go First when it comes to stop fighting is customary or fair or not. I say it isn’t. In any contest, that I ever heard of, the loser offers his or her hand, and says something like “Good Game.” THEN, the winner takes that hand and shakes it, and says, “Thanks, you too.” The way you spin it, Hillary has to pull her punches now, while Bernie has free rein to keep on slugging. I never heard of that rule. Maybe your mileage varies.

    And as I recall, Hillary, as the loser, did the reaching out back in 08, and folks said she should. And yet here you are, saying it is on her again. That strikes me as a double standard, and even if it is not in your personal case, you should realize it sure looks likes one to folks who are sensitive to issues of sexism. Perhaps you might have said something like, “Even though it is usually the case that the loser goes first….” Or, “Even though Hillary had to do the peace making back in 08″…?

    And, sure, it sucks to eat a shit sandwich, but nobody but Bernie can eat it for him. I see like it proposing to a plausible, potential spouse, thinking you have a shot for a year or more, hearing “maybe” all the time, and then being told “no.” That is hard. But nobody can do it for you. And you don’t get a participation trophy for trying. Sorry, Bernie, that’s life. Think he would know that by now…..

    And what pisses me off as much as his misogynist behavior to Hillary is Bernie’s lambasting of the Democratic party. The Democratic party is one of the few institutions in this country truly open to talent, education, and hard work. Sure, money and status matter, but where else are POCs, women, GLBT folks, Muslims, and minority folks in general, and the poor, as welcome as in the Democratic Party? We, the Democratic party, named a POC and now a woman for the highest, most important position in the whole god damn world. Fuck me if I don’t want to hear this little bastard run it down, because it wouldn’t give him more than his due.

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    philadelphialawyer says:

    I would also add that, even on a purely pragmatic level, it makes Hillary look bad if she is too solicitous of little Buhn-Buhn’s hurt fee-fees.

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    donatellonerd says:

    @TomLevenson: What’s C.R.E.A.? thanks

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