Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hillary Clinton's Bizarre Debate Night Was No Date Night.

Hillary Clinton looked and sounded desperate.  From trying to cloak herself as a victim of big bad Bernie Sanders and what she called "artful smears",  to repeating White House fed lies about Obamacare and suprisingly reversing herself on universal healthcare, Clinton came off in the debate with Bernie Sanders like a prize fighter in the 12th round a fight whos knows she is so far behind on points her only chance is to land a lucky punch and flailed away at Sanders during most of the MSNBC debate at the top of her lungs and just made herself look bad.

(NOTE: For the record, the "top of her lungs" comment was written the morning after the debate. Since then others have criticized Clinton for her debate performance of shouting, yelling, coming off with an almost browbeating tone including her wild accusations of "smear" which will be dealt with in detail later.  Among those saying so was Bob Woodward. Clinton defenders have called the comments "sexist". Which also sounds desperate.)

The prize fighter analogy is interesting not just because Sanders used to box but because Clinton did flail away like it was the 12th round of a fight she was losing when it reality, given that New Hampshire is the first actual primary, its the first round. But Clinton came out swinging like it was the last. And maybe she is right. David Gergen said that no real candidate can withstand a 30 point defeat and if Clinton loses New Hampshire by 30 points or more it will cause serious damage the rest of the way.

But tone aside,  Clinton began the debate with one of the most politically calculated and bizarre statements in her campaign so far that has gone largely ignored by the media because they'd rather talk about the "fireworks" and Clinton's satirical claim of a smear.

Clinton began the debate by saying she was for universal health care.

Isn't that what Bernie Sanders has been running on for months? Isn't that what Clinton called in the first debate when she felt like the front runner  pie in the sky and would never  and could never happen? Isn't that what she accused Sanders of not being honest about  in terms of what it would cost? Isn't that what she accused Sanders of wanting to "dismantle Obamacare" and replace it with? After  blowing a 50 point lead in Iowa and getting clobbered by Sanders in the New Hampshire polls 61-30, now Clinton supports universal health care? But, she said, she wants to do it through Obamacare not replace it. Which is impossible without repealing all the parts that make Obamacare the failure it is.

Sanders did point out that while his goal and intention is universal healthcare, he wouldn't simply throw Obamacare away during the process of creating universal healthcare. But he would replace it with Medicare For All. Which destroys one of Clinton's arguments against Sanders Medicare For All proposal.

But her most bizarre statement of the night, the one that the news media has been talking about ever since was Clinton accusing Sanders of "smearing" her.

Clinton objected to Sanders correctly pointing out that after Clinton called herself " a progressive that gets things done" after eking out a virtual tie in Iowa and blowing a 50 point lead, that back in November of 2015 during a campaign speech she called herself a moderate and was proud of it. Numerous clips of the speech have since been shown on news shows where Clinton is in fact touting that she is a moderate. So  Clinton's problem is that what she is calling a smear the rest of the planet earth calls the truth.

But imagine. All Sanders did was point out what Clinton said about herself and she called it a "smear". That did cross the line -- into political satire.  It was the first time in political history that a candidate called what she said about herself a smear.

In that speech Clinton said, " people accuse me of being a moderate --- I plead guilty" and made other references to her being a moderate.  If  pointing that out is a smear than Clinton smeared herself.

Most people wouldn't consider the label " moderate" a smear. Most people think that's a very reasonable thing to be. And if Clinton stuck with it she might have had some debating points. But now,  because she is getting clobbered by Bernie Sanders who has always been an unabashed "progressive" or "liberal", Clinton seems to have decided behind closed doors that now, politically to compete she has to call herself a progressive.  Showing that she wants to have it both ways . Only a politician playing politics would call being a moderate a smear.

It makes her look like her finger is to the wind and she is willing to shift what she thinks and how she defines herself based on the political winds, something her detractors have always accused her of doing-- and, like her new found mentor and political best friend Barrack Obama, say anything to anyone at anytime to get what she wants politically which Obama has used successfully with well documented prolific lying which the news media with their infinite lack of integrity and spine, lets him get away with. They won't with Clinton. 

 It was almost like she was berating Sanders by saying, " you can't undermine my political strategy like that, how dare you!"

In what also seemed like a desperate clutching at straws, Clinton tried to play the gender card for sympathy, playing the victim and accusing Sanders of attacking someone who is "trying to be the first woman president".  Please. It may have worked for Obama with race given the racial history of the country but it's not likely to work for Clinton. Polling shows women in general are going to Sanders 50-44 and Sanders has a huge lead among younger women.  Clinton has a big lead with women over 50.

Clinton's other big accusation against Sanders was that he was employing " the artful smear" because Sanders had the gall to point out all the money she has accepted from Wall Street and the health insurance industry.

Clinton received $675,000 for a single speech from Goldman Sachs and her answer was,
"well that's what they offered". The Harper Valley PTA who would probably love to have Clinton come and speak, unfortunately can't afford $675,000. And the speeches were all made behind closed doors, news media barred and a clause in the contract that no one may make a recording of the speech or talk about its contents to the media or anywhere else.

Clinton's problem is she is running against a man who has refused to take a dime from Wall Street or any corporate interests for any reason and who is running against big money donors, Wall Street and corporate interests able to buy access to a candidate who gets elected.

Clinton received in the last 15 months,$11,000,000 in total speaking fees from Wall Street and the health insurance industry, including $2.85 mullion from the health insurance industry which could explain her still vocal support of Obamacare despite all its real failures, including the insurance companies actually writing the insurance part of the bill thanks to Obama. In the last two years Clinton has received over $21,000,000 in speaking fees.

But according to Clinton, pointing out those speaking fees and the $42 million her PAC received in January,  are in Clinton's words,"an  artful smear" saying that "Senator Sanders implying that...."

Sanders "implied" nothing. Anyone who has listened to Sanders speak knows he is about the most straight forward politician on the planet. He implies nothing. He insinuates nothing. He says what he means and thinks. And he pointed out facts. That Clinton regards it as implying something is what Clinton is attaching to it. It's almost a tacit admission that Sanders has a point in his railing against big money buying access to politicians. She could have agreed with Sanders about big money buying access but said " not in my case". If it were true. Instead she became defensive and lashed out with her ridiculous "artful smear" attack . She could end any of what she calls "implying" by releasing all the transcripts of all the speeches she gave to Wall Street and corporate interests,  not her speeches to the American Travel Agency Association.

 Instead, Clinton calling Sanders pointing out facts an "artful smear"  is in reality an artful dodge.

Most people would love to be smeared with $11 million. But not if your running for president against a man who has made Wall Street and big business buying access to politicians a big part of his campaign and refuses to take a dime from any of them.

Sanders has made a valid point  about the huge amounts of money Clinton has taken from big donors and big business without smearing anyone. Clinton feels it's a  smear because she doesn't like Sanders pointing it out. And because its true. And when asked if she would release the transcripts of her speeches which exist but by a  contract stipulation imposed by Clinton can't be released by anyone but her, she said, "I'll look into it". Some would consider that a dodge too. 

For the record a "political smear" is never true. That's why its called a smear. Its a rumor, a whispering campaign usually without any facts to back it up which is what makes it a smear.

Everything Sanders said about Clinton and her big corporation speaking fees and donations were all true. The real smear is Clinton accusing Sanders of a smear.

Instead of attacking Sanders for telling the truth and calling it a smear let Clinton defend her speaking fees and all the tens of millions she has brought in mostly from Wall Street. Let her release the transcripts of all her speaking engagements that were behind closed doors, and for which the media was barred. Not cherry pick them and no Nixonian editing or redacting. Just release all of them and let people decide for themselves their relevance. Defend what you do, don't attack someone for pointing it out.

It is entirely valid for anyone who doesn't like all the money in  politics, who doesn't like the idea of big corporations and wealthy donors being able to buy access that ordinary people cant, to go into a voting booth and use the fact that one candidate has taken tens of millions from corporate interests and the other refuses to take a dime and cast a vote based on that and use it as an indication of who is more likely to look out for their own interests. Thats just what big corporations do with their money. It's what people can do with their vote.

People are capable of looking at a set of facts and coming to their own conclusions whatever those conclusions are.

 It may very well be that  in other states people are going to prefer the guy who hasn't take a dime from corporate interests, doesn't have a PAC and doesn't change his tone depending on who he is talking to.

But it's notable that Clinton cancelled a big fund raising event in Boston  that was to take place the night after the debate and hosted by a wealthy venture capitalist with ties to Bain Capitol. So Sanders in a small way has already changed money and politics with Clinton deciding, for political reasons obviously, to cancel her fundraiser.  It's a concession to Sanders. Even if it's not s concession speech . Which means Sanders is winning. Philosophically and with votes.

And that's not a smear its the truth.


Alessandro Machi said...

You have completely lost your mind.
Why Hillary Clinton Treads Lightly when Responding to Bernie Sander's Inane accusations about Wall Street and Hillary Clinton"

Alessandro Machi said...

Oh, make that Bernie "Benedict" Sanders.

Alessandro Machi said...

As for the progressives vs moderates issue, it's the bane of both the republican moderates and the democrat moderates to have to constantly deal with their INSANE neo's from their own party. Unfortunately for moderates, news organizations LOVE the zaniness that comes from the neo's from both parties and for you to be so obtuse to this WELL KNOWN FACT is beyond comprehension. Hillary Clinton has no choice but to try and address the INSANE progressives from her party.

Anonymous said...

The Democratic Party is getting more and more like the Republican party. They backed Obama, a clear moderately conservative in the guise of a Democrat, when the better choice would have been Hillary Clinton in 2008. Now, after smearing her, they want everyone to pretend it never happened, and to believe she isn't like they said she was in 2008. Some of us women over 50 still have working memories, and don't appreciate the duplicity of the DNC. For the first time since I was 19, I didn't vote in the general elections in 2008 or 2012 because neither candidate was qualified to be President. Hillary should be doing what she thinks is right, not what Obama and the DNC says she should do. She paid her dues many times over, and it's time for them to follow her lead now. I have no problem voting for Bernie if the DNC doesn't get it's act together. I disagree that there isn't a great deal of sexism still at work here.

Marc Rubin said...

"The Democratic Party is getting more and more like the Republican party. They backed Obama, a clear moderately conservative in the guise of a Democrat, when the better choice would have been Hillary Clinton in 2008."

I completely agree with this. But Clinton's problems now are of her own making. Had she stood on her own two feet, stood on her history, her accomplishments and her ideas she wouldnt be looking at losing big to Sanders who by the way I like a lot and whose integrity is beyond question.

Clinton's problem is she sold out to Obama, agreeing to push his agenda, praise him, promise to continue his policies and defend them and she is to blame for that. Obama has been a disaster, duplicitous, dishonest and sold the Democratic party agenda down the river which is why they were wiped out of Congress. Clinton made the worst decision of her life to agree to sell herself as a third Obama term in return for his help and the DNC going into the tank for her as both David Gergen and Carl Bernstein reported. No one wants a third Obama term.Not even Democrats and that is why Sanders is winning and I believe in the end is going to win. And deserves to.

Marc Rubin said...

"As for the progressives vs moderates issue, it's the bane of both the republican moderates and the democrat moderates to have to constantly deal with their INSANE neo's from their own party."

Its not the bane of anyone not to be honest and stand up for what you are and what you believe in. Clinton said she was a moderate when being a moderate is what she thought she needed to say she was. She said she was a progressive after progressive Bernie Sanders overcame a 50 pt. deficit and tied her in Iowa and is crushing her in the polls in New Hampshire. As for the rest of it, Carl Bernstein on CNN and Bob Woodward on NBC essentially said the same things Im saying here with Bernstein also saying Clinton will have to release all the transcripts of her speeches otherwise she is in big trouble and that the White House is "horrified" with her debate performance and her campaign so far, how she could have exercised such bad judgement in taking these enormous speaking fees in 2015 knowing she was going to run for president and how badly Clinton is blowing it with which Bernstein agreed. Sanders is clearly the better candidate with better ideas, more integrity, more flat out honesty and no political games, wants to get rid of Obamacare which is a deceitful disaster that Clinton supports, all of which is why he is clobbering Clinton 81-14 among voters 45 and under. So while my take on everything is my own at least for the moment with Woodward and Bernstein on separate points saying similar things, Im in pretty good company.

Alessandro Machi said...

I didn't refute this aspect of your post. I was watching Meet the Press I think it was, and they were absolutely stunned about this year's election, calling it the first time since 1972 that politicians had to completely capitulate to the neo portion of their base. They were saying that what helps either nominee win now could hurt them this fall because it is devoid of any centrist posturing. Unless of course both sides do it then that would probably cancel out being either so far right or so far left.

Alessandro Machi said...

Hillary Clinton was put into a no win situation. If she rebukes Obama or his legacy, she probably ends up facing ridiculous charges over emails that were never stolen or compromised and if they had been, would have given the FBi and the CIA an ultra sneaky way to have Hillary Clinton send out false missives to screw with any country hacking into the emails, if that had even occurred.
Once again, it's the progressives who dictate how the media responds and it places Hillary Clinton constantly as the target of both Fox & CNN, MSNBC and Huffington Post as well. You claim she should distance herself from Barack Obama, but that is political suicide as well.