A Republican Red Wedding

Let’s be honest – there was no winner of the Iowa Republican Caucus. Now that we’ve moved beyond polling to cast actual votes, we can see that the race is impossibly deadlocked and unlikely to clear.

Barring some extraordinary collapse we can be very confident that no candidate will pick up a clear majority of the delegates to the Republican convention. Thanks to some brilliant rule changes there are very few true winner-take-all primaries ahead. The math is relentless.

That would all change if lots of these also-ran candidates (like, you know, Jeb Bush) dropped out. But there’s good reason for them to stick around. Those reasons relate to the structure of the convention.

With no one securing the nomination via delegate math early in the primary season you start looking to the convention to select the nominee. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be a fight on the convention floor. In theory it should be possible for someone to make a deal prior to the event. However, a number of factors make a convention fight more likely.

This is not 1976. The major contestants have no interest in preserving the dignity, authority, or even the survival of the Republican Party. Cruz or Trump would be entirely content to blow up the GOP to achieve their personal goals. By the time we get to April, the prospect of Cruz, Trump and Rubio working together toward a sane outcome seems beyond unlikely, bordering on ludicrous. This gets to the reason why the also-rans might stay in the race.

A vast majority of convention delegates will be “soft-pledged” to a candidate based on primary or caucus results. That means they are only obliged to vote with that candidate on a first ballot. When no one secures a majority on the first ballot, they are free agents.

So, how does the convention resolve a deadlock? Go back and watch the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones.

Once the majority of delegates are turned loose from their nominal obligations, their only remaining loyalty is to the party. Remember, all across the country people securing seats at the convention, regardless of who wins a primary, are generally long-time party volunteers, local elected officials, and other folks with significant ties to the organization.

This is where those neglected candidates like Bush, Christie and Kasich might get a chance to play, especially if they were able to get a few delegates seated. If we scrapped the whole primary process and let Republican donors, lobbyists, officeholders and party officials select the nominee, who would they pick? The answer to that question becomes the nominee (and VP) in a contested convention.

If Trump fails to win a solid majority of committed delegates there is absolutely no way he can become the nominee. And accumulating such a delegate lead seems mathematically impossible.

Cruz faces similar headwinds, but he is likely to have much better quality delegate support than Trump (see explanation here). The party might tolerate him to stave off a revolt from the right, while chaining him to a relatively moderate VP like Kasich or Christie. This seems like the most likely outcome at this point.

There remains a significant possibility that the party exercises its own revolt at the convention; a revenge of the establishment. This ‘Red Wedding’ scenario could see the party purge the insurgents entirely, putting someone like Rubio at the top of the ticket and giving the far right the finger. There is only one reason to do this – because Bernie Sanders is winning the Democratic nomination.

If Clinton is sailing away with the Democratic nomination, the Republicans have no reason to risk the damage of a purge. No Republican is going to beat Clinton and Republican insiders generally understand this. If Clinton is the nominee then they have every reason to let Cruz (but not Trump) take the nomination and lose in a landslide.

A Sanders nomination changes the logic. That race becomes not only winnable, but a near-lock for any Republican who isn’t a raving idiot. Republican insiders will be willing to alienate Cruz’s supporters, daring them to sit out the race and elect a socialist. Sanders is just what Republicans need to restore a little pragmatism to their electorate.

At the end of the day, those who are most invested in the party will choose its nominee. Unless someone streaks ahead, we probably face a contingent outcome. If the Democrats nominate Clinton, the Republicans will probably let Cruz have the nomination at the convention. If it looks like Democrats are going to open the door for a Republican to win the White House by nominating Sanders, then look out. The scene on the convention floor in Cleveland will be bloody. Probably the walls, too. Viewer discretion is advised.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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226 comments on “A Republican Red Wedding
  1. Noam Chomsky lol says:

    Greetings from the future!!!!

    lol. You ‘science-is-too-hard’ idiots deserve a literal narcissistic psychopath like Trump.
    Good Job. You earned him. Continue to insist on STUPID SH*T. The only thing i look more forward to than your insane god-fearing GOP idiots setting their house on fire is when the FRAKING LEFT burns itself down to the ground a few year later…….

    Let’s face it: YOU EARNED TRUMP. And now with Clinton winning…….we’ve earned our country’s next war. War gives the ice-queen a lady boner and she will ENSURE her tenure as president will include it.


    See you in hell, moron!

    Maybe we’ll share a beer and become best friends and then get back to work doing shit that matters in a good way that allows people the freedom to choose which kind of economic model they want to live by…………

    you know…..DECENTERALIZATION. THAT, has been the REAL issue and both the GOP and the LEFT were on the same side. they wanted more power and each were GREEDY to the point of DESTRUCTION.

    There’s an ACCURATE prophecy for you TV-watching PSYOP eating idiots who think any of this left/right crap really mattered to begin with…….

    We have earned our future. Good Job, Hippies and Suit-Asshats!

  2. Titanium Dragon says:

    I think that your calculus is wrong here, Lifer.

    Let’s assume we’re in the hypothetical future scenario where Sanders beat Clinton. What this means is that he won over the moderate wing of the Democratic party over Hillary Clinton, who (according to you) will beat the Republican nominee regardless.

    I think that the assumption that Sanders is a weak candidate would have to be questioned in this scenario. Beating Hillary would indicate that, rather than being a weak candidate, he is actually much stronger than he appears.

    I think you’re looking at Sanders from the wrong perspective. Sanders, in the scenario where he wins, is basically a combination of liberal leftism and “I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore” who has made himself acceptable to the moderate wing of the Democratic party.

    There’s a surprising amount of overlap between Sanders’ and Trump’s support.

  3. MassDem says:

    I really, really dislike ambush interviews, but this is kind of horrifying:

    Although question #3 is arguably a trick question–wouldn’t the correct answer be “Mexico” if you’re from Texas? Don’t know myself; we never covered Texas history in school. But I’m pretty sure Great Britain didn’t fight at the Alamo…

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      The destruction of public education is no accident or unintended consequence.

      Its been done fully on purpose by those who feel an uneducated and uninformed citizenry is the best situation, politically, for their interests.

    • MassDem says:

      I feel that we as a country have spent far too many resources having our students prepared to regurgitate information on tests and not enough on why they should know these things in the first place.

      Winners: Pearson, Educational Testing Services, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, MacGraw-Hill
      Losers: The American public


    • tuttabellamia says:

      I think it would also help if kids read more books, be they “real” books or ebooks.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        That’s where the public librarians would come in — to encourage kids to read, and to organize and create reading lists for topics which interest them, and this might help develop within them a desire to learn more, and might encourage a life of self-education.

      • 1mime says:

        Librarians serve a critically important role in encouraging children to read, but I know you agree that love of reading is instilled by introducing children to wonderful world of stories in the home setting. Absent that, if it were not for librarians and classroom teachers, some children might never know the joy of reading. For many, reading is only a part of homework.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I’m also a big fan of audiobooks, especially for kids who don’t quite have the necessary reading skills. It would point them in the right direction, get them interested in books, and they could read the print book while listening to the audio version to help them along.

      • MassDem says:

        Ha, ha, ha just last week I told my free range chickies* that when I was a kid, there were no video games, no cable tv and no internet, and that we actually read books for fun. They looked at me like I had three heads.

        *the free range chickies are my 9th grade students. My progeny actually read books.

      • 1mime says:

        When I was a child, the local library sent out a bookmobile into neighborhoods and children could check out the books of their choice. It was such fun and I think this could be helpful today especially in those areas where reading needs much more proactive encouragement. What do you think, Tutta?

        BTW, I love 9th graders – They are still young at heart while starting to think more critically. Wonderful class to teach. I feel the same way about 4th/5th graders. I’m a sucker for believing education offers so much opportunity to children’s development.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I totally agree with everything you say here. One thing that appeals to me about public libraries is the flexibility that still exists there for teachable moments, that public school teachers seem to be losing these days.

      • 1mime says:

        I think about that often, Tutta, when some smart alec states that class size doesn’t matter.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I wish there’s something I could do. It may be because I don’t have kids of my own, but I have this desire to teach, to set off little light bulbs in kids’ heads. I have this vision of myself with a magic wand lightly tapping the top of a kid’s head and creating a little spark. I don’t have the energy or the strength of character required to be a teacher, and I would be torn to shreds in the classroom, and by administrators. But I want to do SOMETHING.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta, What about setting up a “book” day at your home or another “safe” local site where you could invite children to come to enjoy reading? I’m sure your local library would help but the problem generally is transportation for these kids. If there is a Y or church that would make space available, that would also work especially if it was within safe walking distance to the targeted population.

        I worked as a weekly reading volunteer in our children’s schools (for a teacher other than our own kids teachers). She was a great first class teacher who believed in group learning before it was a popular concept. What I did was to work with the break out group who could be stimulated by “hearing” stories read while she worked with other students who either needed specialized help or were capable of pushing further. (This is a big problem in elementary schools – not neglecting the polar ends of the class…)

        I think you’d be great! I had encouraged Capt Stern to do something similar with teaching kids music but I don’t know if he ever tried it.

        Little gifts of time and interest are so important to nurture a desire to learn. Go for it!

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Maybe I should go back to school and study to be a librarian.

      • MassDem says:

        Hi Tutta,

        There are many, many ways to teach children without jumping straight into the deep end.

        I’m not sure what your work & life commitments are, but one place to start is contacting your local schools (especially if you live in or near an urban community), and volunteer to help out in the school library, working in the classroom with a struggling student, etc. Boston Public Schools has a program where people come in on their lunch hour. Many schools have after school programs that could always use extra hands. I am a volunteer tutor for School on Wheels, and I work with a young girl one evening a week. There may be similar programs in your area.

        If you’re feeling particularly brave, you could try substitute teaching. I’ve done it for years, and I love it. It’s easier than actually teaching, because you don’t have to prepare lesson plans or grade stuff–that’s all taken care of by the teacher, especially in the higher grades. Many places only require that you have a Bachelor’s degree. I personally prefer the older students (7th grade and up) but all levels are rewarding in their own way, and they all need people who care!

        Mime will probably back me up on this–as frustrating and sometimes as heart-breaking as it can be, there is nothing that compares to working with kids. I sincerely hope you can find some way to pursue this dream; you will not regret it.

      • 1mime says:

        I whole-heartedly agree, MassDem. I miss those years. What was so rewarding was knowing (and seeing) that your time and interest in a child could make a difference in their lives. It’s the reason most go into teaching before they get so bogged down in following rules and juggling so many needs. This is an area where private schools can make a real difference but I still maintain that for children with special needs – on either end of the spectrum – numbers matter. I have had some tenacious arguments supporting my belief in the value of smaller class sizes – the reality in public ed is that the kids who need help the most are typically in the larger classes. Sigh……..

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Ladies, thanks so much for the advice and words of encouragement. I enjoy engaging with fourth and fifth graders myself.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        By the way, Mime, I do remember your encouraging someone to teach music but I doubt seriously that it was Captain Sternn. He’s not into music, nor can he dance. He’s Baptist, you know. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Big Willy….you are correct. That’s who it was.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        You knew it was an infamous conservative.

      • objv says:

        Tutt, so it would be wrong to call Cap twinkle toes? I can’t dance either, but I can’t blame it on being a Baptist. My extra left foot gets in the way. Luckily, it doesn’t interfere with my dog walking abilities. 😉

  4. vikinghou says:

    This morning on “Morning Joe,” Scarborough talked about a recent conversation he had with an unnamed prominent GOP senator. The senator said that a Cruz nomination would be similar to Goldwater in 1964, except that everyone liked Goldwater.

  5. flypusher says:

    For anyone who might have been concerned that the pod-people got Trump when they saw that moment of post-caucus graciousness, you can breathe easy:


    Were I providing any musical entertainment at the GOP convention, the temptation to sneak “The Rains of Castermere” into the playlist would be strong! }:D

  6. Turtles Run says:

    One thing that is getting overlooked is the youth vote in Iowa. As a whole less youth voted and a higher percentage voted for Republicans versus Democrats versus 2008.

    The Clinton campaign has been weak in attracting the youth vote. Bernie got 84% of the youth vote. This is a area of weakness for Democrats and needs to be addressed. There is no excitement with Hillary on the youth side , she is not a trans formative player like Bernie or Obama.

    If the Republicans can tap the youth vote especially those that are not politically aware this could really hurt Democrats.

    • 1mime says:

      I hope some of the millennials who post here will weigh in with their thoughts on this subject, Turtles. It is easier for me to believe that those who are Bernie supporters would simply not turn out for Hillary than to believe they would jump parties. Let’s hear it Ryan, Griffin, RobA, whoever else qualifies (-:

      • Turtles Run says:

        My real fear is not so much they will switch parties but they will simply stay home. Obama ignited the youth and so does Bernie, Clinton not so much.

        She needs a firebrand, Castro may be able to do it for her. Excite young voters.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s who it’s looking like to me, as well. Julian Castro has been a 3-term mayor of a large, southern city (6 years of administrative experience) with a major military presence, is Hispanic with a great story, added federal service to his resume with HUD appointment, and is young and an upbeat personality. He’s also smart. Skipped his sophomore year in HS, graduated 9th in his class; graduated from Stanford (no easy feat just to get into Stanford, I know a little about that due to our grandson’s research); and graduated from Harvard Law.

        Somehow, I think he’s got enough intelligence and poise to hold up on the campaign trail and also contribute meaningfully to a HRC presidency. Everything else aside, Castro would bring intelligent attention to the immigration issue and certainly enthuse the Hispanic population – young and old, to turn out. Plus, he can be in two places at once (he has an exact twin) (-:

        I’m getting excited here (-: Turtles! Maybe all is not doom and gloom….

        Julian Castro’s Bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Castro

      • 1mime says:

        Guess if Julian Castro is the Dem VP nominee, Susana Martinez is a shoe in for the Repub equivalent…..If this happened, it would be a momentous election in so many ways.

        Just for grins, who would you think a Bernie Sanders would select as his running mate? Same VP?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Gov. Martinez would be a good choice for the Republican VP, but, and I may be remembering this wrong, I believe I remember reading that she had no interest in it. Mayhaps Republicans could cajole her otherwise, but if she senses a Republican rout in 2016, I’m not sure any amount would convince her to get on board a sinking ship.

      • 1mime says:

        Good analysis, Ryan, but she’d fall on her sword I believe if pressed hard. How wonderful for Hispanics to finally be talked about seriously (at least here (-: ) for major national opportunities. It’s about time. When Lifer talks about how thin the ranks of good candidates are (more so in Dems case), we mustn’t forget our burgeoning minority populations…Black, Hispanic, and Asian. Not to mention – female!

      • Turtles Run says:

        I think she could be convinced. If it is Rubio I would expect another Sarah Palin type VP. Cruz then maybe a Martinez type. But I do not see the party going with two Hispanic named people on the top of the ticket.

      • texan5142 says:

        Have not given much thought to Castro, now that I am reminded , he is a perfect fit.

      • Griffin says:

        I will turnout for Hillary when she’s the nominee. Heck I might even vote for her in the primary. I understand that she is an Establishent status quo type who won’t run the country into the ground and will lock the Republicans out of the White House until 2024 (since they will become even more radical after 4 years of Hillary. Don’t believe me? Look how crazy they’ve become with eight years of Obama, and they hate Hillary far more).

        However it is not difficult to see why she it not popular with youth. She has difficulty connecting emotionally because she comes across as annoying inauthentic and everyone knows she is an Establishment type who probably won’t push for any major reforms. Even her promises are fairly pitiful, and considering that most politicians have to tone down their inital promises it’s sort of sad. Her and her political machines largest contribution is to be a barrier against the GOP and the potential damage they could cause before they finally implode.

        I only find myself defending Bernie on here so much because of how over-the-top Lifer’s seething hatred of him is. In truth the person I really wish had run was Elizabeth Warren, you know an actual liberal who can energize the base but is slightly closer to the center than Bernie (or, at least, hasn’t made it more difficult than it had to be by embracing the “socialist” label) and has some expertise in economics. I also wish John Lewis could run but he’s older than Bernie so I don’t think that’s going to happen.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s good insight, Griffin. Especially your observation that Hillary’s main job is to serve as a buffer against GOP extremism. I also like (and respect) Elizabeth Warren and John Lewis but agree he’s getting too old for the energy this job entails. Let’s buy the suit now and our sandals in 8 years (-:

        I was born in the wrong generation. I would have fit right in with today’s millennials. Darn! Can you establish a mentor group? (I promise to just smile as you break all the glass ceilings and open all the windows and doors and let everyone come in.)

      • Creigh says:

        I’ve never felt that Gov. Martinez was a good fit for the national Republican party, and she’s not really the kind of campaigner who would make a good VP candidate. I’m predicting she’ll run for Martin Heinrich’s senate seat in 2018. What do you think, objv?

      • 1mime says:

        Creigh, if you ever feel like sharing your experience as part of a missionary family in South Sudan, I would love to learn more. No big deal if it’s too personal. It is def O.T. (-: but we could “cheat” a little. It certainly gives you an interesting perspective to the U.S.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Hers an interesting article on Sanders populist appeal.

        I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people as he spreads his message more to the Southern states that Hillary supposedly has a lock.


        I wasn’t very politically active in 2008 so I can’t compare, but in my anecdotal experience there seems to be a rising excitement about Bernie among my peers. The left leaning ones, of course. People are hearing about his actual policies and deciding that they pretty much agree with the vast majority.

        He raised $3 million in 24 hrs after Iowa, and currently has more individual donations then any candidate in American history. The reason why people like Chris can sit and hope that Sanders isn’t a real candidate or won’t have real support is the movement for Sanders seems to be truly grassroots, and not the kind of story the regular media tends to write about, other then “look at these crazy kids. They’re so naive about American politics they think Sanders could be prez. How adorable!!”

        Which I think is a huge flaw in thinking. The people I know arent naively being manipulated into supporting Sanders with propoganda. They’re serious, well informed , politically aware citizens who are old enough to realize something is wrong, but young enough to not be jaded and believe they can actually change things.

        As the article states, in the past 30 years more then half of ALL after tax income growth has gone to the top 0.5%. It also points out the true danger of wealth inequality: its not about money its about democracy.theres a feedback loop dynamic in play here. As more money becomes concentrated at the top, that gives those elites mad vely disproportionate political power. Which they then use to enact policies that give them even MORE wealth (I.e. tax cuts on the wealthy, union busting, cutting services etc). Which makes them even more politically powerful etc.

        What ppl like Chris don’t get is that it’s not about Bernie Sanders. Frankly, as an old white dude, he’s far from the ideal choice to lead this revolution. But since absutely nobody else seems to understand what we feel is the fundamental cause of the rot in the system, let alone provide any solution to it, if Sanders horse is the one we have to hitch our cart too, then so be it.

        I’d much prefer a younger, sexier, progressive candidate be the one leading this fight. But for me and liberal friends like me, the policies are the most important thing, by far. Hand wringing about who the messenger is is wasted energy, especially when this fight is so important.

      • goplifer says:

        Finally a candidate with the courage to tell us what we want to hear. Republicans have been enjoying the privilege for decades. Now Democrats get to join us.

      • 1mime says:

        Republicans telling their constituents for years what they “want” to hear……So, the tail is still wagging the dog over in GOP headquarters?

        I don’t agree that this is what Bernie Sanders is doing. He started small and has been very open about what “he” perceives to be the problems in America. That his “list” resonates tremendously with young people is not surprising, nor should it be construed as simply “telling them what they ‘want’ to hear”.

        What I deeply believe is happening is that our young people are cutting through the crap. They are better educated, they feel taken advantage of by those who “make the rules”, and they are young enough to feel they can challenge the status quo that so many older people occupy. Frankly, I think that’s healthy for our country.

        No one has seriously looked at who Bernie might choose as his VP if he becomes the (gasp) Dem nominee…..Would an Elizabeth Warren be a possibility? How would that change the race?

      • Griffin says:

        “Finally a candidate with the courage to tell us what we want to hear. Republicans have been enjoying the privilege for decades. Now Democrats get to join us.”

        The difference being that at the moment Democrats generally want to hear actual policy positions and Republicans want to hear someone yelling at Muslims and screaming about the communists waiting for a chance the take over the US.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree and I think Lifer’s comment is misreading the honesty of the millennial message.

        I received a Republican questionnaire from the RNC yesterday. Here is a summary of the questions in search of answers.

        (1) We need a more aggressive, focused strategy to defeat Islamic terrorism.
        (2) The Iran nuclear agreement should be scrapped.
        (3) Stopping illegal immigration should be a top priority.
        (4) The U.S. should not accept tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.
        (5) We need to dramatically increase efforts to protect our borders and ports.
        (6) ObamaCare should be repealed and replaced.
        (7) The federal government is too large, intrusive and wasteful.
        (8) Americans are overtaxed.
        (9) Balancing the budget should be an important goal for Congress.
        (10) Defending the 2nd amendment right to bear arms is important to me.
        (11) Same sex marriage should not be legal.
        (12) Able-bodied, mentally capable adults who receive welfare should be required to work.
        (13) The Federal government should increase environmental regulations in response to global warming.
        (14) Immigrants to the U.S. should be required to learn English.
        (15) We need to improve the support of our veterans.
        (16) Taxpayer support of Planned Parenthood should be withdrawn.
        (17) We must ensure the fiscal stabililty of medicare and social security.

        Other issues of importance to me include:

        How about adding these to a survey round up? I will try to find its equivalent DNC survey and will post its questions as well. To the credit of the GOP, they are surveying. I have often thought that parties should survey their opponents – maybe they are.

      • Nick Danger says:

        I live in NM. Susanna Martinez doesn’t have the talent to make it in the big leagues. Really, the only reason people want her is that she’s a woman with an Hispanic last name. Governor Bill Richardson had the skills to get whatever he wanted. Light rail? Done. Taxpayer rebate? Done. Jet plane for his presidential campaign? Done. Martinez has to struggle to get small bills through the legislature.

        Besides, when the racist wing of the GOP learned that her grandfather was probably an illegal immigrant from Mexico, they wouldn’t be happy.

      • I had a discussion with some Americans and some fellow Europeans recently, and one of the things that came out is that Sanders is hard to describe as a socialist except inasmuch as the word is used to mean “anything to the left of Business As Usual.” The man’s policies are entirely in line with wanting a capitalist state and recognising that a modern-day capitalist state needs a large investment in infrastructure and social services in order to run properly. That’s a far cry from the socialism that both Sanders’ supporters and his detractors are describing him as.

        Amusingly, while Ladd has no time for Sanders and I doubt Sanders would have any time for Ladd, their outlooks are very similar albeit for diametrically-opposed reasons.

        As one of the older cohort of the millenials, I find myself much more attracted to Clinton than to Sanders. A president doesn’t need to be likeable and ideologically driven: they need to be able to work eighteen hour days without pause for at least four years, balance hundreds of competing interest groups, and deal with a hostile legislature with bomb-throwing anarchists like Cruz in it. For that you don’t need a nice guy who understands you and who’d be good to have a beer with. You need a smart, ruthless asshole with all the warmth, weakness and humanity of a glacier. Angela Merkel isn’t running in America so that leaves Clinton as the obvious pick.

      • 1mime says:

        Good assessment, EJ. I agree about Hillary. We have seen what “playing nice” with conservatives gets you – zip, zero, even more scorn. Repubs know this about HRC – she has been there, done that, and she can play hard ball with the best of them.

        The lengths to which Republicans have gone to insult and obstruct Obama are legion. Here’s the latest:

        “Leaders of Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) said they would not hold hearings with Shaun Donovan, the White House’s budget director, to review the president’s fiscal 2017 budget.

        “I guess the future is pretty dim if you have Republicans in Congress unwilling to even talk about the budget with the White House,” Earnest said Friday.

        It was a surprising slap at the administration, and a move that is unprecedented in more than two decades of congressional budget-writing.”

        TWO Decades. Ah, Democracy, where forth art thou?


      • I remember twelve years ago, when someone first explained the Hamiltonian system of checks and balances to me, taking great care to outline the way that different branches of the government were set up to produce deadlock if they disagreed. At the time it seemed like a smart system because it would encourage the farsighted, intelligent people of all parties to work together.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      >] “Let’s hear it Ryan, Griffin, RobA, whoever else qualifies (-:”

      Okay. 🙂

      Obviously, Sanders did incredibly well with the youth vote in Iowa. Clinton more or less canceled that out with her leads among moderate Democrats and other groups, but she’ll need young people to turn out for her in November. How does that happen? Well:

      – First things first, let’s not assume that young people just won’t turn out for Hillary. They will; the issue is getting them out in sufficient numbers, which brings us to Sanders. Sanders will campaign for Clinton in the fall, in no small part to keep young people engaged in the political process. That, and having a batshit crazy ideologue like Cruz on the top of the Republican ticket won’t hurt either.

      And just so we’re clear, I’m confident Clinton knows that she needs Sanders behind her in November too, hence why she hasn’t demonized him and kept things more or less civil between them.

      – Like Turtles suggested, there’s also the issue of Hillary’s VP. Castro is an interesting choice, both for his youth and as an obvious outreach to Hispanics; I think he could do a top-notch job of energizing them. Further down the line, as a rising Democratic star, it’s really only a matter of time before people start talking about him as a potential presidential candidate, if they haven’t already. As a matter of him gaining national prestige and experience, a VP slot would suit that nicely.

      All that said, Hillary obviously has a challenging youth vote problem, but if she takes it seriously and comes at it with a multi-pronged strategy, she’ll ride it just fine. 🙂

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I think even the people who love Sanders understand that a Hillary presidency would be far, far superior to anything the GOP can churn out of the toxic soup they’ve brewed over the past few decades.

        So I think there will be turnout for either democratic candidate.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Just to be a bit more specific.

      Bernie may be igniting the youth vote, but it is a White, well-off, youth vote.

      Take a look at the South Carolina poll numbers to see what that will get you in a state that is not 90%+ White.

    • 1mime says:

      Turtles, you could have written this Politico article on the split in the youth vote for the Dems.
      Just as Repubs hope the candidates don’t cannibalize one another before the convention, so are many Dems worried about keeping the voting base intact…despite a very large divide.


  7. 1mime says:

    The more I learn about MI Governor Synder, the more disgusted I am in how he operates. I am certain this latest revelation will be challenged in court and overturned, but – REALLY! Forbidding the use of public funds to advertise for public use of these funds???!!!! What would the gov have the public bodies do? Solicit funds from private parties who would benefit from said projects!? Man.

    Changes to MI state law: “…bans using public dollars or resources to educate the public about ballot proposals in the 60 days leading up to an election.” (Note: in most states, if not all, this is the law!)

    “That provision was added without any public hearings or notice to the parties that will be most affected by the legislation.”

    Perish the thought that mi voters would make informed decisions! Is it any wonder that the people of MI and, especially Flint, want this man gone?!


    And, this is how Republicans govern?

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Repulicans. Can’t trust ’em.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Republicans need to rely on ignorance and disinformation for their message to fly.

      That’s why they cut school funding, cut scientific research funding, and do t want people to know how to vote.

      Its why homeschooling is so popular among a large segment of them. They need to control the message because they know almost everything they stand for fails in the cold light of scrutiny.

      • objv says:

        Hiya, Homer. Hope you had a nice trip to Hawaii.

        And, you know an elephant never forgets ….

        The problem is that pro-choice people prefer to think of a fetus as a blob of tissue or a “tumor”. And, yes, in the beginning, the fetus is just a mass of undifferentiated cells. However, a tremendous amount of growth occurs in a short time. In animals, gestation is usually shorter. Animal brains generally take less time to develop. I get that. Elephants have a lot of physical growing to do. I get that too.

        The longer gestation in humans allows their brains to grow. While a puppy is ready to be born in two months, the human fetal brain is growing exponentially because it is so much more complex and needs more time to mature. The idea of drowning a puppy is abhorrent:; pulling a fetus apart with surgical instruments even more so.

        In short, when the lab technician in the PP video describes the maturity level of some of the fetuses aborted at PP, and a photo of a nineteen week old fetus is flashed on the screen, the result is visceral. To cope, pro-choicers must find a way to discredit the image. The idea of aborting a healthy fetus at that age is truly abhorrent.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Hawaii was good.

        If aborting a healthy 19 week fetus a abhorrent, then it is a good thing it is a phenomenally rare event, and maybe we should be making it easier to have an abortion in the first six weeks so that we don’t have to wait until the 19th week.

      • 1mime says:

        Totally agree, Homer. Or, maybe we could dignify contraception and make it affordable and easily available….Or, maybe we could accept that it is a woman’s personal right to choose how she manages her own body’s needs. Those who elect or believe in a different concept – do your own thing but let the rest of us do ours!

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Not to mention Homer, we should also be promoting the hell out of contraception and safer sex so that we can significantly lower the incidence of abortion completely.

        This issue is the “tell” that for most Christianists, its not REALLY about abortion (if it were, the GOP would be leading the charge in laws that actually reduce abortions, like promoting condoms, and making contraception easily accessible). Its really about keeping women in their place and punishing them for their “immorality”

    • objv says:

      Yeah, so when a Republican governor relies on information provided by the EPA and a state agency, he is completely and utterly the one at fault?

      “Chaffetz entered several emails into the record suggesting that EPA officials realized there was a problem from the spring through the summer of 2014, yet did little about it. Snyder has said the EPA and his state’s Department of Environmental Quality “missed” what was happening, and top officials from both agencies — including Susan Hedman, who resigned last month as the EPA’s administrator for the region that includes Flint — have already lost their jobs.”


      • 1mime says:

        Are you sure you’re up for a debate on this subject Objv? Are you aware that the EPA reported many times to local and state officials their concerns about the water issues going all the way back to 2012? Their mistake was not taking it public. They instead worked through channels like normal and that was a bad decision. But, do.not.excuse. this governor and others in positions of authority from their downright misrepresentation of facts in this matter going back to 2013. Nor of their culpability. I am delighted that independent sources will be investigating who knew what when.

        Snyder is complicit for several reasons, all of which have been documented in several serious posts on this site. I do hope you’ve read them. This is a horrible situation and I believe time and digging will provide the much uglier backdrop for how the state allowed (and is continuing to allow) the problem to go on while people were still drinking the water.

        If I have to dig out every link that has been posted on this issue, I will, but I doubt you’ll read them with objectivity.

      • objv says:

        Mime, in the crazed bloodlust among liberals to push most of the blame for Flint on a Republican, you forget that there are many other cities and communities (often run by Democrats) at risk for lead contamination. One was Washington DC where the same professor that uncovered the problem in Flint fought the CDC for six years to admit they weren’t being forthright in admitting the damage lead caused to the children in that city

        From https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/01/26/meet-the-heroic-professor-who-helped-uncover-the-flint-lead-water-crisis/

        “He [Marc Edwards] shared his findings with the Environmental Protection Agency. He hoped the system would work this time. But in July, a high level EPA official ignored it and told the mayor of Flint everything was fine. The mayor famously went on television and drank a glass of the city’s water to prove that all was well.”.

        Mime, I realize that there is enough blame to go around, but when governmental agencies, including the EPA, say the water is fit to drink, it stands to reason that most non-scientists will believe them.

      • 1mime says:

        Crazed bloodlust Objv? Let me be crystal clear: anyone from either party who knowingly misrepresented facts about contaminants in Flint’s water system, needs to be held accountable. In the most appropriate, legal manner.

        Anyone. That broad term includes the governor. The EPA staffer. The Emergency Manager. The Mayor. IF the independent investigations prove complicity, prosecute them.

        From your link: “He (Marc Edwards) filed Freedom of Information Act requests for documents and emails of state and city officials to find out how much they knew and what they could be covering up. Turns out they knew a lot and did nothing.”

        Let’s both research this, Ob. It is stated that Edwards posts ALL findings publicly. It will require work, but, we’re up for that, aren’t we?

        I have expressed my outrage over the situation at Flint. If you read Eljay’s post on what has been happening in Iowa, you would readily admit that pollution is a serious problem that has been deliberately allowed and ignored.

        The article I posted today dealt with public notice changes that impact public entities reporting requirements in advance of changes. I lived under these mandates during my school board tenure and they are important and necessary to inform and advise the general public. To implement these (dumb) changes to public reporting requirements without public notice is to deny taxpayers and citizens of their legal right to public information. That’s important and I would suspect you would agree if you read the full article.

        I make no apologies for my criticism of Republicans that do stupid things. For that matter, I am pretty free with my criticism of Democrats who do stupid things. Government should work better than it does and since people are running it, they are legitimate targets of criticism. If you disagree, I suggest you run for office sometime. It’s instructive. No free passes for anyone. Empathy, patience, but when they do stupid stuff – game on.

      • Turtles Run says:

        When the EPA questioned the MDEQ about whether the city was using corrossion prevention methods the city lied and claimed they were. From the very beginning the EPA has told Michigan they needed to treat the water.

        To lay this all on the feet of the feds is wrong and the response to the situation has been wrong.

        Instead of replacing the water infrastructure the state once again wants to go the cheap route and chemically repair the pipes.

        I say “NO” going cheap is what caused this issue and it sure is not going to fix it. The Governor should have ordered crews out there immediately to repair this damage on the states dime not the federal government. I am tired of these boot-strappers always running to the feds to fix their mistakes.


      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Turtles, its why businessmen make pretty shitty executive politicians. Political leadership should be about prioritizing the welfare of your constituents. Period. Things like cost savings and ROI are factors, if course, but they should never be the main factors.

      • vikinghou says:

        I’m awfully late to this party, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that the fraudulent videos incited a terrorist attack in Colorado Springs that resulted in the deaths of three people including a police officer, as well as injuring police officers and four civilians.

    • objv says:

      Mime, in the same thread where you speak of objectivity, you bring up an article from the Daily Kos. LOL

      • 1mime says:

        I enjoy reading Daily Kos and quote it when appropriate, as I do many other sources. I don’t just spout off, I dig, and I think about what I am saying and make a good faith effort to support it and to try to stay relevant to Lifer’s thesis as well as the discussion thread. That doesn’t make me special, it is what most do who participate here. It’s why I enjoy the blog. It makes me think more broadly. I value that and I do not mind being called out. After all, unless it’s pure fact, it’s opinion, and we’re all entitled to them. Even “batshit” Republicans (T U n1cholas).

      • 1mime says:

        Here ya go…..local news…..same story Daily Kos picked up. Enjoy!


        BTW, just to make certain you don’t miss this critical point – MI state law already prohibits public bodies from promoting an initiative in official publications paid for by tax dollars…AS DO ALL STATES I am aware of. So, what was the “real” point? Maybe you can figure it out. There has to be “something”….

      • objv says:

        Mime, you prove my point. While the second article provides background information such as “When he signed the bill, Snyder asked the Legislature to clarify the language that had raised concerns,” the Daily Kos hit piece posts a picture of the governor as a hideous beast and throws out blanket insults aimed at Republicans in general and Gov Snyder in particular.

      • 1mime says:

        At least I made the effort. I have yet to read one retraction from you on PP being cleared in TX and eleven other states (all red) who have either cleared them or stopped their investigations.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Hey, OV, let’s get together in New Mexico for a Desert Symposium. 🙂

      • tuttabellamia says:

        OV, and I did read your post about the dog you rescued. That was very noble and kind of you.

      • objv says:

        Mime, I have a life outside this blog. (Believe it or not.) I usually try to spend whatever time I have concentrating on one thread at a time and I leave the rest of the discussion for another day. The topics always reoccur, so I’m reasonably certain that I’ll be able to jump in at another time

        As far as the PP controversy … being cleared of a crime legally does not equate with being cleared morally. Remember, Bill Cosby? He may get off scot free. Does that exonerate him in your mind?

        Some people tie their dogs to a post or keep them kenneled for long periods of time. If they give them water and throw them some food occasionally, they are probably not going to be prosecuted. It doesn’t make what they’re doing right, but it is legal. People used to drown unwanted litters of puppies. Repugnant, yes. Illegal (at least at that time), no. Puppies are born after about two months gestation. Pro-choicers don’t seem to have a problem with a fetus being torn apart alive to have the organs harvested at that gestational age or much later. It’s a matter of perspective.

        Mime, have you ever watched some of the videos? They are damning. While they certainly have been edited, there is enough content there, to make it plain that the PP personnel were eager to receive compensation for fetal body parts and were willing to change the procedure in order to meet the demand for certain organs.

        PP may be cleared of legal wrongdoing, but to many people, including me, they are not cleared of moral wrongdoing.

        As far as the makers of the videos are concerned, yes, they may have broken the law themselves. If they have, they should certainly be prosecuted.

      • 1mime says:

        I would hope that we all have a life outside this blog, and expect they are all very different, with varying amounts of responsibility and joy. My hope for all is that you are healthy, happy, and secure…. (especially the Democrats…may you live at least one day past the general election (-: so you can vote and then savor the results (or not!)

        I did not expect you to change your opinion on the PP charges but it is satisfying to me to see justice still happens. The Harris County Grand Jury AND the Texas Rangers doubtless had far more extensive information at their disposal than the general public, and it was not only sufficient to exonerate PP but to indict the two impersonators. Don’t let facts get in your way, though. Believe what you will.

        As for poor Bill Cosby – This just crossed my email. Notice it is a CNN alert as I know how testy you get with those Daily Kos briefs. Mr. Cosby is hardly out of the woods. Let us hope that justice will be served not only for him, but for the over 50 women who claim they were drugged and sexually abused.


        I’m not sure where you were going on the dog thing but stick with walking them. It’s safer than whatever else you were trying to convey.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        “Puppies are born after about two months gestation. Pro-choicers don’t seem to have a problem with a fetus being torn apart alive to have the organs harvested at that gestational age or much later. It’s a matter of perspective.”


        At up to 23 months, elephants boast the longest gestation period of any land animal. So, since we are comparing apples to Buicks in order to get a matter of perspectives, we pro-choicers now can wait until the child is 8 to 11 months old before deciding to tear the child apart.

      • objv says:

        Hi Tutt! It would be a HIGH desert symposium (type of climate, not condition of participants – we would have to head up to Colorado for that).

        Tutt, thank you. I realize that you have done much good yourself by rescuing numerous feline companions.

        The puppy is a sweetie. I feel rewarded enough when I look into her cute, little face. It’s hard to believe that anyone would want to dump her.

        Both of the other dogs in my household are pedigreed, I actually felt more satisfaction when we got them. The breeder raised dogs for show and made sure that the mother had good food and veterinary visits. She did her best to breed out undesirable characteristics such as viciousness and spent a good deal of her time taking care of and training her dogs. I felt she deserved every penny that we gave her and then some.

        Now, as far as emotional attachment is concerned, I love the new pup as much as the other two. We have definitely bonded. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Good luck with that, MassDem.

      • MassDem says:


      • objv says:

        MassDem, have you watched the Anderson Cooper video that was embedded in the article? Have you watched it to the end? The “heavy editing” in the PP videos consists of the insertion of images of fetuses that were the same age as the ones described by the lab technician. When I watched that particular section in the PP videos, I didn’t remember being confused as to the images being specific to actual aborted fetuses at PP. Some people obviously were confused. To me, it really didn’t matter. The photo was of a nineteen week fetus. The lab technician was describing a nineteen week old fetus. The fetuses would have looked similarly mature.

        Note that the Anderson Cooper video was also heavily edited. Most interviews are. The full videos about PP were made available on the pro-life website.

      • MassDem says:

        You realize that you are assuming the technician was actually telling the truth, in a situation where there is no independent confirmation of her story?

        I did watch the entire Anderson Cooper video AND I read the article. Why don’t you do that, and get back to me.

      • objv says:

        Homer, sorry, I replied above in the wrong space.

      • objv says:

        MassDem, I did both. You’ve got a point in saying that a lot depends on the lab technician’s truthfulness. I’m surprised that PP hasn’t come out denied some of the things she said or gone after her legally.

      • objv says:

        With that, I’m done for the night. Hope you all enjoy your evenings wherever you are. :))

      • MassDem says:

        Objv, PP categorically denied all of the accusations made in the videos.
        The technician in question, Holly O’Donnell, is being sued by her former employer, StemExpress. She never worked for PP.

        Here is a statement from her former employer:

        “Ms. O’Donnell was a 1099 independent contractor, subject to written confidentiality restrictions and Code of Conduct agreements which she signed and which she has violated by stealing confidential documents from StemExpress and disclosing them to CMP. Contrary to her assertions, Ms. O’Donnell responded to and applied for a contract opening as a procurement technician. She was contracted only after interviewing for that specific position. Her other representations in the video are also false. Ms. O’Donnell’s resignation letter states she was thankful for the opportunities and experience she received from the company and expressed regret she was leaving. She further stated that due to financial difficulties and lack of opportunities for work with StemExpress, she must seek out other employment to provide herself more financial stability. In other words, she was not earning enough money as a StemExpress procurement technician. She worked for StemExpress from Dec. ’12 thru April ’13.”


        She may have well been a plant.

      • MassDem says:

        Sweet dreams, objv.

  8. MassDem says:

    Report from the campaign trail: February 2, 2016

    It appears that Barack Obama gifted Hillary Clinton with his spam generator, because I’ve been getting like a million emails a day from her campaign. Most of them are asking for money, but last week I got one inviting me to a bunch of campaign events in NH. Normally, I would never go to NH because it is a horrible place, but MA votes on Super Tuesday, so the likelihood of any candidate having events in MA is just about zero. Plus The Big Dog was supposed to be there. So I signed up to go to Nashua Community College, the day after the IA caucuses.

    I brought along my mother-in-law, who is a higher grade of MassDem than me. She was a member of RFK’s Senatorial staff back in the day. Among her duties was answering kids’ letters to the Senator. I picked her up, and we headed up to Nashua, just over the MA border.

    When we got there, the parking lot was packed. Many cars were from outside NH. There was this long, long line to get into the building. It was kind of fun talking to the other people in line. The woman next to us was a someone my MIL characterized as a Democratic activist. She and my MIL kind of got into it over whether FDR had been a senator or not (he had been a NY state senator)

    After we got inside, there was an even longer line to go through security. Clearly the event’s organizers had not anticipated the horde of MassDems flooding over their southern border. The event was seriously overbooked. We had just reached the door going in to the gym when the Secret Service man shut it. The Fire Marshall had determined that they were already over capacity, so no one else could enter. About 100 people were shut out. Incidentally our activist friend had somehow managed to get ahead of us in line, so she got in.

    My MIL was steamed. Their advance work was lousy. If she had been running things, she would have sent all of the campaign workers out to fit more voters in the venue. She also would have had someone from the campaign come out to apologize to all of the people who had gotten shut out. Finally, she would have arranged to have the candidate, or perhaps Big Bill, come out to greet everyone who didn’t make it in. I think Hillary’s campaign should hire my MIL, don’t you?

    Anyway, we had to settle for hanging out near the Press Entrance with about 20 other people. We couldn’t see into the room, but we could hear everything loud and clear. Hillary was full of energy, and the crowd was really pumped up. Every so often, a woman standing near the door bellowed “We love you Hillary” into the hall (I think she was hoping to get invited in). The Secret Service guy at the door took it well, as she was practically shouting into his ear.

    The event wasn’t a total loss. We got to meet Vermin Supreme, the performance artist and perennial presidential candidate. He gave us a bumper sticker, which my MIL let me keep.

    I asked my MIL if she wanted to catch another event, perhaps Trump or Rubio, but she wasn’t having it. So we went out for a very nice lunch featuring cocktails, and then home.

    So here’s what I learned:
    1. Go early if you want to get a seat.
    2. Definitely talk to your fellow citizens in line. There are some interesting characters out there.
    3. Your high schooler will love a “Vermin Supreme” bumper sticker, so pick one up on the way out.
    4. Live free or die, I DON’T THINK SO.

    And that is how it is on the Campaign Trail, February 2, 2016.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      The pull of the Kennedy name is strong for some of us. When I lived in Mass in the middle 80s, I wrote to then Senator Ted Kennedy about the killing fields of Cambodia.

      It was very upsetting to me and while I didn’t think there was much that could be done, I did write that letter.

      I received a comprehensive reply. It didn’t sound in the least like a form letter.

      I don’t write to Texas officials anymore, but when I did I often thought of that Kennedy letter. I wished I’d kept it, for comparison’s purposes.

      Here in Texas, the worst replies came from Kay Bailey Hutchinson. They were completely unrelated to what I sent to her. I had to marvel at the technique (no liability; nothing that could be used by anybody for any purpose) but it was quite discouraging. Writing to Texas elected officials makes it clear just how un-represented I am.

      As a kid, a catholic kid, the Kennedy family had a special role. The assassination was a major trauma of my young life. I know more about them now than I did then; their allure is tinged with nostalgia.

      It must have been a heady time for your MIL.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I had questions about the Affordable Care Act right after it passed, and I sent an email to the office of Nancy Pelosi but received no response.

        I then sent the same email to the office of Rick Perry and received a detailed formal response on state letterhead, a 2-page attachment in pdf format, from someone on his staff. In addition to promising to repeal the ACA (that’s not what I asked you!), it did provide me with concrete answers to my question, so I was impressed overall.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        My mom adored the Kennedys. On our living room wall were framed photos of my parents, my grandmother, me, and one of Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy (a color photo cut out from the newspaper).

      • 1mime says:

        I cannot believe you didn’t save the letter! Ted Kennedy had a “checkered” life, to say the least, but he was a powerful voice in the Senate. He could speak out on issues with such clarity and force. There was no equivocation about Ted Kennedy when he took the floor. I miss voices loud and quiet that could distill complicated, difficult issues in a way that allowed all to know exactly what was at stake. That honesty – whether you are in agreement with the particular point or not – is no longer part of the way the political process works. Tutta will probably touch upon this in her review of Turkle’s book.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Actually, Mime, your comment reminds me more of “The Age of American Unreason” by Susan Jacoby, in which she notes that lawmakers of yore used to address the public in a way that was more respectful to their intelligence.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, “The Age of American Unreason” is about society’s move from a print, word-based culture to an image-based culture.

        “Reclaiming Conversation” is about society’s move from a face-to-face, in-person culture to a virtual, onscreen culture.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        It’s always interesting and a bit heartening when I hear people reminisce about a Kennedy, particularly JFK. Part of it’s the reality of a slain president, but there’s almost always more to it than that; a genuine sadness that you don’t see politicians like that anymore. When you go back and rewatch Kennedy’s press conferences, his debates or whatever else, you get the sense of an incredibly idealistic man, intelligent, with the wit and humor to match (really, JFK had a fantastic sense of humor).

        More memorable than any of that though is just how much he came across as a person. Obviously, he had a lot of flaws (what person doesn’t?), but there was something special about Jack Kennedy. You watch him long enough and you begin to understand why people said “hope died” when he was assassinated.

      • 1mime says:

        For many, “hope” was re-born when Barack Obama was elected. A major difference between the “hope” of the Kennedy and that of Obama goes beyond race. The Kennedy family lived politics. They were privileged as well as wealthy. They already were “in” the right circles. Most important, they understood how politics worked. I think we all lament that we didn’t get to see JFK complete his term, or how Bobby or Teddy might have governed in his place. They were all interesting men and seemed to better understand the needs of people despite their wealth and position. Their loss was our loss.

      • Stephen says:

        Bobo same in Florida. You cannot get my tea idiot congressman to answer email, phone and he never shows up in person in town all meetings. At the most you get a form letter which often is off the subject. But my district is gerrymander to hell and back so he has no real competition in the general and being so right wing shields him in the primary. My state has passed a citizen initiative anti-gerrymander provision which had to be hard fought multiply times in the courts. And right now we are trying to change our primary system to be like California, an open primary with the two most vote getters going at it in the general. This kind of problem is best attacked at the local level.

      • 1mime says:

        Gerrymandering should be against the law. Both parties have used it – Republicans have refined it to the max, and it is deadly for ensuring a viable Democratic process. We live in the technology age. We should have districts that promote and protect fair and diverse representation, which encourage and enable elected officials to study issues more broadly and legislate more fairly. I think it will come but the power centers that control politics today are afraid of what an unleashed electorate would do to its structure.

        Lifer – Have you done a piece on this subject? That is, how to utilize technology to enhance the Democratic election process? I’d love to hear your ideas on it.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Stephen, the citizens’ initiative in Florida sounds promising. It’s very difficult to keep trying keep trying keep trying. I’m impressed.

    • goplifer says:

      I’d love to get that bumpersticker. Fantastic work.

    • flypusher says:

      “I think Hillary’s campaign should hire my MIL, don’t you?”

      Yep. The personal touch still matters. Would she take the job if offered?

    • 1mime says:

      Gosh, I couldn’t agree more with your MIL. Even if Hil couldn’t leave the security of the main room, they should have had a live tv posted so all could “feel” the candidate. How hard is that?

      I will never forget this incident with the memorable LA Gov Edwin Edwards. Edwards had many detractors but had charm and wit oozing from every pore. When he won one of his back to back elections for Gov, he had booked the LSU Pete Mavarich Basketball Dome for his “apres election” event and invited everyone. In true Edwards style, the dress code was black tie…(mind you, this is LA, not too different a crowd than Iowa). So many people showed up that they couldn’t get into the huge arena (fire code again) and there were some pissed tuxed cajuns milling around outside.

      In his cajun accent, Edwin Edwards apologized to all (there were loudspeakers set up outside at least), saying, “I didn’t know there were this many coonasses with tuxedos in LA”! The crowd roared, the party went on, and Edwin had saved another day. Despise him or love him (we liked him), he had one of the quickest, dryest wits of any politician I’ve ever been around.

      This is a true story…only, we weren’t in attendance….no tuxedo (-:

    • johngalt says:

      That experience belies that current narrative that people are not enthusiastic about HRC.

    • 1mime says:

      Learning from their mistakes……Photo from outside the debate arena…(in the sequence):


  9. Bobo Amerigo says:

    NYT this morning has an article about the Facebook revolution in Egypt with observations from one of the young revolutionaries about why it didn’t work.


    He says one reason it failed was — because everyone’s voice was amplified by the internet — they were unable to build consensus.

    His observations sound very much like our internet situation.

    Here is what he concluded about social media today: “First, we don’t know how to deal with rumors. Rumors that confirm people’s biases are now believed and spread among millions of people.”

    Second, “We tend to only communicate with people that we agree with, and thanks to social media, we can mute, un-follow and block everybody else.

    Third, online discussions quickly descend into angry mobs. … It’s as if we forget that the people behind screens are actually real people and not just avatars.

    “And fourth, it became really hard to change our opinions. Because of the speed and brevity of social media, we are forced to jump to conclusions and write sharp opinions in 140 characters about complex world affairs. And once we do that, it lives forever on the Internet.”

    Fifth, and most crucial, he said, “today, our social media experiences are designed in a way that favors broadcasting over engagements, posts over discussions, shallow comments over deep conversations. … It’s as if we agreed that we are here to talk at each other instead of talking with each other.”

    He’s established a site for conversation: parlio.com

    • flypusher says:

      I eschew things like Facebook and Twitter for many of those reasons. There are good discussions to be had here, so I stay.

    • 1mime says:

      I think #s 4 & 5 are the most critical, BoBo.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Bobo, a lot of these points were brought up by Sherry Turkle in her most recent book, “Reclaiming Conversation.”

      Another important point she brings up is that we fall into the trap of thinking that posting online actually accomplishes something concrete. Activism and effecting social change requires more than just posting comments or clicking Likes or forwarding slogans. We click Submit and pat ourselves on the back thinking we’ve done something to change the world. Not to say all those things mean nothing, but . . . actions accomplish more than words.

      • 1mime says:

        Could not agree more, Tutta. But posting serves as an outlet and it is better than shutting down completely due to an unfriendly crowd.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I agree, Mime, and the simple act of posting comments means a lot in countries where free speech is stifled.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        I have to say, I love twitter. The character limit really makes you edit yourself.

        But then I don’t use it for political matters.

        There’s a rumor that twitter is going lengthen the allotted text length to something ridiculous, like 10,000 characters.

        Boo! Hiss! You can get that kind of information anywhere, any blog, any email.

        Be succinct. Keep the 140.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Placing a limit of any kind leads to creativity.

      • 1mime says:

        Wow, we are polar opposites in our thinking there, Tutta. I have always thought that creativity was best inspired when there were no limits. One of the most interesting ads I ever saw (full page – WSJ) simply stated: “IF IT AIN’T BROKE; BREAK IT.” That kind of stayed with me and pre-disposes me to question a lot and always look for a better way of doing things. It’s a conceit of mine, I admit, but I enjoy the challenge.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Tutt, I agree that restrictions produce creativity, creative ways to overcome the restrictions.

  10. 1mime says:

    Lifer, are you being coy with us about Rubio? He, more than Cruz or Trump (or Hillary or Sanders) won last night by not only coming in third, but by almost beating out Trump. It certainly appears he is the heir-apparent for the GOP establishment. It doesn’t matter “if” he is “ready” for the position of President if others will be controlling his every move – which certainly appears would be the case.

    • goplifer says:

      The issue with Rubio: He’s not very good at anything. His performance can mostly be chalked up to the fact that he’d largely been ignored by the media and the other candidates (except Bush). He’ll probably remain lodged in or near 3rd place for the rest of the race for no other reason than that he’s the youngest and most photogenic of the bland candidates. He’s kind of a big zero. If Scott Walker was still in the race he’d probably be occupying that slot.

      • 1mime says:

        I cannot agree with you at all about Walker. His biggest achievement was standing up to the unions. I do not like the man and do not respect how he went about attaining his goals. But, thanks for the explanation about Rubio. I agree with you there.

      • Glandu says:

        Can he be as bad as Warren Harding? Genuine question, here in Europe Rubio is completely under the radar, and media only speak about Clinton vs Sanders and Trump vs Cruz. Always in that order. So I have no clue about Rubio.

        I’ve heard & read so many bad things about Warren Harding, an unpopular candidate who was nomined despite a ridiculously low number of delegates, and won the general election because it was time to shift to the other party. And seems to have been an awful president, being only good in dying early to stop the pain.

      • goplifer says:

        Rubio isn’t a particularly bad character. He’s just a fairly ordinary politician. Maybe a little more insincere than average. His boldest “bold stands” are things he immediately retreated from when he realized they wouldn’t immediately work out. He’s held almost every policy position that exists at some point in his short career.

        Moderately intelligent, Clinton-level (Bill) concern for ethics and integrity. Unsure of his own personal style – he’st taken turns being an outsider, a tea partier, an insider, an insurgent, a great compromiser, a big thinker, a bigot, a religious fanatic, and pragmatist, This is not the year for weak personalities.

      • 1mime says:

        I guess how he’s perceived depends a lot upon who’s lookin’!

      • Stephen says:

        Rubio has a ton of baggage which national has not come out yet. I understand he made a mess out of his personal finances and used a Republican charge card incorrectly when he was Florida House Speaker. Hispanics are not homologous any more than Northern Europeans are. Being Cuban may net some Hispanic votes but lose other Hispanic votes. His drinking scene giving the GOP’s response to the State of the Union will never be forgotten. And it is obvious to many people he is not really ready yet for the Presidency.

      • vikinghou says:

        His absentee record in the Senate is also troubling.

      • Glandu says:

        Thank you all for the insights.

      • 1mime says:

        More on the substantive Rubio from my fav girl journalist, Gail Collins, NYT. She affirms my opinion and reinforces your analysis, Lifer….however, we both know that few people are looking any deeper than a cute, glib young conservative….


    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      I’m with you Mime. Rubio had a good night last night.

      If Cruz had lost Iowa, he was toast. Trump is Trump, but even he could reasonably claim that he had a stellar showing as an outsider that no GOP insider wants, and his people came out to support him despite Cruz’s huge headstart and spending.

      If Rubio somehow wins New Hampshire, he’s your nominee. If Rubio sneaks into a strong second place in New Hampshire, I think we’ll start seeing a lot of endorsements and dollars floating his way as they gear up for the southern primaries.

      I don’t think Rubio is exactly ready for prime time, but he will certainly appear more credible to the broader electorate than Cruz, and what is left of the GOP establishment will recognize that.

      I think Lifer may be consciously or unconsciously trying to jinx Hillary. His presumption that she is a lock to win the general election is misplaced (if not misguided).

      Thinking over the past 25 years, which political figure has generated the most anger, vitriol, and/or hate?

      I think we would have to go with Hillary starting with her killing Vince Foster with a candlestick in the observatory and the the millions she made on the Whitewater deals all the way to personally ordering the Marines to stand down rather than easily helping in Benghazi and intentionally sending top secret classified emails to the Chinese and Russians from a private AOL account.

      Rubio versus Clinton is a 50/50 proposition at this point, and some would argue that there is even a lean to the GOP.

      • 1mime says:

        Read the Huffpost link and it will extend your line of thinking…more so about Sander’s viability, which I have more confidence in than Lifer does – and I certainly don’t think he is loonie – just “different”, which ain’t all bad. This is so tiresome and I haven’t even had to listen to all the campaign ads yet!

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        If there’s a path forward for Rubio in NH, someone tell me ’cause I don’t see what it is. He was projected for 3rd in Iowa for weeks up until the caucus and that’s exactly where he ended up. Where is he in NH right now? He’s deadlocked for 2nd in a four-way tie with Kasich, Cruz and Jeb!, all of them with about 10% of the vote. Trump is still way out in front with a little over 30%.

        No one’s dropping out before then and the establishment vote, which is what Rubio would need to consolidate to win, is all but completely scattered. Barring a complete upset, he’s not taking New Hampshire.

        If I had to guess, it looks like Rubio’s gonna try and milk his 3rd in Iowa for all its worth to try and squeak out a 2nd in NH, no matter how small, claim the wind’s at his back as a part of his grand 3-2-1 strategy and then put all his chips in in South Carolina. Between Trump looking for a comeback and Cruz emboldened after Iowa though, I don’t see there being much oxygen for Rubio to suck up. I say he lands either on 3rd or 4th.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      All this talk of Marco Rubio as a big zero and “not ready for prime time” reminds me of Candidate Obama. What President Obama didn’t have in experience he learned on the job.

      • flypusher says:

        I remember citing that concern (Obama’s experience) back in early 2008 to a grad school friend who studies elections/ the history of elections. His reply was that there is no other job that can completely prepare you for what you have to face as POTUS. I think that’s a valid point, but there are some jobs/experiences that can certainly help prepare for some of it. Probably being the Guv of CA would be the closest-you’ve got a large, diverse population, and a very big economy. Of course that won’t prep you much for many of the foreign policy crises that pop up. So if I’m looking at a candidate’s CV, what type of gov’t/ management experience and how much is important, but so is the ability to learn quickly and to pick good advisors (and make use of them!).

        Obama has been a far, far quicker study than W.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        tutt…Obama was not ready. I said it 8 years ago, and I still think it is true – I would have gone 8 years of Hillary and then have Obama running now rather than the other way around.

        No one is ever really ready, but Obama would have done much better with 8 years in seasoning before the Presidency.

        However, Obama was/is a much better campaigner than Rubio. Their personalities and styles are very different. When Obama was given the opportunity, he capitalized and ran with it. Rubio has been given the opportunity a few times so far, and he has just let it shuffle away.

      • 1mime says:

        I think Obama is more true to his core beliefs, as well. It had to be difficult – being the first Black President, and one elected on a platform of hope that Republicans made certain would never materialize. Don’t you ever wonder what Obama could have achieved if he had been offered any bi-partisan help instead of deliberate obstruction? I agree that Presidents govern best who have managerial experience – such as being a governor not being a CEO. In the latter case, the “boss” is still too isolated from consequences.

        No, as much as I agree that Obama could have been much more effective, considering what he has faced, I am amazed he has done as well as he has. I would vote for him again.

      • 1mime says:

        Valuable time and opportunities were lost while Obama learned how to play hard ball. A more seasoned politician would have told Republicans to stuff it and have plowed ahead.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Rubio has promise, if only he’d learn to have a spine. He’s his own worst enemy.

      • 1mime says:

        Rubio needs to go home to FL, run for Gov, and, if he wins, serve two terms and grow up. I don’t know that he’s hopeless as much as just too “needy”. People who are needy frequently are too willing to compromise on matters of principle. I’d vote for Christie before I’d vote for Rubio and that’s saying a lot. And, just for the record, he should not be named as VP on any ticket for the same reasons.

      • goplifer says:

        Obama spent the first five years of his Administration figuring out where the bathrooms were located. He was uniquely unprepared for this job and the results showed it.

        Over the past couple of years he has developed into a fairly solid President.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree that Obama was unprepared but it doesn’t make Republicans look better for their heavy-handed, ugly obsructionism. They took full advantage of their opportunity and let the nation be damned. I know, you want to play the game you better be ready for it, and, Obama was all about “hope”, but look at the times then….We had an administration that was arrogant, foolish, and cost our country countless young lives, people’s life savings, and most important, trust in our country. We can all thank a higher power that at the very least, Obama is extremely intelligent and a good man. Obama was a “man of the times” whether he was ready to function effectively or not. Had he been more experienced in dealing with the political forces that challenged him, we would have a different world today.

        Do you ever think about that? What a more effective politician could have achieved? Or, how even a more capable politician would have handled the financial crisis Obama inherited (and has managed very well, I might add.) And, if those achievements were messaged to the American people effectively, the GOP sweep in 2010 may never have happened….

        Who knows? The parties might have actually found a way to cooperate.

      • flypusher says:

        “Obama spent the first five years of his Administration figuring out where the bathrooms were located. He was uniquely unprepared for this job and the results showed it.”

        I’ll agree that more experience before becoming President would have helped him. I suspect he choose 2008 because that was his best window of opportunity, election-wise. 2008 was a good time to be a Dem running for office, and the aligning of those political stars would be hard for an ambitious politician to pass up.

    • Treeman says:

      Your comment referring to the $100Bn in penalties doled out over the financial crises, with 2 1/2 times more in the pipeline……. meh. The major difference between the 2009 and the late 80’s financial busts is the number of people who were actually indicted, and served some time. I wish I could remember the numbers; something like 2000 vs almost zero? Just saying…..

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t know the numbers Treeman, but it is pitiful that criminal acts were only fined. As is always the case, it seems, those who are bilked are the ones that rarely get compensated.

      • Creigh says:

        The problem with the fines is that they are assessed against the bank, not a person. The person who actually committed the fraud isn’t punished personally, probably still gets their bonus.

      • 1mime says:

        Not “probably”, “actually” do get their bonuses. Here’s how JP Morgan Chase rewarded Jamie Dimon who steered the bank during the mortgage fraud period, and he is just one of several Bank CEOs who were similarly rewarded. (Note: Boards of Directors are equally complicit in this – after all – they vote for these bonuses and retention of these managers. They are all “in bed” together.)


  11. johngalt says:

    Politico is claiming that Trump’s campaign is a bit more thought out than it appears and makes the entirely plausible claim that Trump is gaming the media to provide so much free coverage.

    • 1mime says:

      Yeah, I got tired last night and didn’t wait up for Cruz or Trump to weigh in, but in this morning’s news, Trump made several gracious (doubtless insincere but what the hey) remarks about Cruz and Rubio. He then segued to a comment that he hadn’t spent as much money in Iowa (read that as that’s why he didn’t beat Cruz), and that he didn’t get much credit for the fact that he was “self-financing” his campaign. He’s having the time of his life….what else is he going to spend his billions on…another wife?

      He is such a fake. Geez.

    • flypusher says:

      Trump’s been playing the media like a Stradavarius. I don’t like the man, but I must give credit where credit is due. He loves attention and he’s found a way to get lots of it. Nothing succeeds like success.

  12. tuttabellamia says:

    I must say I learn something new every day on this blog, not just about lofty ideas and opposing viewpoints, but about the moves and machinations that make up our political system — a veritable civics lesson. This year may be all about the Politics of Crazy, but it’s the first time I’ve been truly interested in the process, not because I am drawn to Crazy, but because I better understand and feel I am part of the “game.”

  13. DFC says:

    Party loyalty could be a liability to the Party when ten different factions have ten mutually hostile definitions of the GOP. The GOP is killing itself with success–they cultivated passion at the expense of reason and self-esteem at the expense of consensus. They express their authenticity by attacking the Conservatism of their enemies. Now, though, the enemy is inside the perimeter.

  14. texan5142 says:

    Snow day!
    Your blog is very good reading in a sea of madness of blogs that are out there Chris.

    Snowing to beat hell outside right now, a blizzard blowing.

    • goplifer says:

      It’s raining in Chicago and the daffodils have already sprouted. Craziest winter ever.

      • flypusher says:

        It’s been very mild in SE TX. Temps creep up into the 70s for a few days, cold front knocks them down into the 40s-50s for a while, repeat cycle. This is why I put up with August and September.

    • objv says:

      A balmy 25 degrees here with 29 m/h wind gusts. Down to 5 degrees tonight. I had a great walk with two neighbors and our five dogs on crispy, sparkling snow this morning. Will be making a cosy fire in my kiva stove tonight. I love this place!

      • objv says:

        …Down to 5 degrees tonight. Will be making a cozy fire in the kiva stove later. 🙂 I love living here.

      • objv says:

        Sorry, there must be a glitch in the system. My entire post didn’t show when I first posted.

      • duncancairncross says:

        A balmy 25 degrees? – it was nearly 30 degrees here
        i am trying to get my new shed put up and it’s just too hot to work outside – just 30 minutes and I was wringing wet with sweat

      • objv says:

        Duncan, I should have specified that it was 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 Celsius) and 5 degrees F at night (15 degrees Celsius). 🙂

      • objv says:

        -15 degrees Celsius

  15. Eljay says:

    Amazing long read from Harpers;


    Far from being an outlier, Iowa may be more relevant than ever. This anachronistic farm state with no major cities and just 3 million people, (9 of 10 are white), actually plays a central role in American culture.

    All the important issues of the campaign and Country are here:

    Immigration, health care, obesity, our worst environmental problems, poverty, income inequality, and the entrenchment of a corporate oligarchy.

    • 1mime says:

      An extension to your post, Eljay, on the collision in cultures in the U.S. Knowing why it is happening doesn’t make it easier to accept.


    • 1mime says:

      The significance of the Harper’s story is how intricately connected our food supply and our politics are. The examples in Iowa of farming interests fighting against US Ag Secretary Vilsack and EPA regulations meant to ensure safe water supplies, and the complicity of the political machine, are disheartening. This example is replicated all over America, and god help you if you are downstream.

      “There is no doubt that conservatives would like to win the presidency, but they don’t actually need to. We have a naïve sense that to correct wrongs in our country, we simply need to elect the right president, pass the right laws, and that’s that. Politics in a state such as Iowa, however, teaches us that laws are only the beginning of the process, the opening bell for litigation, lobbying, and defiance. Faced with a federal mandate to regulate hog manure, Branstad simply cut the budget that paid for inspectors. Likewise, he roundly criticized William Stowe, urging Des Moines Water Works to address its issues with collaboration and volunteerism.”

      There are “ways” to control outcomes – cutting departmental budgets is a proven means. We are seeing it with the current push to eliminate PP and kill Roe v Wade. Cut off their funding source since other methods have not been effective.

      We are all appalled at the Flint, MI scenario, but I hope you’ll give Eljay’s link a read so you can see that this problem of irresponsibility begins with people, is endorsed by politicians, and ignored by everyone.

      Those of you who read or saw The Big Short, may have noted that the brilliant investor who shorted the mortgage market because he foresaw what was happening, is now predicting that “water” is the next big area of concern. He is investing all his funds in water-related projects, companies, etc. After reading the Harper’s story, one can understand why.

  16. goplifer says:

    Iowa was also the first chance to test some of the assumptions that shaped the Blue Wall (data combined with institutional insights). Toward that end, the outcome was promising.

    I projected that, thanks to the advantages that come in Iowa from superior organization and evangelical posturing, Cruz would outperform his poll numbers and Trump would drag. I predicted that Cruz would win by 3-5 points, which I have to admit made me a little nervous at the time, but fit the model.

    So far the model looks pretty good.

  17. Kebe says:

    Serious question –> could the convention “draft” someone who hadn’t run in the primaries? I’m thinking Romney (hopefully Gov. Romney, not 2012 candidate Romney), Ryan, or even McCain (hopefully 2000 McCain, not 2008). In your Bernie-wins scenario, I’m not sure even Rubio is pragmatic enough.

    • goplifer says:

      Yes, they could. In fact, it might be the fairest thing to do, since nominating someone who competed the primaries and failed to get enough delegates might be frowned on even more.

      • 1mime says:

        Is there an “heir-apparent” being floated in GOP circles? Personally, I’d be happy if Biden were drafted….not Romney, or McCain, or Rubio….Ryan is more interesting but he’s thrown his lot in too closely with the House Freedom Caucus to make me comfortable.

      • goplifer says:

        There isn’t a major figure in the GOP waiting room more substantial than Scott Walker or less ideologically loopy than Mike Lee. GOP Blue State Governors fall into two categories – either Bloomberg-style non-partisans with no interest in national politics (Rauner, Hogan, Baker), or deeply damaged like Christie and Snyder.

        The red state governors are either Scott Walker-type lightweights like McCrory in North Carolina, Haley in SC, or Martinez in NM. Or batshit crazy tin hat brigadiers like Abbott and Brownback.

        It’s a pretty thin field in both parties.

      • 1mime says:

        I could go with a Baker.

    • 1mime says:

      One comment about “Governor” Romney……….The success of his tenure as governor is in large part due to the strength of the majority Democratic Legislature that kept him focused on key issues. With a majority Republican Legislature, Romney would have governed very differently…..more consistently with some of our other “red” governors….

  18. flypusher says:

    “If Clinton is the nominee then they have every reason to let Cruz (but not Trump) take the nomination and lose in a landslide.”

    Should that happen, I have to wonder what excuse the far-RWNJs are going to invent. These people have a mind-bending concept of reality, but will they really trot out the “we didn’t nominate a TRUE CONSERVATIVE, so of course the GOP lost the general election again”?? What’s to the right of Teddy Cruz????? The Spanish Inquistition??

    The spin on the Dem results is enough to give you vertigo. The opinion pieces run the gamut from big victory to worrying setback, for BOTH Hillary and Bernie. But as things stand right now, were I to bet, it would be on HRC. The math still looks to be in her favor.

    The Red Wedding analogy is good, but I wonder if a brokered convention might to closer to the Purple Weddding (Trump would probably think so).

    • 1mime says:

      Here’s the final count on Clinton/Sanders. One wonders just “how” the Clinton camp could “call” the election a win as early as they tried. Pretty laughable.


      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        I got a kick out of watching Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell go around saying “NO, THEY CAN’T DO THAT” and that it would be terrible for the Clinton campaign if they actually ended up losing. Yeah, it would’ve been embarrassing, but they didn’t lose and it so it doesn’t matter. Results are what count.

      • 1mime says:

        They must have been really clairvoyant to predict those six coin tosses (-: I dunno, seemed disrespectful of the process and the opposition IMO. I know all these candidates have engagements lined up beginning early next day in NH, but let’s finish one primary caucus before we start another one.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Perhaps it was disrespectful, but at the same time you have to acknowledge that they were ready to take the hit that would’ve followed if they were wrong. It’s politics after all, hardly a black-and-white issue.

      • 1mime says:

        I hold Hillary Clinton to a higher standard than that. She knows better and it would have been nice and appropriate. Politics is rough and tumble but Bernie Sanders has made a real effort to remain polite and so should she. So should all of them, really. Civility is becoming a lost art of conversation.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Tell that to the Republicans – and more to the point, Ted Cruz – in the general election. We’re not always free to act as we would prefer in pursuit of victory. I’m not saying that justifies it, but too often you have to look at the bigger picture and make a sacrifice in the necessity of the moment. Politics, whatever you might think of it, often demands that.

  19. Crogged says:

    If Bernie couldn’t do it with the committed in Iowa, it’s gonna be tough sledding further down the road. Mr. Cruz will go further than past winners of the Iowa Republican Casserole Revival Bible School since he’s more Senator than minister, but the scary foreign black guy won Iowa in 2012 fairly easily and there aren’t enough snake handlers in the state to make up the difference.

  20. Anse says:

    It’s not wrong to think Bernie can’t win the general election. But I really hate the way people are trying to make him out to be some radical. Bernie Sanders is an unapologetic liberal and he has the “socialist” pejorative to hang around his neck, but he’s not a crazy person. He is a lot more pragmatic than people give him credit for. Ted Cruz is profoundly worse. He’s a guy who will burn DC to the ground to get what he wants. Sanders will not do that. Bernie is not going to threaten to default on the national debt to get legislation passed. He’s not going to use any and every means to get his agenda achieved. I think he’d make a deal. I think Trump would, too, actually. Trump is a major threat to “small government” conservatism because he’s not an ideologue. He’s a bigot, and a xenophobe, but he is a moderate and on some issues he even leans a little left. I would not call a Trump presidency a major defeat to the progressive cause, but it would spell doom for traditional conservatism. But Cruz–that guy is the devil. He needs to lose, and lose badly.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Bernie Sanders is a good man and his heart’s in the right place. As one who’s going to vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election, I have nothing against him and I even think well of him for trying to bring more people into the political process. Good on him for that.

      That said, he isn’t so much “radical” as he is simply stuck in the past. He thinks that he can bring back an era where a typical American could expect to grow up, get a good union job and support the family. His policies more or less all revolve around this mindset, and that’s not what we need to carry us into the future. It’s a different world we live in and Bernie Sanders just isn’t the right man to carry that torch.

      You are absolutely right about Cruz though. Ted Cruz is a batshit crazy ideologue that should scare the bejesus out of a general electorate and rightfully so.

      • Anse says:

        I don’t think there is a single idea he’s proposed that is out of step with what is possible and what works. He’s just not flashy or bombastic. Let’s put it this way. Bernie represents the progressive platform more fully than any other candidate represents their respective ideological platform. Whatever you make of Bernie, his *is* the progressive movement, in a nutshell.

    • goplifer says:

      Uncle Bernie is a raving loon. He’s going to start getting some genuine attention now, not just the puff-piece coverage that the press gives a long-shot. Here’s a little peek at the kind of shit you’ll start hearing. http://thehill.com/policy/finance/265556-sanders-to-back-audit-the-fed-bill

      And just wait until somebody starts asking about his plans for farm policy and his position on GMO’s. Great stuff.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        No, he’s not. (Unless everyone in my family is and I suppose that’s a possibility…)

        He addresses topics that I hear discussed every time the family gets together. Why did the fed bail out the banks and not the mortgage holders? Why does the fed’s concept of moral hazard apply only to individuals and not to banks? Why are the banks larger now than before the great recession?

        More recently, despite zero inflation, a theoretically governing concept regarding rate increases, the fed raised rates. Why? To appease some bankers?

        You’ve talked about lack of social cohesion and the importance of institutions. Yet, as an institution the fed appears to have failed many Americans.

        I get the appeal of the term ‘audit.’

      • goplifer says:

        The Fed rescued western civilization when our political institutions were too weak, dumb and slow to take action. They have no prerogative to send bankers to jail or bail out homeowners. They did the only things they had power to do – stabilize the banking system. It was the only major national institution that stepped up a critical moment when almost everyone else failed.

        And so naturally, they are being scapegoated for it.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m going to go back to the el-Erian interview on C. Rose. When pressed on this topic – the role of the Fed in managing the economy – Erian, who I deeply respect stated: “The Fed only intervened because Congress would not.”

        I am not well informed about Fed actions, and, in the interest of “daylight”, I can see the value of an audit “IF” it were done for legitimate purposes, in a manner that didn’t “reek” of political maneuvering. But, that’s not what we’ve got, here, Lifer. And, we haven’t had credibility from Republicans in their methods for a very long time. Why should anyone believe that will change when faces change?

      • 1mime says:

        I’m with BoBo. Bernie is not a raving loon. He is also not perfect. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, now – there’s perfection!

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Audit and scapegoat have different definitions.

      • goplifer says:

        Not in this context. An “audit” of the fed would work just like the “audit” of Hillary Clinton’s email server. It would be a witchhunt. There isn’t a man or woman in Congress who would comprehend 1/10th of the what the Fed does even with a team of experts to guide them. And they wouldn’t care.

        The purpose of the supposed “audit” is to put an end to the Fed’s independence. Make the Fed fully accountable to legislative branch and it will be just as effective as the legislative branch.

      • 1mime says:

        Great one, Lifer! I couldn’t agree more! All we need is for the FED to be more like Congress…..How high the bar…………..(-:

        As for the Clinton email witchhunt – I agree with that but I also think she handled it poorly. I don’t know if you got to read the article by the DOJ employee that said that he and others who routinely handled classified information within hundreds of emails and texts they processed daily in their jobs, probably all of them broke the law at some point.

        I find it amusing that General Petraeus has been exonerated by the Pentagon when his action(s) were far more egregious (and dangerous) than adultry (unless, of course, you’re his wife)….yet of the thousands of Clinton emails that have been scrutinized by the FBI and the Intelligence entity (now there’s a surreptitious group – wonder what their email management histories are….).

        Titillating reading, Hil’s emails………..

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        And how about that interest raise?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        And the fed is powerful enough to the save the world but has no way of ‘encouraging’ bankers to toe a line? C’mon, Chris.

      • goplifer says:

        By the way, civil penalties imposed by the Fed and other federal agencies for the financial crisis quietly topped $100bn early last year. Another 2 1/2 times as much is still in the pipeline according to the Fed.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        I understand that is ‘audit’ goal of some who champion this move.

        I don’t think it is for every one who wants to understand the fed.

      • 1mime says:

        BoBo, I’m going to have to side with Lifer on the Fed. They saved the U.S. (and, possibly the world) from a catastrophic financial collapse. The blame for not holding bankers responsible falls squarely on government. This is an area that I think Pres. Obama deserves scrutiny on. I do not know what steps could have been taken and what the “cost” ($$ and more broadly) would have been for the DOJ to bring charges, but like Sen. Warren states – too few were held accountable.

        Remember as well, that the effort led by Sen. Barney Frank to put “teeth” back into Wall Street operations was denuded by Republicans. Glass-Steagal it isn’t. I doubt any of us at our level can truly appreciate “why” some things were done and others weren’t, even when these actions seemed so necessary and obvious, but, we don’t. Or, at least, I don’t. I’m just as appalled as the rest that these big hedge funds and bankers got off with meager fines, but I do not know what the backstory was on why they weren’t held accountable. Remember, the DOJ was being wallpapered with GOP demands while working with the same staffing levels. It could have been something as plausible as they just had to go for what they felt they could achieve.

        When I think of how Mr. Jamie Dimon et al have been rewarded for their greed, it is sickening. But, the Fed has a role to play and they played it very well and very narrowly according to the limitations of the law.

      • Crogged says:

        The Federal Reserve just has large amounts of cash in the desk drawer of the executives and when Eddie Murphy remembers to put on his disguise, they give it to him.

        It’s a bank-do you think they don’t keep up with their spreadsheets? It is audited to death and you have to ask why Bernie or Ted shouldn’t be second guessing them?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Love those civil penalties.

        Will those proceeds get to the people who lost their homes and had their lives forever changed? (I have family members who experienced that, too.)

        I don’t want the fed to lose its independence.

        But it is not loony to question for whom the fed works when for many it appears it is not the general population.

      • 1mime says:

        Perhaps it would be helpful to you to read a little history on the creation and function and limitations of the Federal Reserve. I am not saying I believe it is sacrosanct in all its actions, but its purpose is important to our country’s financial stability, IMHO.


      • flypusher says:

        “The Fed rescued western civilization when our political institutions were too weak, dumb and slow to take action.”

        As much as the banksters deserved to go over the cliff, and as much as I wanted to see it happen, the price (we go over after them) was too high for any reasonable person.

        I too am disappointed that Obama hasn’t really sicc’ed the DOJ (or any other appropriate agency on them much, but he does have 10 months left and is therefore in the “rhymes with buck-it” phase of his term. So maybe as a goodbye present????

      • jwthomas says:

        Come on, Chris. You know as well as I do that the Democrats aren’t going to nominate Sanders. Not just because he’s a “loony,” but because Clinton has the Black vote, the Hispanic vote and the Feminist vote tied up, plus the Convention Super Delegates ready to make sure the Democrats nominate who the Party wants to be nominated. Whoever the Republicans nominate will have to face off against Clinton, who, despite her weaknesses as a campaigner is a formidable debater.

      • goplifer says:

        I think you’re right. It’s just tough to avoid the terrifying distraction. And if Clinton secures the nomination then this thing is over. No one on the GOP side this year can get close.

      • johngalt says:

        “The Fed rescued western civilization when our political institutions were too weak, dumb and slow to take action.”

        “Reduced western civilization” might be hyperbole, but it is not wrong to say that without the Fed’s action it would have been much worse. They were the only adults in the room through much of the crisis.

      • 1mime says:

        And, so far, still are. Raising interest rates as modestly as they did was an important step to de-couple our economy from life support. It was a positive sign even if modestly so. The fragility of the world’s economy certainly bears watching. There’s no entity I’d rather have looking over America’s shoulder than the Fed.

      • Griffin says:

        I disagree with Sanders’ stance on this but it still doesn’t make him a “loon”. If he went full Ron Paul “End the Fed” then I could see it, but I can understand the frustration with the Federal Reserve. Yes they did well in responding to the crises, but they also maintained the super lower interest rates and deregulation that helped lead to the crises in te first place (Alan Greenspan anybody?). And their longtime overemphasis on slowing inflation over causing full employment is indeed frustrating for many progressive economists.

        His stance on GMO’s. You mean him explicitly stating he does not think GMO’s are dangerous?

        You can diagree with Sanders all day, that’s fine. I disagree with him sometimes. But presenting someone as a loon for being center-left basically means you think virtually all liberals are loons. There are actual left-wing loons: Sheila Jackson Lee, (sometimes) Bill Maher, Ed Shultz, various New Age weirdos. Sanders is just not one of them.

      • moslerfan says:

        Ironically, the Fed is probably (maybe after NASA) the most open federal agency there is. They have tons of current and background information in their websites as well as publishing minutes nearly in real time. Much of it is kind of technical, so you have to have a good background for it. Agree with Lifer that the typical Congressperson doesn’t know any more about economic policy than an average college graduate, and much of what they “know” is wrong.

      • 1mime says:

        “The typical Congressperson doesn’t know any more about economic policy than an average college graduate, and much of what they “know” is wrong.”

        Boy, is that right. But they certainly don’t lack the chutzpah to tell us all what they think, do they? Worse, yet, they get to make their economic policy fantasies into real law, or do stupid stuff like stiffing approval of raising the debt ceiling which they created! !

        We have lost something vital in America. Those elected to represent “all of America” are picking and choosing based primarily upon re-election assistance. When 2 billionaires spend $400M in one election cycle and predict they’ll double + that amount in the 2016 election, forget principle and statesmanship surviving.

        Congress is failing our country. One of Tom Clancy’s best novels was “Executive Orders”, a fantastic read about an attack on the Capital when everyone was in attendance to swear in the new President. For those who salivate over tax reform, this book takes it on. It’s long but you will wish it was longer, (1358 pages!) I hated to have it end. Sometimes when I get especially frustrated with Congress, I think about that book’s premise. “Starting Over”, then I sigh, because………

      • 1mime says:

        Let’s look at sanity as perceived by the right –

        “in one of his first acts as Speaker, Ryan named David Hoppe, a former top executive at Heritage, as his chief of staff.”

        Hmm…….That’s alarming……..

        “Rather than trying to beat conservatives, as Boehner did, Paul is trying to harness that energy in a positive direction,” DeMint said. “So far, I think we’re encouraged by the way things are going.”

        Hmm…..That’s a scary thought…..

        If Ryan looks to the Heritage Foundation for his top executive, that’s a pretty solid indicator on the advice he’ll be getting and that he must agree with. I like Ryan, mostly because he is smart and maintains himself with more dignity than the rest, but I have NO illusions as to how far right he is. That he can keep his mouth shut and speak without insulting people is a strength. For one who has made it his life’s work to study the budget, for him to deny the patient, consistent achievement of the Obama administration in managing the Great Recession, while working “WITH” a Republican majority that is absurdly focused on stalemate rather than cooperation….for him to be critical of Progressives? Wow. Guess it paid the lunch tab tho….


    • Robert Heinlein predicted Ted Cruz
      He got the name wrong and the date slightly wrong (2012)
      Ted Cruz = Nehemiah Scudder

  21. Rob Ambrose says:

    Except there are no true moderates in the GOP primary right now, only moderate by comparison.

    If we go down the list issue by issue and look where the candidate stabds as it relates to where America overall stands, even “moderates” like Rubio are more radical then Sanders, who really is not radical at all.

    • goplifer says:

      We should probably retire the “moderate” entirely and replace it with “credible” or “competent.”

      • 1mime says:

        “We should probably retire the “moderate” entirely and replace it with “credible” or “competent.”

        And, who on the GOP side do you consider credible or competent at this juncture?

      • goplifer says:

        Framed against the backdrop of a Sanders candidacy there would be a lot of options. Paul Ryan would look appealingly bland by comparison.

      • 1mime says:

        Let me state how disgusted I am with today’s Republicans. Nowhere is it more obvious than in the dilemma by Senator McConnell. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), seeking to protect his majority in a tough cycle for Republicans, is leaning toward holding back several measures that have bipartisan support but are divisive in his conference.” …..” McConnell’s duty is to do what’s best for the entire conference.” The “same” McConnell who stated he was going to demonstrate how superior Republican governance would be if given a chance. Well, here’s lookin’ at ya, Mitch!

        May I suggest that McConnell’s duty is to do what is best for the entire country rather than the Republican conference? Isn’t this very tactic standard protocol for Republican governance?

        Here are the major legislative proposals that are languishing for lack of the Senate Leader scheduling them for a hearing: a “sweeping Pacific Rim trade deal, criminal justice reform legislation and an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).” Let’s look at each of these proposals individually.

        The Pacific Rim trade deal – Obama has been criticized soundly by conservatives for his opposition to business, yet here is a measure that business groups clearly support. At the very least, have the discussion!!!

        Criminal Justice Reform Legislation – How many times have we all talked about the need to make our justice process more fair? Here, at last, is a proposal that makes a good start, and it has bi-partisan support.

        The use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – Republicans have reamed Obama for his indecision and at the same time, his pre-emption without Congressional involvement, yet when he asked for their support to go after ISIS, they have punted.

        Respect? Not for this calculated, spineless, lack of bi-partisan governance. For all the Republican criticism of Obama and Reid for not getting anything done, here Republicans have bi-partisan support for important legislation and “they’re playing politics first”? The Party that obstructed and denied Democrats any bi-partisan support to move legislation that was equally important?

        Pardon me if I refuse to buy this crap, because that’s all.it.is.

      • 1mime says:

        Sorry. Here’s the link to my post about Sen. McConnell and his principled stand on critical, bi-partisan supported legislation.


    • Anse says:

      I don’t think we should get distracted by the bully persona of Trump. Take away immigrant and Muslim-bashing, and what do you have? He’s barely to the right of Hillary.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Are we talking about 1990s Donald Trump or 2016 Trump? x__X

      • Anse says:

        Seriously, pay close attention to what Trump says about various issues. He’s gonna “force” Apple to move their manufacturing to the US? How in the heck is that a conservative position? He says he’s going to propose a great idea for healthcare, a “private system,” but he makes sure to say we have to do something to help poor people; no specifics, nothing there to agree or disagree with. Cruz’s healthcare proposals would be terrible for the poor, as are most conservative proposals. I think you wade through all the bluster and bombast, peel away the racism, and what you have is a guy who is a natural heir to the Democratic candidacy. I would never vote for him because I think he’s a bigot and he’s a zero on foreign policy, but any Republican who would vote for this guy is putting a nail in the coffin of movement conservatism.

      • flypusher says:

        ” He’s gonna “force” Apple to move their manufacturing to the US?”

        A lot of those free market cheerleaders are convinced that the free market is anyways going to work in their favor. Their shock when it goes otherwise is quite comical.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Anse: You just blew up your own argument. How in the world is all that “barely to the right” of Hillary? You can’t just cherry pick this and that and say that if all of that magically disappeared, then Trump wouldn’t be all that different from a Democrat. That’s bullshit.

        Hillary says she wants to build on the ACA. Trump says he’s gonna do “great” by healthcare and that it’ll be YUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE.

        Hillary says she has a plan to help rein in the financial sector. Trump says, uh… great management is the key, I think?

        No, you’re not going to say that Trump is barely to the right of Hillary and get away with it.

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