Open Thread: “Bernie Sanders Might Run… Despite It All”

Buzzfeed, of course, specifically Kate Nocera & Ben Smith, on “Bernie’s Reasons Why Not“:

If Bernie Sanders decides not to run for president, it will be for one of two reasons.

First, the dour Vermont socialist worried during an interview with BuzzFeed News Tuesday, he might wind up doing more harm than good to the progressive movement.

“If I do it, it has to be done well. And that’s not just for my ego,” he said, seated in his airy Senate office on blue couch beneath three indifferently framed Vermont tourism posters. “The worst thing I could do is run a poor campaign without the organizational support, without the money — and then have people say that the ideas themselves are ideas that people don’t support.

So Sanders, who has spent his career fighting money in politics, who handily won his re-election without running a single television ad, will run only if he thinks he can raise “tens of millions” of dollars for the primary. And this brings us to the second reason.

Sanders is weighing a primary challenge to Hillary Clinton, a prospect with massive advantages — attention, a place on the debate stage — and the huge handicaps of facing a giant political network and a candidate whose super PAC plans to raise as much as $500 million. And then, after that, there’s the conservative money that would pour into a general election…

And yet, despite his lack of ordinary political skills and the deck that he sees as badly stacked against him, sometimes Sanders thinks he could pull it off. There have been sparks, lately, of a kind of leftism not seen in America for a generation — the Occupy movement, the surge of excitement for Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy, the daily feedback from Sanders’ own buzzing, under-the-radar Facebook page, which — with 906,000 likes — is the biggest of any Democratic senator’s official Facebook presence.

“We do very, very well on Facebook. We may have on some days more people talking about us than the rest of the Senate combined,” Sanders said. “It tells me, that is just one example, that there is a great deal of interest out there about the ideas we are talking about.”…

“I think there is a great deal of support for the necessity of taking on the billionaire class,” Sanders said, “for bringing people around the progressive agenda which talks about rebuilding our infrastructure, for creating jobs, for a national health care program, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, to dealing all the way with climate change, dealing with Wall Street. There’s a lot of support for those kinds of ideas.”..

The Neverending Psychodrama That Will Be the Next Ten Years (Should She Win)

Since these threads are so much fun, just how long do you think it is appropriate for HRC to not address the email issue?

Is she waiting to let the Republicans go all in before responding? That is doubtful, since she already has her lawyers on the job:

But Clinton attorney David Kendall told the Select Committee in a statement Wednesday that she only used one email account while secretary of state, then switched to a new one after stepping down.

“Secretary Clinton used one email account when corresponding with anyone, from Department officials to friends to family. A month after she left the Department, Gawker published her email address and so she changed the address on her account,” Kendall said.

“At the time the emails were provided to the Department last year this new address appeared on the copies as the ‘sender,’ and not the address she used as Secretary. This address on the account did not exist until March 2103 [sic], after her tenure as Secretary,” he continued.

House Benghazi committee spokesman Jamal Ware responded by confirming that the committee has “records with two separate and distinct email addresses used by former Secretary Clinton and dated during the time she was Secretary of State. “

“Without access to the relevant electronic information and stored data on the server—which was reportedly registered to her home—there is no way the Committee, or anyone else, can fully explain why the Committee uncovered two email addresses,” Ware added.

At the White House Wednesday and Tuesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest stopped short of saying definitively that Clinton had not violated federal records, but said it appeared she was in compliance. “If they did what they said they did,” he told reporters, “That would be consistent with the Federal Records Act.”

Is she just letting this soak up all the oxygen so the foreign donors/Clinton foundation brouhaha dies down?

With assets approaching $226 million, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation plays a prominent role in international development. It has battled HIV/AIDS, provided relief after tsunamis and earthquakes and helped farmers and entrepreneurs in developing countries.

“And we believe that together we can find solutions to the most daunting human challenges,” says the narrator in a promotional video for the foundation. “This is what we do. This is who we are. This is the Clinton Foundation.”

But another passage in the video oddly foreshadows a current controversy.

“We are entrepreneurs in human potential,” the video says. “We reject artificial boundaries between business, government and nonprofits.”

The Clinton Foundation eased those boundaries and has taken contributions, of $1 million to $10 million, from the governments of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The Saudi Arabian government has given as much as $25 million.

Those funds, and other huge gifts, have drawn scrutiny of Hillary Clinton and the foundation, as she moves closer to declaring — or perhaps declining — a bid for the White House.

Does she just not have an answer that she deems acceptable at the moment, or are they trying to figure out how to prove they did nothing nefarious?

Or are they already in bunker mentality, having gone through this for 30 years? One thing is for sure, they’ve reached into the asshole factory where they breed the Hillary diehards, and they are coming out swinging:

From: Philippe Reines
Date: Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 9:57 PM
Subject: Email
To: CJ Ciaramella, Keenan Trotter, Erik Wemple, Brian Stelter
Cc: Nick Merrill

Hi CJ. And hi JK.

Since this fundamentally comes down to honesty, transparency and accountability, I thought we’d go through an exercise together—with Erik Wemple of The Washington Post and Brian Stelter of CNN included as observers.


In your piece, which CJ references below, you wrote:

“‘Her top staffers used those Clinton email addresses’ at the agency, said the source, who has worked with Clinton in the past. The source named two staffers in particular, Philippe Reines and Huma Abedin, who are said to have used private email addresses in the course of their agency duties.”

That’s a pretty clear assertion by you through your source that they had firsthand knowledge of my having and using an email account on the domain. You then wrote:

“We were able to independantly [SIC] [Ed. note: This word was never misspelled in the original article] verify that Abedin used a address at some point in time. There are several email addresses associated with Abedin’s name in records maintained by Lexis-Nexis; one of them is An email sent to that address today went through without bouncing.”

A few questions:

1) Did you attempt to verify your source’s assertion of my use of such an email using the same creepy methods you did with my close friend and colleague Huma Abedin? Assuming you did, why doesn’t your piece note the results of your creepy methods?

2) Did you attempt to send an email to me at that domain, and if so did it go “through without bouncing”? Assuming you did, why don’t you note the results of your test?

3) If your lying liar pants on fire source worked with me at a federal agency as you and they contend, did you ask them to provide even a single email exchange with my using that account?

4) Better yet, in the off chance they don’t have every single email they ever sent or received, have you availed yourself of the same FOIA laws to petition the lying liar’s agency for any email between them and me that you have with our email?

I mean, you either naively or knowingly swallowed quite the whopper. Not sure which is worse. Actually, that’s not true.

They live for this shit.

Again, I am going to support HRC if she is the candidate, but I am just not in the mood to deal with this crap for the next decade. Just the constant drama, the wiggling up to the line of appropriateness and then having all out wars, etc. Clinton gets unfairly attacked for a lot of things, but criminy it seems like she brings it on herself.

And again, if you can not figure out why it is problematic for a Secretary of State to keep all her emails private and then have unnamed aides decide which ones to turn over while saying “trust us,” this is going to fall on deaf ears. If the Republicans did this, we’d all be freaking out. In fact, we did, before Clinton was even Secretary of State. Benghazi is a nothingburger that flamed out, and now this issue has dumped a barrel of kerosene on it. And while I don’t think there is anything incriminating on this issue in her emails, the wingnuts are right to demand access and point out this is a crazy way to do business.

This is usually where someone chimes in about Colin Powell, which is a ridiculous defense, because Colin Powell was not the Secretary of State after the archiving regulations were put in place. So don’t bother.

And no, it isn’t right that when Republicans do this, the media yawns. But reality is reality- unfair as it may be, the media treats the Clintons differently. You can rant and rave about it, but here in the reality, you deal with the landscape as it is, not as you want it to be. Not to mention, making it so the media can’t have access to legitimate FOIA requests because of things like this is no way to alter that hostile landscape. Nor is having folks like Philippe picking fights with every reporter on the planet when all many of them are doing is asking legitimate questions.

This Chris Hayes piece is well worth your time as a primer for what we are in for should Hillary run:

Meanwhile, Jon Stewart is skewering Clinton. This is not going away.

Can Obama run again in 2016?

*** Update ***

Ask, and it shall be delivered:

Wednesday Evening Open Thread: While You Were Distracted…

jeb bushcorps own man ohman

(Jack Ohman via

Mattea Gold, at the Washington Post, on the legacy candidate who is “Awash in Cash“:

An unusual request has gone out to wealthy donors writing large checks to support former Florida governor Jeb Bush: Please don’t give more than $1 million right away.

The requested limit, confirmed by multiple people familiar with the amount, may mark the first time that a presidential hopeful has sought to hold off supporters from contributing too much money.

The move reflects concerns among Bush advisers that accepting massive sums from a handful of uber-rich supporters could fuel a perception that the former governor is in their debt. The effort is also driven by a desire to build as broad a pool of donors as possible among wealthier contributors…

Bush has yet to officially declare his candidacy, but he is already on track to raise tens of millions of dollars by the end of this month for two political action committees, both named Right to Rise, that were set up in January. His potential rivals have acknowledged that they have little hope of matching his current pace…

Bush is entering his third month of an intensive, cross-country fundraising tour that has included stops at lavish Manhattan apartments, premier Washington lobbying shops and luxury hotels in Florida…..

Look, parvenus, you can’t just buy a scion of the Bush Crime Clan. But if you are willing to be patient and stand by, his people will be happy to ensure that everyone has a chance to rent a chunk of Jeb. Be aware that seaons ticket holders receive seating preference over one-time buyers!

Apart from acknowledging that There Is A Club, and We’re Not in It, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Democratic Centrists Hatch New Plan for 2016 Electoral Losses

That should be the title of this piece, which is actually titled “Centrist Dems ready strike against Warren wing”:

Centrist Democrats are gathering their forces to fight back against the “Elizabeth Warren wing” of their party, fearing a sharp turn to the left could prove disastrous in the 2016 elections.

For months, moderate Democrats have kept silent, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) barbed attacks against Wall Street, income inequality and the “rigged economy” thrilled the base and stirred desire for a more populist approach.

But with the race for the White House set to begin, centrists are moving to seize back the agenda.

The New Democrat Coalition (NDC), a caucus of moderate Democrats in the House, plans to unveil an economic policy platform as soon as this week in an attempt to chart a different course.

“I have great respect for Sen. Warren — she’s a tremendous leader,” said Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), one of the members working on the policy proposal. “My own preference is to create a message without bashing businesses or workers, [the latter of which] happens on the other side.”

Peters said that, if Democrats are going to win back the House and Senate, “it’s going to be through the work of the New Democrat Coalition.”

Mind you, the is the same breed of clown that we once referred to as blue dogs. I say once referred to, because since they stood for nothing and when they did it was to fight against popular Democratic proposals, they were wiped out in the last few elections.

Privately, moderate Democrats in the Clinton tradition say they have been working behind the scenes to change the party’s message.

Leaders at three centrist groups — the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), the New Democrat Network (NDN) and Third Way — arranged a series of meetings with moderates after the disastrous midterm elections to “discuss the future of the party,” according to a source close to the NDC.

“Democrats ought to avoid the danger of talking about only redistribution and not enough about economic growth,” said PPI President and founder Will Marshall, who addressed House Democrats during their Philadelphia retreat in January. “Economic growth is a precondition to reducing inequality. You can’t redistribute wealth that you’re not generating.

“There’s a lot of sympathy for that view in the pragmatic-wing of the party,” he added.

Privately, because they know that their exposure to corporate cash will be discussed once they are exposed as shills. And in case you couldn’t figure it out, “pragmatic” means “maintaining the status quo.”

Basically, these guys have not learned anything. One of the reason poor whites have flocked to the right wing is because at least they promise to do something for them (while instead screwing them). Our corporate whores can’t even figure out how to lie, and once again, will fail to learn the lesson that when voters are given a choice between a fake Republican and a real Republican, they choose the real one every time.

I eagerly await Joe Manchin weighing in on this in the Senate.

Open Thread: CPAC in Transition?

There’s an established comfort level to media stories about CPAC; it was the place where professional right-wing grifters (Cato, the Heritage Foundation) “sponsored” D-list legacy performers (Rand Paul, Andrew Breitbart) to attract Revolutionary-War cosplayers and Alex Jones listeners within easy physical proximity of K Street lobbyists. Kind of like one of the giant pop-culture conventions, only with less of a sense of humor and a more inimical effect on participants’ mental health. But from media reports, this one seems to have been… different.

Citizens United may have broken CPAC, along with its more dire effects on our social polity. This years’ event seems to have been designed as the first national media unveiling of the Establishment/Wall Street GOP One-Percenters’ 2016 presidential candidate — Jeb Bush — versus the Insurgent/Koch Bros GOP One-Percenters’ ditto: Scott Walker. A truly major marketing campaign, on the scale of Microsoft versus Apple. The common people (consumers, er, voters) who provide the envelope-stuffing, registration-desk-staffing cannon fodder every year, with their quirky obsessions and boutique candidates, seem to have been shunted to the curtain-walled meeting rooms in the overflow wing, to make space for all the media equipment (hardware & wetware) required to funnel the expensively-crafted Top-Rank Studio Projects tidbits & talking points to the buying public.

Dave Weigel, at Bloomberg Politics:

Under the leadership of Matt Schlapp, elected to run the American Conservative Union after turns with George W. Bush’s presidential campaign and Koch Industries, the conference has been low on intra-party on-stage fights, low on heckling, and totally absent some of the media debacles that have won coverage in the past.

For example: Columnist Ann Coulter, who has given zinger-laced speeches to packed CPAC ballrooms almost every year since she became a media star, was not invited. “I might just show up anyway just to piss them off,” she joked to Washington Examiner reporter Eddie Scarry. “I could be the Bibi Netanyahu of CPAC.” She didn’t show up, and when asked if she had been invited, Schlapp diplomatically demurred…

Fringe elements roamed the halls, as always. Phil Berg, the attorney who filed the first (2008) lawsuits against Barack Obama’s citizenship, stalked the radio rows and personally appealed to reporters to cover his theories. But white nationalists who’d once gotten into CPAC or held meetings in the same hotel as the conference were largely consigned to the hinterlands. The National Policy Institute held an event featuring several thinkers denounced by the Southern Poverty Law Center, but it was at the National Press Club, a 30-minute drive from CPAC…

Erin Gloria Ryan, at Jezebel, on “10,000 Elephants in the Room“:

… [M]inus right wing personalities’ distinguishing physical traits and quirks, I couldn’t tell you what the fuck they all said. I remember Chris Christie’s gargantuan head and thirsty dickishness, Laura Ingraham’s glinting cross necklace, Sean Hannity’s Bill Clinton impression (which he repeated—to the word—at least a few times over the course of mere days), the grim and tragic retreats of Marco Rubio and Scott Walker’s hairlines, Rand Paul’s winsome attempt at a sensible amount of bronzer, Carly Fiorina’s under-celebrated wardrobe excellence, Rick Santorum’s bizarre preening, John Bolton’s walrus face, Ted Cruz’s pastor-meets-salesman act that kept the crowd rapt. Donald Trump’s whole… thing. In a moment I’m still coming to terms with, Sarah Palin’s speech about health care for veterans was a mostly-coherent standout, save for a joke about Nazis that was delivered so overzealously that Anna and I dissolved into helpless laughter as other members of the media glared at us. The main room was exactly what is shown on TV, exactly what somebody who has never been to CPAC might expect: a bizarre alternate universe where Newt Gingrich is surrounded by fawning fans, where the Duggars are rockstars, and where Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s sanctimonious ramble about STD’s was anything but a reason for mild confusion and alarm.

But in side rooms and in side conversations, CPAC attendees weren’t so puff-chested about their future. Breakout sessions bemoaned the co-opting of “cool” by the Left, strategized on the damaged conservative brand (damaged, in their view, by a left wing media intent on smearing them), looked to get away from barking and Twitter battles return to real grassroots action, the kind of action that inspired conservatives during the Reagan years… Read more

Saturday Morning Cartoons Open Thread, CPAC Edition

CPAC Day Two is behind us, and the consensus seems to be that Jeb Bush is the GOP Establishment’s Microsoft, Scott Walker is the Koch Brothers’ Apple, Rand’s faithful Paulistas are Phish heads, and everybody else is actually (a) auditioning for the VP slot, or (b) grifting. There’s lots of grifting!

Jeb Lund, for the Guardian:

Welcome to the Conservative Political Action Conference, a three-day-long performance from an improv troupe whose hat has only has one statement in it: you’re in terrible danger. But that doesn’t mean you’re in terrible danger right now. Right now, there are seminars. About the danger. I have been to them, as part of my quest to be America’s Most Impervious Man. I don’t even care to what…

John Cassidy, for the New Yorker:

After a couple of ho-hum speeches from Rick Perry and Marco Rubio, two of the would-be G.O.P. candidates in 2016, Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee, took the stage. Many CPAC partisans regard the R.N.C. as the soggy, corporate-funded enemy within (which could also serve as a shorthand description of their feelings about the Bush family), but Priebus was there to be friendly. “There will be no coronation in the Republican Party,” he assured the crowd. “If you want to win the nomination, you’re going to have to earn the nomination.” Then came Donald Trump, who appeared to have spent the flight down to D.C. doing some handicapping. “Jeb Bush—he’s in favor of Common Core,” Trump said blithely. “He’s weak on immigration. I don’t see him winning.”

Many of the attendees would dearly love to believe that Trump is right in his analysis. He was followed by one of their heroes, Senator Rand Paul, who already seems to have been running for President forever….

Charles P. Pierce, at Esquire:

It is now conventional wisdom that CPAC this year has been a triumph for conservative hawks, and that, while Rand Paul is still popular in the hall, his extended moment as the lead act in that particular hootenanny finally may have passed. Folks are up there wanting to get their war on, and the laptop bombardiers in the audience are lapping it up. (This shebeen is in the market for any photo of the audience taken at that moment when Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods asked for all the veterans in the house to stand.) ISIS is coming for all of us, and most of the potential Republican candidates are waiting for it with Leadership, Authenticity, Exceptionalism, and a vast arsenal of featherweight banalities…

Read more

Akin Again


Todd Akin is considering a primary challenge to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in 2016.

“I have not ruled anything out,” the former congressman and 2012 GOP Senate nominee told The Hill in a phone interview on Wednesday.

“I think there is a high level of dissatisfaction among conservatives, that they have to some degree been pushed out of the Republican Party,” he continued. “The sentiment is there. The Tea Party is skeptical and wants some fresh blood, not just the same establishment guys.”

Akin’s reemergence is sure to be an unwelcome development for national Republicans.

During his 2012 race against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the Republican triggered a firestorm of criticism from both Democrats and fellow Republicans for saying that women rarely get pregnant from “legitimate rape” during a discussion about why abortion should be illegal in all cases, even rape and incest.

Could Akin bring two Democratic Senators to DC?