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May 04, 2016

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Now, will they force a VP on him that can backstab him once the establishment gives the signal?

The failure of the Never Trump folks? They knew that nobody (outside his evangelical base) actually liked Cruz. And most of the rest of us went well beyond mere dislike. But they didn't consider that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" might apply.

The result? Trump actually managed (thanks IMHO to the anti-Cruz voters) to finally get above 50%. I don't see that as growing support for Trump, so much as opposition to Cruz.

So, with Cruz gone, what happens? Put another way, will the anti-Cruz folks stay with Trump? Or vote for one of the other guys whose names are still on the ballot?

...and now the news is saying that Kasich is dropping out.

Star Wars Day 2016, a moment for the history books.

May the Farce Be With You.

"The failure of the Never Trump folks? "

That they left it way too late. Cruz, for example, started his campaign by saying what a great guy Trump was.

Oh, and being a bunch of unappealing losers, too.

Nigel - you're in the UK, what's the view over there!

My guess:

Life imitates art - in this case, the Upper-Class Twit of the Year skit.

"what's the view over there"

A mixture of amusement and deep apprehension.
As I said earlier, I truly hope that Hillary proves 'likeable enough'.

(Though I can't really claim to speak for the entire UK...)

"Though I can't really claim to speak for the entire UK"

Go ahead, most of the US won't notice. :-)

Republican politics boils down to ethno-nationalistic passions ungoverned by reason.

No more so than Progressive, now Democratic, politics boiling down to identitarian/social justice fixations ungoverned by reason.

Which may well be a case of both houses being equally poxed.

Except the Democrats don't have anyone like Trump. It's a proof-in-the-pudding sort of thing.

HSH - we will have to wait until Al Sharpton is the Dem nominee.

Or whoever the unreasonable identitarian/social justice fixating candidate as analog to Trump would be. I'm open to suggestions.

McKinney, note how Ugh explicitly did NOT say "Republican and conservative politics boils down to ethno-nationalistic passions ungoverned by reason."

McKinney, note how Ugh explicitly did NOT say "Republican and conservative politics boils down to ethno-nationalistic passions ungoverned by reason."

I did notice. My view of the two parties is somewhat different. I think a lot of people have very real concerns about the border, and while some number of those people are racist, many others are not. I have concerns about the border, but I have much bigger concerns about Trump. Trump's stand on immigration--overwrought in many respects--isn't that far off from of lot of what The Bern has to say. Bern just says it in a nicer way. The real culprit is the Tea Party which is f'ing bananas. I'm having ongoing professional encounters with one of our local Tea Parties, and collectively it is sort of a virgin mentality, having never been penetrated by an original thought. I agree it is dismaying that so many have latched on to Trump, although the number who refuse to do so is gratifying.

My gripe with the Dem's is twofold. First, that HRC is corrupt, always has been, always will be. She is inherently transactional. Everything is bought and paid for. Yet, very few on the left say they will forego voting if she is the candidate. HRC doesn't have to be *as awful* as Trump to be *awful enough*.

Second, the social justice/identitarian subset is getting out of hand. They are the counterpart to the Tea Party. They are growing, not shrinking, and they are well and truly statist in the worst possible way.

The DNC and Dem Super Delegates are all for HRC. So, corruption. In time, as the next generation of illiberal, social justice warriors gains ground, you will see Trumpism from the left. The seeds are there. History tells us it won't pretty.

Some choice. Some future. I'll be writing in.

Yet, very few on the left say they will forego voting if she is the candidate.

You mean the 'real' left? Heh. Well, for the record, the Nader fiasco in 2000 pretty much broke 'us' of that, though some purists who just cannot bring themselves to vote for The Hillary are still out there. So yes, very few...and for good reason.

The crew at LG&M are determined to hound them to the ends of the earth.

The DNC and Dem Super Delegates are all for HRC. So, corruption.

I thought this was mostly a thing with Bernie's supporters. The party has been nominating candidates more or less the same way for a while, with a few tweaks here or there. It really has nothing to do with Clinton, per se.

There's no requirement for any public vote at all in a party's internal selection process. It's all a matter of what is in the party's best interests, as the party sees it. But, even if they get that wrong, it's not a legal or moral question, really. It's one of the competence of the people running the party.

If the party leadership simply get together and pick someone, by some undisclosed process, they may, without intending to (and why would they intend to?), alienate the public, harming their brand. Doing so may well be stupid, but I have a hard time seeing it as being corrupt, short of some serious shenanigans.

And if you took the superdelegates out of the picture, would it change the outcome of this particular nomination?

Yet, very few on the left say they will forego voting if she is the candidate. HRC doesn't have to be *as awful* as Trump to be *awful enough*.

Awful enough for what? It's her or Trump, so *as awful* is the bar. What other course of action, at this point, do people "on the left" or anywhere else have?

Awful enough for what? It's her or Trump, so *as awful* is the bar. What other course of action, at this point, do people "on the left" or anywhere else have?

Well, one place to start might be a full on attack against the DNC, the rules and the process--call it out for what it is and call her out for what she is. Which is what a lot of people on the right are doing with Trump, and a lesser number did with Cruz.

So, perhaps taking and maintaining a stand on principle is a good place to start. You can still hold your nose and vote for her if you are in a swing state. Otherwise, you have the luxury--as I do--of being able to write in.

At the risk of seeming to put words in his mouth, perhaps McKinney is making a point about purity. To wit: if you support someone, you must necessarily support everything about them. That is if (for the sake of discussion) a candidate is corrupt, you are necessarily a supporter of corruption, and arguably corrupt yourself. No matter what the alternatives may be.

Logically the same applies to any feature/shortcoming of any candidate. If you vote for them, you must be in favor of everything about them. In short, you should probably not vote for anybody ever . . . unless you happen to be running and can vote for yourself.

Posting from Florence, on a phone (not my preferred mode, to put it mildly),but felt I should add to Nigel's account of UK attitudes to Trump: even my Tory friends (some of whom tried to justify a McCain/Palin ticket (!)) are incredulous about Trump. I think it's fair to say that to the rest of the world a Trump presidency is pretty much inconceivable. One can list his "liberal" attitudes til the cows come home, it's still horrific to contemplate anyone with his non-existent attention span, vulnerability to flattery, egocentric and erratic behaviour etc with any power whatsoever.

McKT: re HRC's corruption: I thought there had been exhaustive enquiries into e.g. Whitewater, Benghazi etc without anything of substance being found. Is this not true? If it isn't, please give links, or at least an indication of where to look for evidence of her corruption. I would be most grateful.

Well, one place to start might be a full on attack against the DNC, the rules and the process--call it out for what it is and call her out for what she is.

Putting aside what she is, what is it? They have some number of party officials or high-raking members who have a say in who gets nominated as their party's candidate. I don't get what's so problematic about a party having some degree of internal control over their own nominating process. And, again, this isn't something they cooked up for Hillary Clinton. They've been doing more or less the same thing for decades.

So, perhaps taking and maintaining a stand on principle is a good place to start. You can still hold your nose and vote for her if you are in a swing state. Otherwise, you have the luxury--as I do--of being able to write in.

I'm guessing NJ won't be up for grabs this November, so I suppose I could write in or just not vote at all (since it won't matter, anyway!). I don't see what sort of meaningful stand that would be, though.

Incidentally, I'm probably going to vote in NJ's primary in (I think, without looking it up) June. I'll be voting for Bernie, just because I can. Hillary all the way in November, though. Sour milk's better than raw sewage.

At the risk of seeming to put words in his mouth, perhaps McKinney is making a point about purity. To wit: if you support someone, you must necessarily support everything about them.

Not even remotely.

I thought there had been exhaustive enquiries into e.g. Whitewater, Benghazi etc without anything of substance being found.

I don't catalogue her issues, but even my limited memory can recall: cattle futures (100K), Mark Rich pardon (400K), her undisclosed Wall Street speeches for incredible, off the charts fees, intersection of Clinton Foundation donors with business before the State Department and the State Department emails. I do not expect the Obama administration to appoint independent counsel or to conduct a thorough investigation. Anyone with the time could round up a ton of her smaller issues: FBI files on political opponents showing up in the white house, Rose law firm's billing records showing up in the white house, etc, etc. Always someone there to take the fall. Add to this her and her husband's love of oppo research and the art of personal destruction. Ugly people. Disgusting.

The DNC and Dem Super Delegates are all for HRC. So, corruption.

Well HRC still has a 1683 to 1362 regular delegate lead over Bernie, 321 delegates or 23% more than Bernie. So, it's hardly being taken away from Bernie by corruption in the process via super-delegates. Not that the DNC isn't leaning Hillary (and Bernie, after all, being a latecomer to the Democratic party so...).

I do have to say that much as Trump is awful, although I would say potentially less awful than any of Cruz/Rubio/Kasich would have been but also potentially infinitely worse, at least it seemed to me a democratic enough process that the R primary voters got pretty much what they wanted rather than having the "elites" or "establishment" being able to swoop in and select who they wanted.

But accepting that HRC is corrupt and "inherently transactional", what horrible outcomes might that lead to that wouldn't occur under an HRC (or Dem) presidency anyway? Other than continued erosion of faith in our public institutions, which seems to be 85% of the GOP's raison d'être these days, IMHO.

Putting aside what she is, what is it?

A party that stacks the deck for HRC is as corrupt as she is. And so is the process that allows for stacking the deck.

Just because the Republicans are currently leading the race to the bottom doesn't mean the Democrats aren't in the running.

The milk may be sour today. It could be toxic tomorrow.

But accepting that HRC is corrupt and "inherently transactional", what horrible outcomes might that lead to that wouldn't occur under an HRC (or Dem) presidency anyway?

I'm not sure this is a point I'd want to make if I were arguing from the 'she's not as bad as Trump' point of view. That said, what standing do Democrats have going forward to address any issue of integrity when the standard they hold themselves to is "our corruption is ok because we wouldn't govern any differently if we were honest"?

But, again, would removing the superdelegates from the equation change anything this time around? And you call it "stacking the deck." What deck, and whose is it? It's a political party. It's an organization. It's their nominee. To the extent that it's in the party's best interest to have an open (small-d) democratic process, they should have that. To the extent that they don't, which also may be in the party's best interests, how is it corrupt?

Which is what a lot of people on the right are doing with Trump

I see little, if any, criticism of the GOP rules and procedures for choosing delegates coming from anybody but the presumptive nominee.

Another way of looking at it is that, in all likelihood, the only way for the superdelegates to subvert the will of the voters will be to switch to supporting Bernie and handing him the nomination. That would prevent Clinton from getting it. Would that be "stacking the deck?"

A party that stacks the deck for HRC is as corrupt as she is.

You might actually read up on the history of how 'superdelegates' came to be. Here's a start.

And yes, they do by and large, represent the "establishment", but then again many if not most of them have to win either a public or party election to be where they are.

McKinney,

Just for curiosity: which potential presidential candidate, of either party, would you have considered NOT-corrupt?

By "NOT-corrupt" I mean "by the same standards you apply to Hillary Clinton". I specify that because I can imagine various ways to define corrupt/non-corrupt, and under some of them a Dick Cheney or a Denny Hastert would be as NON-corrupt as you can get.

--TP

BP and HSH--is my point to the effect that a thoroughly corrupt, transactional person being the party favorite is a bit problematic not getting through?

Does pointing out that the Super Delegate concept once made sense somehow ameliorate the current stench?

Is asking one's party to not be corrupt, to not support corrupt candidates a bad idea? Something people could and should do rather than sadly noting they wish things were different but, really, what can be done about it and would it make any difference in the end even if they could?

If nothing else, doesn't the present state of affairs disqualify all HRC supporters from complaining about Republican corruption?

And for those of you who haven't read the entire thread, I wouldn't pour raw sewage on Trump OR Cruz if they were on fire. A sizeable minority of establishment conservatives oppose and will continue to oppose Trump on principle. That most of these people would accept Cruz is as disappointing as the Democrats' support of HRC.

Just for curiosity: which potential presidential candidate, of either party, would you have considered NOT-corrupt?

Sanders is a clean as a whistle as far as I can tell. I don't know of any Republican who, while in public office, conducted business on a quid pro quo basis in even as remotely similar a fashion as the Clinton's. Which is not to say any of the Republican candidates were worthy of being elected president, although I once thought a lot of Carlie Fiorina. Limiting the topic to corruption, HRC is in a league all of her own.

As far as the UK is concerned, I think the cartoonist Matt might speak for the majority with today's cartoon:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/30/matt-cartoons-may-2016/

Transactional ?
http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-supreme-court-gets-ready-to-legalize-corruption

From over here, all US politics appears transactional.

From over here, all US politics appears transactional.

There has always been an element of sleeze, going back to the 19th century. What we are seeing is ever higher levels of sleeze becoming the norm. I read the Newyorker article. It spins both Citizens United and McConnell's case. The former *is* a legitimate First Amendment issue, the latter is not but it is a case with valid nuances that blur the line between criminal conduct and extremely bad taste and bad optics.

The former *is* a legitimate First Amendment issue,

An issue, sure. A deeply questionable decision, though.

A deeply questionable decision, though.

Depends on how you read the First Amendment but I don't mean to threadjack. The topic is HRC's corruption and the DNC's open and notorious support of her notwithstanding. And, the seemingly helpless acknowledgment that this is the case but, really, what can be done about?

Yeah, McTx, this crazy talk about social justice is really getting out of hand - it's not as if the US was the most unequal society in the developed world.

The topic is HRC's corruption and the DNC's open and notorious support of her notwithstanding.

Citizens United published a blatant lie-fest about Hillary Clinton during an election, claiming to document the "corruption" you also allege. The Supremes (the Republican hacks on the court) said, sure, as long as it's the Clintons, why not. And while we're at it, let's make sure that moneyed interests always carry the day in election law, with money being speech and all. Because, you know, we Republicans on the Supreme Court can't throw every election!

And people wonder why Hillary thinks money is important.

So comes now McKinney, with all his nuance. I'm not buying it.

BP and HSH--is my point to the effect that a thoroughly corrupt, transactional person being the party favorite is a bit problematic not getting through?

On the contrary. But consider, given current institutional relationships, we will have an effective choice as between only two candidates for the most powerful position in the world. So pick one and own the decision.

This is, as they say, not rocket science.

If it comes down to being sold down the river by a "corrupt" candidate who otherwise buys into at least some elements of a socially progressive political program and some hack who will sell us out on principle (Markets! God! American Exceptionalism!), deeply held or not, I will vote for the first one every time.

From over here, all US politics appears transactional.

Yes, good cite, Nigel. In just about every instance that McKinney damns the Clintons, those actions fit the Citizens Unitedmodel quite explicitly, a model where our esteemed legal commenter from Texas takes the opposite side.

Well, for the record, the Nader fiasco in 2000 pretty much broke 'us' of that

This year's youngest voters were two years old in 2000. The hanging chads, the Brooks Brothers Riot, Gore's concession and 9/11 are events in history books to them, if they know about them at all.

From over here, all US politics appears transactional.

From over here, the Brits appear not to be ready to throw stones.

An interesting point - the first election I remember being conscious of in any way was in 1970, when I was eight. And the first real political issue, a couple of years later, as I had to do my homework by candlelight, owing to the miners strike...

Throw as many as you want, Nigel. I didn't take you for a Boris Johnson supporter anyway. According to sapient's own link, other Brits condemned Johnson for his racism.

You can still hold your nose and vote for her if you are in a swing state. Otherwise, you have the luxury--as I do--of being able to write in.

Well, McK, it may hearten you to know that unlike many here I'm not sure I have the hand strength to clench my nose tight enough to vote Clinton.

OTOH, I'm definitely in a swing state, making my vote anything but a statement to the DLC, so I probably can't please you even by (broadly) agreeing with your argument (though I despise Clinton as much for policy as for buying into the Citizens United lifestyle). Alas, alas...

(I've actually already had conversations on this line with fellow leftist Democrats (who like me are Ds only because of how the system is stacked R/D), and the conclusion we reached was much as yours: in a swing state, nose holding should be done, but elsewhere never HRC. But I still don't know that I can bring myself to endorse such a model patrician center-right neocon hawk. Perhaps a down-to-the-wire election and Trump becoming even more cartoonish will help, but I'm not optimistic.)

other Brits condemned Johnson for his racism

Never said the Brits were a monolith. Nor are the Americans. There are evils on both sides of the pond.

McKinney: HRC is corrupt, always has been, always will be. She is inherently transactional. Everything is bought and paid for.

Could you please list the transactions? Inquiring minds want to know.

Once a figure has been accepted as a friendly member of their tribe, there is no level of absurdity to which he can stoop that would discredit him. And since reason cannot penetrate the crude tribalism that animates Republicans, it follows that nothing President Obama could have proposed on economic stimulus, health care, or deficits could have avoided the paroxysms of rage that faced him.

I am always amazed when someone deigns to comment on one side of the tribal abyss. Even more so when we have tribalism at its peak defining both parties choices. "Crude tribalism" is an opinion proposed by an anti-ethno-nationalist author. The depth of the rage in that 40% of the population against Obama are built ON their underlying distrust of "them", but built WITH the brick and mortar of his contempt for their nationalism, and buttressed by his constant reminding of how stupid they are. Trump is the product of the combination of this hatred and their disdain for those on the right who would placate him for trivial gains while he talked down what they believe is the very essence of the American ideal. Faith, family and country.

These are not people who accept that we are responsible for every human being on the planet. They do believe we should build a society that rewards success. No matter how many ways that gets twisted as punishing the unsuccessful, it is not that. Most of these people believe in a safety net, they believe it should not be a hammock.

They don't believe constantly expanding the governments control of our daily lives is good, they do believe that building a future includes the government that makes reasonable promises and keeps them. And on specific policy issues they often disagree among themselves, which is always used to paint them as hypocritical. My goodness, they aren't a monolithic pack of jabbering lemmings after all.

They believe, as a group, that despite any specific policy issues they may have with him, that he actually is nationalist, America first, and will hire the smartest people to defend their country and way of life. It has proven to be a powerful message, potentially as powerful as hope and change. Probably as empty.

The topic is HRC's corruption and the DNC's open and notorious support of her notwithstanding.

Notwithstanding the title of the OP. Marty is even more clear.

Trump is the product of the combination of this hatred and their disdain for those on the right who would placate him for trivial gains while he talked down what they believe is the very essence of the American ideal.

It's all our fault. (I guess we upped the ante by electing the Kenyan) Before, I'd try to reason, but at this point, I've got lots better things to do than to try to deal with the delusional.

Over here, that's known as 'whataboutery', sapient.
(And I'm unclear as to what Johnson's borderline racist comments have to do with transactional politics, embarrassing though they might be.)

Of course there is an element of the transactional in most politics; a great deal of party funding comes from either the unions, or business, and some commonality of interest is naturally expected.
It is, however, a matter of degree. MPs ability to get re-elected is not directly linked in any real way to their ability to fundraise. That is simply not true of congressmen and congresswomen. There are (fairly) strict campaign finance limits in the UK, whereas in the US.... Campaign spending in national elections is in the low tens of millions, not billions.

Campaign spending in national elections is in the low tens of millions, not billions
Per capita? My understanding is that the UK is smaller.

No political ads on the tv in the UK, thus no need for the vast amounts of filthy lucre involved in US political campaigns.

BP and HSH--is my point to the effect that a thoroughly corrupt, transactional person being the party favorite is a bit problematic not getting through?

Does pointing out that the Super Delegate concept once made sense somehow ameliorate the current stench?

If your point is simply that the party is essentially corrupt for generally supporting an obviously corrrupt candidate, then I guess I can at least understand that. I might disagree, not being convinced that Hillary Clinton is particularly corrupt by our national political standards, but that's a different kettle of fish.

You seemed to be making a point that it was, strictly speaking, the mechanics of the nominating process that were somehow corrupt as well, and that said corruption was particularly in evidence because of the existence of superdelegates. If not, then never mind, though I still don't see how superdelegates are no longer sensible (which is different from their existence being a form of corruption).

my take on it all is as follows:

the last moderate conservative to win the white house was bill clinton.

post-clinton, there was simply no moderate conservative turf left for the (R)'s to occupy, so the only way for them to differentiate themselves was to move further and further to the fringes.

also, it strikes me that politics in any society that isn't almost completely homogenous is inherently transactional.

you want x, I want y, I'll trade you some of what I want for some of what you want.

in general, it's better than shooting at each other.

hilary may be corrupt, but if so it seems, to me, to be in a kind of party for the course way.

Boehner handed out checks for votes, not metaphorically but literally, on the house floor, and ended up as speaker.

he's considered one of the good guys.

so, whatever.

My impression is that Clinton opposes trade deals while running for office and then supports them when in power. She apparently changed her position on the bankruptcy bill--there's a clip of Warren talking to Bill Moyers about this. Here is a piece about her stance on the banks--

http://usuncut.com/politics/video-surfaces-of-hillary-clinton-blaming-homeowners-for-financial-crisis/


Her AIPAC speech was probably in part donor driven, though she is such a hawk she might be perfectly sincere defending Israel's conduct in Gaza, which to my mind is worse. I'd rather she be the person who secretly welcomes the advice from Sidney Blumenthal to read the work of his son Max, but it is hard to know when she publicly claims BDS is antisemitic. The person who quipped "we came we saw he died" about Gaddafi's death and then laughs seems pretty crass about violence when she thinks people will approve. If a Republican had said that every liberal blog would have talked about what it meant.

I ought to google for that scholarly article which claimed that politicians in general support policies that line up with what their donors want. It would be surprising if Clinton were an exception.

I am voting Clinton on lesser evil grounds, though it shouldn't matter in my state. Protest voting doesn't do anything so far as I can tell, but if her victory in my state is certain I might do it.

Found the paper. It wasn't quite what I said' but close. They found that the wishes of ordinary people had almost no effect on policy, in sharp contrast to business groups.

https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

McKinney - If Bush/Cheney were running for a third term vs Hillary/(VP that you wouldn't care one way or the other about) - would you vote Bush/Cheney?

...they do believe that building a future includes the government that makes reasonable promises and keeps them.

Like most interest groups, THEY believe that the government should make and keep promises to THEM. The historical record is quite clear in this regard.

To try to deny this is just denial or bullshit. THEY are simply not "EVERYBODY". THEYU never were.

Please stop inferring otherwise.

Thanks.

Boehner handed out checks for votes, not metaphorically but literally, on the house floor, and ended up as speaker.

Whaddaya' say, McKinney? I am curious.

....are events in history books to them, if they know about them at all.

Perhaps. But I opine this assertion simply sells these folks short, and in fact, is a kind of insult wrt their historical knowledge.

I was 20 once. Weren't you?

Marty: ...the very essence of the American ideal. Faith, family and country.

If by "faith" you mean religious faith, then your conception of the "American ideal" is not merely wrong but dangerous. Religious faith is a basic ingredient of tribalism.

"Family" sounds nice, but it can easily become small-scale tribalism. The Hatfields were "family", and so were the McCoys. But they were probably good old-fashioned patriarchal families with strong religious views on chastity for their womenfolk and paternal authority over their offspring, so ...

Now, "country". The thing about "country" is that, unlike "faith" or "family", we only have one of it -- for the moment. The people Marty eulogizes think it's their country and often talk as if only they love it. Such people, if they actually exist, can get stuffed. When they get it through their heads that theirs is not the only valid form of patriotism, I will withdraw that invitation.

--TP

Marty: "...talks down what they see as the very essence of the American ideal. Faith, family, country."

I'm rather at a loss to recall Obama talking down any of those.

But what really, really mystifies me is this. Obama appears to be the very embodiment of their ideal of a family man. Yet their protest is to support Trump? A man who, every decade or two, trades in his wife for a younger model. And who has fathered at least one child out of wedlock. If that makes any sense at all, I just can't see it.

Russell: "the last moderate conservative to win the White House was Bill Clinton."

Well except for Obama. Who would have been considered a conservative any time before 1990. (And, I suspect, still looks like one from outside the United States.)

Concerning Citizen United: imo the decision in the narrow case of that 'documentary' was correct. The content of that 'documentary' is a different matter and Clinton should have simply sued for libel/slander (and won*). Where Citizens United went off the rails completely was the general precedent spun out of it (of the kind 'we can't hang that toddler that played with matches, so arson shall henceforth be legal'). In a way that's the opposite of Roe v. Wade where imo the legal reasoning was highly questionable in the specific case while the precedent set was valid independent of that.

As for Clinton herself, I think she is as low and unprincipled as one can be without being actually evil. Some of what she does as a politician borders on passive evil (i.e. letting** bad/evil stuff happen because there is no personal advantage in fighting it). For comparision Kasich seems to be solidly in the passive evil camp and Cruz a standard bearer of the active. Trump? Not fully sure. Perhaps active once it gets personal and passive otherwise. The type of guy that would be content with photorealistic virtual kiddie pörn because for him it's about the optics not the fact that real innocents were harmed in making it (while an actively evil type would not accept the surrogate for that very reason).

*There is a difference between harsh criticism and brazen fabrication
**passive sense, i.e. not 'make it happen'

From where I sit in England, Obama is a sane and competent politician, somewhat to the right of David Cameron. Hillary Clinton is an unattractive exemplar of dynastic politics, but how much substance there is in the specific charges against her I'm not sure. And no country in possession of its senses would consider either Trump or Cruz as a candidate for high office.

It seems to me that the whole Primary Election process is broken - a successful candidate has to be a celebrity, or a billionaire, or a member of a political dynasty, or freakishly good at campaigning, or a rabid populist. None of which has got anything to do with being a good president.

Trump is best compared to Boris Johnson - and make no mistake, beneath his village idiot / nutty professor shtick he is the most ruthlessly ambitious politician in the UK. Good times!

"HRC is corrupt, always has been, always will be. She is inherently transactional. Everything is bought and paid for."

Yeah, her support for unbridled Capitalism is a bit troubling, it's true.

I second PaulB's first para above. But McKinney, what is your reply to Ugh's very interesting question at 9.59? It looked very much, from what I remember, as if the Bush family's ties to Uncle Bandar and Saudi oil were pretty suspect, not to mention Cheney and Halliburton.

And as far as Boris Johnson is concerned, nobody who read the recent biography could mistake him for anything other than an amoral, unpleasant and deeply ambitious character. It is however an astonishingly effective impersonation to the contrary, I do admit.

Hell, forget Bush/Cheney corruption. Let's talk about Trump. This short piece is from 2012, so not motivated by Trump's candidacy.

(Of course, it comes from a left/liberal/Democrat-leaning source, so it's probably suspect.)

The depth of the rage in that 40% of the population against Obama are built ON their underlying distrust of "them", but built WITH the brick and mortar of his contempt for their nationalism, and buttressed by his constant reminding of how stupid they are.

I'm actually very familiar with this particular set of grievances from personal experience, having grown up in the rural Midwest and also having performed uniformed service. And what I've personally seen is that it's BS. It's generally professed by thin-skinned individuals who operate on stereotypes to understand people they don't superficially identify with. If you don't look, act, and talk like them, you're a scornful elitist spitting down on them from high (well, that, or an ignorant, contemptible degenerate, but the focus of this is "anti-elitism", right?). It's reflexive, and it's frankly elitist, albeit in a very specific and extremely populist and faux-persecuted way. Disagreeing with them while not looking and acting like them is proof of absolute contempt for everything they hold dear, plus condescension, and is justly met in kind, while further providing ample cause to assume unremitting bad faith.

That's anecdata, just like yours, but still. So take it for what you will.

When I read NV's quote from Marty, I'm struck by how people can look at the same situation and see it so differently. I don't doubt Marty's sincerity. At the same time, while I can see very minor and rare instances of what I think he's getting at (most notably, the "clinging to guns and religion" thing from however many years ago), one the whole, it still looks crazy to me.

Where is this "constant reminding of how stupid they are"? I just don't get it. And the "they" is supposed to be 40% of the population. How did the 40% figure out who they were?

For those with short memories, the Bush I administration saw a steady drumbeat of "the most corrupt ever!" cries. It's pretty clear that those griping were simply ignorant of the Harding administration.

But still, the complaints about corruption have occurred across administrations and parties. Some of them were justified.

Coming in late basically to endorse most of nigel's points above from across the pond. But I and a lot of people I know feel that whereas Clinton may make an adequate domestic President, from the point of view of the other seven billion people in the world she's way too kneejerk aggressive on foreign policy, especially in western Asia. Perhaps not as likely to get us all killed as Trump, but not entirely unlikely to either.

It's really only 13% who are upset about faith, family, and country, and according to a writer or two at National Review, they have meth problems and are too reliant on Obamacare and Medicaid, which will be withdrawn by the murder syndicate of Trump-Ryan-McConnell in due time.

You get to 40% by adding back in the 27% base who were upset about Obama's melanin content and his witchdoctery ways (definitely too much for them, unless it's too little, when convenient) long before he got around to insulting their mistaken notion that they are the sole proprietors of faith, family, and country values in this here Republic.

They think owning weaponry secures their sole proprieter-ship of those values, but gunfire can go in two directions and I expect if Trump loses and takes some of Congress with him, we are all going to get a taste of it.

If he wins, the 40% will kill via government, their favorite government value.

As far as "stupid" goes, among the Donald's memorable quotes this season Trump himself extolled the "poorly educated" voters who are falling for his dangerous shtick, so if you're going to wear a sign that says "I'm stupid!", don't be surprised when that becomes your name.

No doubt Ann Coulter would explain that Trump uses the word "S" word to describe her and his people like Larry Wilmore used the "N" word to describe Obama the other day.

That could fly, because in these latter, empty-content media days of the United States of America, all turds are made to fly for at least one news cycle.

McKinney - If Bush/Cheney were running for a third term vs Hillary/(VP that you wouldn't care one way or the other about) - would you vote Bush/Cheney?

At the request of GFTNC, I will respond:

I'm not sure this is relevant to the inquiry--apologies to GFTNC--because I am unaware of any significant, established acts of quid-pro-quo transactional corruption. If you are asking would I prefer Bush/Cheney over HRC/????, I'd have to think long and hard about whether I'd vote for them or write in. I have no major philosophical disagreements with Bush AFAIK, other than my view that invading Iraq was, in hindsight, a huge mistake.

I can think of two policy disagreements with Cheney offhand: I view waterboarding as torture and I'm not a fan of intervention in the way he is.

When it comes to policy issues, there is a general conservative set of preferences and a liberal set. I subscribe generally to the conservative set of preferences. I don't know to what extent, if any, Bush or Cheney fall outside the conservative policy preferences.

So, against that background, if I wrote in rather than vote for Bush/Cheney, it would be out of concern for another war I'd rather not fight. It would not be out of a sense that they were corrupt.

Once a figure has been accepted as a friendly member of their tribe, there is no level of absurdity to which he can stoop that would discredit him. And since reason cannot penetrate the crude tribalism that animates Republicans, it follows that nothing President Obama could have proposed on economic stimulus, health care, or deficits could have avoided the paroxysms of rage that faced him.

I'll take a stab at this, too. The first sentence is somewhat correct and is playing at in this thread at this very moment, but not in a way the author intends; the second is partisan hyperbole, the like of which can be found with great frequency at any number of right'ish blogs and other sites. The second sentence is the rhetorician's simultaneously sidestepping of any substantive debate on health care, or stimulus or deficits and so marginalizing the opposition that no one need ever listen to what they have to say.

That said, I get what Marty is saying, although I'd put it differently. I'd say that Obama is highly partisan and knows that he is highly partisan. He is a product of the Chicago Democratic Machine. He lies as much as any politician. His bent--not uncommon on the left--is to view rank and file conservatives, in his own words, clinging to their guns, their god and their whatever (I can't remember the third). There is more than a bit of smugness and condescension and it is tiring.

He can barely conceal his disdain for the private sector. He is fairly aggressive identitarian, which galls the living shit out of a lot of us.

Finding him to be a bit of a snot, plus all of the above, is no more related to his color than finding HRC to be corrupt is related to her plumbing. Bill was and is a sleaze bag too.

And I get that GWB and Cheney send just about everyone on the left into orbit, in just the same way that Obama & Co get under my and Marty's skin. I'm not rock throwing here, I'm just trying to describe the phenomena.

It's common stuff to see here at ObWi, statements like "Obama is conservative" or "Bill Clinton was a conservative". That's like saying a particular picture is pleasant to look at--it's entirely in the eye of the beholder.

The quote, and it's general acceptance here at ObWi, is just part of the echo chamber that all of us to one degree or another live in.

There is a general conservative set of definitions and a progressive set.

Dick Cheney, meeting with his fossil-fuel confederates behind closed doors as a sitting VP in charge of an "energy task force", is NOT an example of "corruption". Hillary Clinton, speaking to banksters as a former SoS, is. Conservatively speaking.

Hillary Clinton is not my favorite politician in the world, but unchallenged presumptions of "corruption" annoy me.

Also, McKinney: if your problem with Obama is that he is "highly partisan and knows that he is highly partisan", are you suggesting that less-objectionable-to-you politicians like Mitch McConnell are NOT partisan? Or that they are but don't KNOW they are? Or what?

--TP

Dick Cheney, meeting with his fossil-fuel confederates behind closed doors as a sitting VP in charge of an "energy task force", is NOT an example of "corruption". Hillary Clinton, speaking to banksters as a former SoS, is. Conservatively speaking.

I don't consider either of these examples to be *corrupt*. Bad taste, bad optics, yes. Corrupt, no. Eye of the beholder and all that.

if your problem with Obama is that he is "highly partisan and knows that he is highly partisan", are you suggesting that less-objectionable-to-you politicians like Mitch McConnell are NOT partisan? Or that they are but don't KNOW they are? Or what?

Not at all. Obama presents himself as just a regular, try to fix things in whatever way works kind of a guy. To me, that's BS. He's very partisan. So is McConnell. One is no better than the other.

TP, I posted too soon. I have no issue with partisans per se. Just when they pretend objectivity, I find the dishonesty and hypocrisy to be a bit much. Regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.

He can barely conceal his disdain for the private sector.

You say this as though it's so self-evident that it needs no support, but it sounds ridiculous to me. So is this something really obvious that I've just missed, or does this just reflect the particular accoustics of your echo chamber?

Hartmut: "The content of that 'documentary' is a different matter and Clinton should have simply sued for libel/slander (and won*). "

No, she is a public figure and can't win on that basis under U.S. libel law.

I am Spartacus a partisan.

You say this as though it's so self-evident that it needs no support, but it sounds ridiculous to me. So is this something really obvious that I've just missed, or does this just reflect the particular accoustics of your echo chamber?

The acoustics of my echo chamber. It's exactly what grates on my conservative ears in the way I imagine W's voice and demeanor grated on others. I imagine you and I both gag when we hear or see Ted Cruz. So, yes, echo chamber.

No, she is a public figure and can't win on that basis under U.S. libel law.

Public figures can sue for libel if they can show NY Times v Sullivan "malice"--actual knowledge of the falsity or reckless disregard of the truth. It's a tough standard, no doubt.

It's a tough standard, no doubt.

More than tough. Pretty much impossible.

Thank you McKinney. When I am back on a proper machine in a couple of weeks I will investigate the examples you gave of HRC's corruption, as well as the latest findings on Cheney and Halliburton which seemed pretty suggestive at the time, but may since have been found "groundless" in the same way I believed all accusations against HRC to have been. In the meantime, given your sewage-related-non-intervention in the event of a Trump-on-fire situation reflects well on your judgement, does that mean you.will abstain come November?

does that mean you.will abstain come November?

I will vote down ballot. I will write in a name for president and vice president. I will not vote for Trump, or Cruz for that matter, if he becomes the nominee.

Cheney; Halliburton and multi-billion 'no bid' government contracts.
'Bad optics' seems a little inadequate as a description.

Or is that just my disdain for the private sector ?
:-)

One quite interesting result in November will be how many voters will actually pay a attention to the down ballot races. Particularly, how many places will see significant differences between the results of the Presidential election and those in the other races.

Of course, LBJ is probably the poster child for corruption in government, all the way back to the radio licenses he arranged to award himself.

Brown & Root - acquired by Halliburton in the early 60s - funnelled huge amounts of cash into his various campaigns, pretty well indisputably in return for favourable treatment for government, including large construction contracts in Vietnam during the war.

Daily Beast: Meet Milo Yiannopoulos, the Appealing Young Face of the Racist Alt-Right

A very thoughtful and thoroughly centerist lawyer posted this on my FB feed today, and it seemed apropos in terms of some points of the current discussion WRT tribalism and identity politics...

Cheney-Haliburton; Clinton-Goldman Sachs. Corruption or clientelism?

Note the beneficiaries are always the same: The well connected, the powerful, the rich.

Here's another example.

If (the use of) money is speech, then it follows we need to find public policies that spread this speech around more equally or restrict the supply, because restricting the use appears to be a losing game.

I've gotta run out to a meeting but, very quickly:

1. The no bid thing in Iraq doesn't bother me that much because no one but Halliburton had the horses to do that kind of heavy lifting.

2. Yes, LBJ got a lot of dough from Brown & Root and it stunk.

3. NV--will read the link, but please do not associate me or the conservatives I know with the alt right. NRO excoriated the Alt Right recently.

NV--ok, I did glance at your link. Great piece. The alt right is very dangerous. More dangerous than the social justice left, which the author rightly skewers. Thanks for the link.

Caro's bio of LBJ provides a lot of fascinating detail of his relationship with Brown & Root. He saved their bacon, and in return, they financed his ascent.

"No one but Halliburton..."

Schlumberger or Fluor might disagree with you about that, but more to the point, KBR/Halliburton are arguably in that position precisely because of the cosy and almost exclusive arrangements with government that go all the way back to LBJ (and earlier).

Perhaps the only real difference in this respect between LBJ and contemporary politicians is that campaign finance rules mean passing round brown paper bags full of dollars just isn't necessary today.

What the hell is an "identarian"?

It's common stuff to see here at ObWi, statements like "Obama is conservative" or "Bill Clinton was a conservative". That's like saying a particular picture is pleasant to look at--it's entirely in the eye of the beholder.

Actually, there is more objective substance to it than you seem to recognize.

The policies advocated by Clinton and Obama are, by historical US standards from the beginning of the 20th C to now, and certainly by any international standard of recent memory, are middle of the road conservative.

They are liberal only in the context of US political history since about 1980.

The quote, and it's general acceptance here at ObWi, is just part of the echo chamber that all of us to one degree or another live in.

I frequently characterize Clinton and Obama as moderate conservatives.

The stuff I read regarding politics and economics ranges extremely widely. My own personal history covers a hell of a lot of socio-political ground.

I'm not in an echo chamber.

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