Thursday, April 28, 2016

Valid Point, Poor Article

I kind of agree with the point of this article about smug liberalism, but the article itself doesn't do a very good job of conveying the point (and you can probably look to this other Vox article for a good reason why).

There is certainly a fair amount of smug disdain from [more liberal] Democrats toward large elements of the Republican base, but pointing out all the ways that liberals are, in fact, correct, and that liberal positions have more soundly reasoned grounds is a poor way to convey that.  Further, the Kim Davis example is particularly problematic since liberal women (see; Clinton, Pelosi, Sotomayor) are quite regularly attacked for their looks.

The problem is not that liberals are right and conservatives are wrong. The problem is that the Republican party itself is not interested in governing or allowing for government to function.  It isn't ideology.

The problem is that people who don't agree, broadly, with the Democratic party don't have a capable, competent party to turn to.  They have to vote Republican or not at all.  Small parties like the Greens and Libertarians don't have sufficient standing to really impact things.

I am quite liberal myself, but I know that, aside from questions of fact (which are real, not smugness) there are other approaches to most problems/situations that I disagree with but which certainly can be valid.  There is not really a home for those positions any more.

People who don't like Democratic positions have a choice between a party they don't agree with and one that is full of extremists, reactionaries and racists, and some of those people, who may be none of those things, will nevertheless vote for that party because they see it as the lesser of two evils...which, frankly is also what a lot of Democratic voters do.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Good Post By Krugman on Sanders/Clinton

Since I've given Paul Krugman lots of shit about many of his anti-Bernie columns I feel obligated to give kudos to a good anti-Bernie column.  (Yes, despite the fact that he has no idea that I've been giving him shit nor would he care if he did know.)

I pretty much got his point of view from earlier columns but they were very dismissive of any point of view that would lead someone to support Sanders over Clinton, which, frankly is what is relevant.  We are not looking at these two candidates vs. Platonic forms but vs. each other, and there are perfectly legitimate reasons to select either candidate depending on your personal preferences/ideas.

I also agree with Krugman's problems with Sanders, but I'm not sure I agree so much with him on Clinton.  I think it is quite possible she learned the wrong lessons from Iraq and the financial crisis...not nothing as with Republicans, but still not the right lessons.

Didn't Watch But...

From what I'm hearing (and reading) the Democratic debate last night was a disaster.  Hillary Clinton is almost certainly going to be the Democratic nominee, but she also looks like the weaker general election candidate (and as this has gone on, weaker Democratic primary candidate).  There are perfectly logical reasons for that.

Clinton is a mainstream Democrat.  She is actually to the right of most of the Democratic base, and that should position her well for a general election run.  This year, however, being mainstream is a big negative.  Outside of the DC political class, most people across the spectrum are not happy with the way the government is [not] working right now, and mainstream candidates are symbols of the broken system.  For Republicans that means Trump and Cruz are dominant.  For Democrats, who are far more diverse (demographically and with respect to their disposition) don't much go for crazy, but there is a large group of left leaning voters who want to see someone different.  I suspect they would have gone ape shit for Warren, but Sanders is right there for most of them.

Aside from insider/outsider appearance, there is also the actual policy positions of Americans vs. historical party positions.  Most Americans would have loved to see the big banks broken up and (ir)responsible CEO's forced to pay back their obscene salaries if not outright jailed.  Clinton took huge speaking fees from them.  Now pretty much everyone (at least everyone with a remotely coherent thought on the subject) knows the Iraq war was a immense mistake.  Clinton voted for it, yes, but more recently she has been reliably more hawkish than many other Democrats, and far more so than the party base. These are big issues, and the former is even a big issue to Republican voters who are more likely to see Clinton as friendly to big banks than Trump (not true, but that's going to be the perception).

There is also--obviously and wrongly--a huge anti-Hillary bias among much of the population.  They're mostly Republicans, but lots of independents and even a fair number of Democrats too and those latter groups are a danger: if it's Hillary vs. Trump they're the most likely group to switch sides or stay home.

Then there is the demographic issue that doesn't help Clinton come the general election.  Her supporters are older, have voted regularly, and are almost certainly going to vote in November for the Democrat on the ballot.  Sanders' supporters skew young, with far more who have never voted before, and they are excited by Bernie himself.  If he is not on the ballot in November there is a much better chance that more of his supporters will just stay home.  Clinton might not need them (especially if Cruz is the nominee) but with her other general election negatives it would definitely be better to have them.

At this point in the contest, Bernie Sanders should be helping line up his supporters to vote for the Democratic nominee in November, and continuing attacks on Hillary Clinton isn't going to do that.  Clinton also needs to make nice with Sanders supporters and her going after Sanders himself isn't going to do that.  This debate seems like one that should have taken place 2+ months ago, while those earlier debates which were far more warm and fuzzy should have been the one last night.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Not Really All that Different

I think the line of argument Atrios is complaining about here is a natural response to differentiating between two people who really aren't that much different.  Yes, there are real (and I think significant) differences between Hillary and Bernie, but they are really quite insignificant compared with the differences between them and any Republican or them and Trump.

I think Hillary would be better at the logistics of the presidency and Bernie would be better at mobilizing [Democratic] base voters, which could move the legislative window of the possible a bit more liberal.  Obviously I am more aligned with Bernie in terms of policy, particularly foreign, but I don't feel strongly enough to try too hard to persuade others...and I have strong opinions.  I think the people trying to persuade are picking nits and most people don't care, so it becomes frustrating and then they lash out.

There is a caveat to not caring and it is the general election.  I think lots of Democrats view a Trump nomination as gifting Dems the White House, and my concern is that Dem and Dem sympathizing voters will become too complacent.  In a Trump vs. Clinton matchup, between the (irrational but widespread) loathing of all things Clinton (and, yes, Hillary in particular, and in part because she's a woman) and lots of complacency because "Oh, Trump can't possibly win" mentality I can see him winning that election.

The presidency of the United States should not be a joke.