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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 7,393

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Progressive Pragmatism versus Liberal Elitism

That is what this nominating contest boils down to, IMO. I am a long term activist and I recognize the 2 factions from decades of working side by side with liberals. The liberal elites have always been the minority, in my experience, even though they are often the loudest.

I think Bernie represents the liberal elites and Hillary represents the progressive pragmatists. She seems to think so as well, given her debate comment that she is a "liberal that likes to get things done." IME, the other faction doesn't get much of anything done, and that is why Bernie has so few achievements in his 25 years on congress.

Let me provide an illustrative example. We have seen, probably a dozen times at least, this claim by Bernie supporters that "Hillary sold fracking to the world." The liberal who wrote that article that is often cited here shows an elitist world view, IMO. By "the world" the writer actually meant Eastern European countries.

The writer also does not mention that Russia uses its oil and gas as a political weapon, and that every year when it gets cold they shut off gas and oil supplies to these countries, effectively black mailing them. Whether people in Eastern Europe are held under Russia's thumb, or even if they freeze to death for lack of a heating fuel is really of no concern to the liberal elitist. Their "liberal principles" are more important than the practical implications of fracking as a way to remove Russia's strong man tactics against poor European countries. The purity of their views is more important than the end result. IMO and experience.

Early on in this primary contest I had a back and forth here with a Bernie supporter who claimed that Dems like me were happy to throw issues under the bus. My argument was that progressive pragmatists put the whole agenda on the table and resolve as many as politically possible at any given time. Nothing is thrown under the bus -- politics is the art of achieving as much of the agenda as possible, and it takes political capital to do so, so you spend it where you will get the most bang for the buck. S/he was incensed by that attitude. But it really is how we move the agenda forward. Always has been in my 38 years of paying attention and working on issues. That's my view.

So that is why I believe the liberal elites, or purists if you prefer, value warm fuzzies over actually being effective. And that is why, in my view, that many folks like Bernie's proposals even if they logically know that none of them will ever pass even if he was elected. And they hate Hillary because she is a pragmatist instead of a purist or elitist.

Conversely, I favor pragmatic proposals that are achievable even if they aren't the ultimate liberal wet dream. I have been called a "republican" several times today and in the past by Bernie supporters for this view. But I am no less a liberal than his supporters.

I think that is the major difference that explains the extreme comments about Hillary and her supporters here. You just have a very different way of looking at politics compared to the majority of Dems. IMO.

Seems like we have reached a tipping point

Not that smearing Hillary here 24/7 was ever going to impact the election, but with all the super delegate endorsements, huge union endorsements, and polls of IA, NH, and most especially the super Tuesday states pointing to Hillary as our nominee, it seems clear there is no purpose to the smearing.

You're not changing anyone's mind. You're not helping your candidate. You're not hurting the person you are smearing with voters. It's just arguing.

Maybe I am missing something. Let me know if I am. But there seems to be nothing to gain by continuing to smear her 24/7. Especially since now that we are apparently recycling the same old smears for the 5th, 6th, even 10th time at this point.

In the immortal words of Rodney King, can't we all just get along. LOL! But seriously, how about we knock off the smears? Just thought I would ask.

I don't trust Bernie

Now I am not saying he is lying about anything (although he may be playing some folks). But in my judgement he is simply unreliable on several issues that are very important to me.

- Racial justice versus social justice: I watched Bernieís reaction to BLM at Netroots and in Seattle and HIS OWN campaignís video from SC. In SC people told him the police give petty tickets to PoC and then arrest them if they cannot pay the fines. And he had said in that video that he had ďno ideaĒ that was going on.

How is he unaware of that? I knew that. Hillary knew that. Didnít most of us know that, even before the DOJ Ferguson report? He is not paying attention, and clearly did not read the Ferguson report. Perhaps he did not read it because itís simply not an issue he cares about. Iím white, but that is a deal breaker for me! Period.

- Womenís issues: Again, he just doesnít seem interested beyond the bare minimum. He doesnít talk about these issues near enough for me. And I have a hard time getting over the fact that he truly seemed to believe, at some point in his life, that woman fantasize about being raped.

- Guns: I donít think I really need to explain this one. He has voted with the NRA far too many times for my tastes. I donít trust that if he were elected he would make any effort to pass any gun control legislation.

- Foreign Policy / Terrorism: Again, he just seems out of his element on this issue, in the debate last night and in the last one as well (where he did even worse than last night). His idea on how to deal with Russia, China, and ISIS sound so naÔve to me. And climate change is our biggest security threat? Wha? Sure, climate change is a significant issue, but weíll all be dead before it becomes a ďsecurity threat.Ē I just canít trust Bernie on FP.

- Wall Street: I think he is wrong about Glass Steagall (and yes, Warren, too Ė although I generally like her). I came to this conclusion long before Hillary stated it would not have prevented the melt down. I think she is exactly correct, and I was glad she had the guts to say so. Especially given that the popular thing would have been to go along with the crowd on that.

Iím a few years from retirement, and worked my ass off to save for it. I do not want Bernie messing with banks to no purpose. And I think Hillaryís plan would be more effective, and not put my retirement at risk. I just think Bernie is extreme on the banking issue. So I donít trust his leadership on the issue.

- LGBT issues: This one is personal for me, and an area where I know he is revising history on his record. I was there. He did not do anything to help us gain marriage rights. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. He exhibited the same disinterest, and stateís rights argument they all did. And I was more than pleased to see the media finally point that out. It bugs the shit out of me that he would pretend to be some champion on an issue when that is definitely not true. I certainly canít trust him on that issue.

Just donít trust the guy. Bottom line.

Is Bernie taking a cue from Hillary?

I see a lot of folks ragging on HRC here because she has not had big rallies and has instead focused on a listening tour where she lets the people speak. I think that is respectful and a sign of a real leader.

Is Bernie learning from that, and doing the same - listening? It seems that perhaps he is. And as a result he appears to have learned something in his recent travels to SC that he says he was unaware of previously. Good for him. Sincerely.

But also scary. Is there anyone on DU that did not realize that POC get fined for silly things, then thrown in jail if they can't pay the fine? Heck, even if you didn't know before you'd have to be in a serious bubble not to know after the DOJ report on Ferguson. I would have hoped Bernie would have read that report, but how could he have possibly missed the news reporting that summarized it?

And no, this is NOT flamebait. I believe we should have serious misgivings about Bernie for reasons like these. And I think I should have a right to have an opinion about that on a site like DU.

The video is here:


Time to debunk the "Hillary takes cash from private prison corps" nonsense

This talking point originated from Right Wing libertarian Glen Greenwald's site. https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/23/private-prison-lobbyists-raising-cash-hillary-clinton/

Again, I am very disappointed that right wing talking points are being used here, but I guess that's just normal now.

In any case, the crux of this fake talking point is that some lobbyists and lawyers that have Geo or CCA as clients are also bundling donors for Hillary. But it's ridiculous on its face to claim that translates into her taking money from for profit prisons. Nonsense.

Lawyers and Lobbyists have dozens of clients. Every interest group that can raise cash has lobbyists and lawyers. That includes teachers, unions, Latino groups, the NAACP, LGBT organizations, environmentalists, physicians, hospitals, planned parenthood, NARAL and on and on. That's how the system works.

The fact that a lobbyist represents a group you don't like out of the dozens of clients they represent, AND also bundles donations for a Democrat does NOT equate to that group you don't like making a contribution to a candidate. Talk about playing the 6 degrees of separation game! It's just silly, and sadly, a perfect example of how right wing news media operates.

Believe it or not, lawyers and lobbyists are allowed to make their own personal choice of which candidate they want to help get donations for. Obama was awash in bundlers, some of whom are lawyers and lobbyists. If any of you think we can win this election without taking money I would like you to explain how.

But the bottom line is that because a bundler has a client that Democrats don't like does NOT equate to that corp we don't like donating to her campaign. And in fact, Open Secrets clearly shows that prison corps give 80% of their donations to rethugs, and 20% to Democrats (and none, as far as I can tell, to HRC).

Hillary and BLM - excellent dialogue

Based on the transcript of the dialogue between BLM and HRC I was very impressed with both parties. It was a brutally honest but respectful discussion on both sides. To me, HRC is the only one running that really gets it.



HILLARY CLINTON: Iím not telling youĖIím just telling you to tell me.

QUESTION: What I mean to say isĖ this is and has always been a white problem of violence. Itís notĖ thereís not much that we can do to stop the violence against us.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well if tható

Q: And itís a conversation to push backó

HILLARY CLINTON: Okay, Okay, I understand what youíre sayingó

Q: Respectfully, respectfullyó

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, respectfully, if that is your position then I will talk only to white people about how we are going to deal with the very real problemsó

Q: Thatís not what I mean. Thatís not what I mean. But like what Iím saying is what you just said was a form of victim-blaming. Right you were saying that what the Black Lives Matter movement needs to do to change white heartsó

HILLARY CLINTON: Look I donít believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate. Youíre not going to change every heart. Youíre not. But at the end of the day, we could do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them, to live up to their own God-given potential, to live safely without fear of violence in their own communities, to have a decent school, to have a decent house, to have a decent future. So we can do it one of many ways. You can keep the movement going, which you have started, and through it you may actually change some hearts. But if thatís all that happens, weíll be back here in 10 years having the same conversation. We will not have all of the changes that you deserve to see happen in your lifetime because of your willingness to get out there and talk about this.


HILLARY CLINTON: Well Iím ready to get out and do my part in any way that I can.

Why I DON'T support Bernie for President

This is a long post, but hopefully very specific about the reasons Bernie does not have my support. I am not a political newbie. I have been paying attention to and been involved in politics all of my adult life. I understand the issues. IOW, I am a highly informed voter.

Here are the reasons I do not support Bernie:

1. He talks a lot about the problems, but his policy prescriptions are either wrong, completely missing, or not viable/passable.

I actually want to start calling him Captain Obvious, because he seems to be stuck on telling us what the problems are over and over and over again. Millions upon millions of people in this country already know what the problems are. Every other progressive candidate sees the same thing and has spoken out about it. He is not a hero to me because he can see the obvious.

And there are some things he clearly doesnít see that others do, or has been very much a Johnny come lately on issues, such as institutional racism.

His policy prescriptions are wrong in many cases, IMO. For instance, free college for ďqualifiedĒ students is not something that will truly help PoC (and is not designed to). Their K-12 schools are horribly underfunded. First we must fix that problem or his free college pitch is just another pander to middle class white kids. And he wants to pay for it off the backs off fees that impact 401K and pension funds. Thatís ridiculous. HRCís and Obamaís proposals for free community college are much more viable.

HRC gets it. We need to find a way to beef up schools in urban areas with programs like head start and better funding. They should not take funding away from failing schools, they should increase it. Bernie seems oblivious to this.

Break up the banks? Reinstate Glass Steagall? Why? How will that help anything? It wasnít commercial banks that failed. It was investment banks NOT tied to commercial banks and mortgage companies that failed. And thank god the commercial banks COULD absorb the investment banks or it would have been worse. The problem isnít Glass Steagall; the problem is lax regulation of investment banks and others involved in the housing industry.

No wonder HRC wonít commit to reinstating Glass Steagall. Itís a fun talking point for rallies and will raise cheers from people who donít understand the issue, but it wonít fix the problem.

On the TPP, as I have stated before, reasonable people can disagree on that. One of the best things about it is that it allows workers in other countries to organize into unions. That one thing could actually be the key to leveling the playing field. I donít have anything against a candidate that is against trade agreements, but I at least expect him to articulate why, and what it would take to for him to be in favor of a trade agreement. We live in a global economy Ė thatís just a fact of life he seems to ignore. He doesnít seem to have an alternative solution, and he sure as hell doesnít seem capable of talking to people like they are adults on the issue like HRC does.

Nothing made Bernie look so inept and like an old out of touch white guy than Netroots nation. When challenged by BLM he went right back to the dumb economic equality talking point. You know why? Because that is what Bernie truly believes. Those that worked with him back in the days all his supporters like to rally around to prove he is some sort of civil rights champion have said that even back then he was convinced racial injustice was really rooted in classism. And he is completely wrong about that. So completely wrong.

I am not a PoC, but I am a lesbian. I spent my first 20 years in the closet so that I could have a shot at economic equality. And it worked. But when I came out of the closet 15 years ago after I was economically successful I did not find some sort of civil rights nirvana awaiting me. I still couldnít marry my partner. I still had to raise a child whose parents could not marry. I still had to deal with discrimination day in and day out. My son was still bullied in school because he had two Moms. ANY GLBT person that has economic security can tell you that economic security does not confer civil rights. Despite what a lot of straight white privileged people seem to believe. Itís just bullshit. And I do not want a president that is so clueless on such an important issue.

HRC has voiced support for and championed policy proposals that actually impact the symptoms of racial injustice and has for a long time. Bernie is finally on board (at least mouthing the words after much pressure has been applied), but again, his Netroots nation performance was a dead giveaway that he doesnít get it.

2. He has a very long record of accomplishing nothing. He has been in congress for 25 years with almost nothing to show for it, and certainly nothing that addresses the current issues we face. And I resent that he is introducing lots of legislation now that he knows is not passable, simply as fodder for his campaign. The senate staffers he has working on these issues are being paid with tax payer funds, all of which is being wasted.

Clearly he is unable to build the kind of coalitions that are needed to get things done. I know this from personal experience. It isnít just BLM he ignores. Once I had made it career wise (economically) I did quite a bit of volunteer work for liberal policy advocacy groups at a fairly high level in DC. Bernie was nowhere to be found. Sure, he votes the right way, but he is completely uninterested in understanding the challenges faced by many of us Ė at least not interested enough to talk to us. It was absolutely no surprise to me that he wasnít keen on talking to BLM. To me, it fits his MO exactly. An old white guy who thinks he knows best, and doesnít need to hear from anyone else.

You know who can build coalitions? HRC. She has spent her life doing just that. Not being able to play well with others is a no go for me when it comes to a presidential candidate. Our issues are just too important.

3. He is not a Democrat. In fact he has spent 25 years dissing Democrats, even to the point of calling for a primary on Obama in 2012 (as I make sure to remind every PoC I meet that mentions the presidential campaign).

Donít give me this ďheís running as a DemocratĒ baloney. See item #2. He isnít going to be able to build a coalition with Dems in congress because he has scorned them for decades.

4. Huge numbers of his supporters come off as racist, white privileged elitists. This is not in any way specific to DU. I see it all over the internet. On Facebook, Twitter, comments on liberal blogs Ė just everywhere. Itís impossible for Bernie to be unaware of some of the really clueless and sometimes overtly racist things his supporters say hundreds of times a day. As far as I can tell, he has not said a word about it. He is either oblivious or content to let it slide.

Even if you donít put that on him, at some point a person is known by the company they keep, or the crowd that supports them. I canít even imagine throwing my voice into that mix by supporting him. I donít think I have ever been more disheartened as a progressive than I have been in watching the comments of Bernie supporters over the last few months. In fact, even the 2004 blaming of the gays for Kerryís loss wasnít as disheartening as Bernieís supporters are saying now. Just no. I will not join them.


"One of our most important tools for engaging with Vietnam was a proposed new trade agreement called the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would link markets throughout Asia and the Americas, lowering trade barriers while raising standards on labor, the environment, and intellectual property. As President Obama explained, the goal of the TPP negotiations is to establish ďa high standard, enforceable, meaningful trade agreementĒ that ďis going to be incredibly powerful for American companies who, up until this point, have often been locked out of those markets.Ē It was also important for American workers, who would benefit from competing on a more level playing field. And it was a strategic initiative that would strengthen the position of the United States in Asia.

Our country has learned the hard way over the past several decades that globalization and the expansion of international trade brings costs as well as benefits. On the 2008 campaign trail, both then- Senator Obama and I had promised to pursue smarter, fairer trade agreements. Because TPP negotiations are still ongoing, it makes sense to reserve judgment until we can evaluate the final proposed agreement. Itís safe to say that the TPP wonít be perfectó no deal negotiated among a dozen countries ever will beó but its higher standards, if implemented and enforced, should benefit American businesses and workers."

LOL - apparently not

Which was easily predicted.

I have to be straightforward here. I've been involved in politics a long time. Now I'm not talking about DU here because I don't know any of you in real life. So don't get itchy on the alert button.

But, IME, the extreme left are generally hateful to most politicians. I've seen them scream, yell, and just generally be rude to and about some electeds that are actually real advocates for a liberal agenda. It's very rare to find a politician pure enough for them. And even when they do the hero worship is short lived if the hero actually gets elected. They are, in my view, very much like the extreme right in that regard. AND that's how many, many politicians see them.

As a consequence they can be very hard to work with when it comes to pushing our agenda and resolving issues legislatively. So they often do not get a seat at the table.

It's unfortunate. But that is what happens in the real world. People don't want to work alongside people that treat them like the enemy. It's just human nature.

HRC restates her opinion on TPP

Same as she has been saying all along. It is the second question in the video. I know it's not the kneejerk response some would prefer. But it is the kind of thoughtful response I want in a leader.

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