The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Bush would have endorsed Obama if asked

From the FT:

“The venue was the Oval Office. A group of British dignitaries, including Gordon Brown, were paying a visit. It was at the height of the 2008 presidential election campaign, not long after Bush publicly endorsed John McCain as his successor… Trying to be even-handed and polite, the Brits said something diplomatic about McCain’s campaign, expecting Bush to express some warm words of support for the Republican candidate… ‘I probably won’t even vote for the guy,’ Bush told the group, according to two people present. ‘I had to endorse him. But I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me.'”

And why not, it’s not hyperbole at all to say that Obama is Bush’s third term.  He has embraced Bush’s wars, Bush’s approach to executive power, Bush’s civil liberties doctrines and Bush’s economic doctrines.  The differences exist, but they are not significant.  In almost every way that matters, Obama took Bush’s constitutional order and institutionalized it, giving it a bipartisan imprimatur.


In Flanders Field




  1. Chris

    He is looking at a primary challenge which will increase in ferocity the further reich he steers.

  2. votermom

    I believe that Bush would have endorsed Obama if Obama’s backer$ had asked him to — seeing as they are also Bush’s backer$.

  3. alyosha

    As you point out, they’re all members of the same club, and so I suspect Bush’s statement is motivated more by pettiness and personal animus against McCain than anything else.

  4. anon2525

    “I had to endorse him. But I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me.”

    Of course, that would have screwed up the whole yes-we-can/change-you-can-believe-in lie.

    …it’s not hyperbole at all to say that Obama is Bush’s third term.

    Which means that Obama’s campaign of “change” was a massive, deliberate lie.

  5. Making the whole “hope and change” schtick a fraud. Which is no surprise, since the elite lives by fraud.

  6. Z

    And today we are awoken with the news that obama is all for extending the bush tax cuts to the very rich (broken obama campaign promise 1,738) and that he’s on the verge of approving a free trade agreement that bush, and the big corporate lap dawg clinton, would have been proud of (broken obama campaign promise 1,739)

    Also, for those out there that like babble about how hillary clinton is different than her husband and all the wonderful things that the face on our odious foreign policy would have done for working class america if we were so fortunate to have her as her president, note this from the above link:

    The trade deal is seen as a sop to Korea so the US can maintain a military presence in the region. There are over 28,000 US troops still on the South Korean peninsula, and Obama visited them yesterday. Hillary Clinton has been pushing hard for the agreement, and its ratification is the fondest wish of the Chamber of Commerce. So once again, more middle class jobs would be sacrificed for the sake of militarism and interventionism.


  7. Tom

    Look, I agree with most of what’s been posted, but let’s get one thing straight – there wasn’t a fucking chance in hell that Bush would have endorsed Obama.

  8. Oh, dearie me.

    * * *

    So, the PUMAs were right, then?

  9. Matt Russo

    Yes, Obama is to Baby Bush what Clinton was to Reagan: the institutionalization of each lurch rightward. It’s gotta stop, people.

    Obama has been reading from the Clinton playbook all along. If he continues to be a good boy, he hopes the Repubs will reward him with a Designated Loser(tm) candidate, as with Bob Dole, or John Kerry or McCain for that matter. That’s how the two parties share power. We need to mess that up, too.

    The only hope for putting a monkey wrench into this forlorn, foreordained process is if the Democratic Party leftists get solidly behind a genuinely “progressive” candidate (no, obviously not Hillary!) to run against Obama. The campaign should be as nasty, acrimonious and divisive as possible, focused on Obama’s naked betrayal of the obvious mandate entrusted to him by those that elected him in 2008.

    It should NOT be an attempt to “win” the Dem nomination a la 1972. What a brilliant maneuver by the right wing of the Dems to “refuse flank” and sit out the election, knowing full well that the left-liberals would then assume full responsibility for the re-election of Nixon. Don’t fall for that again! Never underestimate our opponents! We want the Clinton-Obama faction to take full responsibility for losing the White House, so we can continue to beat up on them after 2012. We are more likely to get a weak Republican President if they are running against Obama (who, thanks to this campaign will have to do a strong fake left in the general election), rather than a McGovern-like opponent, where they may switch horses and run a strong candidate.

    We need to get Obama removed as an obstacle asap. You have to give it to our ruling class for lining up behind him in 2008. Obama has been an excellent foil against any leftist mobilization to fight for its program. Gosh, how can liberals oppose a “black man”, our “first black President”? And so forth. Never underestimate our opponents!

    You know the list of betrayals. We can now add Obama’s lie about Afghan withdrawal, and extension of the Bush tax blackmail/giveaway to the wealthy. Obama is like clockwork with the electoral schedule, isn’t he? The guy is so blatantly in your face with the deceptions and betrayals, isn’t he? If none of this makes you very angry, then let me suggest that you stop following politics altogether – you don’t belong in the arena.

    I don’t support the Democrats, but I would fully support this kind of effort. We are moving into very angry times. Stay tuned.

    Politics is a blood sport. We must extract vengeance. The fighting spirit we need over the next 2 years:

    Men of Harlech stop your dreaming
    Can’t you see their spear points gleaming
    See their warrior pennants streaming
    To this battlefield!

  10. anon2525

    … obama is all for extending the bush tax cuts… he’s on the verge of approving a free trade agreement that bush, and the big corporate lap dawg clinton, would have been proud of…

    Obama is not the only Democrat. He can’t get these passed by himself. Just like the Medical Insurance Company Protection Act and TBTF Protection Act that were passed earlier this year, the democratic party is responsible if they support these bills/treaties.

  11. Z


    I agree.


  12. Z

    Actually, it looks like the free trade agreement with South Korea may have hit a snag: they won’t go for some apparently small changes concerning opening up the auto and beef markets to U.S. companies which weren’t in a preliminary agreement that the Koreans had made with bush. So … for now … my contention that “(obama’s) on the verge of approving a free trade agreement that bush … would have been proud of” doesn’t apply. And, I believe, that concerns about opening up the auto markets was the reason that hillary clinton was against a U.S.-Korea free trade agreement during the 2008 democratic presidential nomination campaign also.


  13. S Brennan

    Mark this is BS:

    “Yes, Obama is to Baby Bush what Clinton was to Reagan”

    Your whole post is devoid of facts and populated with revisionist history. I was highly critical of Clinton while in office.

    Some basic history:

    For 6 years he worked with a fanatical right wing congress. The Democrats lost congress because they were/are self-aggrandizing pompous asses.

    The media was openly hostile to Clinton, Obama by comparison has gotten kid glove treatment befitting an established Republican, criticisms of Obama have been presented by individuals that appear as ranting lunatics.

    Clinton’s bad policy is limited to some very specific areas so let’s review for those not deranged or deluded by revisionist media talking points.

    1] Clinton’s energy policy sucked and he admits as much.

    2] Clinton’s trade policy sucked and he admits as much.

    3] Clinton’s economic policy sucked and got far worse in the last two years, he admits as much.

    Clinton/Gore were to name very few points:

    Tech supporters on policy and budget.

    Cut military expenditures in real terms while moving forward programs that would save money in the long run.

    Re-balanced taxes to be more fair…not fair, more fair.

    Re-balanced foreign policy to favor peaceful resolution over war, perhaps too much so in the case Rwanda [recall Somalia for which he was blamed] & Bosnia.

    Conducted the most successful war in US history…nothing comes close. he got no credit for this because to the left, ALL WARS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME, regardless of the facts. FYI, no General in modern warfare can match Clark’s accomplishment, a modern Military defeated with about 800 civillian deaths [~500 hundred in a single bridge/train destruction] and one US Soldier KIA and the capitulation of a Soviet/Russian backed fascist regime.

  14. marku

    I saw this referred to as Bush Full Strength and Bush Lite. I can go for this except the actual products seem terribly similar. Only the packaging has changed.

  15. Matt Russo

    “For 6 years he worked with a fanatical right wing congress. The Democrats lost congress because they were/are self-aggrandizing pompous asses.”

    (Ahem) Speaking of facts: For the first 2 years, Clinton did not have a “fanatical right wing congress”. Whereupon he pull off the “health care” fiasco. Like Mandos says, “Groundhog Day!”. The only thing admirable about Clinton is that he at least had the originality to write the playbook Obama so mechanically reads from.

    Your reply grossly ignores the vastly changed historical circumstances. Clinton benefited greatly from the situation of the post-Soviet collapse that imparted considerable, but temporary, power to the United States, and helped ignite an equally temporary economic boom. It was Clinton’s great crime that he did not use this fortuitous circumstance to enact some basic alterations in the US economic structure – Robert Rubin said No. Instead, politically there was plenty of room to move right. Now it is different and worse, hence Obama appears in a more unfavorable light.

    But I’m not here for useless debates with Clinton supporters, still less to debate the “merits” of Clinton vs. Obama. I am a socialist, I hate capitalism. As a Clinton supporter, you are a moderate conservative. I suspect we don’t have much to say to one another, and I am here to discuss with sincere leftists tired and angry of the endless continuation of Reagan’s policies over the last 3 decades.

  16. It’s really too bad that sincerity isn’t a substitute for either (a) the historical record or (b) tactical acumen. But there you are!

    How about we leave the political personalities out of it, and focus on what the left can do to deliver concrete material benefits? (Or, as I like to put it: “And we get?”

    Cluestick: Your vengeance doesn’t pay my bills.

  17. The platform I like is from danps:

    1. Medicare for All

    2. End the wars

    3. Soak the rich.

  18. Matt Russo

    One more observation before I stop “spamming”, sparked by the comparisons of Obama with Clinton. The political climate is considerably more favorable that in the early 1990’s, and Obama’s smashing victory in 2008 proved it. That result still stands, regardless of what loony dittoheads and their media sponsors would have you believe.

    Recall that Clinton only won in 1992 because Perot split the right wing vote (almost winning the election outright himself until, alarmed, he committed political suicide). Clinton was not riding a strong, “objectively progressive” tide that was sick of the constant giveaways of the economy to “the rich” of the sort that put Obama in office.

    IOW, the electorate was distinctly more right wing then than it is now. Future demographic and economic trends are likely to move it even further from the “Ozzie & Harriet” 50’s right as it is presently constituted (no future guarantee that it will move to a presently non-existent left, or that it will not move to a new, more seriously radical Right, though).

    Back then, there was plenty of incentive, and room, for a Clinton to move to the right and stay there. Now the “rightward movement” is largely that of our ruling class and its political elite – right in the face, in defiance of, popular sentiment, gussied up with the mobilization of some frantic Teabagger dittoheads, gyrating in a panic over the 2008 results in their own private echo-chamber, allotted ample free media time to create the illusion of “popular opposition”. This is also happening worldwide as well.

    So be optimistic, get organized!

  19. jcapan

    1. Medicare for All

    2. End the wars

    3. Soak the rich.

    Word, though I’d invert the order.

    PS–Fuck Obama and the Clintons, for the love of buddha.

  20. Lori

    I’m a socialist and I support. Don’t agree with her on everything, but, unlike her critics, I know what it is she actually done in her life and I admire it. Whether she is a private citizen, a first lady, a senator or a cabinet, her work focuses on expanding women’s rights, access to health care and education for all ages, and enhancing opportunity for small and micro-businesses.

    Notice that her critics can never point to an assessment of her life’s work that validates the charge, she’s a conservative. They’ll blather on about an isolated vote, but her voting record certainly doesn’t favor corporate America.

    The low information voters primarily opposed Clinton. They were the people most vulnerable to marketing in the left and they continue to prop up their fragile identities, and threatened masculinity, by repeating the Obama campaign lies. The same people who put Bush in office, put Obama in office – college educated, white male voters and apparently, they are very, very threatened by competent women.

  21. S Brennan

    File under: More Nonsense,

    “The political climate is considerably more favorable that in the early 1990′s”

    Was it “Clinton’s Waco Massacre”, the “Clinton murdering Vince Foster”, “Clinton left soldiers to die in Somalia” that convinced you of this? In 2010 the “Harry and Louise” put on by the Insurance industry were for Obama, the original ones 1993 were against Clinton. I don’t care if your revisionism springs from delusion or derangement, it’s nonsense.

    The there is this:

    I say: “For 6 years he worked with a fanatical right wing congress. The Democrats lost congress because they were/are self-aggrandizing pompous asses.”

    And you say: “(Ahem) Speaking of facts: For the first 2 years, Clinton did not have a “fanatical right wing congress”.

    To which I say: “what part of six years do you not understand?” Clinton experienced the highest disapproval ratings at the start of any presidency since such polling began. His “presidential honeymoon” period was considerably less than a month.

    When he was working with a Democratic congress Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy which lead to a more balance budget in the late 90’s. It was in his first address to the nation about a month into office. Janet Reno was nominated for Attorney General and did a far better job than anybody since…just ask Bill Gates who supported Bush [the 2nd] to kill the needed anti trust action against MicroSquat. Clinton’s attempt of allowing openly gay men to serve was ended when a Demo/Repu congressional delegation said it could get 2/3rds of congress to write into law discrimination against gays in the military, which the Rehnquist court had already said was constituional. Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which required large employers to allow their employees to take unpaid leave because of pregnancy or serious medical condition. Clinton started the first White House website, pushing all federal agencies under his direct control onto the Internet, about the same time that Bill Gates gave the famous speech in Silicon Valley about the www. going nowhere. Clinton signed the Brady Bill. Clinton’s Earned Income Tax Credit, helped working class families near the poverty line. And remember, Clinton passed the 1993 Budget without a single Republican vote, which raised taxes on the wealthiest 1.5% of taxpayers, while cutting taxes on some 15 million low-income families.

  22. S Brennan writes:

    And remember, Clinton passed the 1993 Budget without a single Republican vote, which raised taxes on the wealthiest 1.5% of taxpayers, while cutting taxes on some 15 million low-income families.

    Yep. Making Obama’s performance all the more pathetic by contrast.

  23. CDS PROPHYLACTIC To show that during the Clinton era voters experienced concrete material benefits isn’t the same as endorsing any particular candidate in any future election, isn’t an endorsement of neo-liberalism, and isn’t an argument that farther “left” policies aren’t appropriate. It is an argument that concrete material benefits resonate with voters, and rightly so. Any “left” movement that doesn’t understand this is doomed to self-indulgent irrelevance. Which is why:

    1. Medicare for All

    2. End the wars

    3. Soak the rich

    is so nice; the concrete material benefits, and who and how to pay for them, are probably evident even to “progressives.”

  24. Lori

    Clinton lost Congress because Democrats were stepping down on corruption charges and a few of ’em went to prison or were going to prison. It’s amazing to me that people forget that.

    Oh, and let’s not forget that Hillary was being accused of having murdered Vince Foster to cover up whatever she had done in Whitewater. Jerry Falwell was making a small fortune marketing The Clinton Tapes which accused Bill Clinton of allowing drug running at the Mena Airport.

  25. Lori

    Oh, and let’s not forget that Clinton was seemingly also responsible for Ruby Ridge even though he wasn’t even the Democratic nominee yet when the incident happened.

  26. anon2525

    …it looks like the free trade agreement with South Korea may have hit a snag…on the verge of approving a free trade agreement …against a U.S.-Korea free trade agreement…

    Economist Dean Baker’s recent post: NYT: Making Up Numbers to Push Trade Agreements

    Note that Baker did not describe the possible deal as a “free” trade agreement, either in the title or in the post. This is deliberate on his part. “free trade” and “free market” are propaganda terms used by neo-liberals and republicans to sell deals that are advantageous to themselves at a cost to the majority of the population.

  27. Formerly T-Bear

    What manner dementia has taken hold here?

    Has not one noticed the world has crossed the bridges of which you speak, ten, fifteen maybe twenty years ago? Is the most recent event you all can speak of already nearly thirty months into the history books? Recognizing your hindsight approaches 20/30, is all you can do but quibble over your interpretations and how all other opinion is in error in your view? FERGODSAKES (h/t Digby), get a grip, get the run of yourselves. Ian’s post concerned a book, an alleged autobiography (sic) and you all are still fighting issues months if not years and decades past. Great age provides the example of such conditions where fog besets the present but issues long passed are recalled with great clarity. That also describes with great precision the nature of comments here, given in expansive and erudite detail of the inconsequential. And you all keep repeating yourselves like two mirrors facing.

  28. What manner dementia has taken hold here?

    The medical term is “Clinton Derangement Syndrome.” There are a number of regulars here who are obsessed with proving that Bill Clinton is the Antichrist.

    The fact that the nation enjoyed peace and prosperity while he was in office simply does not register with them.

    Due to their obsession with Bill Clinton they have nothing to offer as far as solutions to our current dilemmas.

  29. I like “great age” and “dementia” (as opposed to derangement), Formerly T-Bear. Nice riff, and particularly seemly given that no commenters on this thread have ascribed ignorance to youth, or addlement to youthful hormones.

    * * *

    If we can’t get the history right, we can’t get anything right. Versailles is a vast edifice of bullshit and lies, supported by a very expensive infrastructure of consultants, strategists, think tanks, professors, pundits, the great mass of them well funded by our enemies. The left has, and will have, no such funding. So, our only weapons are evidence and reasoning.

    Therefore, in response to the claim that one might “babble” about what the Clintons did for working class America, I presented evidence that showed how real wages rose 6% in the Clinton years — a concrete material benefit that working class voters are likely to remember, eh? (And see CDS PROPHYLACTIC, above, for what this does not mean.)

    It seems to me that if the left wants to win, then it might look to what has worked in the past, as well as what has not worked. (Again, see CDS PROPHYLACTIC above.)

    That’s why:

    1. Medicare for all

    It answers the question “And we get?”

    Of course, we could yammer on about the details of Korean trade deals…..

  30. Walt Wit Man

    Clinton was indeed a neoliberal and he should and will be remembered as part of the 30 and now going on 40 year slide to neoliberalism in this country. He signed major deregulation measures that are partly responsible for the current crisis. He signed NAFTA and other “free trade” agreements. As far as “material” benefits, yes, the wealth that the highest 10% was gorging on in the 90s trickled down to the middle and lower classes a bit. And Clinton ameliorated some of his safety net cuts and other cuts to the budget with slight tax increases and some positive tax treat for the working poor. But if one looks behind the aggregate numbers one would see that individual households were still sliding backwards, as they had been doing since the 70s. Health care and education costs skyrocketed and wages only went up a little while finance capital became ever more entrenched in government and got ever more powerful. Elizabeth Warren has done some good work showing this decades-long decline in household balance sheets and the 90s hardly changed anything (most of the long-term negative trends continued unabated).

    Plus, presidents don’t have total power over the economy and Bill Clinton was lucky to take office when he did and Alan Greenspan certainly helped by blowing bubbles and Clinton’s deregulation and “free trade” agreements created massive wealth for a short period of time. We are suffering the consequences now and of course it’s the bottom half that are suffering the most. I don’t have the time today or I would dig deeper into Clinton’s record (but really, the best case scenario is that it was a modest tack left in a 30 or 40 year move right–maybe Clinton slightly beats Carter and beats Obama in the Dem no-a-total-neoliberal presidential race–but his record can hardly be considered a liberal achievement).

    As far as Hillary being part of a liberal solution: of course she’s not. I don’t think there is any Democrat that is really up for the challenge to right the Democratic ship and Hillary would not be on the short list of “liberals” that are willing to spend the political capital to fight for liberal policies. For instance, I like Lambert’s suggested platform, and agree that Medicare for All should be a top priority, but Hillary is opposed:

    “Q: Let’s talk for a minute about the formulation of your plan. I’m interested in how seriously you considered proposing a single payer system and at what point in that discussion did you decide to propose an individual mandate?

    MRS. CLINTON: You know, I have thought about this, as you might guess, for 15 years and I never seriously considered a single payer system. ”

  31. Walt Wit Man

    “Due to their obsession with Bill Clinton they have nothing to offer as far as solutions to our current dilemmas.”

    Bullshit. The re-litigation of the Clinton period usually comes about because Hillary fans have been peppering every discussion of how to move leftward with a “Hillary! Woot!” battle cry.

    I get the same sinking feeling as I got back in 2008 when every discussion about moving left devolved into a Hillary vs. Obama leftier-than-thou smackdown. I didn’t like either of them back in 2008 and thought both were center-right neoliberals. I liked Kucinich at the time and after he was out I basically gave up on the Dems because they needed a drastic move left and no one was offering that (including Edwards and Richardson, etc.). I actually enjoyed some peace in August or September, or whenever the fever pitch of ridiculousness between the Obama and Hllary fan groups happened, as I couldn’t bear to listen to the stupid arguments about how both were secret liberals. As I knew back then, neither are liberal. The circumstances of the last 2 years my have given made me rethink some of my assumptions but the fundamental assessment remains; both Hillary and Obama and actually, the entire Dem party, are neoliberal sell-outs. Both group of supporters lie and exaggerate their candidates’ liberal bone fides to try to sell their candidate to liberals. I’m still not buying either sales pitch.

    In fact, Hillary supporters have the same potential to be as destructive as the Obama supporters are now. They are putting the power of personality over policy goals. They have their thumbs on the Hillary side of the scale and they don’t mind at all if liberals are tied up in knots for another 4 years. The Hillary supporters would simply replace the Obama supporters in lying about the intentions of their hero.

    I understand reaching out to Hillary supporters that were treated shoddily by the Democrats. I understand making the academic and hypothetical case that Hillary wouldn’t have sold out like Obama and that the differences are really a lot more significant than liberals realize (I don’t buy that argument though). But c’mon, Hillary is not liberal enough for what we need. This is only a distraction from more important policy considerations.

  32. Z


    I agree totally. In fact, I usually put the “free” in “free” trade and “free” markets quotation marks.


    Here’s the definition of true cds: one who takes any criticism of bill clinton as trying to pin the anti-Christ lapel on him.

    For some of you folks, the “solutions” to our nation’s problems is to have your heroine hillary ride in and save the day, the same woman that has voluntarily put her face on our odious foreign policy. The same women that keeps her position and supports a president that claims the right to kill U.S. citizens. We have big, big problems. hillary is not a big solution.

    And it appears that some of you true cdsers are also thumping your chest taking credit for the democrats’ disastrous mid-terms. I don’t follow the logic of them that do. Are these folks claiming that the true cdsers staying home for the mid-terms has provided the delta between the 2008 election results and the 2010’s? If they are, then the only way that could have happened is if they came out in 2008 … after their heroine lost the nomination … and banged D, but then decided not to 2010. Because there is no delta between zero and zero. In other words, if you did not vote D in 2008 becoz you were pissed that hillary didn’t get the nomination … AND how she didn’t get the nomination … and then you didn’t vote D in 2010 either, then you made no difference in the results between 2008 and 2010.


    Here’s a link:

    Note the second graph and you’ll see who was most empowered by clinton’s reign … by far. This obviously is not 100% due to bill clinton, but I can only imagine how many corrupt jackasses from wall street that were part of that huge growth in the one percenters’ income in this period in which the most pro-wall street secretary of treasury this country HAD ever known was in clinton’s cabinet. And no, rubin didn’t fall like an asteroid from the sky into clinton’s cabinet; clinton put him there. A lot of that wall street wealth accumulation during the clinton years has been used to corrupt our political process and solidify a corrupt power structure. That’s part of the reason why the clinton years were ultimately very damaging to this country. Labor and the middle class fell further behind during the clinton years.

    And to those that don’t believe that, please identify one of the following clinton era economic policies that benefited the economy … and his re-election prospects … when he was in office, that we haven’t paid a huge price for once he left: “free” trade, the deregulation of wall street, and the strong dollar policy. Also, what do you think that bill clinton did to set off the technology boom of the 90s? Do you believe that it wouldn’t have happened without him

    And, as an aside, do you believe that allowing the vastly increased concentration of the media has benefited this country? That welfare reform has? That policies that increased the prison population by 50% during this reign has? That denying financial aid to students that got caught pot smoking has?

    And finally, to those that like to point to his peace and how bloodless his war was, you do know that his policies were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq, don’t you? Even though that was bloodless, it was still murderous.


  33. S Brennan


    This is bullshit:

    “Here’s the definition of true cds: one who takes any criticism of bill clinton as trying to pin the anti-Christ lapel on him.”

    If you read to my first comment you will find both, quite critical and supportive of Clinton.

    Not one Clintonista had a problem with it. In fact, Lambert [who dislikes me and has banned me from Corrente], quotes me approvingly]. So no, Clintonista’s don’t have a problem with criticism, they have a problem with the Obamanation’s Orwellian re-write of history.

  34. Lori

    Clinton supporters are better educated about what it is she’s actually done in her lifetime and we are quite confident, because of her record, that she’ll stand up for people like us. Unlike Obama, Clinton has genuine accomplishments to her name that make life better for ordinary people. Her work as senator almost entirely focused on the needs of ordinary New Yorkers.

    Somehow or the other, Clinton’s actual record never figures into these discussions, other than an isolated vote and a conflation between her husband’s policies and hers. Low information voters, I guess.

  35. Walt Wit Man

    Hillary’s record has been quite mixed. As indicated above, she is opposed to Medicare for All and is doing her part to say it simply will never happen in this country (like Obama is doing–killing all the oxygen around the movement).

    Another example is the bankruptcy bill. In 2001 she worked with Republicans to forge a compromise and later missed the vote on the 2005 legislation but she says she would have voted against it.
    To me this is the behavior that is all too common with Senators that want to run for president–she’s trying to have it both ways but ultimately she was all for “reforming” the bankruptcy code to make it harder to declare bankruptcy and to protect the banks.

    The problem with Hillary’s record is the same problem with Obama’s record and pretty much all the other Senator’s records. They carefully craft their record and take turns covering for each other.

  36. Z


    My defintion of true cds was purposely hyperbolic, but that’s a good counterpoint you make.

    I too am critical of both clinton and obama, and obama in my mind is worse than bill clinton … worse than what hillary clinton would have been if president … but my problem with the true cdsers is that they are purposefully blind to the negative long-term consequences of bill clinton’s presidency and have re-written that era as some sort of triumph for the working class when the net result was anything but.


  37. Formerly T-Bear

    A search reveals: Number of times the name “Clinton” appears:

    Original Ian Post -0-
    Z -19-
    Matt R -14-
    Anon -1-
    S Brennan -25-
    JCPan -1-
    Lori -8-
    Lambert S -5-
    MYI… -3-
    Walt WM -10-

    TOTAL -86- Not that Clinton was the subject matter or even implicated therein.

  38. The fact that Bush spent half the TARP, and then saved the second half for Obama to spend, tells you all you need to know about the continuity between these two Administrations. I am not a historian, but that agreement seems rather unprecedented to me, especially between two Presidents that were supposed to be from opposite parties. I remember when Bush took over from Clinton – there were all these nasty stories floating around about how the Clintons had “trashed the place” and removed all the Ws from the keyboards. It was certainly not an amicable transition, like the one between Bush and Obama.

  39. Z


    Also, by the way you wrote that “clinton’s bad policy is limited to some very specific areas” … I would add that these are very important specific areas. And I don’t really recall bill clinton readily admitting … or “admitting as much” … that his energy, trade, and economic policies “sucked”. Maybe he has opaquely on occasion admitted to this while ultimately pointing the finger of responsibility at other factors, such as republicans, but I have yet to hear him clearly admit that these policies “sucked” and taken responsibility for them “sucking”. But I don’t monitor every word he says, so maybe he has, but if he has, I don’t think he’s done it very loudly.


  40. Z


    Since you’re keeping tallies at home, add two more to the Z column.


  41. Formerly T-Bear

    Added two myself ;-(

    Just feeling shanghaied, hijacked. Carry on …

  42. Z


    What do you want to discuss? I don’t think that many here disagree with anything about Ian’s post.


  43. jcapan

    Formerly T,

    FWIW, I was (less eloquently) making the same pt. It’s like watching an old VHS tape of a flick you know by heart … but hate. Further, it’s a enormous vacuum sucking a lot of the energy and latent unity out of any forward looking movement. By the time the left begins to act they’ll be dissidents.

  44. Pepe

    Therefore, in response to the claim that one might “babble” about what the Clintons did for working class America,

    According to Chris Hedges, there was no greater traitor to the American working class than Bill Clinton.

    I do agree with Lambert that we do need to get the history right. Especially if Hillary is being touted as the answer to the Left’s problems.

    Although, having the same argument on almost every post is getting old. Perhaps if our host stated an opinion?

  45. Lori

    Walt Wit Man,

    That’s a classic example of how people lie about Hillary. Good job.

    She supported the bankruptcy bill in 2001 that carved out child support from the amount of money that could garnished in a wage attachment. She opposed the 2005 bill from the get go and voted against cloture when the bill was being filibustered. The day of the vote was the day that President Clinton wound up in the hospital having cardiac surgery. As her vote was not definitive (the bill passed the senate 74-25), she spent the day at the hospital with him and issued a strongly worded press release about how the bill was “bad law”.

    Here is Elizabeth Warren on the subject of Hillary Clinton and the bankruptcy bill:

    HINOJOSA: There’s a—a—a story that I—I wanna share with our listeners that you actually shared when you were on Now—on our TV program and it was—it’s about—a fascinating story about Hillary Clinton. You said that when the credit card companies were pushing for legislation—this is back when—to—to tighten the bankruptcy laws, and this is when—President Clinton was in—in office you were summoned by Hel—Hillary Clinton to discuss this legislation. And you sat down with her in this back room and you filter in on what this new bankruptcy law was gonna mean.

    And she at that moment said, “Oh my God. We have to stop this law. It’s not gonna happen.” It gets passed in Congress and Bill Clinton, because of Hillary’s conversation with you more or less, vetoes that bill. Now we fast forward to Senator Hillary Clinton, bankruptcy law comes for a vote and she votes for it?

    WARREN: Yes.

    HINOJOSA: So fill us in here. What happened?

    WARREN: Well it’s a reminder that when we talk about something like bankruptcy there’s a very powerful industry, the consumer lending industry that makes a lot of political contributions and all those contributions get made only on the side of doing the things that are good for the lenders, not good for the debtors. There are no equivalent political action committees for people about to go bankrupt or people in financial trouble or people who—who—who crashed and burned financially last year.

    HINOJOSA: Really? There are none? There are no lobbying groups at all for—

    WARREN: No. Those people don’t have any money. They’re left with—with folks like me with a few academics and an occasional bankruptcy lawyer who handles some consumer cases. We’re really kinda the only ones who talk about this in Washington and—and we don’t have money to make political donations.

    So it was one thing for Mrs. Clinton to be First Lady and not running for office and tell President Clinton what she felt about this bill. And then very different for Senator Clinton who had to get political contributions and run her—her campaign—she voted differently. Now I wanna be fair in this story.

    Mrs. Clinton, in a much more secure position—as Senator a couple of years later—when the bill came up once again—Senator Clinton was not there—the day of the vote. It was the day that President Clinton, you may remember, had heart surgery. But she issued a very strong press release condemning the bill and I assume if she had been there that she would have voted against it. I—I tell my story not to try to thump Senator Clinton but the story is important because it’s a reminder of how money talks in Washington. And as another senator, Senator Russ Feingold once said—the bankruptcy bill should be the poster child for campaign finance refor—if it hadn’t been for big contributions in Washington that bankruptcy bill never would’ve gotten off the ground.

    And now, from Clinton’s official statement on the bill:
    This bankruptcy bill fundamentally fails to accord with the traditional purposes of bankruptcy, which recognize that we are all better off when hard-working people who have suffered financial catastrophe get a “fresh start” and a second chance to become productive and contributing members of society. With the passage of this legislation, which makes obtaining this fresh start more expensive and more difficult, we are ensuring that many responsible Americans will continue to be buried under mountains of debt, and unable to take back control and responsibility for their lives.

  46. I have an opinion about Clinton.

  47. barrisj

    Well, at least the putative “Boosh 3rd term” did not give rise to naming Condi Rice as a recycled SecState…I hear she’s available, though, as a replacement for George Mitchell as Special Envoy for Middle East (ahem) “Peace”, given her previous stellar role in promoting the “peace process in re: Palistinians and Israelis.
    BTW, Ian, are you still touting Condi’s “accomplishments”?

  48. Bernard

    Gosh , all the partisan BS about Clinton, Hillary and Obama. and ever wonder why the right wing wins ALL the time?

    Get over Clinton, Hillary and Obama. They are Versailles’ “Democratic entourage.”
    anyone with Balls or Ovaries would HELP the poor first and and steal from us later, like all the Politicians.

    Gosh with “Liberals” like this who needs “Republicans.” we got enough with “the other’s” help.

  49. Bernard

    without the Other’s help!

  50. I think the Clinton argument keeps happening because we Lefties have some pretty big strategic blind spots.

    #1, we think we’re the center. Not true. We are the fringe, just like the righties. Unfortunately, we keep thinking we’re going to get some super-liberal savior to become President and fix the U.S. with one wave of his magic wand. People thought Obama was that guy, despite all evidence to the contrary. We see where that’s gotten us.

    #2, we refuse to put in the work to push our vision through the political system. After Nixon resigned, the righties spent decades kicking out the cloth-coat Republicans from state and local legislatures. They worked their way up through the political system, finally getting the go-ahead from Raygun to become part of the Republican Big Tent.

    They also created right-wing think tanks and talk radio, then taught their pundits and politicians neuro-linguistic programming in order to change the national discourse from discussing the issues to, “you’re a Nazi! no, you’re a racist!” so that no progress was ever made towards income equality, peace and social justice. In other words, they had a plan, they started from scratch, and they executed it.

    We lefties, by contrast, tend to think everyone who is anyone will know that we’re right, and whoever doesn’t know that is an idiot anyway. Therefore, we made no counter-argument while the Right was busy attacking everything we held dear to our hearts. No think-tanks, no pundits, no talk radio, no efforts at the grassroots level either. Our plan consisted entirely of: “Vote Democratic.” Wow. No wonder they’re kicking our butts!

    #3 – It’s too late to catch up by 2012. Seriously, if you think some magical Lefty is going to come out of nowhere and save us, please see Obama, Barack. Thanks to him, the Left is in complete disarray, and it will take years to build ourselves back up so that we are independent enough of the Democratic Party to be an effective movement.

    #4 – Your choices in 2012 are Obama, Some Republican Horrorshow, and Hillary Clinton. No one else has a chance of being elected, or is running. Lefties don’t want to face that brutal reality, so they endlessly snark at and demonize a President who clearly stated he was not one of us, and who has been gone for 10 years. Bill Clinton is not the problem – we are. It’s time to realize that our best shot at turning the ship around is getting a reasonable person like Hillary in the President’s chair for at least four years. She will give us enough breathing space so that we can re-focus and start becoming a unified group again, without being tied to any Party. And, we can push her to the left while she’s in office. As a person who had her as a Senator for many years, I know that she is responsive to the liberal base. I participated in many actions to get her to vote “my” way, and I can’t remember one time when she didn’t do so.

    Unfortunately for many lefties, Hillary is the best hope we’ve got. Perhaps if we had been fighting the rightwing noise machine seriously for the past few decades, instead of laughing at how stupid and wrong they were, we wouldn’t be in this position. I hope we have learned from our mistakes and are ready to start the hard work of taking our country back. President Hillary Clinton is the first step in that process, IMHO .

  51. Randall Kohn

    Even though the ongoing personality discussion may have limited future utility, it may shed light on the tendency of some of us to cut Bill Clinton a break vis a vis Obama. To paraphrase a bad old Jackie Mason joke about why Clinton was worse than Nixon:

    Nixon at least had the decency to twitch when he lied.

    it can be said that at least Clinton had the decency to act sheepish and helpless as he sold us out.

    By contrast, Obama openly sneers at us and insults us every day of our lives.

    In general, though, Mr. T sums up the wisest aproach to the Clinton vs Obama debate:

    Ain’t got time for the jibber jabber.

  52. I agree with madamab on most of #1 and #2. I think it’s absolutely correct that American leftists presume that they’re some form of well-regarded political center, and that they naively assume that correct answers will waft up through an uncorrupt system, let alone a corrupt one. She’s also probably right about #3 in the sense that for 2012 it’s way too late. Obama’s chances of reelection, though probably not certain, have been strengthened. But there’s no white knight for 2012.

    Naturally, I part total company on #4. The only choices are Obama and Unknown Republican. One of those will be elected in 2012, barring a hoped-for miracle. Neither are exactly inspiring choices. The only question left is which choice leads to better opportunities in the future. That’s not an easy question.

  53. Walt Whitman writes: “The re-litigation of the Clinton period usually comes about because Hillary fans have been peppering every discussion…” Not on this thread; the Clinton period was dragged in right here. Off topic, to boot — the very definition of CDS.

    * * *

    Z is — and I know this will come as a shock to everyone but Z — entirely off point. Je repete, once again, one more into the breach dear readers: I am fully aware that both Clintons are neo-liberals, and hence part of the “40 year slide.”

    That position is not incompatible with the fact that (a) the working class experienced concrete material benefits in the form of an average rise in wages during the Clinton administration, and that (b) very likely the Clintons retain loyalty because they delivered concrete material benefits (Hillary Clinton did, after all, win all the large states and a majority of the popular vote in the 2008), and that therefore (c) the left should — and even, except for Z — can learn from that success, and plant to deliver concrete material benefits. (Z claims, falsely, of course, that this amounts to “have re-written that era as some sort of triumph for the working class when the net result was anything but.” Hardly.) I’m framing this argument not in terms of personalities, but policies and lessons for reasons that I think are obvious. To most, at least. If this be “relitigation,” let’s make the most of it.

    * * *

    Formerly T-Bear is off point as well. Counting up the number of Clinton mentions is almost as clever as insulting those of “great age”, but ignores the dynamics of the thread: See above, where the topic was introduced by Z, and nobody else. Are commenters not to respond to topics Z introduced by Z? The only case I can think of where that would be the case is “please don’t feed the trolls.” Surely that’s not the case here? And claiming “hijack” after one’s tag team partner introduces the topic one decries is a nice touch, too. More clever!

    * * *

    madamab writes: “#4 – Your choices in 2012 are Obama, Some Republican Horrorshow, and Hillary Clinton. ” That’s probably right if you’re a D. Mandos argues that Clinton won’t be a choice, but the knives are out even now for Obama (see here in Pravda), and I imagine Bill Clinton campaigned so hard for the Ds in the midterms exactly to position Hillary Clinton for 2012. I’m not a D, so that doesn’t matter to me.

    * * *

    Finally, I’ll reiterate the nine-word platform, since I’m amazed that people don’t want to talk about policies, but rather personalities:

    1. Medicare for All <– note concrete material benefit

    2. End the wars <– They're wrong, and we need the money

    3. Soak the rich <– We need the money, and they shouldn't be able to buy our government.

    And now, let's return to the truly important stuff: Which Clinton screwed up which Korean trade deal!

  54. Lori

    Clinton didn’t continue or start a war that killed tens of thousands of American soldiers. That’s a very, very big difference between him and Nixon. I’m amazed that I have to say this.

  55. Randall Kohn:

    I always liked the saying about Bill Clinton: “He can shake hands with you while p*ssing down your leg.” I felt that was what it took to deal with the Rs. I was wrong, though; it wasn’t and isn’t.

  56. Lori: Well, Clinton did kill a large number of non-Americans, as Z points out. I don’t see what human life is less important in one jurisdiction than another. In Versailles, supporting the empire is consensus, and I think the empire is a wash among all potential legacy party candidates (why the 9 word platform would never be adopted by the Ds, because “end the wars” isn’t thinkable to them as a policy option).

  57. Lori


    So what are the real world options for a US president of any stripe at this point in time?

  58. I think (my comment saying this is in moderation) that madamab has the right of it (for some definition of “real world options”). I’m not a D, though.

  59. Z

    If you want a foolproof definition of a cdser, here it is: one who believes that bill clinton was worse than george bush AND/OR is cock sure that hillary clinton would have been a worse president than obama.


  60. Randall Kohn

    Excuse YOU, Lori? What part of “bad joke” did you not get?

  61. Sort of OT but not: DeLong excusepologizes on behalf of himself and Summers.

  62. Gosh , all the partisan BS about Clinton, Hillary and Obama. and ever wonder why the right wing wins ALL the time?

    One of my earliest memories was the assassination of JFK – I was only 3 years old but I remember my mom telling me that our President was dead. Growing up I watched the Vietnam war and the anti-war protests on television.

    I remember the Watergate hearings, the Nixon resignation, inflation, oil embargoes, gas lines, terrorism at the Munich Olympics, the Iranian hostage crisis, dead marines in Lebanon, US victories in Grenada, Panama, and Kuwait. I even recall polyester leisure suits, platform shoes and disco.

    The Democrats have controlled Congress for most of the fifty years I’ve been alive, but only held the White House for twenty-two of those years, including the first eight.

    I recall my thirties as a time of peace and prosperity, a better time than any other period in my life. The guy who was in the White House back then was Bill Clinton. Lots of other people remember those eight years as a positive experience, which is why Bill Clinton still enjoys high approval ratings.

    If the Democratic party can’t use the only two-term Democratic president since FDR as some sort of a role model, what do they have to offer the voters?

    Ronald Reagan promised to reduce deficits and the size of government but instead he increased both, yet the Republicans treat him like a god-like figure. Every GOP candidate swears fealty to the Reagan legacy. None of them criticize The Gipper.

    Lots of Democrats on the other hand run away from the Big Dawg. Many activists on the left despise him and call him a Republican. But if Bill Clinton was a failure, what’s an example of a successful Democratic president?


    Sure, but there aren’t too many voters left who really remember what it was like when he was president. My mom is 76 years old and she was only 11 when FDR died.

    Is it any wonder that the Republicans keep winning?

    Democrats need to take the Clinton legacy of peace and prosperity and build on it, not tear it down.

    BTW – Obama IS NOT a Clinton Democrat.

  63. Ian Welsh

    The Clinton/Obama wars /are/ getting a bit tired. Just sayin’. No one is convincing anyone. For the record, I preferred her to Obama and I was virtually the only person on Huffpo to defend her against the ridiculous Kennedy assassination slur, but I didn’t think she was awesome, or anything–just better than Obama, which I stand by. If she primaried Obama, I would support her (but then I’d support anyone who primaried him who was even slightly to his left.).

  64. Ian:

    I went back upthread to see who started it:

    But I agree – it does get tedious.

    I’ve spent the better part of two decades defending the Clintons – first from the right and now from the left.

  65. Lex

    Ah, Hillary Clinton won the largest states and majorities, etc. in the Democratic Primaries. That’s not the same thing as winning a national election. But, personally, i’m unconcerned with who should have won the Democratic Primary in order to continue the rightward march of the Democratic Party once elected. (Though i do love how there’s an assumption that Clinton would have won…she probably would have, but not necessarily.)

    There is such a thing as CDS, but Clinton supporters over-apply it. Just like the Obamatons, they’ll throw that shit at anyone who might even think about questioning their Dear Leader.

    The concrete material benefits that accrued to the working class under B. Clinton were absolute shit compared to those that accrued to the the wealthiest Americans during the same time. Furthermore, most of the material benefits were not actually concrete. They were gotten via the explosion of easy credit and/or a stock market boom that wasn’t based on fundamental improvements in the US economy. Not only was there the tech boom, but most people don’t even consider that during Clinton’s presidency, the great Democratic economic minds assisted in the pillaging of the Russian economy. The Oligarchs who stole from the Russian people removed their money from Russia and dumped it into Western markets. It was a metric shit-ton of money. Combine that with Clinton’s neo-liberal economic policies and short-termism and you have what look like concrete material benefits, when in reality it was just the teaser portion of a deal that was too good to be true.

    There are concrete material benefits in taking out a reverse mortgage too, but that doesn’t make the slimeballs who sell them heroes, does it?

    And his foreign policy was absolute shit. He squandered the opportunity presented by the end of the USSR (well, from his perspective and that of his friends not really, see above). SBrennan likes to present the Balkans Air Strikes…i mean “war”…as some stroke of greatness. Sure, it gave us Kosovo, a mafia state and the importation/distribution hub for narcotic trafficking. And let us not forget that it was the great Clinton who made regime change in Iraq a national security priority. Bush simply stepped up onto the foundation laid by that great lion of Liberalism who didn’t bat an eye over killing 500,000 children for the American Empire Project.

    But, hey, maybe Hillary is none of that. She’s secretly hated her husband and his policies all along. She doesn’t like any of his friends. And argued that he give all the money back he’s made for having sold out the American people. She hates being stupidly rich. She’d much rather live in a trailer somewhere in PA where you can ignite the tap water…she’s that close to the needs and dreams of the working class.

  66. I agree with Ian that the Clinton wars are tedious. But what is one to do when the topic is introduced (as it was not, by me, on this thread). Not feed the trolls?

    * * *
    Ian writes:

    For the record, I preferred her to Obama and I was virtually the only person on Huffpo to defend her against the ridiculous Kennedy assassination slur, but I didn’t think she was awesome, or anything–just better than Obama, which I stand by. If she primaried Obama, I would support her (but then I’d support anyone who primaried him who was even slightly to his left).


  67. Lex:

    It’s also tiresome to have the “dear leader” stuff hurled at Clinton supporters (like Ian, immediately above) as well. There’s some of that in the support for any candidate, but last I checked, the only D campaign to train its supporters in how to win voters to their candidate of choice through personal conversion narratives was the Obama campaign. My own summary, in 2008 and now, was that the differences between the two candidates were marginal (HOLC; better HCR; a wash on the wars) but not insignificant. That’s hardly the same was weeping at the mention of Kim Il Sung’s name, eh?

    And for the umpty-millionth time: I’m not making the argument that the Clinton era was a net gain for the working class; the 40 year slide means that was no net gain. I am making the argument that concrete material benefits showed up where people immediately look: Their paychecks, that the considerable respect and affection that many working class voters have for both Clintons derives from that, and that the left can and should learn from that. (And it’s the inability of so many on this thread to respond on point that really does make me wonder if there’s some sort of derangement at work here.)

  68. The reason why the Clinton-Obama biz keeps coming up is that it still, unfortunately, represents an unresolved wound in the liberal wing of American politics, strengthened by the (D)s poor performance on Nov2. But does anyone doubt we’d have had quite a similar endless discussion had Clinton won and not Obama? Clinton would not have brought in a new Golden Age of some sort, the situation would still be going to hell-in-a-handbasket, perhaps at a different/slower rate, but the trajectory is being dictated by forces larger than just who holds the presidency. And we wouldn’t, of course, know that it could be worse—I mean, look at the number of people who think it can’t be worse if an (R) held the presidency…

    We’d certainly have had Obama supporters complaining that Clinton used party-elite cronies to game the system by counting Michigan and Florida, which a large portion of the party would still have said should be technically disqualified. Does anyone imagine that they would have disappeared into the woodwork?

    Just as Gore’s losing win in 2000 could not have been possible without nearly 50% of the votes going to Bush anyway, Obama’s or Clinton’s win would have left large constituencies feeling that what motivated them to vote was not being served.

    The fact that this keeps coming up reveals a deeper and relevant split about what people thought they were voting for and what they thought was wrong with the Bush era and with Democrats during the Bush era. Here’s how it breaks down IMO:

    Obama supporters
    a. believed that the Democrats were too shy and naive to game a gameable system and understand the opportunities the rules brought.
    b. felt that the problem with Bush’s era was a lack of rational, calm policy-making (the John Stewart demographic).
    c. felt that politics had lots its relevance because it had become a trivial emotional argument among people who actually shared the same interests (the common American-leftist fallacy).

    Clinton supporters
    a. believed that Democrats needed to restore the spirit of order in unprincipled politics.
    b. felt the problem with Bush’s era was the destruction of the accomplishments of the Bill C. administration.
    c. felt that they needed someone who wasn’t afraid of verbal war with Republicans.

    The ideal candidate would probably have been someone who took (a) from the Obama side and (c) from the Clinton side. (And left out the (b)s of either.)

    Unfortunately you first have to get elected, and any system with sufficiently complex rules is easy to game while staying roughly within the process. So Obama won. Clinton (‘s supporters) tried to play catch-up by using the rules at the convention but it wasn’t going to work; the party decided that it would alienate its future by doing so. At the time, there weren’t nearly as many reasons to think otherwise.

  69. More dismally, though, even if you were to elect the sincerest socialist to the Presidency, s/he would have to know how to play 11-dimensional chess whether s/he likes it or not. I’m not saying that Obama is doing that, but certainly anyone would have to.

  70. Z

    “And for the umpty-millionth time: I’m not making the argument that the Clinton era was a net gain for the working class; the 40 year slide means that was no net gain. I am making the argument that concrete material benefits showed up where people immediately look: Their paychecks, that the considerable respect and affection that many working class voters have for both Clintons derives from that, and that the left can and should learn from that. (And it’s the inability of so many on this thread to respond on point that really does make me wonder if there’s some sort of derangement at work here.)”

    My tentative translation:
    “The left should learn that deceiving working americans by selling out their long-term economic interests with policies that bring them short-term economic gains while in office is GOOD?”

    For those that don’t agree that bill clinton’s reign was bad for labor, please identify one of the following clinton era economic policies that benefited the economy while he was in office … and also his re-election prospects … which we haven’t paid a huge price for once he left: “free” trade, the deregulation of wall street, and the strong dollar policy.

    I would also add easy credit becoz it was during this era that your dog first became eligible for a credit card, but the ultimate responsibility for that was much more on greenspan, though clinton’s wall street-centric secretary of treasury, robber rubin, was in his ear overselling the productivity “miracle”, which was largely a chimera, and arguing for an expansion of the money supply to reflect it. Eventually, greenspan became convinced and that had a large part to play in … it provided plenty of air to … the bubble-omics of the past 15 years or so that has been the u.s. government’s and the fed’s and wall street’s … excuse the redundancies … unspoken economic policy.


  71. I agree mandos that on “unresolved wound” (e.g.).

    But where mandos writes:

    “But does anyone doubt we’d have had quite a similar endless discussion had Clinton won and not Obama?”

    I think endless and, if similar, not exactly equal. To simplify cartoonishly, with the Obama win, the creative class threw the working class and women out of the party. With an HRC win, the women aren’t thrown out of the party, and if the creative class are, they immediately begin a critique from the left (assuming they don’t dissolve into misogyny again) and that’s not a bad thing. For example, assume a Catfood Commission was going to happen regardless of which D is President, since that’s what Versailles wants. Isn’t it better to have TPM up in arms about it, just as when Bush tried it, because TPM isn’t on the inside?

    CDS PROPHYLACTIC No, I don’t see the neo-liberal Clintons as working class heroes yadda yadda yadda. Just marginally better for their base, that’s all. Marginal not being insignificant…

  72. Z


    If the “the very definition of CDS” is bringing clinton’s name onto the board when the topic had nothing to do with her, you got a lot of cds amongst the clinton supporters.


  73. Z


    I thought that the Kennedy assassination hoopla was bullshit too … critics creatively created their own context to it … and pointed that out to some of my friends who were affected by Olbermann’s frothing at the mouth over it. Too much coffee for Keith that day I guess …


  74. Joe Beese

    As tedious as tbe Hillary arguments are, at least they provide a distraction from the fundamentals of our plight, which are hopeless.

  75. Pepe

    Ha! The working class was thrown under the bus a long time ago by the Dems. Don’t conflate that with Obama winning the primary (Yeah, I know, I know – he didn’t. Except that he did. )

    Saying that any other candidate would have done better than Obama might be true, but it’s also engaging in speculation, not truth-telling.

    Marginal improvement on shit sandwich means whole grain bread?

  76. Z:

    1. On “bringing clinton’s name onto the board when the topic had nothing to do with her,” nice deflection on your own threadjack. Can you imagine that people don’t check? Apparently so.

    2. My less than tentative translation of your “tentative translation”: More distortion. Useless to invest further time. Good luck.

  77. Pepe:

    “The working class was thrown under the bus a long time ago by the Dems. ”

    Well, you oversimplify what was already cartoonishly simple. I wrote “the [1] creative class threw the [2] working class and women [3] out of the party.” That’s new in 2008, all three parts (and not just working class, women too).

  78. anon2525

    Where were we, then? Oh, yes, the topic:

    …it’s not hyperbole at all to say that Obama is Bush’s third term.

    It might be of some use (or it might not*) to identify the salient features of both bush’s time residing in Washington, and Obama’s presidency. Here are a pair:

    1) Both are incompetent at governing. By “competent,” the majority of the population means that the executive branch is successful at making progress solving the problems that the country is facing. The majority does not consider the executive branch to be competent if it only succeeds in protecting or enriching some minority.

    2) Both are corrupt. Neither of them used/uses the power of gov’t. to hold large corporate criminals accountable (see BP, the TBTF banks) or reform regulation (literally, bring regulation back into form) or reform parasitic economic sectors.

    What other salient features do they have in common? What does this mean for what we can expect for the next two years?

    *The problem with predicting what a criminal enterprise might do next is that you don’t know what crime they might choose to commit. Similarly, who knows how the incompetent will screw up next?

  79. Lex

    There’s no question that Obama is Bush’s third term. On the other hand no one from the Democratic Party was going to enter office in order to stop wars, rescue the working class or restore American civil liberties. That’s the really unfortunate part of all this. Clinton may well have been marginally better on a few issues, but not on enough issues or with enough of a margin.

    The problem is systemic, not dependent on particular candidates.

    However, the fact remains that Bill’s grand vision for the Democratic Party is exactly what committed liberals hate about the modern Democratic Party. Obama is the natural evolution of Bill. Hell, Obama ran Clinton’s ’92 campaign…only adding the internet, advances in public relations and a dose of personality cult. If Hillary is the hard core, old-fashioned liberal that her supporters portray, then she can thank Bill for ruining the chances of her – or anyone like her – winning the Democratic nomination. (I don’t think she is that, but i could be wrong.) So what i don’t get is why Bill continues to get so much love? Most of Obama’s appointments are from the Clinton crew; they aren’t doing anything differently…though the circumstances have changed.

    Yes, lambert, the little people got more scraps then they’re getting now. That they’re still fond of the guy who sold them the reverse mortgage says more about them than it does about him. For myself, foreign policy is the most important. On that i’ll say that Clinton was worse than Obama, if only because Clinton had the once-in-a-generation chance to really change the world and he ignored it.

  80. jcapan

    “If she primaried Obama, I would support her (but then I’d support anyone who primaried him who was even slightly to his left)”

    OK, so you’re not serious at all. Evan Bayh is possibly to his left, for fucking christ’s sake. He should be primaried from the left, from the authentic, no questions asked left. Otherwise, it simply isn’t worth doing. It amounts to another cliquish dem popularity contest .

  81. S Brennan

    “but then I’d support anyone who primaried [Obama] who was even slightly to his left”

    Forgetting rhetoric, it’s hard to find somebody who is to the right of Obama. Never mind the apologies, how about admitting the simple truth about Obama, his followers were “hoodwinked” into supporting a guy who’s to the right of McCain.

    Trying to turn Hillary into a Republican won’t work for me. Using the “conjecture” counter argument against “Hillary would have been better” is at least as ridiculous as the “conjecture” put forth by the Obamanation that Obama would be so much better than Hillary.

    If Hillary’s long political record is an indication she would have re-regulated financial institutions.

    If Hillary’s long political record is an indication she would have worked to implement multiple job programs through government spending NOT THE REPUBLICAN/OBAMA method of tax cuts to the wealthy.

    If Hillary’s long political record is an indication she would have returned to drone bombing of Taliban in Af-Pak [it was Clinton’s idea to stick missiles on predators], not large troop engagements.

    If Hillary’s long political record is an indication she would have done what the Bush/Obama administration has done in Iraq.

    I’ll take 3 out of 4 any day over Obama’s supporters support of 0 for 4.

    The fact that the Obamanation still can’t admit that they’re stooges for a right wing monster makes any argument pointless. Arguing with a Obama supporter he can’t open their eyes at this point, makes them comparable to holocaust deniers. Obama supporters at this point are just your average American kooks.

  82. S Brennan

    Should have been: “Arguing with an Obama supporter that can’t open their eyes at this point, makes them comparable to holocaust deniers.

    On that subject of ponies that never arrive.

  83. Lambert,

    You know as well as I that most of the big meme laundries know on what side their bread is buttered and would eventually have fallen into line under an H. Clinton presidency. Since we’re now talking about the Clintonverse, you’d instead have had people like TINS from dKos starting blog communities (say, etnerroC the negaverse Corrente, or maybe just BooMan) wanting to primary Hillary for the 9% rather than 9.5% unemployment, etc, etc. And anyone who has been on the interwebs for long enough knows that the victims of purity purges have usually no compunction whatsoever about doing it themselves—any critique they would raise would certainly have been shouted down as misogynistic by Hillary’s triumphant supporters.

    Anglachel came up with this “Stevensonian” vs. “Jacksonian” divide whose specific characterization I don’t agree with, but it’s handy and will do in a pinch. Ultimately you have two large factions of the party that perhaps share major overlapping features of their utopia but have very different analyses of what needs to be done to get there, and more importantly, why we’re not there yet.

  84. Lori

    The big problem is that there are a lot of jackasses who don’t actually anything about Clinton’s record, thinking that they do. Ask someone to document in a substantial and wholistic way the idea that she is a corporatist, and they’ll either leave the thread or become abusive.

    On the subject of Clinton and foreign policy, Clinton’s support of the AUMF was based on the timing of the vote, the certainty that the Dems were losing control of the Senate and the wording that involved the UN. Hans Blix was asking Dems to vote yes on the authorization because he was afraid that Bush was going to invade, as he did, before inspections were finished. Hillary makes the case in her floor speech that going to war without finishing inspections is a bad thing to do.

    Even though the resolution before the Senate is not as strong as I would like in requiring the diplomatic route first and placing highest priority on a simple, clear requirement for unlimited inspections, I will take the President at his word that he will try hard to pass a UN resolution and will seek to avoid war, if at all possible.

    Because bipartisan support for this resolution makes success in the United Nations more likely, and therefore, war less likely, and because a good faith effort by the United States, even if it fails, will bring more allies and legitimacy to our cause, I have concluded, after careful and serious consideration, that a vote for the resolution best serves the security of our nation. If we were to defeat this resolution or pass it with only a few Democrats, I am concerned that those who want to pretend this problem will go way with delay will oppose any UN resolution calling for unrestricted inspections.

    This is a very difficult vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make — any vote that may lead to war should be hard — but I cast it with conviction.


    My vote is not, however, a vote for any new doctrine of pre-emption, or for uni-lateralism, or for the arrogance of American power or purpose — all of which carry grave dangers for our nation, for the rule of international law and for the peace and security of people throughout the world

    The Left Coaster has a detailed run down of how the vote happened:

    That vote lies at the heart of the notion that she is a hawk.

    It just seems to me that actually studying someone’s personal and political record and discovering that they aren’t in any way, shape or form the Lieberman-esque Democrat that the sociopaths running Obama’s campaign painted them to be, would good news. But I see lefties having their identities wrapped up in hating the Clintons the same way the right did in the 90s. Conservatives established their morality by how much they hate the Clintons – never mind that their moral heroes, like Gingrich, were far more corrupt by their standards than the Clintons were. Here on the left, we see people defining their progressiveness by just how much they hate Hillary – it’s very weird. You would think that learning her record and seeing someone who is very likely way left of center would be good news. But no, the clowns continue with the rhetoric from the Obama camp and contribute to the movement that may make it impossible to nominate and win with a real liberal.

    There are political realities to what a viable candidate is allowed to say in this nation. Look at someone’s actions as well as their words. With Obama, the gap runs to the right, with his lack of actions suggesting a far right bent. With Clinton, the gap runs to the left with her actions suggesting a far left orientation.

  85. jcapan

    Lori on the Primary Obama thread:

    “I won’t vote for anyone but Clinton and the low turn out this election suggests I’m not alone. We earned it. We want it. And there are enough to prevent any other liberal or democrat from winning.”

    How anyone can possibly take you seriously after that is beyond me.

  86. Don Fitch

    I’d agree with anyone who suggests that “asked” is not the applicable word; it should be “told”. But then, I hold that Mr. Bush did not have sufficient autonomy to make such decisions by himself.

  87. Lex

    Um, Lori, it’s not just the AUMF vote that makes Ms. Clinton a hawk. Correct me if i’m wrong, but she’s for landmines and cluster munitions too. She was certainly a fine friend to defense contractors during her tenure in the Senate. And she doesn’t get called Madame AIPAC for nothing. Her rhetoric on Iran has been, since the campaign, quite hawkish.

    Of course, her husband and all their friends are imperialists too so there’s no reason to be surprised. (None of this, it should be noted, is meant to suggest that Obama is less hawkish by comparison. They’re cut from the same Democratic Imperialist cloth.)

    For myself, i’d consider voting for Ms. Clinton just as soon as she divorces her husband. Until then, i wouldn’t. I was pissed off enough that Obama went to Washington with a bunch of fucks from the Clinton administration, i certainly cannot support having Bill’s neo-liberal, imperialist self in the WH again, even if he would only be the first lady. But maybe my problem is with the Democratic Party in general…

  88. Lori

    Fine friend to defense contractors? Great – prove it. Let’s see the voting record that consistently votes on the side of defense contractors. I certainly know that’s the allegation, but I haven’t seen a wholesale assessment of all the votes that makes that case.

    As for AIPAC, she’s the only person I know with the nerve to tell them Bush was wrong for taking diplomacy with Iran off the table. Anyone else that you know of that’s been invited to speak to their dinners that had the courage to call Bush out for his lack of diplomatic initiative?

  89. Z

    strether … once again proving that the last resorts for the intellectually challenged are arrogance and obfuscation.

    1. I never denied that I first mentioned that clinton on this thread. My point was that the clinton zealots do it all the time.

    2. In your never ending quest to sliver away at what you CLAIM is your point to finally come up with something that you can ably defend … and it takes a ton of iterations to do that … we have finally down to this: the long-term damage of bill clinton’s economic policies is irrelevant, the point that YOU ARE NOW making is that the left can learn … from clinton … that if people feel that they are making concrete material benefits when you are in office then they are more likely to vote for you. … WOW … what utter brilliance, strether! Though it does seem that you didn’t have to try to defend his economic policies to make that point. And neither does it seem that we really have to draw upon the bill clinton experience to figure that out. Fuck …

    Also, addressing some more of your intellectually dishonesty in your never-ending attempt to never admit that you are wrong: don’t act try to put clinton’s economic policies in with the 40 years and act like his economic policies got caught in the wash. You can start right from his administration and it is clear to almost anyone that free trade, deregulation of wall street and the strong dollar policy were bad for this country … for working americans that is … and that’s already crystal clear only 10 years after he left office.

    You’re right, you’re not really worth arguing with. And anyone that can relate to your nonsense is beyond help … or more accurately doesn’t want help.


  90. Lori


    You have no choice but to take me seriously. I didn’t vote for Bush, I opposed the war in Iraq and I figured Obama as a misogynistic, right wing asshole from the get go. And there are enough of us to prevent the yahoos who foisted the Reaganite Obama on us to prevent them from doing it again.

    It’s the people who supported Obama that shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than the people who supported Bush. It’s the same candidate (a not terribly bright human with an Ivy League degree elected by white, college educated males) running the same campaign (I’m a uniter, not a divider) with the same policies. They got flattered and suckered.

  91. Z


    You have never addressed the fact that the aumf vote did not require hillary’s vote to pass … and it was clear from the beginning that it was going to pass handily. If she wanted to make a point that she was against attacking Iraq, she could have made it clear from her vote. But she took the politically safe route … as she has so often … and voted for it. There was a bill that was later brought to the senate that could have accomplished what she claimed was the goal behind her aumf vote, but she voted against the bill.

    hillary clinton is a self-serving political coward. And doing what she does right now: putting her face on our odious foreign policy, working for someone that claims the tyrannical right to kill amerian citizens on his whim, PROVES IT.


  92. Lori


    What complicated the vote is that we knew that we were losing the Senate in the upcoming election which was only three weeks away. We had a one vote majority in the senate And as it was and Republicans were running ahead in several states. The risk was that the authorization that would be put forth in January, when it was crafted solely by Republicans and could pass on a party line vote, would not have any UN language in it and the only opportunity to prevent the war would be lost.

    Her vote was a vote in favor of inspections. That was the choice as she saw it. As you noted, her vote wasn’t required to move forward on the war. But she took a stand on the one issue she felt was important – inspections. And that’s why she never apologized for the vote. Edwards came down in favor of war – that’s why he apologized. Clinton opposed invasion before the inspections were finished and didn’t feel that she had any reason to apologize for that.

  93. Lori


    So, you’re saying, then, that Elizabeth Warren is an oligarch for working for Obama on economic and consumer issues? That she’s putting her face on his policies and that proves she’s a proponent of Wall Street?


    I’d like to hear you expand on that.

  94. Z


    Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, the UN language didn’t carry a lot of weight in the end. She also could have voted for the bill brought up by Levin if she truly wanted to effectuate that, but she claims that she understood it differently than what some senators say was its very clear meaning.

    But thanks again for you response and those circumstances do make her aumf vote potentially more defensible.


  95. Z


    Elizabeth Warren … who I like, but I fear is being coopted … is working in the obama administration to oversee the development of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that is supposed to act as a check against the bankers’ deceptive business practices. You are broadening her role to put her in with the whole of obama’s economic policies. hillary clinton is the secretary of state, she plays a much larger role in our foreign policy than Warren has in our economic policy. Warren is not secretary of treasury. Warren also has not been working in the obama administration until very recently. It is not a fair comparison IMO.

    Also, my hopes are that if Warren is marginalized … which I suspect she will be … that she’ll quit in protest. If she is marginalized and she doesn’t, I will think less of her too.


  96. Lori


    Both Feingold and Clinton voted against the Levin amendment and expressed identical reasons for doing so. Both felt that it subordinated the president’s perogative to go to war to UN judgment. The language was vague.

    Here’s Clinton on the subject of the Levin amendment:

    I have the greatest respect for my friend and colleague, Senator Levin,” she said. “The way that amendment was drafted suggested that the United States would subordinate whatever our judgment might be going forward to the United Nations Security Council. I don’t think that was a good precedent. Therefore, I voted against it.”

    And here’s Feingold:

    “Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I rise to briefly comment on Senator Levin’s alternative proposal relating to Iraq. Some of my colleagues for whom I have tremendous respect have tried to address the fact that the administration’s proposal is simply not good enough by emphasizing the desirability of a United Nations resolution, thus transforming this dangerous unilateral proposal into an internationally sanctioned multilateral mission. But while I recognize that international support is a crucial ingredient in any recipe for addressing the weapons of mass destruction threat in Iraq without undercutting the fight against terrorism, I will not and cannot support any effort to give the United Nations Security Council Congress’s proxy in deciding whether or not to send American men and women into combat in Iraq. No Security Council vote can answer my questions about plans for securing WMD or American responsibilities in the wake of an invasion of Iraq. It is for this reason that I must oppose the proposal of the distinguished Senator from Michigan.”

    As for Elizabeth Warren, both she and Clinton are institutionalists. And liberal institutionalists rely on outsiders to support their move to the left – just as FDR did. I don’t agree with everything the State Department does, but I having lived through the Nixon, Reagan and Bush administrations, I find it hard to characterize Clinton’s State Department as “odious”. I don’t like Obama’s claim to be able to assassinate American citizens anymore than Glenn Greenwald does but I don’t see the State Department aggressively validating that stance.

    We live in a nation where our national discourse is dominated by the rightwing politics of national media. While most Americans are fairly liberal in orientation, our discourse doesn’t reflect that. We can endlessly debate how liberal Howard Dean actually was, but it’s clear he was in disfavor for his policies by the national media who perceived him as extremely liberal, and look at the caricature they turned him into. Any candidate that wants to get something worthwhile done must still discuss that plan within the confines allowed by our media or they will get “Dean Scream’d” to death. We aren’t going to hear genuinely liberal rhetoric out of any liberal politician who wants to get elected. The only way you’re going to know is by looking, yourself, at what they’ve actually done in their life. What have they done as a private citizen? What initiatives did they tackle professionally? What bills have they authored as a legislator (whether they got signed into law or not)? That’s where you can see what kind of stuff a candidate is made of. People who can get stuff done are people who have gotten stuff done. After Bush and Obama, we can’t afford anymore dilettantes.

  97. Z


    That’s good information in regards to Levin’s amendment. It’s good to hear a counterpoint to Levin’s and the other senator’s contentions that were in the article. I respect Feingold for the most part, though I don’t agree with some of his votes.

    I did not necessarily call clinton’s state department odious, I called obama’s foreign policy odious. obama’s claim to have the power to kill u.s. citizens on a whim comes from his assertion that he can kill some american that is reportedly over on Yemen I believe and is simply an extension of an element of our foreign policy: we can kill foreigners suspected of being terrorists without any evidentiary procedure. This guy reportedly in Yemen is an u.s. citizen and obama claims that is irrelevant. It does have at least a tangential relevance to our foreign policy.

    I would make the point that obama got elected by purposely creating the delusion that he was in favor of many liberal policies, so I don’t believe that someone can’t get elected by running on liberal policies. I do agree that Dean got screwed by the media with the ridiculous scream bullshit. He also got screwed by his party, who beat up on him a lot worse than they did bush becoz IMO they were more concerned about maintaining their power within the party than knocking off bush.

    “After Bush and Obama, we can’t afford anymore dilettantes.” AGREED! I didn’t vote for either of these jackasses.


  98. Lori

    Yeah, his claim to be able to assassinate Americans is as horrific as it gets. A Democratic president to the right of Cheney – who would have thunk it?

  99. anon2525

    Also, my hopes are that if Warren is marginalized … which I suspect she will be … that she’ll quit in protest. If she is marginalized and she doesn’t, I will think less of her too.

    I was asked this question, too (the Warren Trap) back in a thread where it was relevant to the topic. I gave a similar answer.

    Now here’s how the Trap works: If you support Warren unquestioningly, then you must support H. Clinton.

    But since you do not support Warren unquestioningly, then, well, you still must support H. Clinton because, well, you just have to.

    The topic: …it’s not hyperbole at all to say that Obama is Bush’s third term.

    Would bush have appointed Warren? No. Warren has a public record of writings about protecting consumers, which bush would have nothing to do with. (Would Warren have accepted?) Obama “appointed”* her to “triangulate” his way out of a dilemma: how to appease the banks and appease the democrats who were up for re-election (and support his planned “progressive” campaign rhetoric that he began using after the “appointment”). I will be surprised if Obama selects her to go before the Senate for confirmation for the position in the new agency.
    Should she have taken the “advisor” position? I don’t think she should have any more than she should have accepted an appointment by bush. Given Obama’s record, the way to change his positions — if they can be changed — is from the outside. But then I don’t know much about Warren to know whether she would make a good left/progressive candidate. There’s Ian Welsh’s position: Warren would be (much?) better than Obama. But given the circumstances we’re in, we need someone extraordinary. (By the way, what made Roosevelt extraordinary, I think, was not his innate ability, but his abilities combined with his appointments and advisors. I don’t know how we’re to judge whether someone will make extraordinary appointments.)

    *AKA, made up a meaningless position.

  100. anon2525

    I did not necessarily call clinton’s state department odious…

    Why not? They have admitted that they should have done something in Rwanda. Why weren’t there resignations over this (at a minimum)? They frittered about for several years before helping to stop the genocide in the Balkans. And Madeline Albright has admitted that her statement about how the children in Iraq had to die because of sanctions was a stupid mistake (and that’s just the statement she apologized for, not the sanctions policy itself).

    Americans feel free to judge their country’s foreign policy as “good” or “a success” without having to live with the consequences of it (not strictly true) and without asking, “World, what did you think about the X president’s foreign policy?” Oh, that’s right. You’re opinion doesn’t matter. Especially if you’re dead. Speak to the American Indians and to people who were held in slavery if you want to know how Americans feel about their foreign policy.

    We live in a country that firebomb the cities of Tokyo and Dresden, that dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that committed massacres at No Gun Ri, My Lai, and those of Tiger Force in Vietnam. This is the country that committed the “Highway of Death” in Kuwait. Why not call them all “odious?” It’s a start. It’s because none of those were considered crimes that the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed. It’s because no one has been held accountable for those crimes that Obama will be able to order that, as Ian Welsh has written, people in Pakistan and Afghanistan be turned into fine, red mist.

    The reason people in the U.S. can write that these are not “odious” is that they and their families are alive, unlike all of those that have been killed in our names.

  101. On the matter of candidates and primaries, here’s the bottom line.

    1. H. Clinton isn’t running in 2012. Anyone who thinks that, after accepting the SoS job and not putting up a high campaign/oppositional profile up to this point, she’s going to run for the candidacy is smoking something strong.

    2. Barring an extremely unlikely political sea change in the USA, if you run anyone effective enough to damage or unseat Obama in 2011-2012, be entirely prepared and certain to have a Republican in the White House in 2012 (and you will increase the likelihood of an (R) Senate and further increase the margin in the House). You may decide that this is what you want for some larger strategic goal, but it is another form of 11-dimensional chess…

    That said, big changes sometimes crystallize quickly *shrug* but to rely on this is magical thinking.

    3. The first opportunity for any non-Obama (D) presidency, including Hillary, is 2016.

    4. If Hillaryfans supporters are expecting some kind of redemption in the form of recognition or a Grand Apologia from Obamafans, this thread should be evidence that you’re sorely mistaken. No such apologia will ever be forthcoming, because it depends on hypotheticals of which there are many interpretations. There’s a reason why the Clinton name is disliked among progressives—Bill’s time in office was, at the time, seen by many progressives as seeding the crises we have now. And it was predicted back then.

    Obama is not the 3rd Bush term—he’s the umpteenth neoliberal/entrenched establishment term, of which B. Clinton’s terms were as well along with both Bushes’ times in office.

    5. Some of us, even those who are not inclined to view Clinton as any worse, and maybe a bit better than Obama do not see there being much very radical daylight between either Clinton or Obama. I’d put myself there, and I believe Ian is there too, and anon2525 and others. (No?)

    6. The problem, then, is to come up with a candidate that is sufficiently radical as the times require and is acceptable to both the large Hillary-ish and Obama-ish factions of the party, and to run that candidate in 2016. Alternatively, to spin up a third-party movement in that time.

    7. Ultimately, the Democrats will have to be cast as the establishment/right party, and the Republicans marginalized. There will inevitably be a third-party moment unless the Democrats transform beyond recognition. I just don’t think that it can be done while the Republicans are considered a mainstream right-wing party. As they are so considered.

  102. Z,

    Also, addressing some more of your intellectually dishonesty in your never-ending attempt to never admit that you are wrong: don’t act try to put clinton’s economic policies in with the 40 years and act like his economic policies got caught in the wash. You can start right from his administration and it is clear to almost anyone that free trade, deregulation of wall street and the strong dollar policy were bad for this country … for working americans that is … and that’s already crystal clear only 10 years after he left office.

    This is the really frustrating part. People don’t remember that Clinton was very unpopular among the left in the 90s, who saw him even then as seeding and perpetrating ALL of the malaises that are bearing fruit today, that were foretold then—and were even bearing rotten fruit back then, if a bit less smelly. There was a reason for the Nader challenge. It was felt, at the time, that things could hardly be worse or more hopeless. Just go back and read through the Zmag archives through the 90s.

    This was before we realized the true horror of what the neocons really intended or how likely it was that they would accomplish it. It was not understood that it’s not only policy that matters, but who talks about the policy and why they said it—how the USA was railroaded into the Iraq war when it wasn’t even relevant. It was a really naive time. We are basically repeating this eternal Groundhog Day. Or, to use a Canadian political quip, this neverending trip to the dentist.

  103. It’s funny because Chomsky endorsed Nader in 2000 because it was really strongly felt that the Democrats needed to be taught a lesson that the left should not be taken for granted. As I recall, in 2004 he was counselling a vote for Kerry on the grounds that the true horror of the neocons hadn’t been revealed 2000, but were in 2004, and the left had gotten nowhere under the Nader tactic.

    Obama is not McCain, and he is not worse than McCain would have been. McCain would be passing tort reform now rather than the PPACA, which was not the worst outcome either, and certainly not among the non-single-payer/government insurer options. McCain may have had a harder time talking about or touching SocSec himself, but he would have left behind a world in which it would be even easier for an even later Democrat to do so.

  104. Z


    You’re right; they’re carrying it out and none of them have resigned. Not to mention that many of them were also selected by obama becoz he knew that they had similar beliefs and would support his foreign policy.

    Odious is as odious does in this case.


  105. Z


    “5. Some of us … do not see there being much very radical daylight between either Clinton or Obama. I’d put myself there, and I believe Ian is there too, and anon2525 and others.”

    Put me in that camp …


  106. anon2525

    That said, big changes sometimes crystallize quickly *shrug* but to rely on this is magical thinking.

    We have a gov’t. that is corrupt and incompetent (and coming soon, a dash of crazy). We should expect matters to get worse under such a gov’t. The question is not “will it get worse?”, but “for whom?” and “how fast?” There are certainly many factors in the economy that will lead to it worsening even more in 2011 than it has already. Can anyone point to any reason why we should think it will get better?

    The idea that this should *not* lead to a primary challenge ignores history. Presidents who lead bad (and worsening) economies and unpopular military actions don’t win re-election. Democrats know this and will be weighing whether to ride a sure loser to the finish, or switch. Unless you can point to some non-magical reason for thinking that things will get better, there’s no reason to think that Obama’s nomination is assured. (My guess is that had he been up for election on Nov. 2, he would have lost — too many people who believed in him in 2008 no longer believe in him.)

    “Either the Democrats support Obama, or the country gets a republican president”? No. “Either the Democrats get rid of (secret republican) Obama or the country gets a (different) republican president” is a better description of reality from where we are now.

  107. anon2525

    Obama is not the 3rd Bush term—he’s the umpteenth neoliberal/entrenched establishment term, of which B. Clinton’s terms were as well along with both Bushes’ times in office.

    No, the neo-con foreign policy plus the neo-liberal domestic policy plus the anti-democratic Constitution-shredding make his term the third bush term.

  108. anon2525

    “neo-liberal domestic policy” => “neo-liberal economic policy”

  109. The neocons, etc, are simply a sect of the larger imperialist tendency, a difference more of degree than of kind. They’re a particularly egregious sect with a lot of deliberate malice hiding behind particularly odd theories that Obama may or may not share even as he continues the trend they accelerated.

    But however you want to slice up the groups, the point I was trying to make, ultimately, is that pointing at Obama as the “third Bush term” allows people to convince themselves that (a) the situation was sustainable before Bush and (b) this discussion is new. But we’ve actually already had the peregrinations about “opportunity costs” and efforts outside the system and the consequences of abandoning elections and so on and so forth that we’re having yet again.

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