Hillary against incrementalism

With incrementalism all the rage among non-Bernie Dems—like Sorta Medicare for Some—it’s worth recalling this passage, about the only honest and interesting one amidst endless tedious self-exculpations, from Hillary Clinton’s What Happened, her story of her shameful loss to Trump: Democrats should reevaluate a lot of our assumptions about which policies are politically viable. These trends make universal programs even more appealing than we previously thought. I mean programs like Social Security and Medicare, which benefit every American, as opposed to Medicaid, food stamps, and other initiatives targeted to the poor. Targeted… Read More

Liberal suffering

Dahlia Lithwick had a cri de coeur in Slate the other day, worrying that the faith she’d placed in Robert Mueller & Co. to deliver us from Trump may be misplaced. It might have been good news had this paradigmatic liberal realized that trusting prosecutors and the national security state to perform good works might not be such a great idea after all. But, no, Lithwick’s concern is that Trump and his cronies have no respect for the rule of law. This faith in the rule of law is touching—though, as Corey Robin often points out,… Read More

Dems in a pickle

I’ve written before about how the Hillary Democrats are running against hope, and how the Sanders campaign have outed them as frank corporate shills and enemies of even mild social democracy. But now even nominal liberals, or progressives, or whatever we’re calling them these days have gotten in on the act. Not content with merely saying “No!” to new programs like single-payer health insurance and free college, they’re highlighting the worst aspects of the New Deal in an effort to…well, what exactly? Promote Hillary? Fight Trump? It’s hard to tell. A few… Read More

Trump vs. HRC

At first I thought that Hillary Clinton would have no trouble dispensing with Donald Trump. Sure, she’s the second most unpopular presidential candidate (and likely nominee) in the history of polling—but he’s the first. She’s unpleasant, but he’s downright repellent. All she has to do is win Obama’s states and a swing state or two and it’s all over for Trump, and he’d go back to being a third-tier real estate guy. Now I’m not so sure. The same pundits and pollsters who assured us he could never get the nomination are… Read More

Hillary quotes conservatives

Although Hillary fans discount her early enthusiasm for Barry Goldwater, she did say this in 1996 (audio here): “I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with. I don’t recognize this new brand of Republicanism that is afoot now, which I consider to be very reactionary, not conservative in many respects. I am very proud that I was a Goldwater girl.” (Her distinction between “reactionary” and “conservative” is hard to parse; Goldwater voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, wanted to privatize Social Security, and once suggested… Read More

Katha Pollitt’s review of It Takes A Village

Katha Pollitt is now a big fan of Hillary Clinton, but she wasn’t always one, as this review of her dreadful book It Takes A Village shows (although the opening is a portent of the future). In the spirit of my earlier reposting of Katha’s polemic on the repeal of welfare, here’s her view of HRC’s pieties from twenty years ago. Clarification: the business with the ghostwriter, Barbara Feinman is serious; Hillary and the White House tried to stiff her out of her last payment, and she wasn’t acknowledged in the book. For more, see Carl… Read More

The New Republicans

In a remarkable New York Times story, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell has revealed the strategy of the Hillary Democrats as they face the challenge of Donald Trump: “For every one of those blue-collar Democrats he picks up, he will lose to Hillary two socially moderate Republicans and independents in suburban Cleveland, suburban Columbus, suburban Cincinnati, suburban Philadelphia, suburban Pittsburgh, places like that,” he said. In other words, they’re hoping to terrify the moderately conservative into voting for their candidate. Forget having any positive message that might attract disaffected “blue-collar Democrats,” meaning the white… Read More

Liberal redbaiting

The Sanders campaign has certainly sharpened the contradictions, hasn’t it? It’s been very clarifying to see Hillary Clinton and her surrogates running against single-payer and free college, with intellectual cover coming from Paul Krugman and Vox. Expectations, having been systematically beaten down for 35 years, must be beaten down further, whether it’s Hillary saying that to go to college one needs some “skin in the game,” or Rep. John Lewis reminding us that nothing is free in America. A challenge from the left has forced centrist Democrats to reveal themselves as proud capitalist tools. Latest… Read More

Complacency of the Dems

According to the Iowa Electronic Market (IEM), Hillary has an almost-90% chance of winning the Democratic nomination. Anything can happen of course, but I wouldn’t put much money on the other side of that bet. So what about November? As I write this, the IEM has Trump ahead of Rubio by 45–37. That may underestimate Trump’s chances, as people have been doing all along. Leaving that aside for now, I think that Dems are way too overconfident that Hillary can beat Trump in November. People are pissed and don’t want another president from Goldman Sachs. Trump… Read More

Pollitt responds to my response

Katha Pollitt is out with a response to my response to her review of My Turn. Once again, it’s largely free of any engagement with Hillary Clinton’s political history. It’s a short book, but there is a healthy amount of detail about some rather terrible things she’s done over her four decades in public life. Katha touches briefly on a few, but the blows are merely glancing. I understand why she might not want to engage, since those terrible things undermine some of Hillary’s supporters’ most cherished claims about her, notably all the work she’s done… Read More

Katha Pollitt on My Turn

Katha Pollitt reviews My Turn in the January 25 issue of The Nation. I suppose it’s undignified for an author to take issue with a reviewer, but I’m confident that I can transcend such petty concerns. I should say right away that Katha is a friend; not only am I very fond of her personally, I’ve admired her writing (both prose and poetry) for more years than either of us would probably like to count. But she got some things wrong, which I will enumerate politely. It’s funny how often defenses of Hillary Clinton begin with confessing a… Read More