Friday, April 15, 2016

The Dodgers Return to Brooklyn

I'll be honest. My brain started tuning out last night's Democratic debate after about three innings. The first strikeout came when Bernie was asked if he could name one example of Hillary Clinton changing her vote as a result of a corporate donation. He bungled it big-time. He popped a high fly out into right field, where it hovered in the air harmlessly before plunking smack dab into Hillary's placid, waiting mitt.
DANA BASH (CNN moderator) : Senator Sanders, you have consistently criticized Secretary Clinton for accepting money from Wall Street. Can you name one decision that she made as senator that shows that he favored banks because of the money she received? 
SANDERS: Sure. Sure. The obvious decision is when the greed and recklessness and illegal behavior of wall street brought this country into the worst economic downturn since the Great Recession -- the Great Depression of the '30s, when millions of people lost their jobs, and their homes, and their life savings, the obvious response to that is that you've got a bunch of fraudulent operators and that they have got to be broken up.

That was my view way back, and I introduced legislation to do that. Now, Secretary Clinton was busy giving speeches to Goldman Sachs for $225,000 a speech.

SANDERS: So the problem response -- the proper response in my view is we should break them up. And that's what my legislation does.

CLINTON: Well, you can tell, Dana, he cannot come up with any example, because there is no example.

 Why didn't he bring up the bankruptcy bill?

When Hillary was first lady, she sided with Elizabeth Warren and got Bill to veto some bank-friendly legislation which would have made it almost impossible for working families to declare personal bankruptcy, largely stemming from medical debt.

When Hillary became New York senator, she did an about-face and in 2001 voted for the bill - immediately after receiving hefty contributions from the same banks and credit card companies which demanded that struggling consumers be kept in onerous debt for the rest of their lives. As Warren wrote in The Two Income Trap:
 "The bill was the same, but Hillary Rodham Clinton was not. As First Lady, Mrs. Clinton had been persuaded that the bill was bad for families, and she was willing to fight for her beliefs. Her husband was a lame duck at the time he vetoed the bill; he could afford to forgo future campaign contributions. As New York's newest senator, however, it seems that Hillary Clinton  could not afford such a principled position. Campaigns cost money, and that money wasn't coming from families in financial trouble."
This was the smoking gun, the quid pro quo that Clinton has always denied exists. It does exist.

Not that political corruption and legalized bribery require a quid pro quo, by any means. Wealthy donors aren't paying for immediate favors. They are investing for the future -- a future of tax exemptions, corporate welfare, and a get out of jail free card with no expiration date.

Bernie was great at the sarcasm and the yelling, but not so great at digging up facts and answering questions directly. He often spoke over the moderators as Hillary just calmly stood there, grim smirk on her face, only occasionally needing to mar her calm demeanor with her trademark derisive cackle.

Both of them are artful dodgers of questions, because both of them are seasoned politicians. Both of them also looked like I feel: tired, cranky, and old. How can't they stand each other? Let us count the ways.

Hillary got knuckle-balled and beaned badly on those Wall Street speeches. She still offers no good explanation for not releasing them because even she, slick fielder that she is, can't come up with one good fake reason for not releasing them. For example, she could have said she lost them the same way she mysteriously misplaced those Rose Law Firm docs all those years ago.

Bernie twisted her into a soggy pretzel over whether she would or would not raise the cap on Social Security FICA contributions. He also did a good job exposing her bloodthirsty Neocon foreign policy (even Obama opposes her suggestion of a no-fly zone over Syria.)

 Bernie was supposed to release his 2014 tax returns today, because Jane apparently has finally found the time to log onto TurboTax. He still can't locate earlier returns, though. Like most of us shlubs, I suspect he probably lost his only tattered coffee-stained copies in the circular file.

With Clinton's spit balls and Bernie's unforced errors, the popcorn is beginning to taste a tad stale. But I'll root root root for the Brooklyn homeboy anyhow. If we don't win, what a shame. Then again, if Hillary is allowed to steal home because of a rigged electoral game, she can't very well call it a championship season either. Heads she wins, tails we all lose. The tickets to the Neoliberal Hall of Fame are way out of our price range.

The Everywoman Look (a Mary Poppins Original)



Anonymous said...

Well, yeah. Stale popcorn. Bernie is not 'practiced' in drawing from examples to make his points (maybe a symptom of age). His talking points are recalled from a fairly short list that we all have memorized now. But I think this election is about the heart of his message. Whether he can galvanize alliances in the house and senate, and whether he can gather a cabinet that is sharp to give some foundation to this wonderful vision is the question (as in all elections).

Bern't to a crisp.

Pearl said...

Bernie made some interesting comments that were mentioned by CNN pundits. Example: good discussion about how the Palestinians have been treated by Israel and several other additions to the so called conversation. And I think Hillary exposed herself more by maintaining she supported the $15 minimum wage among other inaccurate comments.
Considering the exhaustion these debates involve I think Bernie countered Hillary's shrillness quite well all things considered and there were some positive remarks by some progressive pundits interviewed on CNN. Even Ms.Brazile made a supportive comment about Bernie's part in the proceedings.
I am looking for comments today in the various news outlets.

annenigma said...

I missed the first several minutes of the debate, but what I noticed first was that Hillary kept talking over Bernie, interrupting him, and ignoring the moderator's weak attempts to allow Bernie to answer the question posed to him.

I've seen Hillary do the same thing in other debates - very domineering. Even though they'd call on Bernie, she'd keep going on and on, clearly exceeding her allowed time and evidently using up his response time as well, because after he lifted his finger several times to respond, they wouldn't allow it. Instead, they'd tell him he'd have to fold it into the new question they had for him. When it came to Hillary though, she was always allowed discrete response time without a new question thrown in to confuse the issue since the new questions were not follow-ups to the same topic.

So when I heard Wolf scold them about both yelling over/at each other, it stunned me because I had only heard her do that at that point. I did hear Bernie continue to talk over Dana Bash's question once after Wolf's comment. They could never warn or scold Her Highness directly of course. They have to say both sides are doing it and knock it off you two. I can't blame Bernie for finally trying to do the same thing after they let her get away with it through every debate. The way they treat her, you'd think she was President already.

As far as referencing Elizabeth Warren's great example of Hillary responding to the influence of money, it could have opened a hornet's nest, dragging Elizabeth Warren into it, if only by inference if not by name. I'm sure he made some quick calculations before he balked at swinging for that easy hit. Bernie can't be allowed to prove Hillary's corruption since it would hurt her general election campaign. He keeps getting warned by the Democrats about his doing that to her.

Overall, I thought Hillary showed her true colors - evading, obfuscating, elitist, lying, double-talking. The contrast with Bernie's truthfulness and honesty, especially in regard to the Palestinian issue, was revealing. I didn't think Bernie won the debate as much as Hillary lost it, not on issues but on character.

I might not have been paying as much attention as I could have been though. I was watching the debate on the computer while watching a comedy ('Mom'), plus reading NYT live tweets about the debates on the computer. Those NYT twits sure do love Hillary!

Nasreen Iqbal said...

For better or worse, regardless of how many mistakes each of them makes, it looks like the team they'll be up against in the World Series won't be all that strong.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Aw gee, I was born in Brooklyn and I love baseball. So, for both the place and the game, how about a little respect?

Of course, Karen, I learn from your fine reports, as always; but please resort to some other sport for the analogies thing when describing the political scene. Must admit, though, that "Brooklyn Dodgers" was so apt for last night's debate. Do ya think Bernie's stumbling is the part where he begins to take a dive? (Boxing analogy )

And is it fair to connect the dots between the venerable real estate of Brooklyn, which history attests has given so very much to the nation, and tired old pols whose loyalties lie elsewhere––NY Yankee gimme caps and endearing Brooklyn accents notwithstanding? As for the American Game again, which ain't ever over until it's over, it has nothing to do with glaring big fixes like superdelegates that tell us it's over before it begins.

And, now that I think of it from a frosty perch up here in True North, please stay away from hockey too, eh?

On related matters, I see where that bird on Bernie's podium and those backlit photos turning his white mane into a nimbus has got him an invitation, which he has just accepted, to explain the social gospel to the cardinals in Rome. How nice that a term coined within Protestantism will be preached to Roman Catholics by a cultural Jew in the heart of mostly Atheist Old Europe. We need more of this. Maybe after the election, by way of restoring love and peace within Democratic ranks, Hill will appoint Bernie Ambassador to the Vatican.

Karen Garcia said...

I love Brooklyn. I had relatives there pre-gentrification (the Ryan-Teague Clan, including various priests and nuns)before they all abandoned the neighborhood for the promised land of Westchester, Home of Hillary.

Sorry if I sound crabby about the debate, but I only got four hours of sleep last night because it gave me bad dreams. Then I got up too early to fulfill my promise of writing a retort to Krugman's latest, which today called Bernie and the Bros racists. I don't even feel like giving him the extra publicity by linking to it.

I will be nicer when I write up Bernie's Vatican visit. Any time an American pol goes overseas for something other than trade deals or war-mongering is a Plus. It shows people in other countries that we are not all assholes.

Erik Roth said...

I didn't watch this debate, nor have I seen any during this campaign.
That they are controlled by the two dominant parties is tantamount to fraud.
That they are moderated by news media is a blatant violation of journalistic ethics.
As presented, they are a farce.
If they were run by the independent League of Women Voters we would have a chance for real debates.

That said, what I can't understand is why Sanders doesn't have a competent team of advisors to prepare effective answers for the obvious questions. Bernie needs to succinctly define the many reasons for rejecting Hillary, and support those with specific examples. That is fundamental to expository discourse.
Beyond that, Sanders must likewise outline his solutions with particulars.

If Bernie simply had someone on his staff read Sardonicky and follow DemocracyNow, he would be able to demolish all opposition.
As for the latter, for example, check out the interview on Thursday, April 14th, with history professor Dana frank regarding Hillary's role in the Honduran coup.
Then, on the same program, note the subsequent interview with Marylia Kelley, regarding the one trillion dollar plan to upgrade the USA nuclear arsenal. That's certainly something to be addressed by the candidates.

Meredith NYC said...

Karen, your virtuoso post should be a column in the Times. It would contrast so sharply with their usual dreck.

I also liked the 1st line of your Times Pick post to Krugman that started with: The ending of Krugman's latest column obviously got lopped off by mistake, so I'll restore it for him: "My name is Hillary Clinton, and I approved this message."

So I guess Krugman will save Hillary plenty of campaign spending, since she’s getting free commercials in columns by her Nobel economist mentor.

The moderators and Sanders demanded a straight yes/no on raising the soc sec cap, but she gave them wordy evasions. Only Hillary True Believers could accept it.

Re the Debate, I commented:

To Wolf and Dana..
Even if Sanders has a less than perfect ‘grasp’ of banking regulations and that worse than Clinton being on the receiving end of the banks’ huge donations to her campaign? Sanders has a true grasp of how big money is rigging our politics, which is exactly what Clinton doesn’t grasp. And that’s the main point. Duh.

Was Clinton ‘unduly’ influenced by big banks? Well, unduly means excessive. What would be un-excessive influence? Example please!

Clinton says “He cannot come up with any example because there is no example.” Of course not. How na├»ve are we? That’s not how the System operates.

That’s like The S. Court saying in Citizens United ---don’t worry, there’s no quid pro quo, thus unlimited money from elites does NOT harm democracy and shut out the majority influence on our lawmaking. There’s no dumping stacks of bills on the table in exchange for a specific policy vote, thank you.

But when the elite’s basic goals are yours also, and the majority welfare is far down in priority, then such specific bribes aren’t even necessary. You can't pin anything on anybody.

When the big money sponsors your entire campaign for office, why dirty yourself with specific bribes??? The big money are in charge of setting our political norms, of picking and selling the candidate and the platform.
But plenty of plausible deniability.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Meredith. I noticed they later did a Brooklyn Dodgers baseball analogy over at the Intercept too.

I hold Bernie to a much higher standard than I do Hillary, (we have come to expect her pattern of bobbing and weaving) but he more than redeemed himself in Rome, imho.

Carol S. said...

I believe annenigma hit it right on the legislation question (and everything else). I think Bernie has a very precarious balancing ball to dodge in order not to enrage Superdelegates should he win the popular vote, and he stratigizes every answer with this in mind. Perhaps, knowing the unreasonable adoration of his opponent, his challenge in this race is more than any of us can imagine, and he is willing to endure being called "uninformed" to achieve justice for the people.

Also, by the way, I think his memory is just fine.