Hillary Clinton Has Something To Learn And Elizabeth Warren Is Her Best Teacher

If, as I did, you were able to watch Hardball with the ridiculous Chris Matthews (you will see why in the clip below) on MSNBC yesterday, you now know why Senator Elizabeth Warren, the populist progressive from Massachusetts, is so admired by those of us on the left, those of us who know that Hillary Clinton will get the nomination if she runs, and those of us who know that Hillary Clinton is not, and never will be, an Elizabeth Warren Democrat.

Before we get to Chris Matthews’ strange and stupidly aggressive interview of Warren (I think Reince Priebus, the High Priest of GOP Voodoo, cast a spell on Chris before the show), we must first go to the transcript of Hillary Clinton’s appearance on Fox recently. Most of the questions posed to her during her Fox interview were, of course, about Benghazi. She did fine with those (so fine that many on the Right were pissed that Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren didn’t hang her on the set for “murdering” those Americans). But one non-Benghazi question that was asked, one that was designed to put a wedge between Clinton and Obama, elicited a typical Clintonesque answer that bothered me. No, it pissed me off:

BAIER: Last thing, quickly. The Real Clear Politics average of major reliable polls, not just one, the average polls, has the “right track/wrong track” breaking this way: 29 percent right track for the country, 64 percent wrong track. That’s the average of polls. So, do you agree with the 64 percent?

CLINTON: What I agree with is that many Americans are still feeling that they have not recovered from the Great Recession. They are still worried about their future, the future of their children. We could go down all the reasons why from — you know, student debt to, you know, stagnant or decreasing incomes to income inequality, all of these factors that Americans are living with and they look and they say what happened to the American Dream? I was raised with that. I’m a product of it. I am proud to be a product of it. I had a great upbringing. I had a family that supported me. Great public education. All these opportunities as did my husband. And now, people are saying well, we think it’s over. So, of course they are going to say, regardless I would argue who is president, I would say that most people are saying wait a minute, it’s not working for me anymore. What do we do to get back on track toward people living up to their own God- given potential in this country that we love?

Huh? What? If Hillary Clinton wants to inspire people to go out and work to get her elected, she is going to have to do better than that. I don’t care if she is trying to sell books to right-wingers or not, she has to do better.

I don’t know why I expected more from someone who so clearly wants to be, first, the Democratic Party presidential nominee, and, second, leader of the country. But I did expect more. Something like telling people the real reason the country is in the condition it is in:

You know, Bret, I understand why so many people, so many hard-working people, feel the country isn’t working for them. That’s because the Republican Party, guided by a pathological dislike for President Obama, has not only done nothing to help people in the last five and a half years, they purposely stood in the way of any progress that the President and other Democrats tried to actively achieve. I could give you countless examples, but let me just mention what happened recently in the United States Senate regarding student loans and billionaires—

Here I will interrupt my imaginary Mrs. Clinton’s response and provide you with the real Elizabeth Warren on MSNBC, responding to perhaps one of the dumbest questions that Chris Matthews has ever asked anyone (and that is saying something), let alone a Democrat in Congress who can’t do a damn thing because of Republican obstructionism:


That, my friends, is how you inspire people to follow you. You start by telling them, clearly and forcefully, about the politics behind the failure of government to address our many problems and the failure to make any progress: “At least you got one side who is trying to fight for it!”

My suggestion to Hillary Clinton is learn something from Elizabeth Warren. Either that or just stay home in 2016 and enjoy your grandma time.



  1. King Beauregard

     /  June 20, 2014

    We should never forget that Chris Matthews was a Bush hack back when it was the in-thing, and then deserted their sinking ship around 2007 or 2008. He has no genuine loyalties.

    The wit and wisdom of Chris Matthews:


    As for Hillary, yeah, she fails to get what we voters do. We expect politicians to hedge, we expect them to present a cleaned-up version of themselves to not piss people off, and in general we have a sense of what they “really” mean. It’s a little game we all play, we’re basically on the same page. Except Hillary thinks that the cleaned-up version of herself will be taken at face value, and all she has to do is come up with the perfect superficial material and that’s what people will look at.

    It’s not that I think Hillary’s “true nature” is abhorrent, but I wish she’d play the same game we expect of politicians, rather than a much worse version that feels phony as hell.

    I wish Warren had been clear on this point: this is not going to be fixed by Elizabeth Warren and friends, this is going to be fixed by voters on Election Day, if it is to be fixed at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said, all. Of course Clinton can’t be about the business of pissing off potential voters. But she has the job of first exciting those in the Democratic Party. There is a fine line between getting your voters interested enough in your efforts to vote for you (and, more important, work for your election), and appealing to those who are not committed to one party or the other. But, dammit, she has been around forever and should have that balance down by now. Caution and hedging are a general election tactic. The primary, where you attract people who are willing to give you money and knock on doors for you later on, is where you make people believe you have a vision for the country that they can get excited about.

      I will say, though, that given what is at stake in 2016, maybe it won’t matter how lackluster her performance. The Republicans will quite likely scare the shit out of enough voters to put her over the top no matter what. I just wouldn’t rely on such a thing as my political strategy.


      By the way: I do think Warren made that point at the end. It was just that Matthews stepped all over her and she was probably a little flat by then.


      • King Beauregard

         /  June 20, 2014

        I heard that at the end, but it really, really needs to be stated emphatically, at point blank range: the critical political battles are fought on Election Day, not in the periods between elections. Too many people on the Left prefer to withhold their support until the Democrats prove that they can deliver, but that strategy just leaves the Democrats with depleted ranks and a lack of progressive forward motion.

        We fell just one Senator short of a public option. What’s the message to take away from that? If you’re me, the lesson is, we need to elect more Democats. If you’re an awful lot of people on the Left, the lesson is, the Democrats don’t even try, so screw ’em, screw ’em all. That’s what we’re up against.


        • I couldn’t agree more. Except that I would add that too many on our most leftish side will abandon any given Democrat who doesn’t follow whatever is the current version of orthodox liberalism, especially while holding office and confronting all sorts of contingencies that don’t lend themselves to easy solutions. Some of these folks would rather stay home and let the worst govern us, and by that I mean, of course, Republicans.


  2. The left, being somewhat more people-oriented and egalitarian, usually are not ruthless and aggressive in making their points. That doesn’t seem to be the right thing for us.

    The right have no such scruples. They sincerely believe that the “end justifies the means” so they lie, exaggerate, conflate and do whatever they have to do to convince others of the merit of their point of view.

    My life-long experience (I’m 68) shows me that the above works well for enough people that the right are a formidable group of people. They fall into that category of “frequently wrong, but never in doubt”.

    It’s the frequently wrong part that’s getting us in trouble – wrong about climate change, wrong about economic theory, wrong about religious affiliation with government, wrong about for-profit medical care – the list goes on and on.

    The left needs to change our tactics, and Elizabeth Warren seems like someone who could show us the way. I think Bill Clinton can do that, too. There seems to be something about holding or desiring high office that muzzles otherwise convincing people.


    • Yes, thank you, my friend. There is certainly a difference in approach by some on the left. But just listen sometime to the inspiring Bernie Sanders. He is as fired up as any right-winger you will hear, but he has the scruples that so many on the right, especially those who populate the conservative media complex, don’t have.

      If the political center in this country is to be pulled our way, we have to stop the weaselly language that Hillary Clinton used in that Fox interview (and in some others I have heard). She had no trouble defending herself, rather aggressively, against suggestions of playing politics with the gay marriage issue (the Terry Gross interview). I hope at some point, perhaps when she isn’t trying to sell books, she will get equally fired up about what Republicans and conservatives have done and are still doing to the well-being of the country via their obstructionism in Congress. At one time, Hillary would have told it like it is (remember the “vast right-wing conspiracy” days?), but for some reason (especially during that 2008 run) she became too conventional and cautious. That won’t cut it for me. There is too much at stake. People have to get fired up in 2016 and our candidate, whether it be her or someone else, must lead the charge.



  3. ansonburlingame

     /  June 21, 2014

    When you get into intra-Democratic discussions, I am inclined to leave it to all of you. But I did pick up one point in both the Hillary comment and what Warren said. It was about education.

    Warren said, essentially, that IF you find kids that “work hard, play by the rules” want to do what they have to do, etc.” to be ready for a good job, then good jobs should be there for them. Hillary said it differently. Basically she said that she got good work because she pursued a good education and then applied those skills to progress.

    The whole fly in the Democratic argument, to me, is finding those kids ready and willing to do what even Warren said was needed to succeed. They, such kids, are the minority of kids that I see today, and adults as well.

    I have said it before and repeat it, based on my experience in public schools, and observing for 35 years the output of such schools as an adult, I see a steep and increasing decline of input, kids and adults, ready and willing to do what it takes to succeed, period.

    The Democratic solution is to throw money at that issue, spend whatever it takes to create good jobs. But the people filling those jobs must be able to do them and willing to work as hard as it takes to succeed, as well. THAT is what is missing today in America, in my view and money won’t solve that problem.

    One more point. I recently made it in a comment on my blog and may well write a full blog to cover it in more detail. The American government, specifically the bureaucracy is in a terrible mess today, all over the bureaucracy. Don’t make me list them as you already know of which I speak, I hope.

    I don’t care how good or bad a particular policy might be. The one constant today in America is the bureaucracy of the federal government will generally screw it up, for preventing oil spills in the first place, to trying to clean them up, to invading a country and then lossing the war, to running guns to Mexico and winding up with a scandal rather than a jail full of Mexican warlords, and that list goes on forever.

    America today desperately needs a leader in the White House that will “take care of business” within HIS own bureaucracy. Start there Mr./Ms. President. Lay down the law and the demand that every member of YOUR work force start to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

    Get a sense of professional pride and achievement in YOUR OWN work force as a matter of priority. Don’t allow no-loads, slackers, malcontents anywhere in YOUR business organization. Start at the top and force that approach down through your entire “business structure”.

    As well Mr/Ms President, despite all your hopes and dreams, some good ones, realize that you can only do what your own organization is capable of doing, “good business practicers” all the time and an immediate kick in the ass when YOU, a given worker, fail to uphold such principles.

    It is one thing to publicly express being pissed off that some clown screwed up, internally. It is a whole different matter to not let the clowns do anything in YOUR organization. Hire the right people, keep them on task, measure their performance critically and forcefully and don’t be afraid to throw a book at someone that fails to meet YOUR high standards of performance, not politics, just performance doing business!!!



    • King Beauregard

       /  June 21, 2014

      “America today desperately needs a leader in the White House that will “take care of business” within HIS own bureaucracy. Start there Mr./Ms. President.”

      Yes, let’s return to the job standard set by Brownie (rating: “heckuva”). Good God, exactly how porous must your brain be to forget this stuff?


    • You said,

      I see a steep and increasing decline of input, kids and adults, ready and willing to do what it takes to succeed, period.

      I could probably find similar quotes from older folks about younger folks in every generation since our founding. Yet we somehow survive.

      Your point about the government screwing up proves what? That we shouldn’t have government? Government does screw up (by the way, it isn’t the government’s job to prevent oil spills and clean them up, is it? Since when? If so, “we the people” should get all that oil money) but the answer is better government oversight, which has been lacking. The Veterans Affairs committees in Congress were the least sought after committee assignments. You know why? Because members of those committees couldn’t raise much money from the people they were overseeing, like members of the banking committees, etc., could. That says something about what is really wrong with government: money in politics.


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