Bernie Sanders hasn't won anything

    Some Bernie Sanders supporters are taking a philosophical view of Hillary Clinton's first real victory in this election cycle in Nevada. Regardless of the outcome of the Democratic primaries, one told me, Bernie's already won, he's moved Hillary much farther to the left than she ever had any intention of going. Another claims the American people have made clear that we want the country to move in a more progressive direction and Hillary can't buck us.

    Print pundits are echoing the individual supporters to whom I've spoken. In January, Huffington Post posted Christian Chuliakis's Why Bernie Sanders has already won and two weeks ago Rolling Stone published Tessa Stuart's One big way Bernie Sanders is already a winner.

    Chuliakis contends that Bernie has awakened America's sleeping youth. Millennials are now so engaged in politics Chuliakis writes, even if Clinton defeats Sanders, “the old ways of doing business, the ways that the Gen-Xers and the Baby Boomers used to utterly trash the economy, the environment, and the geopolitical scene, will be rejected.”

    In reaction to Bernie's popularity, Stuart argues, Clinton has shifted left on healthcare, campaign finance reform, Wall Street, and “free” trade. Sanders has gotten into the act telling a crowd in Boston Monday February 22 that he is delighted that “Secretary Clinton month after month after month seems to be adopting more of the positions that we have advocated.”

    It is understandable that those who back Sanders as well as some political writers might perceive Clinton's decision to employ more populist rhetoric as a victory for Sanders. The former are hoping desperately, as people are wont to do, for a leader who truly acts in their interests. Russian serfs, perhaps apochryphally, believed the Tsar would take their side if he knew how terribly they suffered at the hands of aristocrats. The latter, always looking for a story, conflate change in the frontrunner's tone and talking points with a substantive ideological shift.

    The problem faced by those claiming President Hillary Clinton would govern as a progressive is she has not committed herself to any specific legislation. For example, she hasn't even promised to veto the Trans Pacific Partnership if Congress approves it after President Obama leaves office.

    In the foreign policy realm, where she has laid out her policy position in some detail, she has made clear she will, if elected, continue the neocon foreign policy agenda she championed as Secretary of State. In November, Clinton told the Council on Foreign Relations her plan to defeat ISIL included “a more effective coalition air campaign, with more allied planes, more strikes and a broader target set.” In December, she called for a “no-fly zone” over Syria which critics say could lead to war with Russia and Syria.

    Neocon Robert Kagan who championed America's disastrous war with Iraq told the New York Times in 2014 that he “feel[s] comfortable with her foreign policy.” Perhaps he was thinking about her strong support, when Secretary of State, for military intervention in Libya that led to the overthrow and killing of Muammar Gadafi in 2011. Libya quickly disintegrated into anarchy and much of the country serves as a terrorist training ground.

    With respect to Clinton's likely domestic agenda, two recent actions speak far more loudly than any words at a debate or townhall: (1) She left Iowa the week of the caucuses to raise money in Philadelphia from hedge fund managers. (2) Her campaign manager Robby Mook calmed Clinton donors in advance of the Nevada caucus at special meeting attended by Democratic establishment characters and major fundraisers, including Wall Street billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry.

    Given Clinton's willingness to drop everything to glad hand billionaires, their reciprocation with bundles of cash, and the solicitude that her campaign shows for these funders, progressive Democrats and pundits should harbor no illusions when it comes to whose interests will come first if there is another Clinton administration.  Clinton's refusal to make public the content of her three notorious speeches to Goldman, Sachs should also douse any hopes populists had that President Hillary Clinton would champion ordinary Americans in any meaningful way.

    But what about all those youthful voters who are feeling the Bern? What about the pressure they will undoubtedly bring to bear on the next President - whoever she or he is? What about it? President Obama was elected with an unprecedented outpouring of support from young adults  and voters of color. Union members also championed his candidacy. Yet these groups have fallen farther behind over the past eight years. They have no reason to hope for more from Hillary Clinton than they have received from Barack Obama.

    When it comes to millennials, they have been less engaged in this election cycle than their predecessors were eight years ago. It seems odd then to argue they will bring the kind of unrelenting street heat necessary to move a conservative Congress and a neo-liberal President. Sadly, if Bernie Sanders loses to Hillary Clinton, as now appears likely, he simply loses . . . and so do we.

    Foes and friends here may have noticed this is my first blog here in some time.  I continue to write as frequently ever but am posting here more judiciously.  If you are interested in my writing, I urge you to visit my site


    Critics always say any blowback towards Russia will lead to WWIII.  They were greatly wrong last year - why do you give more credence now?

    And are you unable to see the difference between no-flight zones - which kept us out of Iraq for 10 years - and a neocon invasion plan? Do you have any suggestions re: ISIS - do you think they need to be resisted? or are you just "whatever Hillary's having, I'll have something else"?

    No Russian planes over Iraq, no deployable anti aircraft missiles in Saddam's arsenal.

    In the foreign policy realm, where she has laid out her policy position in some detail, she has made clear she will, if elected, continue the neocon foreign policy agenda she championed as Secretary of State.

    Except that she's not a neocon and did not one neocon thing as secretary of state.  Every military intervention is not neoconservative or conservative action.

    Just trying to gently remind you of the truth, Hal.  Rand Paul saying something doesn't make it so.  If you want to understand Clinton's foreign policy preferences, you have to read Samantha Power.  If you read that and continue to call it neoconservatism, you're either confused or are being purposefully dishonest.

    Okay Michael.  I give up.  Your sources are right.  Mine are wrong.  Henceforth I will no longer refer to Hillary Clinton as a neocon.  She's just a plain ole warmonger.

    The term neocon is wildly abused.

    Warmonger is fine with me though, writer to writer, I'd warn that it tells the reader way more about you than it does about Clinton. Language is funny that way.

    Serves me right for trying to be funny.  Now I've got to read a 3,364 page book to find the page where Samantha Power defines to Michael Maiello's satisfaction what a neocon is and how Clinton isn't one. 

    Actually, Mike your cite demonstrates that Clinton is a neocon.  You, I think, cling to the notion that neocons are 1960s era one-time peaceniks who subsequently recognized the need to use the American military to force our inherent goodness on foreigners.  But the term has morphed to describe all people who see America as a unique force for good around the world and that we should use our military might for this purpose.  

    “Neocons” believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power – forcefully if necessary – to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through preemptive military action.

    Samantha Power's Hell, which I haven't read and will not read, focuses on the problem of genocide and what we as a nation need to do about it.  As I understand it, she harshly criticizes Bill Clinton for failing to take military action to stop the Rwanda genocide.  Perhaps Hillary is due for criticism as well.  In other words, the Clintons didn't get in the 1990s how important it is to use American military force for good.

    Well Hillary does get it now.  In the Hillary Clinton Doctrine, Foreign Policy Magazine, hardly a left-wing rag, described her in November as follows:

    A President Hillary Clinton would almost certainly be more confident about the utility of force than President Obama has been (or a President Biden would have been). She was the most enthusiastic of all of Obama’s senior civilian advisors about the counterinsurgency plan his generals proposed for Afghanistan in 2009; she helped persuade a very reluctant commander in chief to bomb Libya to prevent atrocities there. Clinton is a Cold War-era patriot who believes unambiguously that America is a force for good in the world.

    So Hillary demonstated against the Vietnam War.  Presumably, like Bill, she was skeptical about military intervention in Rwanda even to stop a genoicide.  Now she's a "Cold War-era patriot who believes unambiguously that America is a force for good in the world" who would "almost certainly be more confident about the utility of force than President Obama has been."  She's the very definition of a neocon.

    You really don't understand Clinton's foreign policy, or her evolution on the issues since the 1990s, at all. Power summarized her piece into an article, you know. She's a great writer. I found the piece infuriating but enlightening. Give it a try.

    Or, riddle me this -- the Obama/Clinton response to Libya was a neoconservative action, yes or no?

    Michael - you are infuriating.  You lay down the truth and the sources you find definitive and expect me to roll over and agree.  When I provide a cogent response that incorporates your specific objections, you roll right over it.  If you think I'm wrong, you are free to explain with facts/cites why. I'll take supported comments very seriously. 

    Respecting Hillary Clinton, I called her a neocon.  You disagree.  It would be easy for you to disprove the claim if it's false.  All you have to do is define neocon in a few sentences (or less) and then set forth specific actions that Clinton too or didn't take that demonstrate she doesn't meet the definition.

    You ask about the Libya intervention.  I would say the initial decision to bomb Gaddafi's troops to prevent a possible massacre was not neoconservative in nature but rather an immediate response to an imminent threat to human life.  The decision to continue bombing until Gaddafi was killed with the intention of overthrowing a tyrant was neocon since it reflected the American exceptionalism mindset - we have a moral obligation to use our military to bring about positive political change even when we have not been threatened.

    I don't see what's so infuriating to you.  Stop misusing terms and you won't have to worry about it.

    I've already proven my claim by defining Clinton's foreign policy in terms of responsibility two protect.  Your gymnastics about Libya only add to the point.


    You don't see what's infuriating about your comments.  Okay, you claim that I wrongly call Clinton a neocon but you've never defined neocon (I have with references) and you've never explained what's not neocon about her policies.  All you've done is claim I'm wrong without providing any evidentiary support or even a cogent argument.  That's infuriating. Now, your argument is the Libya adventure wasn't neocon because the motivation was "two protect".  Okay, I agree that the initial impetus which was ostensibly to prevent a massacre in Benghazi was not neoconservative.  But the war morphed into regime change - that was neocon. 

    President Obama has subtly shifted Washington’s public explanation of its goals in Libya, declaring now that he wants to assure the Libyan people are “finally free of 40 years of tyranny” at the hands of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, after first stating he wanted to protect civilians from massacres.  Pretty cut and dry

    You haven't defined neocon.  You've abused the term and then cited other people abusing the term.  You're allowing yourself to be sloppy with language so that you can call Clinton names.  I get it.  We all go there, from time to time.

    As for this nonsense:'ve never explained what's not neocon about her policies.

    I have explained her foreign policy as being defined by  R2P.  You've admitted that R2P is not neocon.  So... what's the frustration?  I gather you don't see regime change as part of R2P but if somebody like Qaddafi remains a threat to his people and human rights, I believe the R2P crowd would tell you that removing the dictator is very much on the table.  It's still not a neocon approach to policy.

    Call her a warmonger if you want.  Call her stupid if you want.  Call her dangerously misinformed, if you want. When you throw the N word at her, I am going to show up to tell everybody that you're being sloppy with language again.

    War on Iraq was not r2p.  Toppling Gaddafi was not r2p.  A "no-fly zone" over Syria is not r2p.  Remember when you put in a joke that nobody got.  I'm starting to think your claim that you're not infuriating is another one of your little jokes?  Is it?

    What makes you even more infuriating is that I defined very succinctly what neocon is earlier in the thread.

    “Neocons” believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power – forcefully if necessary – to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through preemptive military action.

    She wasn't voting to invade Iraq - she was voting for inspections that actually worked. For the trillionth time.

    A no-fly zone over Libya was a response to uprisings in Benghazi and Qaddafi's threat to obliterate. You can argue about how serious he was vs hyberbole, but it was hardly a shock-and-awe operation and brought in Brits, French, Italy, Netherlands, various Arab states specifically *not* to simply be deploying unrivaled power. (overall the French & Italians were the driving force, and there's some suspicion that the French sent in undercovers to kill Qaddafi to cover up deals with Sarkozy. Who knows.

    In Syria, it's hard to see which phase of war you're discussing, but certainly there's been a huge amount of civilian death (1 million+?) and displacement, and then the appearance of ISIS seizing huge amounts of land with grave mistreatment of people escalated the situation. (The chemical weapons bit is murky who did that). So what should be done? Attacks on civilians okay? Let Assad wipe out protesters at will? I've never gotten the idea you approve of any sort of military action - do you? or only one by Russia or other foreign power, not us?

    I will not say that PP is disingenuous - especially because I just chided barefooted for wrongly calling me disingenuous when I incorrectly inferred from Charles Blow's article in today's NYT that he was saying minorities are starting to warm up to Bernie.  I will say that she appears incapable of reconsidering her opinions no matter how much evidence is adduced against them.  For this reason, I no longer respond to her comments.  I will follow the same policy with Michael Maiello.

    I hope you don't stop responding to particular people on principle (taste is another matter). I realize that your outspoken advocacy for the candidate you support makes all criticism look the same. But everybody who contributes to this site also have great differences of opinions with other people who contribute. If I was looking for a place that supported what I thought without a struggle, dagblog is not where I would hang out.

    I don't have to agree with all you say to be glad you are representing what you think with energy.

    Thanks Moat.  I have always responded and will continue to respond to those who disagree with me as long as they are respectful and demonstrate a willingness to understand and respond to my arguments or to request clarification when I (as is frequently the case) am not clear.  In fact, I did reply to PP and Maiello after saying I wouldn't because they engaged me in a somewhat respectful manner and PP pointed out that I have wrongly assumed he was a woman.  I acknowledged my error.

    Um... okay.  Have you ever in your life said, "Sorry, I was wrong?"

    Quite frequently as a matter of fact.  When's the last time you did?

    You still think I'm a woman, Hal. Only because I make a few feminist points, but if you read how I write it's pretty obvious I'm a dude. That should give you an idea how much your druthers shade your perception. You are pre-biased, set on speed dial, and it clouds much of what you write.

    [Digby for years wrote anonymously and people thought she was a he, but overall she didn't give away too many clues, wrote in a neutral style]

    Hal, I do reconsider my opinions - I read the treatise on Modern Money Theory, looked at the supposed evidence of "170 top economists" and otherwise follow your links down the rabbit hole - but I've also gotten into it more times than not with rmrd, oceankat, TMac & others - and for some reason they're not arguing with me a lot this time around. Why not? 

    Well, part of the time I'm trying to highlight multiple sides of a viewpoint, which pisses people off when they're glued to one side. In the current cycle we're for the same candidate and most issues, so it takes away the urge to disagree - that's how people roll, enemy of my enemy and all that... And partially because we've probably evolved a bit after all these years of bitching at each other.

    But yeah, I read the links they put up and most of the time they read mine, and despite all the knee-jerk tearing them apart, there is some learning and modification going on - few Light on the Road to Damascus events as that's not usually how change happens, but a few.

    But putting Maiello in the same class as me? He's a much nicer, less disagreeable guy than I am, despite his penchant for wrestling and parading about in underwear. Or maybe because of it. Anyway, pretty false equivalence. I argue, he reasons.

    Okay, you started going out fully clothed without spandex or ladies' tights - I stand corrected (& nice moves there, buddy. See? I can be rehabilitated, can change my opinion - I'm not even the menace to society I used to be. Most times.)

    Just formal wear!

    Thanks for the kind words, Peracles.

    Okay you're a man.

    Way ta correct yourself there, Halliburton.

    Well, I hoped there'd be more of an epiphany, otherwise it was more fun leaving the chuckle in place.

    I know right, how many years have we fought virtually? I think it could be uncountable. Although Wolraich might have the count if we asked him, lol. But one thing for sure I do know about you PP, not just that you are a man, although this is true, is that we want to see the same things for our country. We want it to be better, we want our government to be better and we want liberals in government. 

    So I am sure, we will have another virtual scuffle in the future and beyond, because if there is one thing you and I both know.... This is the way of the world, we fight it out, (I'm always right of course) and then we move on! Mostly. wink

    Of course. I'm just letting you be right for now, but I'm keeping my list for when this is all over. Habit from my Nixon days, no grudge unturned. PUYA!!!

    Neocon ,schmeeocon, how about fuckin' dumb?.

    And it ain't about protect, it's about subjugate...the only legitimate army of protection wears blue helmets and answers to Ban Ki-Moon

    Yup JR - I'm really questioning her smarts at this point.  A number of really stupid unforced errors.  Illegal home-brewed server?  GS speeches??   No fly zone!!!

    I'm signing in here for the first time in quite a while, even though I did lurk-read periodically, just to comment on this post. Now that your constant trumpeting of a Sanders inevitability seems to have been somewhere between wishful/magical thinking and an outright hallucination, you're not planning on sticking around to admit it? Face a few cold, hard facts? Maybe nosh on just a bit of crow? Color me ever so slightly less than surprised.

    I never trumpeted Sanders' inevitability - not once.  You must have me confused with another poster.

    You wrote:

    Chuliakis contends that Bernie has awakened America's sleeping youth. Millennials are now so engaged in politics Chuliakis writes, even if Clinton defeats Sanders, 

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL, he couldn't even get them to show up for the Nevada Caucus. They aren't any more engaged than they've ever been and they are more unwilling to actually vote. Hmm...

    Wait, what you wrote this also:

    even if Clinton defeats Sanders, “the old ways of doing business, the ways that the Gen-Xers and the Baby Boomers used to utterly trash the economy, the environment, and the geopolitical scene, will be rejected.”

    Gen-Xers have trashed the economy? Okidoki dude. It's just part and parcel of Bernie's message.. trash everyone who disagrees with me.. always, and blame them for everything bad and never take responsibility ever for anything. In this way Bernie, Trump and their hordes are no different, in fact I would say, they are exactly alike. 

    If you're trying to bash me t-Mac, major fail, I quoted Chuliakis for the purpose of challenging his conclusion that millennials would pressure Clinton to the left.  OTH - obviously, the neo-liberal agenda that Reagan pushed in earnest and Clinton and W (both baby-boomers) continued did wreak havoc on our economy.

    So now, in Hal-Ginsberg Land, Bill Clinton's economic management was on a par with Dubya's?

    Then again, what to expect from the guy who claimed in Obama's Arctic Hypocrisy "The problem is Obama's deeds are antithetical to his words.  He declined to thwart Shell's plan to drill for oil in the Chuckchi Sea."

    And then chastised yours truly for quoting a report on the well at an oil website (supposedly not a good source as it didn't support your opinion) that said the Obama administration restrictions on Shell were so severe Shell was likely to quit the Arctic, which they did a few weeks later.

    We all need to consider other sources of information, the closer to actual facts s possible, like what people actually said or did, and not op-ed type screeds of doubtful veracity meant to stir the pot or push a biased interpretation.

    Spare us your incessant attacks on how Hillary is a hundred ways a twisted neo-con villain. You sound too often like a political carnival barker, yet not as entertaining.

    From FuelFix, in May 2015, the fossil fuel funded periodical you previously cited - "Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said the government approval 'signals the confidence regulators have in our plan.'"   See also  No complaints in these articles about how mean the administration is to the poor oil and gas industry.

    Your argument is that Obama made things so difficult and expensive for drillers that they decided not to fight the power.  This claim is belied by Obama Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's announcement in October of last year:  "[T]he decision to cancel auctions scheduled for 2016 and 2017 was dictated by current economies for oil, and the harsh conditions of hunting for oil in the Arctic which had forced Shell to pull out."  No word about global warming or the threat of environmental catastrophe. 

    On the other hand, it is true that oil industry analysts say that new regulations made it too expensive for drillers.  To the extent this is true, Obama does not deserve as much credit as you want to assign him.  The new regulations were driven by environmentalists and other grassroots activists as much as by the administration's concerns.

    From Newsweek in October:

    Over the past several years, in response to lawsuits by environmental groups and Alaska Natives, public pressure for greater safety following the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and Shell’s series of failures in the Arctic, the federal government placed significant regulatory restrictions on Shell’s permits.


    Hal I would note the following points on your methods, exhibited again in your response post.

    We are supposed to believe Obama doesn't believe or care about climate change because Sally Jewel didn't mention it in some press release last October??: I faintly remember a conference in Paris recently......

    Your method:

    1. You jump to conclusions with weak evidence, biased opinions or your own subjective take on a 'fact'.
    2. You embellish the conclusion to portend the worst possible outcome, sinister concealed motives, while impugning the honesty, and vilifying the target (Obama, Hillary etc.)
    3. You do not seek out other contrary facts, opinions or mitigating evidence that dispute or shed doubt on your conclusions.
    4. You think you're the smartest guy on the block. For instance, other posters don't even know who runs a website from which they get information, (or that what some cabinet person says is controlled by Obama and show he is bad lying etc blah blah.)
    5 You seem to think you are a constituency of one, and a President, or Secretary of State, has no other job than to please and satisfy you.

    THIS, 1000 TIMES THIS.

    At no time did I write Clinton's economic mismanagement was on par with W's.  But Clinton did do grievous long-term economic harm - NAFTA and signing off on Gramm-Rudman-Bliley which repealed Glass-Steagall and deregulated derivatives come immediately to mind.

    You write - "We all need to consider other sources of information, the closer to actual facts s possible, like what people actually said or did, and not op-ed type screeds of doubtful veracity meant to stir the pot or push a biased interpretation."  I agree with this.  Which sources do you rely upon to challenge your preconceived notions?  Do you ever find any persuasive?

    Folks, I understand there's a primary going on, and the feelings are a little intense, but let's please show some respect. You can disagree without the derision. I've got some big life stuff going on at the moment so I can't spend  time monitoring the thread, but I'm trusting you to uphold dagblog's tradition of civil debate. Thank you. 

    I first read that as "dagblog's tradition of civil hate". Putting down the sharp objects now, backing away slowly...

    LOL.. man that made me laugh PP.

    Hi Mike! 

    Yeah, we look at the repubs and find nothing but evil in everything they espouse.

    Kascich looks nice. I mean as far as nice can become with repubs and I have written much about this.

    But damn! Hillary has attempted to do so much for this country.

    And so has Bernie.

    But we find ourselves back into 2008....

    Look, Hillary is going to win.

    And we shall win.

    But I love Bernie.

    But let us be civil.

    Thank you for this.

    Why do you believe "Hillary is going to win" = "We shall win"?  What specific policies that Hillary sincerely champions and can enact on her own or can get through Congress mean we win?

    Hal ,let me try to respond to your  question of whether Hillary can get policies through Congress that would mean we win.

    Deconstructing: , you believe there's a reasonable chance that Bernie would implement Medicare for all.( MFA) Which presumably means you believe there's a reasonable chance that ,with him as the candidate, ,we could achieve an electoral result yielding a sufficiently  Demo Congress to pass MFA

    If you don't believe such  an electoral result is possible then it would be illogical for you to nevertheless  argue  we should elect Bernie because he wants to implement MFA. And you're not illogical.

    If I make the same assumption about the electoral outcome- that there could be a Congress able to pass MFA-then it's reasonable for me to hope that a President Hillary could champion and get through that favorable Congress improvements in Obamacare. 

    A win.



    I think Sanders has put forth a plausible explanation for how he would move our country to the left and ultimately get liberal legislation passed.  Clinton has not done so.  Moreover, I'm still in the dark as to how she wants to improve Obamacare although I'm sure she's set it out somewhere.  Flavius - I appreciate the respectful tone you employed in your comment.  Thank you.

    The plan is plausible but all the evidence so far is that it's not working. Sanders needs a plan to turn all that enthusiasm among the young into actual bodies at polling places casting actual votes. If he can't get them to do a small thing like go vote he's surely not going to get them to come to Washington to scream at the republicans to pass his legislation.

    You're right.  But we have a duty to support the plan if we agree with it to join with Sanders.  If we don't join with Sanders, it is we who are letting ourselves down.  If we don't agree with the plan, we have a moral obligation to come up with another way to effectuate change because the status quo is frankly not acceptable.  I don't see how Clinton's plan a) is any more likely to succeed and if it is successful b) will bring about change.

    No Hal, we have a "duty" to support the plan we both agree with and believe has a reasonable chance of happening. A plan that doesn't happen will not work and I don't believe Sanders plan will happen. As I posted the evidence is clear that so far it's not happening.

    I can believe in the incremental approach. When I look at history, especially American history, I see amazing changes over the last 300 years. The end of slavery, rights for women, and civil rights for minorities. The changes in the last 300 years are unprecedented in human history. Yet for all these astonishing advances for human rights in any individual's lifetime change often seemed negligible and excruciatingly slow.

    That's how change happens. That's the change I can believe in. I wish for a peaceful political revolution. I wish for major changes. But I don't see them happening historically nor do I see them happening now.

    There will not be a revolution. People fear change. Every generation has to be dragged kicking and screaming into the future by a small number of committed liberals.Their children will accept the changes and wouldn't change them back if they could but they give no credit to the liberals that made it possible. They in their turn will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the future by a small number of committed liberals.

    Over any short time span the people can only be dragged a limited distance into the future. Incremental change is all we've got.

    I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now is a song I'd like to sing along with but I can't because  it's not a workable plan.



    We agree that each of us has a duty to support a plan that we believe will work to change the status quo.  Obviously if you don't believe a plan will work, you don't agree with it.  Your view is that Clinton's plan has a greater chance of success.  I disagree first because I don't know what her plan is and second because I don't believe Clinton wants to be a change agent given her record and who finances her.  But, who knows?  Maybe I'm wrong.

    Brilliant, Ocean-kat.  That's exactly how it happens.  Incrementally, with maddening slowness.  The exception may have been FDR and the Great Depression, but for the people suffering the most the move forward must have seemed like molasses.

    You're right, too, that the next generation never appreciates what liberals have done for them.  They do want revolution, or think they do, but they don't know how to go about it and they don't have the fever for it.  Not for long.

    Bernie's campaign is a wonderful thing to behold.  We need everything Bernie says we do.  We need it now.  Right now.  But it won't happen right now and the people most passionate for immediate change--especially young people--will get tired of waiting and move on.  They'll eventually blame Bernie for not getting it done--as if one person could do it single-handed--and the revolution will be over. 

    The after-effects may go on, and they should go on, but in this climate, with this kind of opposition, the change will be incremental and frustratingly slow.  That doesn't mean we should ever stop fighting, and no matter which of the Democratic candidates wins the primaries, we won't stop fighting.  There is too much at stake and we know the enemy too well.

    Perhaps, as Wolraich claims, I over state the effect of incremental change. But I see even FDR as the product of decades of small changes. Could he have passed SS in not for a century of labor activism and the slow growth of unions? As big a change as SS started off as a relatively small change.

    "Exclusions exempted nearly half of the working population.[11] Nearly two-thirds of all African Americans in the labor force, 70 to 80 percent in some areas in the South, and just over half of all women employed were not covered by Social Security.[13][14] At the time, the NAACP protested the Social Security Act, describing it as “a sieve with holes just big enough for the majority of Negroes to fall through."

    When the first union had 100 members that might have seemed like no change at all, but then 1000, then 10,000 etc. That's part of the incremental change. When the first pro union congressman or senator was elected he had no power or influence at all but it was an incremental change that was at the beginning of all the pro labor legislation we saw decades later from FDR.

    Did the election of Elizabeth Warren change much in Washington? I haven't seen numerous progressive legislation passed. But it's a powerful small change that can lead to greater changes. I doubt that Sanders would have done so well if Warren hadn't primed the ground with her election and fights with Wall Street.

    FDR stole much of Huey Long's platform, Share Our Wealth (Every Man a King}. 7.5 million club members, 60 million radio listeners. Long got assassinated, but Robert Penn Warren left him a great paean as compensation, as did Randy Newman. Wonder if Bernie supporters would ever cotton to a Southerner.

    {Yes, kids, bigger than Katrina}

    Actually, that's not how change happens. At least, that's not how it happens with an obstructionist Congress like ours. Can you name a single progressive bill since 2010? Do you really think that any Democratic president elected in 2016 will be able to pass any reforms at all?

    I think it's self-evident that there will be no progressive change, none, until Democrats win back Congress. So the important question at this moment is not who has better polices but who has better politics. Who will do a better job of winning back Congress?

    Once that happens, we can talk about pragmatism and compromise and incremental change, but it ain't happening in 2016, not in the House. So we need a president who can turn the House Democratic in 2018 or 2020. Is Hillary that president? Would she be better than Sanders? Not so clear.

    PS Without getting into the details, real change happens in fits and starts--a big whoosh and then very little decades. So you are right that change happens very slowly over the long time, but it's not a steady rise. Periods of actual change are quite rapid. Look at the 1790s, the 1860s, the 1910s, the 1930s, and the 1960s.

    I guess it depends on how you date change. One could say suddenly in 1920 women got the right to vote. I see it as the culmination of incremental changes over at least a century. Slowly activism grew as more and more women wrote books or agitated for women's suffrage. A couple of western states granted women the right to vote. When a sufficient minority of men and women supported a women's right to vote legislature were forced to act. That action may have seemed quite sudden and a major shift but it was preceded by decades of hard work and incremental change.

    I agree that the big national legislative changes depended on grassroots movements and state initiatives that started much earlier. But those pioneers were not Hillary Clintons, not top-down pragmatists. They were Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the wild-eyed radicals who dared to fight for a seemingly impossible dream. Clinton talks about getting things done, but she will not and cannot possibly get anything done in the legislature as it stands. Sanders talks about building a national movement. I don't know if he's the guy to lead it, but he does have the right strategy for creating political change.

    I agree. But the radicals and the progressive pragmatics all have a role to play. We need both because most of the time the radicals can't get elected. They work together though often a bit reluctantly. If it wasn't for 50 years of work by the NAACP pushing for change, educating and changing the minds of white liberals the ground wouldn't have been fertile for MLK. But the fertile ground would not have born as much fruit if Kennedy and Johnson, the "Clintons" of their time, hadn't been in the White House.

    Which is partly what I think Hillary was trying to say in 08 when she was accused of dissing MLK.


    I'm not suggesting that pragmatism has no role to play in a future progressive revival. I'm arguing that it's useless (and perhaps even counterproductive) in the current environment.

    Perhaps. I agree that there is a near zero chance that the house will flip democratic and therefore a near zero chance that anything Hillary or Sanders are proposing will get passed

    The wild-eyed radicals rarely run for president.  They hang around on the fringes and build their revolutionary momentum from the outside, not the inside.  Once they're on the inside, any hint of radical views would, by necessity, have to take a back seat to actual governing.  They're much more effective as the conscience of the movement, railing against an establishment that, more often than not, has spaghetti for guts. 

    Elizabeth Warren understands that, which is why I think she chose not to run for president.  She knows her effectiveness lies in pushing the powers-that-be to the left--nearer to her point of view.  She couldn't do that while occupying the White House as the leader of the free world.

    Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony didn't seek higher office--not that they could have, anyway--but worked from outside the inner circle to accomplish what they did.

    Bernie's strong points are his appeal to those who think government has let them down.  Once he becomes part of the establishment, trying without much success to be all things to all people, his strength as a revolutionary leader will water down to nothing.  Those counting on him will hate him for not getting it done and they'll go looking for someone else to lead the charge.  It'll be a shame, since Bernie does what he does so well right where he is.

    The Peter Principal in action. 

    On the contrary, many wild-eyed radicals have run for president. John Fremont, Victoria Woodhull, William Jennings Bryan, Bob La Follette, Theodore Roosevelt (in his radical 1912 phase) and Eugene McCarthy, to name a few. They rarely win, obviously, but their national exposure helps galvanize the movement.

    I think arguments about Bernie's ability to win are quite reasonable. It's the argument that as president he wouldn't get anything done because he's so radical that seem specious to me, since it's blatantly obvious that no Democratic president will get anything done with this Congress. And I do believe that Bernie has a smarter strategy than Hillary for changing Congress.

    PS I predict that Warren will run at some time. She just decided that this was not the year.

    Agree on Warren---good judgment on her part. Don't get your "smarter strategy point". And we haven't much discussed down ticket races---Bernie might improve turnout but Hillary has so far raised more money for other candidates.

    You need to look past the 2016 election. Sanders repeats ad nauseam that he wants to build a movement. Not a burst of election energy like Obama generated but an enduring national progressive movement. A movement that will give Democrats not a president, not a narrow, ephemeral congressional majority, but the kind of public support and government domination that created our progressive institutions in the 20th century.

    Obama did not make an effort to do that. Hillary will not make an effort to do that. But we have to do that if we ever hope to climb out of this morass in which we have become trapped.

    Sanders is in a great position right now to keep the movement going, but I don't see how he can wear two hats as president--which is what he would have to do in order to satisfy the revolutionaries.  What he and Elizabeth Warren have done to grab hearts and minds is pretty remarkable, but what happens when Bernie becomes president and actually has to govern with the same stubborn majority blocking his every move?  The people supporting his call for a revolution won't settle for anything less than a full-blown, immediate turn-around, and he won't be able to deliver. 

    My hope is that he'll keep doing what he's doing, just not as president.

    Hillary will likely do it, but she discovered it's a huge mistake for the primaries - distracts from the early states and helps the opponent focused on early key wins. But yes, she mentioned it before and the Clinton's are pretty good with coattails

    And Huey Long, though he died before got a chance in 1936. Might have changed our impression of the New Deal drastically.

    Any democrat winning over any of the republicans is a win for us, especially if Trump gets the nomination. If you don't see that we don't have sufficient common ground to agree on anything. I've listed several reasons in previous discussions. Here are two more. Replacing Scalia and Ginsberg and likely a couple more. I'm sure I'll have complaints during Hillary's presidency. I'm also sure I'd have complaints during a Sanders presidency. You weren't here for the last 8 years but I've had many complaints about Obama. No matter what disappointments I've had he was immeasurably better than McCain or Romney. There are many reasons I supported Obama, here's just two.  Kagan and Sotomayor.

    I agree the Supreme Court is by far the best argument for the proposition that a Clinton win is a win for us.

    Hal, in spite of much effort and outreach, Sanders has been largely unable to expand on his mostly white base. He's basically conceded South Carolina and is focusing his time and money on the five Super Tuesday states that are majority white and favorable to him. From a campaign standpoint that makes perfect sense. But do you think that sends the wrong message to black and brown voters who may feel that his attempts at inclusion were temporary?

    Thanks for asking barefooted what I think is a good question and one I've pondered myself.  I guess it boils down to priorities for Sanders.  Time is very limited.  He knows he's going to get hammered in SC so he just can't afford to spend more time there when he might have a shot at winning Massachussetts if he devotes a day to campaign in the Bay State.  Still I agree the optics aren't good.  Too bad optics often decide races rather than positions, proposed policies, and records.

    Unfortunately for him, this particular problem is so much more than optics. In fact, describing it that way could easily be considered dismissive at best.

    As I said, it makes sense for his campaign to focus on states where he can at least rack up delegates, if not wins. And yes, SC is a done deal. But if he wins the nomination, the minority vote is essential for general election success for Democrats - both for the presidency as well as down ballot. The states he's currently downplaying will matter.

    For all of Hillary's problems in the electorate, the diversity of her support is strong and loyal. What is the Sanders answer to that? (Knowing, of course, that you're a supporter only and not speaking for his campaign.)

    Let's assume for this discussion that support for Hillary is indeed strong and deep within minority communities and Bernie still gets the nomination.  My hope and expectation in the general election would be that the Clintons will act as surrogates for him in southern states and President Obama will also endorse Sanders strongly.  In addition, the argument that Clinton supporters employ when addressing concerns about the lack of passion she generates is that the Republican nominee, especially if it's Trump, will generate enthusiasm within the Democratic base.  Obviously, the same dynamic will be in play if Bernie is the nominee facing Trump.  Finally, as Charles Blow points out in today's NYT, as minority voters are getting to know Bernie they are slowly warming up to him.

    Thank you for engaging with me in a respectful dialogue.

    "slowly warming up to him" - might I suggest global warming is moving faster?

    here's the mood from South Carolina.

    That reflects the one cleavage in the black vote in South Carolina: between young and old. The crowd in Aiken was especially elderly; the crowd in Bennettsville was more evenly distributed, but it leaned older, too. Clinton retains an edge among younger African Americans in the state, but it’s much smaller than her overall lead,

    2028 or bust...

    Interesting jollyroger but not surprising.

    We live in hope..

    cleavage and bust? it's just pushin to get out, ain't it.

    Hal, if you read the Charles Blow NYT piece in full, then you realize that your brief mention of what he wrote is a bit disingenuous.

    I inferred from Blow's piece this phrase - "as minority voters are getting to know Bernie they are slowly warming up to him" - with which you take issue.  In response to your comment, I went over Blow's article closely.  In fact, what I wrote is inaccurate.  Blow's third paragraph is

    There is tremendous enthusiasm among Sanders’s supporters, and their overall numbers appear to keep growing as time passes. But that’s one of the problems: He’s running out of time.

    It is not a fair inference from this paragraph that the apparently overall growing numbers include increasing support from African-Americans.  At no point does Blow suggest that the "incredible strides" Bernie is making includes inroads in the black community.  So BF you are correct in pointing out my error. 

    On the other hand your use of the word disingenuous to describe the mistake is unfair.  Disingenuous suggests my error was one of commission not omission.  In other words,you are saying I deliberately misled readers.  In fact, I read the Blow article in full but mistakenly thought he was referring to minority voters when he twice mentioned Bernie's growing popularity.

    Perhaps my error resulted from confirmation bias but it was not disingenuous, i.e., it was not insincere nor was I being duplicitous, deceitful, or mendacious.  I implore commenters not to assume bad faith in bloggers here.

    I responded to what you wrote. While I like to consider myself somewhat intuitive, I am not yet always able to discern between a deliberate misinterpretation and a mistaken one.

    Then you would be wise not to assume the error was deliberate.

    I'm pretty clear on Bernie's positions and proposed policies.  I did go and look at all the laws he sponsored and co-sponsored but I am completely in the dark as to his actual record of accomplishments.  I agree they should be more important than optics, but that said...what does his record look like?  

    That record is certainly more important than what he would LIKE to do, since his ability get get things done in the past might indicate his likelihood of success in the future. Has he gotten coalitions in his years in Congress to push his agenda?  As an Independent has he been able to get both sides of the aisle to work with him to get any of his policy issues through?


    Thanks for asking about Bernie Sanders' accomplishments CVille Dem.  Here are a few.

    Last year, he won the Veterans of Foreign Wars award for best member of Congress.  Here's the announcement:

    With eight years on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee — two of them as chairman — it is no understatement to say that Senator Sanders has taken care of wounded, ill and injured veterans and their surviving family members,” said Stroud. “He has been a commanding voice against changing the COLA calculations for disabled veterans, for the proper care and treatment of women veterans, homeless veterans, for better employment opportunities and improved access to mental health programs, as well as increased congressional oversight of the VA claims processing transformation,” he said.  

    “And when the VA imploded last year, he was the lead negotiator for the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which the president signed into law last summer,” said the VFW national commander. “The VA still has an uphill climb to fix what’s broken, to hold employees appropriately accountable, and to restore the faith of veterans in their VA, but veterans everywhere should be proud and comforted to know that this United States senator has their back in Congress.” 

    Given how much Sanders talks about single-payer healthcare, you'd think he played at least some role when the Affordable Care Act was being legislated.  He did.  As Common Dreams noted on December 19, 2009:

    A $10 billion investment in community health centers, expected to go to $14 billion when Congress completes work on health care reform legislation, was included in a final series of changes to the Senate bill unveiled today.

    The provision, which would provide primary care for 25 million more Americans, was requested by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

    It turns out these centers have been so important to the success of the program, President Obama announced last year that the opening of "hundreds [more] community health centers in underserved areas nationwide with funding from the Affordable Care Act."

    These days, progressive legislators don't always have the opportunity to make a significant mark since passing laws that benefit the public has become increasingly tricky given the influence of big money over the system.  Still Sanders has obviously made a difference for veterans and communities without adequate numbers of healthcare providers.  When he was Mayor of Burlington in 80s, he pushed successfully a number of initiatives that made the city a better place to live for rich and poor alike.   The Nation Magazine details these in What Kind of Mayor was Bernie Sanders.  Here are just a few highlights:

    [In order to prevent low-income housing from being converted to more expensive condos,] Sanders. . . worked with the state government and Senator Patrick Leahy to get the $12 million needed to purchase and rehabilitate the buildings.  The city allocated funds to help the tenants hire an organizer, form the Northgate Residents Association, and start the process of converting the complex to resident ownership. Today, Northgate Apartments is owned by the tenants and has long-term restrictions to keep the buildings affordable for working families.

    . . .

     Thanks to the enduring influence of the progressive climate that Sanders and his allies helped to create in Burlington, the city’s largest housing development is now resident-owned, its largest supermarket is a consumer-owned cooperative, one of its largest private employers is worker-owned, and most of its people-oriented waterfront is publicly owned. Its publicly owned utility, the Burlington Electric Department, recently announced that Burlington is the first American city of any decent size to run entirely on renewable electricity.

    . . .

     Thanks to Sanders, the Burlington waterfront now has a community boathouse and other facilities for small boats. There’s also a sailing center and science center, a fishing pier, an eight-mile bike path, acres of parkland, and public beaches. The commercial development is modest and small-scale. On May 26, Sanders kicked off his presidential campaign with a rally at Waterfront Park.

    . . .

    Under Sanders, Burlington became a magnet for attracting and incubating locally owned businesses, many of which expanded into large enterprises. Burton, the nation’s largest snowboard company, has its headquarters (as well as a snowboard museum) in Burlington.

    Thanks for the response.  I have to say that Bernie's record is good as far as what he has done, but kind of thin in terms of how much he has done in all these years.  

    Here is a summary of his opponent's accomplishments:

    Hillary majored in Political Science at Wellesley College and graduated from Yale Law School; worked with the House Committee during the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon; was a professor at the University of Arkansas teaching criminal law; worked at the Rose Law Firm working pro bono in child advocacy; founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families; was the first women to be appointed as chief on the board of directors of Legal Service (by President Jimmy Carter ) where she tripled funding from $90 million to $300 million; was First Lady of Arkansas where she was chair of the Rural Health Advisory Committee providing medical facilities in the poorest zones; lead the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee to improve the educational standard for teachers, curriculum and classroom size; chaired the commanding position in the New World Foundation; served on the board of directors of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession that fought against gender bias; was the first ‘First Lady of the United States’ to hold a postgraduate degree and have an office in the West Wing, in addition to having the First Lady office in the East Wing, where she was often called co-president for playing such an active role in public policies; created the Children’s Health Insurance Program promoting immunizations and mammograms for breast cancer screenings, and funded research on prostate cancer and childhood asthma; commenced the initiation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act; created an Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice; as FLOTUS, she visited 79 countries to amend their relations with the United States; was the first woman & FLOTUS to be elected as U.S. Senate from New York and was re-elected; appointed Secretary of State under the Obama administration where she continued to raise her voice for women’s rights and human rights; awarded the Living Legacy Award in 1994, a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 1997, the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999, the Mother Teresa Award for her humanitarian efforts in 2009, the Margaret Sanger Award for outstanding contributions to reproductive health and rights movement in 2009, the Salute to Greatness Award in 2009, the George McGovern Leadership Award for her commitment and visionary approach to ending global hunger in 2010, the Champions for Change Award for Leadership in 2012, and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Peace and Reconciliation in 2012...

    I have the impression that Hillary has a broader and deeper set of accomplishments and a world-view to go with them.

    That's an amazing list, CVille.  Where did it come from?  I would like to use it but it probably needs attribution.  If you put it together, would you mind if I shared it?

    Ramona, It was a post on fb and I did go and check many of the facts and they were all accurate. I stopped checking after ten of them. Yes by all means.  It was meant to be shared.   

    Thanks.  I'm a bit uneasy about posting anything like this without attributes.  I may try to find out who posted it first. 

    I'm not in a fighting mood.  I certainly would argue his accomplishments are more impressive.

    I have followed many months of discussion you and others have initiated regarding Clinton's willingness to use military force. What strikes me most after poring through all the predictions that she will be Bush III is that the opposite course is always treated as a clear road not taken. Leaving aside what and who are neocons, what does the "anti-neocon" look like? Given that the U.S. has gotten entangled with so many conflicts on so many levels through out the world, it doesn't mean anything automatically to say we are not "intervening."

    It is absurd to see so many "noninterventionists" claim that "we" should leave tyrants and strongmen in place because they keep the peace. Those sorts of power centers also came from interventions of various kinds. The blithe unconcern about the forces that brought events about is not a measure of intellectual integrity. To imagine the solution is some kind of cross between St. Francis Assisi and Bowie's Man Who Fell to Earth is a cop out.

    I am very interested in hearing an alternative to the well defined view Clinton has presented of the United States' role in a globalized society. Sanders hasn't done that. He isn't fighting for that change.

    You won't hear it from Bernie, but a migration of sovereignty upward is the only solution.  It will not come before the world version of Shays Rebellion scares the snot outta the Bilderbergen.


    The migrant refugee crisis is a current candidate.

    I get where you are going but it would dilute the discussion about particular election choices proposed by the poster Hal for me to take up your challenge now.

    Rain check?

    Sure. I've been sneaking up on a standalone world government post for awhile

    After voting for Adlai,  Humphrey,McGovern, Carter (in 1980) Mondale, Dukakis,Gore  and Kerry I finally learned that the good guys don't always win.  Otherwise I'd be supporting Bernie , which I'm not.

    Choosing a next door neighbor I'd  vastly prefer all the above. Per se and ,god knows, compared with their respective opponents.But elections ain't bean bag. We've learned.

    I didn't , and don't, admire Hillary's husband or many of his trade mark policies from Nafta to Welfare reform to Monica. And I sure wouldn't want my grand daughter to be his baby sitter. But if he were running again for the nomination I'd vote for him in a New York minute.

    I really, really am sick of losing to the sort of opponents who will inevitably once again install a Thomas or Roberts or Alito on the court.. "Fool me once....."

    That eminent philosopher Leo Durocher observed "Nice guys finish last". He was right. 

    If Hillary wants to talk to Goldman Sachs, great. If some of those G Sachers  contribute big bucks to her campaign. And maybe even vote for her . Great again Let's hear it for investment bankers!

    Maybe if there were 300 more investment bankers or hedge fund managers in Florida in 2000 we'd have been spared all  that followed..

    I admire Hal for sticking to his guns. And going to New Hampshire to put his money where his mouth was. But I desperately hope he'll be disappointed in August.  If the alternative  Democratic nominee is a dishonest, money- grubbing, militaristic , woman ( no names please) who's able to get elected I'll trample down women, children and the disabled to get to the polls. And then go back wearing a wig and false nose to vote a second or third time .   ,  

    I'm going where you're going!  Thanks.

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