Excellent Idea

About three months ago, on March 4, I wrote:

My best outcome is for Hillary to use her clout to get her healthcare plan in the platform. Barring an Obama implosion, it’s still over.

This appeared today in the Telegraph:

The former First Lady would get the chance to pilot Mr Obama’s reforms of the American healthcare system if she agrees to clear the path to his nomination as Democratic presidential candidate.

It says “Obama’s reforms,” but if Clinton is leading it, I’m assuming that odds are she would have some input. If there was one single thing that caused me to favor Hillary, it was that she actually had a universal heatlhcare plan, and one, I might add, that I think will work.

She’s got the chips to force herself onto the ticket, but I’m not sure that playing those chips is good for her legacy. But leading the new almost-filibuster-proof Senate majority would be a plum job, no?

Ha ha charade you are.

Here are the three scenarios.

DNC New:
2,118 required
2,052 Obama (needs 64)

DNC Old:
2,024 required
1,984 Obama (needs 41)

All inclusive:
2,209 required
2,063 Obama (needs 148)

Obama should pick up at least 30 delegates in the remaining three conventions, and, rumor has it, he has 20 or more waiting to “come out” for him. That means under either the prior or current DNC rules, this would be over on Tuesday.

If all of the Florida and Michigan votes had counted, Obama would have needed a lot more delegates, because approximately 55 would have been unpledged. If 50 of those would have gone to Clinton, she would have been virtually tied, but that was never likely.

The Democratic Party let itself be yoked to the importance of Iowa and more dirty tricks by Florida Republican governors, but there’s no telling what would have happened if those primaries had been contested. (I don’t think the results would have varied that much, especially in Florida.) I often wonder if John Edwards wouldn’t have survived longer if Michigan had counted. Still, the argument that those who did vote are more important than 30 bigwigs is compelling, and I’m sure the same arguments would be coming out of other mouths if the shoe was on the other foot.

If Clinton was still really in this, neither of those compromises, especially the Michigan one, would have gone forward. The nuts were cut and Obama won. Again.


Sore Hillary?

Just a thought: don’t you wish Al Gore would have fought as hard as Hillary is?

In 2000 many people believed there were few real policy differences between Gore and Bush. In 2008, that’s the same “serious” view, even though followers of both Obama and Clinton point out differences. Of course Bush won because more people wanted to have a beer with him, and because James Baker mopped the floor with the hung-out-to-dry detritus of the Gore campaign that was left behind.

Of course, I believe that while there are few minor policy differences here and there, it was Hillary’s post-post-post-Feminist vote in 2002 for the AUMF that cost her the election. The fact that enough people made that a priority to shit on their fond memories of the 90s for someone who really has no record is significant. And that was a huge difference.

Those ex-Hillary supporters like me who have long since accepted Obama’s victory are also weary of her campaign (though, again, granting I wish Gore had fought this hard) must admit that it was thta AUMF vote that has created the relatively thin margin between the two. Sure, a bunch of things could have gone different, just like Gore. No Nader/No Mark Penn. No spurious Buchanan votes/No independents in Dem primaries. But all of those stand in stark relief to the most important causes: the Supreme Court in 2000 and the AUMF in 2008.


The moral panic over Hillary’s RFK reference is, of course, complete bullshit. You’re drunker on Kool-Aid than the most rabid denizens of 90s Clinton attackers if you really think she was calling for Obama’s assassination, or even raising the specter of it. (Which you are fucking dumb to ignore, by the way.)

That doesn’t matter.

What matters is that the Obama campaign is showing its teeth. It’s showing it can turn an innocuous comment that even RFK Jr. doesn’t think was offensive and that Hillary has made before into a large bukkake session againt her.

Honestly, most of the reasons Obamites peddle for why he is the better candidate are more or less garbage except this one: He won the fucking primary.

He won. He won it in February. Anyway, color me impressed with this smear. Grampa McSame should be changing his depends if this is what Obama’s folks will do to him.

Court: Texas had no right to take polygamists' kids

AP: The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the grounds for removing the children were “legally and factually insufficient” under Texas law.

Let’s just say there really are kids in danger at this compound, which very well may be. Now they are in more danger because lazy Texas officials swept in in one fell swoop in an obvious exercise of religious persecution. So the next time, someone goes in to help a bona fide victim it will look suspicious.

This is the same with getting the wrong criminal. Yeah, maybe it pacifies the mob, but in the end it makes every subsequent arrest that more suspect, every subsequent criminal that tiny bit more likely to get set free.

This is why the so-called “law and order” types are nothing of the sort. They are vigilante anarchists.

The New Flavor

The emerging progressive majority is still in bunker mode after many long years of conservative onslaught. This was necessary, because for many years, Democrats still acted as a “governing” party, even when in the minority, and did not have the attack mentality that that required. Now both the base and the party is past the concern trolling that has plagued it for so long.

But what intellectual planks are going to be the foundation of the emerging majority? This is a mixed policy/politics question in that you have to consider your policy goals and your political base.

On simple cleavage is between New Left moral and social policies and liberal economic progressivism. There has never been a governing majority for New Left policies at the federal level, except for the very brief window around 1964. There is a reason that Republicans obsess over God, guns, and gays.

Economic liberalism, on the other hand, has been able to produce a series of large majorities in several elections historically. To the extent that the new Congressional majorities exist, it is due to this. There is a growing rejection of the neoliberal economics that is fueling this.

While there is certainly a continuous drip towards racial, gender, and sexual preference equality, there has been no moment of paradigm shift in a while. Contrast that with economic issues that are now coming to a head.

I believe that a new New Deal coalition is the answer, and not a new New Left movement, for the following reasons.

1. Progressive Social Movements Create Strong Resistance.

By way of example, there was no “orthodox” judaism until there was a liberal movement in that religion. Similarly, much of the current evangelical christian movement is a fundamentalist reaction to the compromises with modernity that mainline protestantism, and, to some extent, Vatican II Catholicism has made.

Similarly, the Conservative movement grew up as a reaction to the rapid social changes created by civil rights movements. The ground was shifting. The backlash was strong, and, though it did not reverse the gains of the civil rights movement, it stopped them short of their goals, and it also destroyed the economic security of earlier economic liberalism by reducing union membership, minimizing social safety nets, engaging in globalized trade, and the general deregulation of industry.

I submit to you that there is no existing concern of civil rights that is as pressing as those that existed in the post-WWII, pre-Conservative era. This is not to say that there are no problems in the civil rights realm, but that those can be handled largely through enforcement of existing civil rights laws.

2. States Are The Appropriate Forum For Social Progressivism.

Social movements are not like many economic problems in that they don’t require the participation of everyone to be effective. For example, one state going along to a single-payer insurance program would not be as cost effective as a federal plan. One state’s attempts to govern any commons, like, say, a river and protect it from pollution would be ineffective.

But if one state legalizes gay marriage, no one in that state loses his or rights without leaving. At the same time, the backlash is limited. Legalizing gay marriage in California will cause some shock in Alabama, but probably no action. Legalizing gay marriage nationwide would put people in the streets. And the representatives those people send to Washington won’t stop with a gay marriage repeal. If a bunch of reactionaries pass laws in Alabama, the reaction is contained there.

This is a political reflection of the reality that while the US shares many cultural aspects in common, there are in fact discrete cultures within the country.

3. Liberal Economic Policies Engender Social Progressivism; The Reverse Is Not True.

Lifting all boats gives more people a more equal voice in politics. Simply giving folks more economic security enables them to participate more actively in politics. When formerly marginalized groups can participate and wield power, they are less likely to need to rely on the good will of the majority to protect their rights.

On the other hand, allowing gay marriage will not cause an aggregate increase in real wages for the lowest earners. Abortion may be the exception that proves the rule, but I am not sure it’s effect is as directly aggregate as, say, single payer health care would be.

4. Social Progressivism Does Not Create a Governing Majority.

Social progressivism can only rely on approximately 225 electoral votes. In the process of getting those 225, however, they destroy their chances in many of the others. An economic populist can earn far more electoral votes with less resistance. My initial analysis confirms that the same is true in congressional districts. Recent special elections confirm this hypothesis.

In sum. there are many economic issues that can only be handled properly at the federal level, such as the environment, health care, and education spending. The number one economic issue, globalization, is necessarily federal in that it involves foreign relations.

There are no currently outstanding social issues that require emergency federal treatment.

Therefore, the new progressive federal majority should pursue a liberal economic agenda and simply preserve the status quo socially.