Saturday Morning Open Thread: Maybe She’s Just the Better Choice

Professor Krugman:

[H]ere’s a contrarian thought: Maybe Mrs. Clinton is winning because she possesses some fundamental political strengths — strengths that fall into many pundits’ blind spots…

When political commentators praise political talent, what they seem to have in mind is the ability of a candidate to match one of a very limited set of archetypes: the heroic leader, the back-slapping regular guy you’d like to have a beer with, the soaring orator. Mrs. Clinton is none of these things: too wonky, not to mention too female, to be a regular guy, a fairly mediocre speechifier; her prepared zingers tend to fall flat.

Yet the person tens of millions of viewers saw in this fall’s debates was hugely impressive all the same: self-possessed, almost preternaturally calm under pressure, deeply prepared, clearly in command of policy issues. And she was also working to a strategic plan: Each debate victory looked much bigger after a couple of days, once the implications had time to sink in, than it may have seemed on the night.

Oh, and the strengths she showed in the debates are also strengths that would serve her well as president. Just thought I should mention that. And maybe ordinary citizens noticed the same thing; maybe obvious competence and poise in stressful situations can add up to a kind of star quality, even if it doesn’t fit conventional notions of charisma.

Furthermore, there’s one thing Mrs. Clinton brought to this campaign that no establishment Republican could have matched: She truly cares about her signature issues, and believes in the solutions she’s pushing.

I know, we’re supposed to see her as coldly ambitious and calculating, and on some issues — like macroeconomics — she does sound a bit bloodless, even when she clearly understands the subject and is talking good sense. But when she’s talking about women’s rights, or racial injustice, or support for families, her commitment, even passion, are obvious. She’s genuine, in a way nobody in the other party can be.

So let’s dispel with this fiction that Hillary Clinton is only where she is through a random stroke of good luck. She’s a formidable figure, and has been all along.

Apart from approving this message, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Late Night Open Thread: Farewell to All That

Another (extremely grudging!) vote for HRC…

But then… yeah, nutpicking — when this is today’s GOP:

Friday Evening Open Thread: Canvassing Social Notes


Apart from GOTV, what’s on the agenda as we start the weekend?


Join Democrats Abroad for our fifth Global Town Hall of 2016 with special guest George Takei

Monday, October 24,

8:00 AM EDT (Washington DC time) by video-conference

Our very own Martha McDevitt-Pugh, DNC Member, Vice-Chair in the Netherlands, and Chair of the LGBT Caucus, will start things off by discussing the Democrats Abroad LGBT Caucus and Advocacy Work.

George Takei will be sharing his thoughts with DA about what really makes America great, why he supports Hillary for President — and why we must win the White House and Take Back Congress.

Friday Morning Open Thread: GOP — Abandon Whale!


(John Deering via

From the Washington Post:

A wave of apprehension and anguish swept the Republican Party on Thursday, with many GOP leaders alarmed by Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of the election and concluding that it is probably too late to salvage his flailing presidential campaign.

As the Republican nominee reeled from a turbulent performance in the final debate here in Las Vegas, his party’s embattled senators and House members scrambled to protect their seats and preserve the GOP’s congressional majorities against what Republicans privately acknowledge could be a landslide victory for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton…

“The campaign is over,” said Steve Schmidt, a Trump critic and former senior strategist on George W. Bush’s and John McCain’s presidential campaigns.

Calling a refusal to accept the election results “disqualifying,” Schmidt added: “The question is, how close will Clinton get to 400 electoral votes? She’ll be north of 350, and she’s trending towards 400 — and the trend line is taking place in very red states like Georgia, Texas and Arizona.”

Meanwhile, top Democrats fanned out to battleground states on Thursday to hammer Trump for what they described as an unprecedented attack on the country’s political system and to attempt to yoke Trump to Republican candidates down the ballot.

Campaigning in Miami, President Obama said Trump’s doubts about the election outcome are “not a joking matter. That is dangerous.”…

And in Arizona, where polls show an unexpectedly tight presidential race, first lady Michelle Obama said Trump “is threatening the very idea of America itself” by suggesting he would not honor the election results.

“You do not keep American democracy ‘in suspense,’ ” Obama said in Phoenix.

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate, held a rally at a downtown Charlotte brewery, where he said Trump’s claims of a “rigged” election reminded him of the Third World politicking he had seen as a young missionary in Honduras.

“The bigger we can win by, the harder it is for him to whine and have anyone believe him,” Kaine said, trying to galvanize supporters on the first day of early voting in North Carolina…

Apart from a little hard-earned schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up this busy week?

Late Night Open Thread: Catholics, No Charity

Well, that went well… assuming you weren’t Donald Trump. He said himself that he’s been attending these dinners ‘for years, with my father, since I was a young man’, and he still hasn’t picked up a feel for what would be acceptable? Does the man listen to anything other than the sound of his own voice?

What began as the expected ribbing of presidential candidates at the white-tie Al Smith Dinner Thursday turned to boos as Donald Trump described Hillary Clinton as “corrupt” at the event, which is a major fundraiser for the Catholic charities connected to the Archdiocese of New York…

… Trump was quick to take some campaign trail attacks with him to the dais at the annual dinner. He called Clinton “so corrupt she got kicked off the Watergate Commission” and lobbed his usual line that Clinton has been in politics for 30 years and accomplished little. “I can fix it, she says,” he deadpanned as the crowd’s mood noticeably shifted.

As the boos rolled in Trump wondered who they were booing. “I don’t know who they’re angry at Hillary, you or I?” he said. Someone in the crowd yelled out “you!”

Trump’s next line struck a nerve. “Here she is in public, pretending not to hate Catholics,” Trump said, referencing an apparent email exposed by WikiLeaks in which a Clinton spokeswoman seemed to joke about Catholics and evangelicals…

The Democratic nominee, for her part, poked fun at herself while also taking searing jabs at her opponent. Clinton didn’t hesitate to slam Trump for his past comments on women and his ambivalence about accepting next month’s election results.

In contrast with Trump, Clinton also made a point of acknowledging both the purpose and the history of the Al Smith dinner and closed her speech with a big-picture campaign message that was tied to the positive focus of Thursday’s Catholic fundraiser…

Me, I think this was the most interesting photo from the evening:

Now, Timmy Cardinal Dolan is not a good man — to steal a Donald Westlake line, I’d trust him alone all night in bed with a ten-year-old, as long as the kid didn’t have more than five dollars cash on them — but he has a nose for power like a pig for truffles. If he’s willing to put aside his public histrionics over baby-murdering lesbian feminist God-denying Democrats who don’t care about suffering women to suck up to Hillary Clinton in public, that’s another leading indicator as to which party will be on the podium at the inaguration in January.
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Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner Live Feed: Its All Good Fun Until…


From the History Archives: When Rudy Met Hillary

So tonight is the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, one of those anodyne quasi-political events which become news only in years when the politics are particularly inflamed. Since His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan is a notorious trimmer who, some people say, was rewarded by Pope Benedict with the plum NYC residency for hiding Church assets from lawsuits by survivors of clerical abuse, and who has since made a prominent pest of himself encouraging hardcore fellow Talibangelicals to resist civil laws protecting reproductive rights and same-sex marriage, reportorial hopes are high for this year’s event. Per the NYTimes:

On Thursday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump will appear together again for a ritzier gathering, delivering remarks at the white-tie Al Smith charity dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan.

In most presidential campaigns, the dinner, which benefits Roman Catholic charities, functions as a welcome respite, a forum for levity and self-deprecation in the throes of a heated election.

This year’s may be more complicated.

Convened less than 24 hours after the caustic final debate on Wednesday, the event would appear, on paper, to be nothing less than a high-society nightmare for Mr. Trump…

The Clinton campaign has in recent days been forced to navigate its own turmoil after the hacked correspondences of top aides appeared to include messages criticizing Catholic conservatism…

Which reminded me that I wanted to share a remarkable Gail Sheehy article from back in 2000, a Vanity Fair piece on a related NYC event, “When Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani Did Battle for a Senate Seat”:

Tonight is Rudy’s night. It is the annual New York spectacle known as the Inner Circle, where reporters skewer the mayor in cute, amateurish skits, and Hizzoner has the chance for rebuttal with his own skit. Since nobody upstages Rudolph Giuliani, his will be a Broadway-class show, perhaps his final bravura performance before November 2000, when he hopes to be turned out of the mayor’s office by virtue of his election to the United States Senate.

This evening, however, the ravening city media corps is not his chief target. Instead, it is Hillary, formerly Hillary Clinton. The two have been circling each other with the wary menace of prizefighters in the opening round, but it’s been a year now, and still they have not been in the same room. Tonight’s spectacle at the Hilton in midtown Manhattan has drawn an unusually large crowd, 1,300, including poohbahs representing every fissure in New York’s unstable political ground. They are all packed into the grand ballroom, hoping to witness the combatants touch gloves for the first time.
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