Nineteen Months To Go

Hillary got a Chipotle burrito bowl for lunch yesterday. I know this because this vital information made the goddamn New York Times.

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign is all about “everyday Americans,” she made clear in announcing it on Sunday.

On Monday, she showed how unassuming she herself could be.

Driving to Iowa for her first campaign swing, Mrs. Clinton’s van — with two aides and Secret Service agents aboard — pulled into a Chipotle restaurant for lunch in Maumee, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo.

And no one recognized her.

Maybe it was the dark sunglasses. Or maybe she had a certain je ne sais — qui?

But nobody took notice of the celebrity in front of the counter. Fellow patrons paid her no more attention than a driver would get from a toll taker.

Nor did the restaurant’s staff notice Mrs. Clinton, until this reporter, tipped off that she had dined there, telephoned.

Nineteen more months of this.

You know the part in Roald Dahl’s Matilda where the young heroine is so frustrated by the abject stupidity of the world around her that she actually manifests telekinetic powers as a result?

I figure 2016 campaign reporting means that I’ll be up to full-blown pyrokinesis by January, maybe some Green Lantern stuff by next Easter.  I’m hoping for all-out Time Lord goodness by July 2016. That’ll be fun.



Tuesday Morning Open Thread

lies are still effective pett

(Joel Pett via GoComics.com)
.

Professor Krugman, sensible as always — “It Takes A Party“:

… [T]here has never been a time in American history when the alleged personal traits of candidates mattered less. As we head into 2016, each party is quite unified on major policy issues — and these unified positions are very far from each other. The huge, substantive gulf between the parties will be reflected in the policy positions of whomever they nominate, and will almost surely be reflected in the actual policies adopted by whoever wins.

For example, any Democrat would, if elected, seek to maintain the basic U.S. social insurance programs — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — in essentially their current form, while also preserving and extending the Affordable Care Act. Any Republican would seek to destroy Obamacare, make deep cuts in Medicaid, and probably try to convert Medicare into a voucher system

Any Democrat would try to preserve the 2010 financial reform, which has recently been looking much more effective than critics suggested. Any Republican would seek to roll it back, eliminating both consumer protection and the extra regulation applied to large, “systemically important” financial institutions…

Now, some people won’t want to acknowledge that the choices in the 2016 election are as stark as I’ve asserted. Political commentators who specialize in covering personalities rather than issues will balk at the assertion that their alleged area of expertise matters not at all. Self-proclaimed centrists will look for a middle ground that doesn’t actually exist. And as a result, we’ll hear many assertions that the candidates don’t really mean what they say. There will, however, be an asymmetry in the way this supposed gap between rhetoric and real views is presented.

On one side, suppose that Ms. Clinton is indeed the Democratic nominee. If so, you can be sure that she’ll be accused, early and often, of insincerity, of not being the populist progressive she claims to be.

On the other side, suppose that the Republican nominee is a supposed moderate like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. In either case we’d be sure to hear many assertions from political pundits that the candidate doesn’t believe a lot of what he says. But in their cases this alleged insincerity would be presented as a virtue, not a vice — sure, Mr. Bush is saying crazy things about health care and climate change, but he doesn’t really mean it, and he’d be reasonable once in office. Just like his brother…

One thing is for sure: American voters will be getting a real choice. May the best party win.

Sidebar: Jared Bernstein, who may be as close to a DFH as is permitted among professional economists, is pretty happy with what he perceives of Hillary Clinton’s economic policies.
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Apart from complaining that we have to spend the next nineteen months hashing this over, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Late Night Open Thread: Another Democrat Who Will Not Be Running in 2016

Like fellow Bay Stater Senator Warren, our most recent ex-Governor has decided his talents can be put to better use than the current primary race. From his hometown paper, the Boston Globe:

Deval Patrick is joining the Boston investment giant Bain Capital, where the former governor will start a new line of business, directing investments in companies that produce profits but also have a positive impact on social problems.

Patrick, a Democrat who led the state of Massachusetts for eight years, joins a firm founded by his Republican predecessor in the State House, Mitt Romney.

It marks a return to business pursuits for a high-profile former governor whose plans for the future were fodder for intense speculation in political circles…

Patrick has long said that he wanted to return to the private sector after his second term as governor, even as observers wondered if he had designs on Washington. He has considered academia, running a corporation, and starting his own venture capital firm…

The new fund is not philanthropy, Bain executives said. There will be significant pressure on Patrick to find strong investments, companies that can both address major social needs and produce profits, though not necessarily on the scale Bain typically expects of its multibillion-dollar private equity deals.

Investment funds at Bain typically run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, but raising that kind of money should not be hard. Bain Capital executives will invest some of their personal money in it, as they do with all their funds. And there is a growing appetite for so-called impact investing, from pension funds, endowments, and nonprofits such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…

For Bain Capital, the Patrick hiring goes beyond the common practice of giving a politician a desk and a rainmaker’s role between elections. It is a way for a firm known for hard-core business deals to provide clients such as pension funds and wealthy individuals with a social outlet for their money…

[Patrick] would not say whether he had signed a contract to stay at Bain for a certain period of time. Bain executives indicated they would not have entered into this arrangement for only a brief stint…

Boger suggested it is probably at least a three- to five-year investment: “This is not the kind of thing where you make three phone calls, get two people together, and get a reward for it.’’

Patrick’s been saying for months that he intended to stick to his promise to his wife to get out of politics once he left the governor’s office — which hasn’t stopped people from believing that he might yet be persuaded to run, if there was an opening. He’s still a young man in political terms, but we might as well cross him off the list for 2016.








Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!

The GOP clown car is preparing to officially disgorge another occupant: Marco Rubio. Some analysts question the 40-something freshman senator’s decision to run for president this year, but he knows it’s now or never.

Rubio’s chief selling point has always been his symmetrical features and crisp haircut. But since he got to the US Senate, his hairline has been retreating faster than CIA operatives under fire at the Bay of Pigs, so he must strike while the iron is…hirsute. (For the record, I think bald is beautiful as long as the shiny pate doesn’t enclose a wizened lizard brain.)

Hillary Clinton’s announcement yesterday preemptively stomped Rubio’s big reveal today, turning his Twitter account into the saddest feed emanating from that platform — like a determinedly chirpy recitation of positive affirmations prior to an epic pantsing. Rubio even pathetically retweeted the following tidbit from a local reporter earlier today:

More than 3,500 people wanted tickets to see Marco Rubio’s presidential announcement on Monday — requests that came in from every state except Vermont, aides say.

The Freedom Tower room Rubio is using in Miami only holds 1,000 people. To accommodate others, the campaign will bring out a jumbotron at a location across the street.

I don’t know what’s sadder — that he booked a room that only holds a thousand people or that his aides are mentioning the 3,500 alleged ticket-coveters as if flashing bank from a Bieber-One Direction reunion show. But CNN is happy to hold Rubio’s jock, at least for now:

The adviser said Rubio did a call with donors Monday morning where said he was running. Rubio is scheduled to publicly announce his bid later tonight to offer a pitch supporters say only he is qualified to give: a promise to restore the American Dream, from a son of Cuban exiles who’s lived it.

Only Rubio’s parents aren’t exiles at all, as was revealed after Rubio built a political career in South Florida with that falsehood as its centerpiece. The senior Rubios were economic refugees who fled the plutocratic US-backed Batista regime — two years before Castro ran it off the island.

There’s nothing in the world wrong with the senior Rubios’ immigrant story (if you’re a Democrat, anyway). But maybe CNN should call out the “exiles” lie since it’s bullshit on stilts? If they’re not too busy chronicling the evolution of Hillary’s hairbands or something?

Anyway, Rubio — running! Latino friends have been telling me for years that white Republicans are making a huge mistake if they think nominating a so-called Cuban exile (a fake one, as it turns out) would be effective outreach to Hispanics. That theory will be put to the test now that the GOP has two on the hustings! I look forward to the Cruz vs Rubio steel-cage Fidel Castro hate-off.



Rebuilding The Farm System

This effort may be far too late in a lot of ways, but at least Dems are finally realizing that winning nationally (for offices other than President) and putting an end to the GOP’s “meth labs of democracy” plan requires actually winning at the state level.

A cadre of wealthy liberal donors aims to pour tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the left’s political might in the states, racing to catch up with a decades-old conservative effort that has reshaped statehouses across the country.

The plan embraced by the Democracy Alliance, an organization that advises some of the Democrats’ top contributors, puts an urgent new focus on financing groups that can help the party regain influence in time for the next congressional redistricting process, after the 2020 elections. The blueprint approved by the alliance board calls on donors to help expand state-level organizing and lobbying for measures addressing climate change, voting rights and economic inequality.

“People have gotten a wake-up call,” Gara LaMarche, the alliance’s president, said in an interview. “The right is focused on the state level, and even down-ballot, and has made enormous gains. We can’t have the kind of long-term progressive future we want if we don’t take power in the states.”

The five-year initiative, called 2020 Vision, will be discussed this week at a private conference being held at a San Francisco hotel for donors who participate in the Democracy Alliance. Leading California Democrats are scheduled to make appearances, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Attorney General Kamala Harris. The alliance, which does not disclose its members, plans to make some of the events available to reporters via a webcast.

The gathering coincides with the long-awaited launch of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid, infusing the event with buzz about the 2016 race. Clinton, who was invited to attend, will instead be on her debut campaign swing. But her campaign chairman, John Podesta, who has worked closely with the alliance, is set to participate in events celebrating its decade-long history.

I’m at least pleased that the Dems with the big money have decided that fighting fire with sternly worded vision statements is a good way to get covered in third-degree burns, as 2010 and 2014 showed.  States like Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and Florida that vote for Dems at the presidential level are under total GOP control at the state level , and dozens if not hundreds of state legislature seats across the country are being filled every two years by Republicans running completely unopposed.  That’s the kind of stuff we have to fix if we want any chance at staving off the crazy.

What kind of ideas do the assembled have for improving the Dems chances where you live at the state level?



Open Thread: Early Reactions

Will Leitch, at Bloomberg Politics, also kinda likes HRC’s announcement video:

… In the wake of the email pseudo-scandal reminding us why were suspicious of Hillary and the Clintons in the first place, we found ourselves skeptical of even things Hillary said that were obviously, demonstratively true. (Hillary is the first person I’ve ever seen get hissed at when she said she was excited to be a grandmother.) But you can’t be skeptical of the people in the ad. They feel like us: Demographically chosen for maximum strategic value, of course, but relatable nonetheless. They feel normal.

It’s a clever, reactionary populism. If you don’t like what people are saying—if those unfavorable numbers are too high—change the conversation: Turn it outward to the people. It would seem awfully difficult, even with a low-impact primary season, to sustain this strategy for a 577-day campaign. This is, after all, a campaign video that barely features the candidate. But then again, Ted Cruz’s ads have to make him look like a Michael Bay cowboy; many voters don’t know who Ted Cruz is. We know who Hillary is. That’s the problem. On the first day of her campaign, Hillary went about fixing it by releasing an ad that had her hiding in plain sight. All told: That doesn’t seem like the worst way to kick this off.

The Repubs, of course, are milking their supporters’ anti-Clinton bias, and demonstrating in the process why even the fervent Obots among us should be wary of attacks on her. From Business Insider:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who is considering entering the race, reacted to Clinton’s announcement with an email to supporters of his PAC, Right to Rise. Bush encouraged them to donate $5 to “stop” Clinton…

Bush predicted a Clinton presidency would exacerbate the “damage” caused by two terms of President Barack Obama.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who kicked off his presidential campaign last month, said a potential Clinton victory would mean a “third Obama term” in a lengthy press release sent out following her announcement… Read more



So Far, So Good.

I actually liked the video. It took me a second to realize it was actually THE video because I was expecting her to be talking to the camera right away, and I thought it was a commercial (you know how half of youtube has those “You can skip this shit we know you are going to skip, but we’re going to fuck with you for five seconds anyway”), but when I realized that was the video, I went back and watched from the start.

I liked it. It seems like she softened her tone a little, too. Still think it is ridiculous our stupid population requires candidates to all wear variants of red and blue, but I actually liked the video.

Why have only 37k people watched it?

BTW- Let’s not forget about Donna Edwards. Regardless of who wins the Presidency, we could use someone strong in the Senate.