Friday, August 14, 2015

Sanders Hits a Ceiling

The news brought a smile to the face of Hillary Clinton.

"Despite crowds, Sanders’ viability remains a question" by Evan Horowitz Globe Staff  August 13, 2015

If presidents were chosen by the size of their campaign crowds, Bernie Sanders would be poised to claim the White House in 2016. Roughly 28,000 people showed up to hear him speak in Portland, Ore., on Sunday night, and 27,500 more in Los Angeles on Monday. That’s vastly more people than any other candidate is attracting at this stage.

Of course, there is always the possibility that someone bought those crowds for him; however, all things being equal it would translate into the all important-- so we are told -- vote totals.

What is more, a poll this week from New Hampshire showed Sanders seizing the lead in that state. So far, that poll is an outlier, but other recent surveys show Sanders close on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s heels, suggesting that perhaps he can turn this passionate following into broader electoral success.

The sky is the limit for the Jewish doberman Sanders.

And yet, by most every other indicator, Sanders remains well behind in the Democratic primary race. Clinton has a sizable advantage in the political prediction markets, a 35-point margin in the national polls, and an overwhelming lead in the race for endorsements.

The trouble for Sanders is that, in politics, a passionate but limited following isn’t enough.

They always tell you that, be it Bernie or Ron Paul. You need narratives to explain election fraud, and trial balloons to test them. They just floated one.

This going to be how they keep the "Independent $ociali$t" out the building?

To host big rallies and post solid poll numbers, you can rely on the fervent support of 10 million or 20 million Americans. But to actually win, you need an additional 50 million votes. It’s not yet clear whether Sanders — or Republican front-runner Donald Trump, for that matter — can build a winning coalition atop his base of support.

How popular is Bernie Sanders?

Answer: not much

Can Sanders win the nomination?

Answer: no

Even if he can’t win, can Sanders make a difference? 

Answer: already has

Is Trump in a similar position to Sanders?

Answer: he's in a better one with more money.

Will Sanders’ momentum continue?

We'll see.


Bernie does have one thing going for him:

What makes comedy Jewish? It’s less about ethnicity than sensibility: an outsider status, a sense of alienation, an overwhelming family life, a healthy dose of self-loathing.

I mean, really. The self-centered chutzpah really gets tough to take, regardless of the intent. As for my take, you may say Bernie speaks the economic lingo I want to hear, but that's just it. It's all talk, political $how fooley, and it will go nowhere once in office (presuming he could make it there). 

Beyond that, there are the two qualifications I have for president: One, will he stand up to Israel, and Two.... okay, I have one qualification for president, the reason being that at this stage Congre$$ will not. They have proven themselves to be Israel's lackeys, and Bernie has been no different. It's understandable, but inexcusable.

This will wipe the smile of Clinton's face, though:

"Clinton criticized for being too vague on policy" by Annie Linskey Globe Staff  August 12, 2015

WASHINGTON — During a quarter-century in the public eye, there’s been one constant in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s persona: She’s the brainy policy wonk who relishes thick briefing books.

Yet as her presidential campaign enters its fifth month and commands a large platform to show off that detailed knowledge, she has been reluctant to engage or take a stand on some big issues of the day — and even the occasional small one.

Does she support the trans-Pacific trade deal? Under certain circumstances. Reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act that separated commercial and investment banks? She’s going to talk about it — at some point. Building the Keystone XL pipeline? She said weighing in wouldn’t be responsible given her previous involvement on the issue. A carbon tax? The revolving door between Wall Street and regulators? Nothing. And nothing.

Some policy positions have emerged. Most notably, Clinton on Monday unveiled her long-awaited plan to curb student debt and make college more affordable during a New Hampshire town hall-style gathering on Monday. The proposal didn’t go as far as similar ones offered by other Democratic candidates who advocate “debt-free” higher education — but it was still warmly embraced by liberal groups that had been growing impatient waiting for details on the issue.

There’s little immediate political incentive for Clinton to take a stand on some of these issues while facing a weak primary field. She enjoys the most support in polls of Democrats, has high marks from liberals in surveys, and remains by far the best-funded candidate in her party.

But she may eventually pay a price for her ill-defined positions, critics say. The activists and leaders in the Democratic base who track these issues could become bored by her campaign and, at worst, turned off.

“The American people are tired of seeing vague answers,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, a group pressing Clinton to answer some of the questions listed above. “They are tired of seeing small change. They want to see a system that works for working-class and middle-class America.”

The Clinton campaign is taking an incremental approach to the missing pieces in her policy portfolio. There’s a certain order, campaign officials say, to how the issues should be unveiled. On Tuesday, for example, Clinton listened to stories of drug addiction in Keene, N.H., and promised to announce a policy in the future.

This staged and controlled political theater.... bored with it. There is no one to vote for.

Perhaps the most-watched part of the Clinton portfolio is how she would regulate the big banks. It’s an area where liberals are particularly skeptical of Clinton, given her eight years as a senator from New York representing Wall Street, her vast cadre of donors from the banking industry, and her habit of hiring from large financial institutions.

I'm not expecting anything, so.... we all know she and her husband (oh, God, him back in the White House) have been bought off many times over.

One of the biggest questions is whether she would rebuild a regulatory wall between commercial and investment banking, a position that banks oppose but many Democrats view as essential to curbing the power of the largest financial institutions. She wouldn’t provide a clear answer when a reporter asked after an event in South Carolina.

“We have a ‘too big to fail’ problem still, and we have to figure out the best way to address it,” Clinton said. “And I will be talking more about that.” (Her staff has said she has an answer but isn’t ready to give it yet.) 


She deigns to respond to the American voter via the lucky pre$$ pool flack who happened to win the golden ticket for the day.

She has talked about other areas of Wall Street reform during two major addresses, but liberals remain unsatisfied with the lack of detail.

She spoke where?

The notion that voters will have to take a wait-and-see approach to Clinton’s views on key issues was abundantly clear last month when her top policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, punted on so many topics during a briefing with reporters that he finally said, “I feel like I’m an absolute broken record.”

Oh, yeah? Who else you got running?

In that case, Sullivan had been asked about Clinton’s views on taxing carbon emissions, a policy that Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said might be enacted if Democrats retake the Senate and Clinton wins in 2016.

As if Iran were not enough to ditch that traitor. 

Good thing is the carbon tax won't -- or shouldn't -- get through a Repuglican Hou$e (who would have thought they would be saviors, along with Democrats needed to uphold the coming Iran veto. Senate looks like it's lining up with Israel). 

Sullivan promised that Clinton would “begin to lay down where [she] is” on the issue in coming weeks. Clinton did indeed unveil a detailed energy plan. It was silent on the carbon tax.

Democratic leaders have tried to lock down Clinton on issues. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts used her speech at Netroots Nation to call on Clinton, along with every other presidential candidate, to support new legislation aimed at shutting a revolving door of staff between Wall Street banks and Washington regulators.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont signed on to the bill as a cosponsor. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley came out in support.

Clinton has said nothing. A campaign official said a response is coming.

In a more typical primary, debates help flush out candidate views on issues, or highlight their repeated nonanswers on a national stage.

The Democratic National Committee has said there will be six debates, with only four prior to the Iowa caucuses. The first one is scheduled for mid-October. So far, Clinton has sat for only a handful of interviews with journalists, another place where candidates are pressed on issues.

They are not coming right out and bashing her, but they don't like it.

In a July 7 interview on CNN, reporter Brianna Keilar tried to get a firm answer from Clinton on taxes, explaining that Sanders had proposed raising taxes and asking whether she would do the same. Clinton deflected: “I will be laying out my own economic policies.”

Keilar tried again: “Are — is raising taxes on the table?”

Clinton’s response: “I’m going to put out my policies.”

Read her lips.

On Monday, 34 days later, an answer came: Clinton would hike taxes on the rich to pay for her $350 billion student loan and college affordability program.

As if it would ever get through Congre$$.

The campaign is quick to point out that Clinton has taken a variety of specific positions, such as her call for police to wear body cameras and the need for automatic voter registration, and she has offered a sweeping immigration plan. In other areas, Clinton has said just enough to satisfy groups — for now. For example, she said that she is for “defending and enhancing” Social Security, but has yet to release specifics.

How about the economy and empire? Where she stand?

“She’ll have to say more,” said Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, a Washington-based nonprofit that supports a more robust program. “She can’t get away with just one phrase. I’m satisfied in the moment. I do anticipate and I do urge her to build on that.”

Even where Clinton has taken a firm stand, actions by her campaign or supporters can undermine the message.

How's that?

Nowhere is that more clear than on campaign finance reform, the first concrete proposal that Clinton unveiled on her first full day of campaigning in Iowa in April.

“We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it,” Clinton said at the Kirkwood Community College campus in Monticello.

A few months later, a super PAC supporting Clinton’s campaign accepted $1 million from a pair of nonprofits that do not reveal donors.

Yeah, hypocri$y always undermines things.


Did you check her notes?

"Hillary Clinton campaign says e-mail server to be turned over" Associated press  August 12, 2015

WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton will turn over the personal e-mail server she used while serving as secretary of state to the Justice Department, her campaign spokesman said Tuesday.

The decision advances the investigation into the Democratic presidential front-runner’s use of a private e-mail account as the nation’s top diplomat, and whether classified information was improperly stored on her server.

Clinton had previously refused demands from Republican critics to turn over the server to a third party.

Spokesman Nick Merrill said Clinton has ‘‘pledged to cooperate with the government’s security inquiry.’’

Also Tuesday, Clinton gave the Justice Department thumb drives containing copies of e-mails sent to and from her personal e-mail addresses via that server.

Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, gave three thumb drives containing copies of roughly 30,000 e-mails to the FBI after the agency determined that he could not remain in possession of the classified information contained in some of the e-mails, according to a US official briefed on the matter.


The e-mails are a tremendous scandal, which is why the pre$$ is giving it short shrift.

"Clinton hears stories of abuse, addiction in N.H." by James Pindell Globe Staff  August 11, 2015

KEENE, N.H. — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton traded in her stump speech Tuesday afternoon to hear stories of substance abuse and opiate addiction — a problem that Granite State residents now say is the second most important issue facing them after the economy.

Another lost war.

Last week, a WMUR Granite State Poll showed Clinton leading US Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont by just 6 percentage points among Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire. Clinton led Sanders, 44 percent to 36 percent, in the survey. Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a campaign, received 5 percent....

Bernie flipped it on her!

"A poll, taken Aug. 7 to 10, showed US Senator Bernie Sanders leading former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton by 44 percent to 37 percent among a sample of likely Democratic primary voters."


What happens when you are addicted to campaign loot? 

Kick the habit?

"Former Virginia senator deplores use of super PACs

DES MOINES, Iowa — Democratic presidential hopeful Jim Webb says he’s ‘‘unbought’’ and ‘‘unbossed’’ and has his own mind.

The former Virginia senator spoke Thursday at the Iowa State Fair from the fair’s political ‘‘soapbox.’’

Webb deplores the number of super PACs that are raising money to support candidates in the race. He says he doesn’t have one.

Webb told fairgoers they should ask candidates who decry super PACs why they take the money. And he says if people want to change it, they should vote for him.

Webb also touts his military experience, saying he has the qualifications to be commander in chief. He was a Marine officer in Vietnam and later served as Secretary of the Navy.

Former governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland laid out 15 goals he would pursue if elected president and is presenting himself as a new generation of Democrat in the presidential race.

He was mayor of Baltimore during the "get-tough-on-crime" oppression and inequality surge, too. Next.

O’Malley used his appearance at the ‘‘soapbox’’ to touch upon a series of goals for the next president, from raising the median net worth of families to cutting the unemployment rate for young people to generating 100 percent of American electricity from renewable sources by 2050.

Not every presidential candidate is speaking from the political soapbox.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald Trump are not planning to speak from the soapbox, which is sponsored by The Des Moines Register.

How did he get in here?

Register news director Carol Hunter says Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and former governor Jim Gilmore of Virginia are also skipping the soapbox. Clinton and Trump are planning to visit the fair on Saturday.

Clinton Iowa spokeswoman Lily Adams says the former secretary of state looks forward to talking with Iowans and, of course, ‘‘enjoying some of the famous food.’’

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks says the billionaire businessman may stop by the soapbox, but his schedule is in flux. Trump does plan to visit the fair’s famed butter cow.


Time to get off the $oapbox.

RelatedWhat in the world is Jim Webb up to?

Pining for the VP nod?

That's why the Democrats are holding Biden in reserve.

I seem to remember a time when the Democrats had a good-looking candidate who talked about two nations. 

Where is he now? 

Dead, slain by scandal soon after he began talking that way.


Look who else hit a ceiling:

"Donald Trump’s shockers are working — for now" by Michael A. Cohen   August 14, 2015

The more that Republicans attack Donald Trump for saying things that politicians shouldn’t say, the more it validates his antiestablishment cred.

That's the Mike Rivero line, and that platform is worth a scroll this morning.

However, while such bluntness keeps Trump in the media spotlight and provides oxygen to his campaign, it also has a major downside: It places a hard cap on his support. There may be 20 to 25 percent (and perhaps even more) of Republican voters who find Trump’s message appealing, but the further he pushes the envelope, the harder it will be to expand his support beyond his current group of resentful, angry, and aggrieved supporters, but for now, fanning the flames keeps Trump the center of campaign attention.

The same argument is being used against straw man Sanders, and just who is responsible for all the attention?

Far worse for Republicans, it overshadows the other candidates, turning the GOP primary race into a virtual reality show in which a loudmouthed blowhard with virtually no shot of winning the presidency dominates the political news cycle.

It's all $hit-$how fooleys for predetermined vote counts!

But what should really disturb Republicans is that Trump, someone with zero political experience, quickly figured out how to use crude political attacks to rise above the rest of the GOP field.

In a general sense, yeah. It shows -- along with Sanders -- a mass of unhappy people out there, even if they are still unenlightened.

While there will almost certainly come a day when Trump’s star fades among Republicans, those voters enchanted by his rawness may just follow him if he goes one step further and launches a third-party bid.

Makes it easier to jigger the vote -- Bev Harris proved that to Howard Dean on CNBC -- and yet elections are still viewed as legitimate in AmeriKa.


Also see:

"Hillary Rodham Clinton offered a fierce defense of her handling of the 2012 Benghazi attacks and her use of a private e-mail server as secretary of state, dismissing the controversies as “partisan games” in a speech before influential Iowa Democrats on Friday. “They’ll try to tell you it’s about Benghazi, but it’s not,” Clinton said, pointing to GOP-led congressional inquiries that she said had “debunked all the conspiracy theories.” “It’s not about e-mails or servers either. It’s about politics,” she said. “I won’t get down in the mud with them. I won’t play politics with national security,” Clinton said at the annual Wing Ding, a Democratic fund-raiser in northern Iowa that attracted hopefuls Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee. On Friday, Clinton picked up endorsements from former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers."

Globe literally buried that, as my print copy contained something about the recent education initiative.


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That's where I've gone for the latest campaign coverage the last couple days.