Momentum-Schomentum

I will say this about Bernie. At least he’s consistent. When he wins he shows little grace toward his same-party opponent. And when he loses he shows little grace toward his same-party opponent. He may not know a lot about delegate math, he may not know how he is going to break up the big banks, he may not know what he will do with ISIS prisoners, but he is an expert on gracelessness.

In any case, last night in my inbox I found a message from Bernie with this subject line:

WE JUST WON WISCONSIN!

Here is the body of the email:

bernie email.jpg

I want to note a few things about Bernie’s message to me and millions of others on his list. He, once again, mentioned “political revolution.” His Wisconsin victory is, allegedly, another step in that direction. Some step. His impressive victory last night, by more than 13 points, may have resulted in him winning only a handful of delegates more than she won, possibly as few as three more. Hard to see that as revolutionary. But then I’m not a True Believer in the Cause.

And then Bernie mentioned “momentum.” He spent a lot of time talking about that last night, while he wasn’t talking about a “nervous” Hillary. His campaign has made a big deal out of winning something like 7 of the last 8 elections. Well, let’s think about that. In a football game, there are two halves. If you outscore your opponent in the first half by 50 points but get outscored by 20 points in the second half, guess what? Your opponent can claim second-half momentum, but you still win by 30 points. Momentum-schomentum. It’s math, people. This primary race is about accumulating delegates over time, not how many states Bernie may have won lately.

And speaking of winning races lately, as Dan Pfeiffer, who was the communications director for Obama’s 2008 campaign, pointed out on Twitter, “it is shocking how little the political class remembers what happened.” He was talking about people like Matthew Dowd, a former Bushie who now is an analyst for ABC News, who had tweeted, “Unprecedented losses by the leading candidates this late in the process.” Pfeiffer set him straight: Obama “lost 6 of the last 9 and some by very large margins.” So much for unprecedented losses.

sanders campaign manager.jpgThe truth is, as CNN pointed out this morning, Hillary Clinton needs to win only 36% of the remaining delegates and Bernie needs to win 77%. Reality, though, does not discourage Bernie: “If we can keep this up,” he writes, “we can win this nomination.” Up until lately, it has seemed impolite to ask how that is possible, but some media folks are now asking. And the latest theory from the campaign, expressed by his campaign manager on CNN and by Bernie himself last night, is to have an “open convention,” which the campaign is sure is going to happen. That means Bernie, who will not win the popular vote in the Democratic primary season or a majority of the delegates, will have to rely on superdelegates—the same anti-democratic “establishment elites” that his campaign initially abhorred. My how things change when you’re desperate—or intoxicated by your own revolutionary rhetoric.

All of which leads me to what Hillary Clinton, who has grown tired of her integrity being attacked by someone who is supposed to be in her own party, said to Politico’s Glenn Thrush (“Hillary Clinton has had enough of Bernie Sanders“). Thrush wrote today:

.clinton1_lede_1160.jpg..within two minutes of sitting in front of the microphone, Clinton’s icy reserve began to melt, especially when I brought up the issue of Sanders’ fealty (or lack thereof) to the Democratic Party establishment Clinton proudly champions against the anti-establishment tide.

Sanders had just told an interviewer that he was iffy about raising money for down-ballot Democrats, so I asked Clinton the obvious question: Did she think Sanders is a real Democrat?

“Well, I can’t answer that,” she said with a smile. Then she proceeded to answer the question. “He’s a relatively new Democrat, and, in fact, I’m not even sure he is one. He’s running as one. So I don’t know quite how to characterize him.”

I’m convinced if she had made this argument early on, the Bernie phenomenon might look very different today. He would have been forced to explain why he was, after years of denigrating the party, cynically using it as a vehicle for his presidential ambitions. And it would have put him on the defensive about his own integrity—as an authentic Democrat—and mitigated his attacks on her trustworthiness and his innuendos of corruption. Better late than never, I suppose, but it would have helped if this line of attack had come much sooner.

Thrush also brought out something else that Clinton has lately begun to articulate about Sanders. He writes:

Still, it is Sanders who poses the most immediate threat. He was was running hard — and hitting her hard — in New York, and she was clearly frustrated with his easy appeal to voters under 35. She even suggested for the first time (in public, anyway) that the septuagenarian from Vermont was feeding a simplistic, cynical line of argument to turn young voters against her.

“There is a persistent, organized effort to misrepresent my record, and I don’t appreciate that, and I feel sorry for a lot of the young people who are fed this list of misrepresentations,” Clinton said, a few minutes after talking herself hoarse at a rally here. “I know that Senator Sanders spends a lot of time attacking my husband, attacking President Obama. I rarely hear him say anything negative about George W. Bush, who I think wrecked our economy.”

How true that is. I have listened to many of Sanders’ speeches. I have listened to many of his surrogates on television. I have read many articles written by Bernie supporters. And you know what? You get the impression that Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill and Barack Obama and the Democratic Party “establishment” is the real enemy. Those Bush-Cheney folks, who helped wreck not only our economy but the Middle East, barely rate a mention. It’s as if they were bit players in an anti-populist con job that was really pulled off by corrupt Democrats and the rich donors who have bought them for a price.

Look again at the email above. Bernie says:

Wyoming caucuses in just four days and New York votes two weeks from today, and you can bet the financial elite of this country won’t give up without a fight.They’re going to throw everything they can at us. But if we stand together, we’re going to keep winning.

He’s not talking about the “financial elite” of the Republican Party. They aren’t spending a dime against him. They want him to win. They are spending their money against Hillary Clinton. Thus, Bernie is really talking about the financial elite of the Democratic Party. Amazingly, he is actually running against his own party!

Now, if a man who says he is now a Democrat wants a “political revolution,” running against the Democratic Party—the only political force that has been able to rectify some of the damage done by Republicans—is certainly an odd way to make that happen.

But as we shall see in a later post, that’s not the only thing odd about Bernie.

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20 Comments

  1. Holy cats, Duane! I leave this blog for a few months and when I come back to get a reliably liberal election-year fix on things I discover you’re sleeping with Debbie Wasserman-Schulz. Yikes! What a load of crap your most recent screed is. I wish I had time to parse your wordy garbage salad, but today time is limited. I’ll check back in to see if you come to your senses. Verrrrrrrrrrry disappointing. “Counter Conservative Opinion” my ass.

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    • Holy cats, General!

      I’m going to refrain from attacking you the way you have attacked me. You suggested to Jim Wheeler that you don’t know what I am passing myself off as these days. Same old, same old, my friend. Just calling it like I see it. I’m about beating the Republicans, not joining them in attacking the integrity of my party’s next nominee, which will not be Bernie Sanders, no matter how much you or I might like many of his stated policy positions—even if he has considerable trouble explaining how they might work. 

      I suppose there’s no point in going any further, since you haven’t yet parsed what you called my “wordy garbage salad.” If you do find the time to offer more constructive criticism, other than positing a metaphorical tryst with someone I have mildly criticized in the past—and a fellow Democrat—I’ll be waiting. It’s amazing to me, though, how attacking Hillary Clinton, a long-time Democrat who has tried to help other Democrats win elections, is fair game, but criticizing Bernie Sanders, who has spent most of his career attacking the Democratic Party and almost no time trying to help Democrats win elections, is somehow illiberal. 

      Duane

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      • Duane, I apologize for attacking you after lo, these many months of absence. There’s rarely a call for such an outburst. It was unkind of me. I was just so shocked. It was like I had gone to pick up my prom date, Christy Turlington, only to catch a bad reflection that made it appear she’d morphed into Tammy Faye Baker. It was a bit much. I know you do a lot of research before you offer an opinion — and ultimately that’s what it is: an opinion. An informed and articulate one, to be sure, but an opinion. I quit this blog once because I didn’t have time to match the time and energy of some of the responders and I hate sitting on the sidelines. I think I’ll try to be just a reader for awhile and see how that goes. It’s not my style, but bluster is no friend maker. I have high regard for the manner in which you craft your message — most of the time. I strongly disagree with you on the candidate issue: I am also serious about putting a Democrat back in the White House in 2017, but I think Bernie is the stronger candidate for for the 99%. I am willing to vote for Hillary if she honestly wins the nomination, but with little more enthusiasm than I had for Mike Dukakis in 1988. He was a lousy candidate, but he wasn’t GHW Bush. She will bring 4-8 more years of “maintenance” and not an iota of transformation. Bernie rails against the Democratic Party because it’s messed up. Dawn’s old classmate, Debbie, is only one example — but perhaps the best example of the drive to make the DNC into Republican-lite. Sorry, Dawn. I went to seminary with Mike Huckabee, but I don’t brag about it. He’s not an old friend. He’s a schmuck and always has been. So, Duane, as it turns out, we’re probably on the same side. You should not be surprised that a crotchety old bastard like me would be drawn to Sanders. Both candidates have flaws — as do we all. Bernie’s are not so much of a buzz-kill as Hillary’s, IMHO. Peace.

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        • Ahhh, I was very careful not to call Debbie an “old friend”, just for the record. And I only pointed it out because I find it very funny and ironic that she has such notoriety now. Unfortunately you were unable to read between the lines, so I’ll spell it out for you. Debbie and I worked together in student government. We were definitely not friends. I found her abrasive (go figure) and I’m sure she found me too cavalier. Whatever. She has found her niche and her constituents adore her, so my opinions are moot on the point. I might have come off as bragging, and that’s fine. I’m a Gator, so what can I say?🙂

          And, you are right, Huckabee is a schmuck.

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          • Dawn,

            My recent criticism of her was for her position on payday lending, essentially trying to thwart some new rules to stop some of the worst behavior of those predators who prey on poor and troubled folks. That’s pretty close to inexcusable for a Democrat, in my opinion. Here’s an ad that ran against her about a month ago:

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            • King Beauregard

               /  April 8, 2016

              Do we yet know why the CFPB hasn’t cracked down on payday loans? I’ve seen a proposal of the CFPB’s that would be somewhat stronger than HR 4018, but they also keep kicking it down the road, timeline-wise. The CFPB first announced in March 2015 that they were going to going to do something about payday loans — many years after the CFPB was created — but the latest I heard is that final plans have been pushed back until the end of this month.

              http://newbrunswicktoday.com/article/federal-payday-loan-regulations-expected-be-finalized-april

              If the CFPB is actually ever going to get around to tackling this, I’d like to know how soon, and I mean that in the sense of an actual timeline, not an ever-increasing delay. In the meantime, it’s been over a year since Cordray announced that he was going to act, and if this is the lightning-fast performance we can expect from the CFPB, I’l take HR 4018 any day.

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              • Yeah, but nothing like that is getting through this Congress. Jeff Merkley introduced a bill in the Senate yesterday to stop some of the predation, but that ain’t happening either. I can’t find a thing as to why the CFPB is dragging its feet. I am beginning to smell something fishy. Where is Elizabeth?

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                • King Beauregard

                   /  April 8, 2016

                  You know, if I were getting jerked around by a contractor who seemed to keep dragging his feet and never show up and keep coming up with excuses why he couldn’t get the job done, I might call the CFPB. I’m feeling like we need a meta-CFPB to get to the bottom of this.

                  Maybe HR 4018’s hated two-year moratorium on CFPB involvement is the price of getting Republicans on board?

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        • Peace to you, my friend. We will see better days.

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  2. Not only is Bernie running against the leaders of his own party, the leading candidate of the opposing party is doing the same against his. Is this a weird election season, or what?

    Seems to me, the electorate is confused about what they can realistically expect from government. Usually by this point in an election year, each side coalesces around a candidate and his message, but that’s not happening yet. Maybe this is what the political landscape looks like without a prime mover such as a war. I notice we haven’t had one for a while now.

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    • Dang, brothers! Maybe you’re right, Jim. Hillary could get us coalesced around a war — no doubt. That’s her forte. She has certainly declared war on anyone in the party who doesn’t bow down to her. And the last time I checked there was — uhhhh — Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. But that’s probably not enough wars for this bunch of neo-cons-or-neo-liberals or whatever the Erstwhile Conservative is trying to pass itself off as these days.

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    • You could be right, Jim. Maybe there isn’t any big issue out there around which each party can rally. We had ours in 2008, with the bad economy and near-collapse. They had theirs in 2012 in trying to defeat the hated Obama. You are certainly right that this is a weird season. Drumpf is using a party he doesn’t care for to do his thing. Cruz is using a party he doesn’t care for to do his thing. And the party pooh-bahs are using Cruz to save the party from both of them! Crazy shit.

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  3. LOL – “….I discover you’re sleeping with Debbie Wasserman-Schulz.” I went to college with Debbie, and we knew each other well. I’ll just say she’s the same now as she was then (and she would probably say the same about me)…. 🙂

    Also, at the risk of sounding like a “typical feminist”, the problem for Hillary – or any other female candidate – is always how to launch an attack without sounding like an attack dog, or like she’s pandering. It’s such a fine line to walk and some are better at it than others. From what I’ve seen thus far, though, I think Hillary does a pretty good job. But then someone will comment about her lack of smiling or warmth or any myriad of emotions women leaders are supposed to display that their male counterparts are never critiqued for, and she finds herself backtracking. Perhaps this is the reason for her delay in addressing Sen. Sanders?

    Lastly, I always prefer to refrain from name-calling when disagreeing with someone. I find it usually increases my own integrity with that person and others when stating my personal stance on the issue in question. But, sadly, I fear not everyone shares this sentiment….

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    • That’s pretty amazing that you knew (know) Wasserman-Schulz! You’ve got big-time connections!

      In any case, there is no doubt Hillary is held to a different standard as a female candidate. To some extent, I understand it. People aren’t that used to it at such a high level. But she has endured comments about her clothing, her hair, her “tone,” or, today, her laughter, after being asked a question about something ridiculous the Sanders campaign said about her. And I think she does handle it fairly well. And when she doesn’t, it’s because it’s a difficult position to be in. There really aren’t any rules for such a thing in American politics, at least not yet. She’s sort of making them.

      And, unfortunately, there is a lot of name-calling on the Internet. Even from folks, like the one you referenced, who I have had a good relationship with in the past. I have found that some folks get pretty upset when they expect a certain viewpoint and don’t get it, or hear something they don’t really want to hear. I sort of know how that feels. After all, I have been on both sides of the ideological divide and have experienced name-calling from just about everyone at one point or another. I suppose that comes with writing about something so full of emotion as politics (and religion, too).

      Anyway, I hope thing will cool down a bit after the Democratic primary is officially over. Then we can all get on the same team again. At least I hope we can.

      Duane

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  4. melk39

     /  April 6, 2016

    “Sanders had just told an interviewer that he was iffy about raising money for down-ballot Democrats “. Wow, what in the world? With a chance to capture the Senate and make deep inroads in the House he’s going to sit on his hands? Tell me the quote or story is wrong!

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  5. Duane:

    Sanders is still an Independent.
    Sanders supporters will contribute to candidates they believe in. We certainly don’t want our contributions to the Sanders campaign going to the party after it has tried to undercut him at every turn.
    If it was only about money, there would be no hope for change.
    Gerald Malan

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    • I disagree with you that the party has tried to undercut him. The party largely ignored him for the longest of time. If they had really tried to undercut him they wouldn’t have let him run as a Democrat, since, as you said, he really isn’t one. He should have run for president as an Independent. But why didn’t he? Because he knew he would never have a platform. He has been using the Democratic Party as his platform. Well, he should have known that some Democrats, those who have fought in the trenches for years (and who have been trashed by Bernie), would resent his attempt to take over the party and fashion it in his image. I liked Bernie a lot when he was an Independent. Now, not so much. He simply has little respect for the Democratic Party, the only institution that can fight against the reactionaries and actually win.

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  6. cbdoodle

     /  April 7, 2016

    Correct, Gerald. The Democratic “leadership” started kicking Bernie in the teeth as soon as he announced. This is the same leadership that couldn’t hold the House or Senate. This is the same leadership that doesn’t know how to attract new voters or get current Democrats to the polls.

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    • Come on. The Democratic leadership didn’t worry about Bernie at all in the beginning. That was the problem. Many of them didn’t take him seriously. And if you have an idea of how to get Democrats to the polls (I assume you mean in non-presidential years), then I’m all ears. More than that, we need to get people to the polls who aren’t Democrats, but should be.

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