“Getting Started”: Questions for Hillary Clinton as She Begins Her Campaign in Iowa

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Hillary Clinton, in perhaps the world’s least suspenseful reveal, announced her candidacy yesterday afternoon, first (around 2:30PM EST) via email from her campaign manager, John Podesta, rapidly tweeted, and then (a little after 3:00PM EST) by launching a video — “Getting Started” — on her site[1]. The tweet came at 3:27PM EST (55 minutes of activity total). Clinton herself made no personal appearance. Here’s the video, and no, I’m not going to issue any trigger warnings[2]; Clinton enters at 1:33:

Of course, analyzing campaign videos is a time-honored way of going meta, since the nature of the video then becomes the story, and not the candidate themselves, or, heaven forfend, their policies. But hey: What’s wrong with a little meta? In any case, I’m going to present the video transcript first, and then, based on it, develop a few questions that a mythical Iowan might ask Clinton on the small group listening tour she’s about to begin[3]. Who knows? Maybe there are some Naked Capitalism readers in Iowa who will get lucky, get in the hall to ask a question, and can pose a zinger or two!

The Transcript

Here’s the transcript, via lybio.net:

[#1:] I’m getting ready for a lot of things. A lot of things. It’s spring, so we’re starting to get the gardens ready and my tomatoes are legendary here in my own neighborhood.

The Des Moines Register tracked down some of the people who appear in the video; this is West Des Moines Democrat Julie Stauch. And how smart of the Clinton campaign to lead with an Iowan before the Iowa primary. (The Times — granted, in “instant analysis” — says: “A bevy of actors and stock footage.” Not so, at least for some of the footage.)

Of course, Stauch had me at “starting to get the gardens ready.” But this opening is more subtle than it may appear; we might contrast it to Reagan’s famous “Morning Again in America,” where a voiceover talks of people working, but doesn’t actually show them working — or let them speak for themselves.

We might also consider that opening with spring — growth! quickening! — is a subtle nod to the putative success of Obama’s economic policies in getting us out of the long hard winter of the recession.

And much as I loathe the DNC’s National Narrative Project, segments like this, and each of the tiny segments that follow, could be effective, cumulatively, in sending the message that “the Democratic Party historically has grounded itself with the people—the great majority of hard-working citizens from every background” (Democratic VIctory Task Force, PDF).

Finally, those tomatoes are a more subtle nod to Iowa agriculture than, say, a guy driving a tractor in a corn field would be.

[#2:] My daughter is about to start kindergarten next year, and so we’re moving just so she can belong to a better school.

So the housing market is doing OK. With a further subtle nod to “getting started.”

[#3:] Mi hermano y yo estamos empezando un primer negocio [English subtitle:] My brother and I are starting our first business.

It’s a good time to start a small business; identity politics (Hispanic, pre-empting Jebbie.

[#4:] After five years of raising my children, I am now going back to work.

Starting over in the workforce; identity politics (women).

[#5:] Every day we’re trying to get more and more ready and more prepared. Baby boy, coming your way. (Laughs).

Getting started with a child; identity politics (black).

[#6:] Right now I’m applying for jobs. It’s a look into what the real world will look like after college.

Getting started in the workforce; identity politics (Asian, women, student).

[#7:] I’m getting married this summer to someone I really care about.

Getting started in marriage; identity politics (gay). (And kudos for this.)

[#8:] I’m gonna be in the play and I’m gonna be in a fish costume. [Singing] From little tiny fishes.

I’ve gotta say, I love “from little tiny fishes.” But I can’t find the lyrics anywhere. But if the lyrics are made up, that’s quite an imaginative feat!

[#9:] I’m getting ready to retire soon. (Laughs.) Retirement means reinventing yourself in many ways.

Getting started on retirement, lucky lady; identity politics (women).

[#10:] Well we’ve been doing a lot of home renovations. But, most importantly, we just want to teach our dog to quit eating the trash. And so we have high hopes for 2015 that that’s going to happen.

Sean Bagniewski and his wife, Vidhya Reddy, are Clinton volunteers from 2008, says the Des Moines Register. And if only we could teach Jamie Dimon to stop eating the trash! (I can’t help but think this segment was meant as bait; dog-eating-trash jokes were propagating over the Twitter within an hour of the video’s release.)

[#11:] I’ve started a new career recently. This is a fifth generation company which means a lot to me. This country was founded on hard work and it really feels good to be a part of that.

Getting started in a new career — after the layoff? The unemployment? Working at Walmart, most definitely not a career? — ergo the labor market is no longer totally trashed; identity politics (white working class male). Say, I wonder if this family firm is unionized? As far as class goes, the Times instant analysis:

This is very much a middle class-centric video.

Someone starting a home renovation project. Another starting a business. Someone starting a new career at a fifth-generation company saying “this country was founded on hard work.”

I’m not so sure, since “middle class” is such an elusive concept; I think it means the top 20% who are “pillars of the regime.” But as far as cultural markers, sure, I’d go with “middle class.” I’m not seeing any part-time Walmart workers here, or farmworkers, or fast food workers, or anybody banging in at 7:00AM; the ad skews up, and down; in some ways, it feels aspirational. Bringing us to Hillary:

[Hillary Clinton:] I’m getting ready to do something, too. I’m running for president. Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times[4] but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. So, you can do more than just get by, you can get ahead. And stay ahead! Because when families are strong, America is strong. So, I’m hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it’s your time, and I hope you’ll join me on this journey.

Well, this part doesn’t make me want to throw things at the computer screen, but it still rings a bit false to me; there’s something off about the rhythm of Hillary’s speech. She’s not quite reading, not quite speaking. On the other hand, I do like that her scale is in no way larger than life, just like all the other people in the video; she isn’t shot with her head against the sky, for example; there’s no triumphalism. Now, I’m not going to get out the Magic Markers, but here are some of the equivocations I see on first reading:

1. “Fought their way back from tough economic times.” Well, why the heck where they so effing tough, anyhow? And how did they get that way?

2. “Deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.” More Warren-esque than might be expected, perhaps, but note the lack of agency in “is still stacked.” Why hasn’t the deck been “unstacked” already? And “stacking the deck” is cheating. So who did the stacking, and what’s going to be done about them? And who are “those at the top,” anyhow?

3. “Everyday Americans.” What the heck does that mean? It reeks of the focus group. Not the 99% (more like 80%) for sure. Is Warren Buffet an every other day American? Is Lloyd Blankfein an American every day but Tuesday, when he teleports back to the Lizard Planet to buff his head and feed? It’s like the various identities don’t sum to anything, because there’s nothing commensurate that would allow them to do so.

4. “Join me on this journey.” Well, at least she didn’t say “conversation.” Seriously, though, I could care less about a “journey”; the Presidency may be a personal quest for Hillary, but that doesn’t make her campaign a collective quest of which I am a part; there are outcomes I want. The arrival matters, not the journey.

5. Finally, we might note there’s no mention of the role of government at all. So why run for President? Why not be the people’s champion at the Clinton Foundation?

Some Questions

So, readers — and especially Iowa readers, if any — let’s get started ourselves, and try to imagine some questions we might ask Clinton on her listening tour, should we be lucky enough to be invited to. Here are a few. But the rule is, you have to be Iowa nice! (That is, nicer than you would be in the rough and tumble of the Naked Capitalism comments section.)

1. Do you support a minimum wage of $10.10 for all workers and, if so, why not a minimum wage of $15.00, sufficient to move most Walmart workers off public assistance?

2. Should the United States Congress hold hearings on adopting a single payer system, given that the Affordable Care Act will never achieve truly universal coverage?

3. Do you believe in a steeply progressive effective tax rate? If not, why not?

4. In the nature of the business cycle, we know there is another recession coming, even if we don’t know when. What lessons have you drawn from Obama’s handling of the last recession?

5. In the 2008 campaign, you advocated for HOLC (Homeowner’s Loan Corporation), a New Deal-like program to keep people in their homes during the foreclosure crisis. How would you contrast HOLC to the program Obama ulimately adopted, HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program)?

6. Do you believe that the Social Security benefits should be increased, be made age-neutral, and that the eligibility age for Social Security should be reduced?

7. Many countries, including Germany, provide free university education to all citizens (not simply community college). Should the United States?

8. Do you support a Post Office Bank?

9. Do you believe that the Fourth Amendment’s right for people “to be secure…in their papers and effects” applies to digital records like email or chat?

10. In what specific theatres do you see a possibility for committing American ground troops to war? Specificially, in Ukraine? The Middle East?

11. Do you believe American small and especially organic farmers should be protected from globalization under trade deals? Do you believe that seed savers should be protected under any intellectual property regime?

12. Do you support the TPP? The TTIP?

That will do to go on with. Readers, feel free to revise these questions, and add your own!


I’ve certainly seen worse campaign videos. But then, a billion or two ought to buy good video.


[1] A little braggadocio from the developers: I did a “view source” for the site, and this is right at the top:




HHHHHH →→→→→→→




HHHHHH →→→→→→→




[2] I got rid of my TV a long time ago, but I also stopped listening to the radio during the Bush administration, so I didn’t break any bones pounding my fist on my desk when I heard his voice, and the same went for Obama. So I fully understand if you want to turn down your sound now.

[3] I actually think this is a smart move by Clinton and plays to her strengths.

[4] For how this looked in 2008, see Mayhill Fowler:

Here filling the gym risers at the Bristol Borough Junior-Senior High School, listening to John Mellencamp’s “Small Town” and chanting Hillary-Hillary-Hillary! were the working class folk who would stick with her until the end in South Dakota because she, more than any other candidate in decades, was finding a way to speak to the many and varied losses in these Americans’ lives.

That’s the background for “started a new career recently” (emphasis mine).

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Clive

    I did think this was one of the better pieces of political messaging that I’ve seen in quite a while. Better as in more sophisticated — the subject i.e. Hillary being the well-known Curate’s Egg but I’ll talk here about the messaging because Hillary as a candidate is much more complex. The launch video was in a few small aspects quite brave — courageous even. As Lambert’s analysis pointed out, its most obvious problem is that the launch did exist in a vacuum. No exploration of how we got here or who did the getting. But then, if the campaign did start drilling down into causation, you’d get criticism about pointing fingers at rivals and negativity.

    What would have been welcome is a little cathartic admission that Hillary has been part of an administration which made some huge blunders which — at best — didn’t help reduce inequality and — at worse — had a big impact in worsening it. The problem with that would have been that Hillary wasn’t of course the President. So the only narrative which could have been played would be “I tried to tell Obama that he shouldn’t eviscerate the middle class (or the working class for that matter) but he just wouldn’t listen”. This would come across as both whiney and ineffective. Hardly “presidential” qualities. So what else could Hillary do but trot out the tried-and-tested “let’s look forward not back” meme.

    To summarise, it’s about as good an effort as could have been made in the circumstances. But therein lies the biggest issue: the circumstances. What those circumstances were (which I’ll boil down by saying “it’s Hillary we’re talking about here”) wasn’t and couldn’t have been explicitly stated. But like a spectral phenomena, they permeated the whole show. Every frame, every word, had to be tortuously wrought not in order to convey policy — or even personality — communication aims but rather to work around, through and over the fact this This is Hillary. Even saying that, though, is its own little Hillary tautology. If This wasn’t Hillary but instead some new-car-smell candidate, we’d be thinking (or our thoughts would be prone to being stimulated by rivals) something along the lines that “this candidate lacks experience”.

    American politics, eh. How do you guys cope with it ?

    1. sleepy

      The thing is, this campaign opener will be forgotten in a week or two, and the pols and the press will have moved on to something else, usually the latest faux pas made by a candidate or staff. So, I’m not really sure how important it is.

      I live in a small city in Iowa, pop. 27,000, which is big enough to attract candidates and small enough so you can get in their face if you have a mind to. In 2008, they were everywhere–at schools, libraries, union halls, etc. I’m not much interested in attending rallies and asking questions, but I may end up picketing one and Hillary would be my likely target. No point in picketing repubs–they’re beyond shame, though truth be told Hillary is too.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Well, hopefully the questions in the post and the comments will help you out, should you get a chance!

        1. sleepy

          Thanks for your article. I found it interesting and insightful as always; it’s just that I don’t have enough faith in presidential politics to get involved much, other than viewing it for fun like a sports series that another poster alluded to.

    2. Tammy

      I think we have to look backward to look forward. “What would have been welcome is a little cathartic admission that Hillary has been part of an administration which made some huge blunders which — at best — didn’t help reduce inequality and — at worse — had a big impact in worsening it.” Accountability without finger-pointing would have given Clinton the way into middle class anger utilizing her own “identity politics.” Nothing more and nothing less was needed. I like your observation.

    3. jrs

      “admission that Hillary has been part of an administration which made some huge blunders which — at best — didn’t help reduce inequality and — at worse — had a big impact in worsening it. ”

      her husbands?

    4. Lambert Strether

      “a little cathartic admission that Hillary has been part of an administration which made some huge blunders”

      I’m creating an opportunity for this, in an Iowa-nice way, by asking: “What lessons have you drawn from Obama’s handling of the last recession?”

  2. Michael Carano

    Well, as expected, it’s all about a story, one that hpoes to grab us and make us active participants in. That’s what campaigns are about, though some are better at it than others. The problems come when the disconnect between the fairy tale presented bumps into reality, and Hillary’s fairyland will have many collisions with reality. Sadly, the great questions presented by Lambert will not be asked, at least in a way that will demand real answers. The answers will immediately be filled with more storyline, and the MSM will be content with the narrative woven for mass consumption and not demand answers that bust the bubble of the illusion. Maybe I’m getting to cynical, but I’m not sure the public wants truth. We like the magic of goblins and fantasy.

  3. Ulysses

    National electoral politics does hold a certain sick fascination, I guess, akin to that of watching Game of Thrones.

    Yet I confess that I don’t see any benefit from spending too much intellectual energy in deconstructing the Hillary propaganda. Both Hillary and Jebbie are enthusiastic allies of the transnational kleptocracy. The only significant difference between their administrations would be that the gender/ethnic composition, of those allowed to help manage the looting, would be slightly paler and maler in a regime run by the house of Bush.

    1. rusti

      This is exactly my position on the matter too, but you’ve summarized it in a much more concise and elegant way than I could have.

      To make a slightly different analogy, I’ll enjoy Lambert’s coverage with a similar enthusiasm to how I’ll enjoy the upcoming NHL playoffs. All of the teams have the same objective, but in the end there will be a different set of names engraved on the Stanley Cup.

    2. Tammy

      The stage was set for any democratic candidate announcing a run at the bid because of the change in the Senate majority that now controls the House and the Senate. Accountability and a bit of honesty would have given the democratic party the backbone needed to fight for Americans in a globalized geopolitical world.

      Ms. Clinton need not woo the American populous. What Ms. Clinton needed to do is take accountability for the democrat blunders–this is normal considering the political complexities in the twenty-first century– and get her party back on track with a clear message of what we are up against.

      People can handle the truth and it demonstrates respect for the people.

      1. Lambert Strether

        That people can handle the truth is my belief, too. That’s actually a point in favor of starting the campaign with retail politics; it may in fact be possible for the truth to break through in a way that it cannot in TV-dominated large states. And I think the campaign beginning unusually early is interesting and creates opportunities (at least when it doesn’t remind me of Xmas music in the stores on Halloween)>

      2. James Levy

        The problem with that is she is not, yet, the nominal leader of her party. That would be President Obama, and she needs to keep his voters on board if she has any hope of winning. That means no clean break with Obama, which means she’s stuck in the Humphrey mode for the time being. It was only in the last days of the campaign where The Hump was able to exert himself as his own man, and it was too little, too late. Clinton can take her lumps early or late, but she’s going to have to accept the anger of black and Jewish liberal voters (Obama’s best friends) if she’s going to say “He did his best but I can do a great deal better and here’s how.” Jeb Bush has the same problem with his brother. People think he was a jerk and a failure but Jebbie can’t or won’t say that. The persistent question, “How will you be different from your brother?” will haunt him the way “How are you different from President Obama?” will haunt Hillary.

    3. Lambert Strether

      Like it or not, election campaigns are where politics is practiced. And if a “seam” opens up — rather like putting a pencil through the painted canvas of a Potemkin village — the campaigns will reflect that, so it’s important to watch.

      Your comment reminds me of somebody under the ancien regime in pre-Revolutionary France, saying “Oh, it’s just the Estates General; this regime is corrupt to the bone, and nothing will happen.” Of course, that the ancien regime was deeply dysfunctional was known for at least a generation before 1789, and many tried to reform it; but as they say in another context, “You know not the day nor the hour.”

      1. Ulysses

        “Oh, it’s just the Estates General; this regime is corrupt to the bone, and nothing will happen.”

        I applaud the heroic effort to find an apt historical analogy. The problem with it is that when the Estates were called together in 1789, the absolutist French monarchy was doing something that it hadn’t done since 1614.

        The calling of the Estates– after 175 years of non-consultation– would be a lot more comparable to the calling of another national constitutional convention here in the U.S.

        Yet maybe Hillary’s refusal, to give nice satisfactory answers to their nice questions, will indeed prompt those nice Iowans to storm the nearest Bastille-like prison and launch a revolution. We can always dream!

        1. Ulysses

          Since we’re thinking along those lines– I hope that someone is busy scouting out nice tennis courts, in Iowa, where disgruntled caucus-goers can swear an oath to form a brand new national assembly!

  4. Demeter

    Sounds like the campaign is off to a nauseating start.

    Lambert’s questions are a good start…they hit every salient point.

    Unfortunately, we are likely to get hit with half-a-dozen new and unforeseen crises before Election Day, and Hillary’s PR staff will not have the luxury of months of straining at gnats to polish the message. And that’s when a solid, principled plan saves the day. Hillary doesn’t have this, because that would mean she would have to choose: she’d have to sort out winners and losers, virtuous and criminal, which this propaganda has scrupulously avoided. She’d have to start assigning the blame and the corrections…which I suspect she won’t do, even as President.

    I could be wrong, and that would be a relief….but most days, I can’t get a break even for being right.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is, in a way, another advantage of the long campaign season; a chance for candidates to be tested by events. (Obama was tested, and failed miserably on both FISA and TARP, but I doubt Hillary will be allowed to get away with what Obama got away with.)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama always had an ace in Iraq, and with both Obama and Hillary, identity politics was so in vogue. The outcome of the general wasn’t in doubt.

  5. Tammy

    The first question is redundant. The second is telling – I wonder if this is a hint of who Hilary Clinton would choose as a vice president if Ms. Clinton should win the bid. “2. “Deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.” More Warren-esque than might be expected, perhaps, but note the lack of agency in “is still stacked.” Why hasn’t the deck been “unstacked” already? And “stacking the deck” is cheating. So who did the stacking, and what’s going to be done about them? And who are “those at the top,” anyhow?” My like for Warren aside I don’t think she pushed legislation through given the time period that has past since her research began on middle class income almost twenty years ago.

  6. lyman alpha blob

    My questions –

    Do you really think people are going to buy this cock and bull narrative you’re trying to spin? Do you really think you can fool people into thinking that you’re for the ‘every day’ American rather than catering to the Wall Street class which is what you’ve actually done for your whole career? How dumb do you think we are and just how cynical are you?

  7. Steven Greenberg

    The sooner we can forget Mayhill Fowler, the better off the whole country will be. Her stories are the reason why I quit my volunteer work for Huffington Post. You might say I left in a Huff.

  8. Steven Greenberg

    The question I would add would be “What kind of fraudulent banking behavior do you think merits criminal prosecution of the executives who are responsible?”

    1. Ping

      Here, here. That is where the rubber meets the road. If fraud and looting was criminalized instead of institutionalized and incentivized, there would be REAL change that would ‘trickle down’. I knew the fix was in when Obama appointed Geitner, Summers et al. the same bunch of crooks that helped crash the economy.
      I am already exhausted of the focus group images and platitudes that swept the deceptive Obama into office.

      Would Hillary and the dems enact laws that if a CEO or CFO signs off on financial statements that turn out to be false or fraudulent they face criminal charges instead of collecting a bonuses and hold the financialization industry accountable with harsh penalites like the rest of the population faces for relatively minor offenses??

      Absent of that, it’s all merangue.

      1. Tammy

        The democratic don’t need singled out. If Clinton gets the presidency she’s wise to take advantage of Larry Summers expertise. This is the world stage with limited natural resources. Let’s face it that Americans aren’t going to be living the life style of America’s past.

        I hope Summers, Dimon, and a handful of others are serious about past lessons learned. It’s going to be rocky no matter if there’s a democrat or republican in charge.

      2. steelhead23

        Isn’t that the point of Sarbanes-Oxley? It is one thing to pass laws (congressional action) and another to see them enforced (Executive branch authority via Dept. of Justice). The issue is not primarily that the U.S. needs new laws to get financial firms to play straight – it first needs to aggressively enforce and prosecute the laws currently on the books – to build a body of jurisprudence beneath Sarb-Ox. But clearly, that is not a job Mrs Clinton would do. Period. No sense in asking.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s very good; it could replace my #5. The intent is the same — compare and contrast — but the example is so much stronger. (I had in mind sandbagging her response after the “lessons learned” question. But it would be good to be up front; jailing banksters would still be popular.

  9. Eureka Springs

    All I can hear in my head is little Jenny on bended knee in a corn field with little Forrest Gump praying – dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far far away. And a distant chorus of impoverished children chiming in all across America as well as miserable Hillary legacy spots like Mexico, Honduras, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Ukraine, Egypt, Yemen and beyond.

    Run Iowans, RUN!

  10. ScottW

    Has a person ever been elected President who lost an earlier race for the party’s nomination? Has anyone been nominated 8 years later after losing the nomination to the eventual Presidential winner? What makes Hillary more attractive as a candidate 8 years down the road?

    Either she has become a more viable candidate, or the criteria for being nominated and elected have deteriorated.

    1. sleepy

      Obama has successfully beat into the electorate that there is no possibility of hope and change, and to think otherwise means you’re a chump. Thus, unlike the thinking of 2008. the gates are wide open for Hillary, the candidate of stagnation and despair.

    2. Clive

      The snag with that argument is that 6/7 years ago, Barak Obama seemed to be The More Attractive Candidate. And no, I’m no cleverer than anyone else, I too was fooled. Who knew ? Not many, that’s for sure.

      From an outsider’s perspective, the main function of this part of the process is to eliminate Clown Car candidates (the ones who are way, way too dumb to even make it through the early stages without demonstrating they are dangerously stupid) rather than identifying the best candidate.

      And suffice to say, if the wider process of U.S. party politics precludes anything resembling a decent candidate even being available, there’s not much good that can come out of it, no matter what.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Well, there’s always the possibility of mass public revulsion. Kidding, but only kinda. My point is, really, that this is the terrain where “politics” is done; there is not another, better, terrain, at least at present, for taking power. We cannot go around; we have to go through it. (I can think of at least two alternatives: Joe Firestone’s IVCS, with ecologically-based jurisdictions; and the various forms of collective resistance and embodied possibility represented by Occupy and #BlackLivesMatter. But neither is, as they say, “viable” at present.)

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think there are several issues at play. One a generic Dem will win every Kerry state plus Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, and maybe Virginia and New Hampshire. Hillary has a repugnant record, but she could still win. It’s an easier map than people realize. As bad Kerry and Gore were as candidates, they almost won. Admittedly, they had shorter records at the time, and Iraq was a year and a half old.

      The other issue is Obama support. Obama enjoyed status as an antiwar candidate and a cult of personality which gave him a bed rock of support. Outside of Hillary and Obama, there were no potential challengers and little oxygen. Despite Obama propaganda in ’12, Democratic volunteer offices were ghost towns in every election since Obama policies went into effect. My gut feeling is the activist types have left Team Blue. The built-in opposition to Clinton isn’t in the Team Blue arrangement. For example, Occupy voters from 08 aren’t Team Blue.

      She can possibly win despite skepticism about age which exists among the electorate and 8 years of a birth/death model. Hillary was co-President in 1992 which was pretty cool in 1992 for a pre-Title IX electorate, but post-Title IX people don’t care about interviews from 1992.

      Because of voter registration issues, single women already vote Team Blue or won’t be registered come Nov. ’16. So Hillary won’t rock the vote by inspiring female voters.

      My sense is Billary is a deeply arrogant outfit who see a path to the White House and want the White House. Hillary’s old slogan was she was in it to win and nothing else despite at the time in 2007 eight years of prep.

      1. roadrider

        Outside of Hillary and Obama, there were no potential challengers

        Hah! There were plenty of challengers like Kucinich and Gravel who had the temerity to make arguments that, you know, actual Democrats used to make. The Dim-o-crap ruling elite and their co-conspirators in the punditocracy rigged the game against any challengers that refused to toe the neo-liberal, Reaganite line and eventually barred them from debates. The denuded left wing of the party ended up having little or no leverage with the eventual candidate regarding the platform or post-election governance.

        Its going to be even worse this time around with the Shrill-ary coronation.

      2. diptherio

        Obama enjoyed status as an antiwar candidate

        I still have no idea how this happened when O said explicitly while campaigning in 2008 that he wanted to draw down troops in Iraq so that we could increase troop presence in Afghanistan, which he saw as our “just” war. I knew I couldn’t vote for the blankety-blank then. I refuse to vote for war-mongers…it’s just this thing I have.

        Somehow, though, a lot of anti-war people managed to ignore what he was actually saying and focus on just the parts they liked (troops out of Iraq, closing Gitmo {coughs}, etc.). Selective deafness, I guess. Strange….or not…

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Voters just make stuff up, but outside of Richardson and Kucinich, every other debate candidate voted for the war or ordered NATO troops to fire on Russians for the hell of it.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        We read about the Clinton campaign taking lessons from the Obama campaign; hopefully the cult of personality aspects won’t figure largely in the curriculum. (I know, I know, when I read the comment saying Obama was a bodhisattva…)

        This is interesting:

        Despite Obama propaganda in ’12, Democratic volunteer offices were ghost towns in every election since Obama policies went into effect.

        Can other readers confirm? I have the impression that a lot of the Democratic machinery, pre-2008, was run by women volunteers who quietly left (or were removed by Obama’s faction). Hence OFA and the emphasis on technical solutions.

  11. Jackrabbit

    1. Lack of agency, yes. But I also sense a lack of urgency. Reminiscent of Michele Obama’s “change takes time”. What’s important is the journey (not actually reaching a destination or goal).

    ThirdWay Democrats always heavily caveat their speech (“hardworking Americans”). This is the ‘tell’ that the true populism is not in the cards. There is always a conservative-defined limit. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!”

    The pacing and folksy vignettes say: we have weathered the storm. Life goes on. Look forward, not back. Turn the page (new beginnings). This seems to be SOP for politicans that seek to retain the ‘positives’ from their past actions/policies/associations while shedding the negatives.

    Will voters fall for Hillary’s version of pro-establishment populism? Isn’t Hillary’s grandmotherly optimism designed to be just as disarming as Obama’s lofty rhetoric?

    2. Hillary speaks of family but none of her own are with her in the video.

    3. None of people endorse Hillary or the Democratic Party. None of them talk about the “tough economic times” or any other problems. Their support is unspoken. Assumed. (You have no choice, suckers!)

    4. The video starts with a hanging (of a framed picture). The frame is moved around, trying to find the right position(ing).


    I still think Hillary’s main “achievement” in this race is likely to be blocking any real populist from the Democratic nomination. I think she is likely to lose to the Republican candidate who will most likely be Jeb Bush. Seems to me that he will do Republican populism better than she does Democratic populism. And he will tie her to the failed Obama Administration. The more she tries to run from that, the more he will press it.


    Vote third party.

    H O P

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Jeb will fail miserably. The KKKonservatives, the religious, and libertarians despise the Romney/41 wing of the GOP. They supported Reagan over the GOP elite puppet Ford and then repeated the process in 1980. 41 practically campaigned with a cut out of Reagan in ’88.

      Despite the normal rhetoric about Dubya, he’s an interesting figure. His seizure of the GOP in Texas was a revolt of the Reagan coalition against the Blue Blood GOP. Combined with being a religious drunk and a lower cast out by daddy, the Reagan coalition loved Dubya.

      Jeb relied on Cuban and retirees to win in Florida who are more aligned with the GOP elite than bible humpers in rural states. His natural coalition is not as strong. Romney needed Mormon votes to win. Jeb won’t win those votes and will lose Iowa, New Hampshire, and the early western primaries. South Carolina is Fundie country without any fun. At that point, Jeb will be a nothing.

      Jeb won’t enjoy Dubya’s supporters short of a public drinking episode and fight with his father.

      1. sd

        The racists won’t for Jeb because his wife is a woman of color. That’s the GOP elephant in the room that is not going away. And too many people voted for W because they quite literally thought they were voting for his father.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          This goes back to Southern Democrats and the Southern Strategy. Even if Jebs wife made Laura look like the black Eminem, they would still not like Jeb. He’s from the old GOP, not the Dixiecrat element.

          The GOP doesn’t give Obama “credit” because he is black but because he isn’t their tribe. Any Democrat even a white Southern governor (cough Clinton cough Carter) would have been the target of deranged GOP attacks. Jeb isn’t in the tribe either. The GOP Blue bloods are allies for the conservative voters, but they would rather a Palin lead them than a George Will, I’m having difficulty naming a “reasonable Republican.”

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              It’s sort of a trick question because “reasonable Republican” is like big foot, the second shooter, or entertaining work by Josh Whedon. As much as people want to believe, they never existed. Modern Democrats such as Charlie Christ and Lincoln Chaffee were always monsters.

      2. Jackrabbit

        Its not too difficult for anyone that is knowledgeable to knock any of the Republicans. But that doesn’t make Hillary inevitable.

        The Republicans will unite behind a candidate that has a good chance of winning. Jeb seems like the moderate, smart Bush to many (not saying that he is any of those things). And because he is less well-known than Hillary, he has a better ability to re-invent himself.

        And lets not forget that it is a duopoly. Both flavors of the corporate party work against the interest of the people. The duopoly presents the illusion of choice. Vote third party.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Republican voters loved that Dubya “meant what he said.” A moderate version won’t go over well.

    2. Clive

      In which case, the question I have is, “why does Jeb play so well in America then?” — is the country so fearful / conservative / reactionary / anti-this- anti-that / whatever that his sort of politics is the winning sort ? A silly question from a foreigner, I’ll be happy to admit, but I really can’t get my head around this one…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Jeb doesn’t play well. The national media and Versailles on the Potomac elites like him, but the GOP clown car is full because they know he isn’t popular. He’s just another Romney sans the Mormon tribal vote. 41 was never well liked within the GOP, facing challenges as the candidate of traditional GOP money. He had to settle for VP in 1980. Dubya has a story that appealed the conservative masses. They admire his finding Jebus nonsense and being the loser brother. Jeb is not those things and relies on name recognition.

      2. Jackrabbit

        The question isn’t so much “why does Jeb play so well in America”, its more: “how will Jeb (or any R) play against Hillary”.

        Hillary has both Clinton and Obama baggage, as well as her own. Here’s my question – no to Hillary but to the American people:

        Are you better off today than you were 20 years ago? Do you feel safer? Do you have more or less confidence in government? To what extent are the Democrats responsible for that (by what they have done or not done)? To what extent is Hillary – as a prominent Democrat for most of that time, responsible?

        Another question: can she really win? Or does she simply want to put her name in the history books so badly that she’s willing to deny the opportunity to a better candidate?

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      “blocking any real populist from the Democratic nomination” Naturellement.

      I think Hillary would beat Jebbie, because W poisoned the brand. And Democrats haven’t forgotten Florida 2000, so Jebbie would be a poke in the eye with a sharp stick for them.

      Not so sure about any of the other “principled insurgents.” One thing about the Republicans is that they tend to feral; very quick to seize opportunity aggressively. I say “the S.S. Clinton” for a reason; big ships find it hard to change directly rapidly. (That said, the van to Iowa is brilliant!)

  12. DJG

    Quoting: “Join me on this journey.” Well, at least she didn’t say “conversation.” Seriously, though, I could care less about a “journey”; the Presidency may be a personal quest for Hillary, but that doesn’t make her campaign a collective quest of which I am a part; there are outcomes I want.

    Analysis: Think of this as Hillary as Frodo inviting you as Merry or Pippin to the adventure of traveling to Minas Tirith for the coronation, the signature on the TPP, the offer of the ambassadorship to Mordor to Bill, and the Great Settling, in which the policies of the last three administrations, C, B, and O, will be enshrined, unchanged.

  13. John Mc

    How about these questions?

    1. Do you support national legislation (in conjunction with the CFPB) to limit title and payday lending interest rates to below 36%.

    2. Do you believe there is an evidence-based link between trans-generational wealth protection and predatory lending for families living paycheck to paycheck? (i.e. Missouri, Virginia, and other anchor states where payday lending thrives).

  14. DJG

    Never much of a civil libertarian, she has to be called out by a question that isn’t as gentle as #9 above. Here she is, being too clever by half:


    Make her explain this sort of scripted triple axel (terror! the independent judiciary! the how-strangeness!). There are plenty of consequences, as we have already seen, for this kind of insouciant imperial sloppiness.

  15. nippersdad

    My first impression of the ad was that it was pretty brilliantly executed, that it managed to avoid a lot of landmines and present her in a new light for the Obama burned millennials. That said, “looking forward” and fuzzy, warming thoughts are not going to get her elected short of a Republican melt down. There are just too many of us who reflexively distrust anything coming out of her mouth. The first time I saw her slick new logo my eye was immediately drawn by the (Republican red?) arrow moving forward. I just don’t think she can help herself; the former Goldwater organizer shines through everything she does.

    As Lambert has so skilfully pointed out, if she cannot find a way to do a believable mea culpa for past actions then all the heartwarming advertising in the world will only serve to emphasize the discrepancies between what she has actively supported in the past and what she is now saying. I’m pretty sure that the progressive, activist base is finally tired of being lied to, of being coerced by the lesser evilism schtick, so we are looking at the hard core mid-term electorate for 2016, and that ain’t promising. Emanuel may have pulled it out, but now the spotlight is on what he does. Her campaign is going to be shadowed by the actions of her known associates, of such others as Emanuel and Schumer, for the next eighteen months. She is going to need to call them out, and I just don’t think she has it in her to do so.

    So, cynically well honed but ultimately ineffective, if not actually counterproductive, would be my judgment of her efforts so far.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It does show she is completely unready. Voters come out to see Presidential candidates, and they aren’t going to be happy to hear “4 more years.”

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It’s early in the cycle for people other than Hillary, but she has been running for President since 2000 on the strength of her experience. I think the absence of proposals or lefty rhetoric will lead to a rejection in the early states where they do pay attention.

          The Democrats bought time with voters promising that Hillary would be responsible, but I think her Iowa trip will be a disaster as voters ask questions which her team isn’t ready to answer. There is no organic draft Hillary movement which might excuse her not being ready again.

    2. DJG

      I don’t know: If my Facebook feed is any indication, the progressive / activist base is already running around shouting SCOTUS SCOTUS SCOTUS. They love groovy acronyms, they goofily tie their rights to the historically well-known capriciousness of the U.S. Supreme Court, and lemming-like, they are looking for someone to tell them which cliff to jump off.

  16. sd

    Questions I would like asked but won’t be:

    Did you step down as Secretary of State because you disagreed with Barack Obamas foreign policy and if yes, did you view his foreign policy as irresponsible and dangerous?

    Are you aware of the extreme inflation renters are currently experiencing in housing rental rates?

    Will you address high interest payday loans and credit card rates?

    Police seize people’s cash, cars, and houses without even accusing anyone of a crime. What is your stand on civil asset forfeiture before a conviction?

    Knowing that no new jobs are actually created, where do you stand on tax incentives that poach industries from one state to move it to another?

    Where do you stand on subsidies for coporations, also known as corporate welfare, that off shore jobs to foreign countries?

    What can you do as President to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States?

    Where do you stand on repairing Americas decaying infrastructure?

    Do you support maintaining post offices in small rural communities?

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Celebrities survive on you paying (mentally and with money) attention to them, when they should be paying you to pay (mentally speaking) attention to them – that’s how they exist as celebrities.

    I feel like I should be emptying my mind right now…to deprive them of their source of power.

  18. amateur socialist

    “With 58 cosponsors in the house and 42 recent votes in the senate, expansion of Social Security benefits is now a mainstream Democratic policy initiative. Do you support this mainstream Democratic party position?”

    Followed up of course by “Why not?”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Nice framing!

      However, I think it’s critical to support “age neutral” Social Security benefits. A tiered system of benefits, where the younger you are, the worse your benefits are, is unconscionable. (At the time, when the deal between Reagan and Tip O’Neil that put the tiered system into place, I — and probably my age cohort — bought into the “Save Social Security” framing. Now we know that’s a steaming load emitted by Pete Peterson, though I at least did not know that then.)

      Tiered benefits are especially unconscionable when younger people are facing a horrible job market, and what they “pay in” is diminishing, absolutely through no fault of their own, and in addition the 410(k) experiment has failed miserably.

      You would also think that Democrats would want reposition the older portion of their constituency (so prominent in the video) away from what has to look like “I’ve got mine!” from a youthful perspective, to “we’re all in this together.” Age-neutra Social Security benefits would be an excellent way to do that.

      1. Kyle

        “A tiered system of benefits, where the younger you are, the worse your benefits are, is unconscionable.”

        One of the reasons that SS was structured by the Roosevelt admin. in conjunction with the then Congress as more or less an insurance, was so that it would present a barrier against later defunding or repeal. Yet, we still ended up with this – “The United States Supreme Court decided in Flemming v. Nestor (1960) that no one has an accrued property right to benefits from Social Security. ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Insurance_Contributions_Act_tax

        1. Kyle

          Sorry, I should have completed my argument…

          The SCOTUS decision thereby is confirming (although I haven’t read the decision) that SS (FICA) is insurance as opposed to an annuity or pension, i.e., “no accrued property right”.

  19. Brooklin Bridge

    If the public were getting paid as much to pretend that this was an election and not a coronation as Hillary is getting paid to act out her part of the sham, I would say go for it, the responsible (and excellent) questions and the respect asking such questions imply and all. But the public is not getting paid; it’s getting duped, again, and even if this were an election in a representative democracy – which it isn’t – Hillary has more than answered those questions over the last 35 years. So the only valid question, under such a generous cascade of assumptions, is, “Hillary, who keeps your nose from poking holes in the walls?”

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      As I said in another thread, “The ceremony of having what looks like an election in what looks like a democracy has become what is unique about the American contribution to the continuance of power by the international .01%.”

    2. Ulysses

      “Hillary, who keeps your nose from poking holes in the walls?”

      Pinocchillary— brilliant!!

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, it’s kayfabe. The idea is, for once, to get the audience to break kayfabe, instead of the players, the ref, and so on. It does no good to say “it’s getting duped”; it’s a counsel of despair. It’s like saying, again thinking of the ancien regime, “nothing can be done because the peasants have to grind all their grain at the Lord’s mill.” Well, that was true, for a long time, until it wasn’t.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        The framing in your reply seems unfair. It makes it sound like one has to engage with Hillary or any of the other false choices or one is automatically a quitter, a counsel of despair.

        Yet the questions raised by at least some commenters that you approve of give Hillary virtually no more room for answer than my observations:
        1. Name 3 specific actions taken as Senator to reduce global warming
        2. What specific accomplishments can she cite re: the Palestinian crisis e.g. the ever-encroaching illegal Israeli settlements and the human rights abuses in Gaza?
        3. What has she done to help bring the Wall St banksters closer to prosecution? (Not holding my breath on this one)
        – IvanJ

        -Lambert, “Good”

        Yes, those are good questions but they all illustrate dismal failures that Hillary can do nothing about. They don’t provide her with a realistic opportunity for response; for short of some mystical transformation she has recently undergone, there are none. Rather, they tell the public three good reasons why they shouldn’t vote for Hillary in the first place (questions that suggest HIllary’s nose keeps growing) which is not all that far from my observations that Hillary is a stacked deck.

        But if having a question is really necessary not to be considered a wet blanket, then mine would be, “Why can’t we have at least some candidates in US presidential politics that would represent people rather than corporations and who would give real rather than essense-of-fake answers?”

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        If, on the other hand, there is some way to actually get your questions out there so that Hillary would be forced to respond, I would be g-l-u-e-d to the tube (or what ever viewing object), and your strategy of giving her rope would suit me just fine :-).

        It’s my opinion we state somewhat the same thing (in your case by impossible to answer -and probably impossible to ask- questions – and in mine that we need to object more strenuously about the rigged system we’ve got and make others aware of it) from different directions.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          The only way is organically, absent a party apparatus. NC readers, propagating ideas and seizing opportunities. As the Bowden example shows, a little leverage at the right place and time can have outsized effects. I saw the same thing in the early blogosphere 2003 – 2006.

  20. roadrider

    Here’s my questions:

    1) Will you renounce your vote for the AUMF in 2002?

    2) Will you break up the TBTF banks and vigorously pursue whatever criminal or civil actions that remain within the statutes of limitations against the white-collar criminals that caused the financial crash?

    3) Will you reverse the disastrous and ill-advised austerity and trickle-down economics of the Obama administration and pursue full employment?

    4) I lost my job nearly two years ago and since I’m nearly 60 finding employment in my field is a fading prospect. What will you do to fight discrimination by employers against older workers or unemployed workers?

    5) In that same vein, what will you do to aid those who are 55-60 years old and thus too young to qualify for Social Security or Medicare but have been shut out of the labor market?

    6) What will you do to fix the many shortcomings of the ACA so that it covers more people, provides greater access to a wider range of health-care providers, does not impose unreasonable costs in terms of premiums, deductibles and co-pays and creates more equal outcomes irrespective of age, gender, geographical location, etc.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hillary has already declared concerning the Iraq vote, “we got it wrong.” What and why “we” got wrong she has not revealed. I would ask what did the Democrats who voted against the Iraq War get right. Let’s not call it authorization. Authorization is just code for a politically correct invasion.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I wonder if Team Blue guaranteed him the Senate nomination but ran when voters backed Whitehouse for the nomination.

      1. roadrider

        Clinton saying “we got it wrong” is not a renunciation. She was trying to pass it off as an honest mistake instead of a duplicitous pandering to the post-911 hysteria. It was classier than Shrub’s making a joke about the missing WMD but just as lacking in honesty.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      These too are good questions. However, I should say that I am envisioning these questions actually being asked together with a followup, in a public forum. I’ve done such events a number of times, and I believe the “soft touch” is more effective than a gotcha; not only are you more likely to carry the whole audience with you (you want to have that murmur of support, which will affect the candidate), you are more likely to get the chance to ask a much tougher follow-up, and its the follow-up that springs the trap (and hopefuly makes the news or the YouTube or the twitter ;-)

      I’d be interested if other readers share these views on tactics.

      1. roadrider

        I’m sure you’re right. I doubt Hillary would even get past my first question. But then again, I wouldn’t trust any of her answers.

  21. IvanJ

    After years as NY Senator and then Sec’y of State I want to hear about *specific accomplishments* and not about “listening tours”. Here are a few questions for Hillary:

    1. Name 3 specific actions taken as Senator to reduce global warming
    2. What specific accomplishments can she cite re: the Palestinian crisis e.g. the ever-encroaching illegal Israeli settlements and the human rights abuses in Gaza?
    3. What has she done to help bring the Wall St banksters closer to prosecution? (Not holding my breath on this one)

    I remember seeing a video poll of Americans who all praised HRC but when asked to name some of her “accomplishments” fell silent. I have to say I can’t remember any really significant ones myself.

  22. petal

    Thank you for making me laugh today, Lambert. I really needed it. This campaign news over the weekend was depressing enough on top of everything else. Being in NH, I will write down a couple questions and keep them in my pocket just in case. I did drive past Newt Gingrich standing on a street corner(insert joke here) a few years ago, so it does really happen. At least having written down questions will keep me from just getting angry and yelling at her that she should be in prison. Cheers!

  23. so

    I have nothing left for the american political or judicial system. Knowing that everything is a lie kills me inside.

  24. RUKidding

    HRC has a fan base that’s quite large, and they’re eager and keen to cast their vote for her. Some of that fan base is still burned that O’Bomber beat their gal pal, Hills.

    IMO, it really doesn’t matter all that much, as the .001% will ultimately decide who they want to win, and they have the $$$ and ability to enact election fraud to attempt to get “their” puppet in place. Of course, sometimes the election fraud works both sides of the aisle, as it did in Ohio in 2012, so only time will tell who’s hackers are better at their jawb.

    I am so cynical that I am at the point of completely ignoring this. My loathing of the Clintons is matched only by my loathing of the Bush Crime Syndicate. Yet a lot of very intelligent citizens (intelligent in other ways) are overjoyed by their tribalistic authoritarian identification with the House of Clinton or the House of Bush. Go figure. I have been severely and resoundingly drubbed already by so-called “progressive” friends who literally yell at me in anger for daring to even minorly question *anything* about the perfect fabulousness of their Sainted Saviors O’Bomber & Shrillery. Not really exaggerating. It’s actually rather frightening to see them foaming at the mouth that I dare to question these shining stars of the D-firmament.

    I will vote Third Party, as I mostly have for the past several decades. The two branches of the corporate UniParty mean me no good. It’s kinda sorta fun to pose hypothetical Qs for HRC to really answer, but at the end of the day, the Houses of Clinton & Bush serve the .001% in whatever way they’re told to do, which includes rapine, plunder, murder, and other venal criminal activities. Frankly, I think I’d rather vote for my local Mafia Don than either of those two scumbags.

    The end.

  25. Noonan

    My question for Hillary:

    In hindsight, do you think the repeal of Glass-Steagall was a mistake?

  26. redleg

    I’m approximately 50 years old and have yet to experience an election cycle without a Clinton or Bush. What a streaming pile of bovine excrement.

    1. sd

      My first election was Carter vs Reagan-Bush. So yup. Either a Bush or a Clinton. Maybe we should change the names of the two parties. Bushicans and Clintocratics.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The School of Names (an ancient Chinese philosophy, per Wiki).


    A Republican – one who has never been fooled by Hilary, not even once. NEVER!!!

    A Democrat – one who has been fooled a few times.

    I guess a Republican never steps out of her/his comfort zone…afraid of making mistakes or looking foolish…never challenges her/himself.

  28. Kurt Sperry

    I enjoy these Lambert exegeses of political PR exhalations. As in his careful deconstructions of Obama speeches, it spares me the psychic anguish of watching the piece in question–I just can’t stomach it any more–while informing me of its content. These communications are, nowadays more than ever, about not content but subtext and appeals to identity and little different in that respect than advertising. The lack of specificity is lost in an enveloping warm guazy haze of focus group tested contentless boilerplate cotton candy. Managing perceptions to take the audience’s attention from seeing the big obvious con it all is.

  29. Lambert Strether Post author

    I want to say, and probably should have said in the post: Think back to Andrew Bowden. He’s not at the SEC any more. Who would have thought? And the chain of events that booted him from his chair was sparked by what is, in the great scheme of things, a very small thing: A post here at Naked Capitalism, a letter to the Dean at Stanford, the post getting picked up… And for whatever inscrutable reasons, he’s gone.

    I don’t see formulating these questions as an academic exercise at all; I see them as molding a climate of opinion, and putting conceptual and linguistic tools (or weapons) in people’s hands. That, IMNSHO, is one thing blogs are for; see here. The water cooler is not only here, but whatever real world water coolers you frequent. Unfortunately or fortunately, molding a climate of opinion is work, day after day, and it is a lot like following the NHL. The difference is, that at some point, we want the fans to storm the ice. It has been done! Aux clown car, citoyens!

    1. Kyle

      “…we want the fans to storm the ice.”

      Or…10 million emails to the DNC chanting –

      We don’t want no polyester pants,
      We want Bernie to have a chance!

  30. Tom Denman

    NAFTA, Welfare Reform, the 1996 media consolidation law, deregulating derivatives, repealing Glass-Steagall, etc….

    Another Clinton presidency would be disastrous for liberalism, the Democratic Party, the nation and the world. And the national Democratic Party will only get worse and worse with the Clintons leading it.

    There is, therefore, a case to be made for rooting for–and maybe voting for–Ms. Clinton’s Republican opponent come November 2016 in the event that Democrats make the mistake of nominating her (which is by no means inevitable).

  31. Sierra7

    If perchance either or both Hillary Clinton/Jeb (or any other) Bush become the outcome candidates this country is truly finished.
    democracy Now! Had a great round table discussion today, April 13 with Robert Scheer, Joe Conason, Martha Goldberg (Nation Mag) and the Young Socialist party member in Seattle.
    It gets pretty heated between Conason and Scheer……and rightly so.
    We have an economy that has been crushed by globalization and a very nasty “greed depression” that BOTH Major political parties are responsible.
    We do not need political dynasties; we need true open political debate which we don’t have.
    Our foreign policies are in the toilet and getting worse every day.
    We seem to find no solutions but continuous warfare.
    The rest of the world is sick of us.
    Obama, Bush and Clinton represent what is wrong with our politics.
    As has been said the neo-republicans are just plain nasty.
    And the Democrat Party is cowardly.
    We are in deep doo-doo……..
    With Hillary Clinton as candidate the media will focus on gender politics………
    While our country and the world continues to burn.
    I’ve seen a lot of politics, led many political discussions, ended up a non partisan voter; 84 yrs old…….remember the Great Depression…….owned two small businesses; worked for major corp for 31 years; former organized labor activist; unrecognized history scholar.
    2016 presidential election will be the worst of the worst.
    I’ve since moved to the California mountains; I expect if I live few more years to see politics take to the streets where ony there will real change come……but, as history shows…..it may not be the knd most Americans my expect.
    That’s ok….the militarized police will keep order!

    1. redleg

      I take issue with your claim that the Democratic party is cowardly. I think that events have demonstrated that they are liars, not cowards. They are doing exactly what the moneyed interests want them to do. The failure of the Ds to stand up for the so-called working class family/person/Consumer(tm) is actually a success in public relations. It cannot be a failure, because that means they were trying to stand up for them in the first place.

  32. steelhead23

    In the spirit of “all publicity is good publicity”, this little discussion of the value of Hillary Clinton’s first video of her 2016 run for POTUS, does her a favor. How about a similar piece on Bernie Sanders opening salvo (you may have to go to the Montpelier Times-Argus to find it), or Lincoln Chafee’s? I am not so much needling you, Lambert, as I am lamenting the fact that Warren isn’t running. THAT would be something to talk about. What might be interesting about that ad is who paid for it?

  33. sandra yolles

    The Hillary piece was brillliant beyond my imagining. We all agree that the Beltway voices are narrrow and moribud. They have invested these many years in repeating the same narrowing platitudes and back and forth of straw men, successfully keeping our public conversation from moving forward in any meaningful way for something like twenty years. They went back in time repeatedly to get out John McCain and keep his long ago defeated voice alive. We had to invent the internet to get any conversation going that makes sense going forward. Years ago, McNeil Lehrer had a regular series of comments by a panel of real citizens from different parts of the country. I have often remembered that and thought they they don’t dare do that now. The reason is that no one out here believes their lies anymore. There is no contituency for their Beltway views anymore. Instead of honest opinions and thoughts about policy, they drag out some crazy right wingers and keep it pumped up so maybe their audience will see that it is a choice only between the crazies and the neo-liberal corporate policies that actually have to be kept secret because opposition would be so enormous.Where is that panel of citizens from Iowa discussing the TPP in all of its facets?
    Ha ha. So we know this. So Hillary wants to hear from us? Does she really? I mean will it allow the conversation to get started about policy? That’s what she says. That is huge if it happens. And it changes the script the Beltway talkers use. Will they have to blot out any real conversation? And really, is anyone for all of these wars? What are they about anyway. The powers that be have become very skimpy with their exigesis. They don’t even flesh it out. They know they don’t have to convice us anymore, they have to keep us in the dark, and just do it. The Ukraine, for instance. They flipped on Russia, after all those years talking friendship, flipped like on a dime. All of a sudden Victoria Nuland and they are the terrible enemy. Don’t look to closely. What I mean to say is this. We all want to open up the Beltway thinking. So it is an invitation — maybe dishonest — to do that. But at the moment it pulls the rug out from under the Talkers and that gives us pause.
    Some good questions I have?
    How can she get the corporations to start paying taxes again and buy back in to the success of America (instead of ripping us off)?
    Who will she appoint to what? Should Monsanto head the Ag Dept? etc. How will she reinstate oversight by the people?
    Will finance and corporations continue to make policy and run things here, despite not paying their share in taxes?
    Will she have some Democrats in policy positions, and who will make up her own circle of advisers? We know that Obama left corporatists and Third Way-ers in power. Will they make up her government as well?

  34. Ed Walker

    Here’s my question: why should I participate in this charade of democracy? We all know you’re in the pocket of Wall Street and will do as they wish on every front. You won’t appoint decent judges, you won’t punish corporations for lying, cheating and stealing, and generally you won’t push for any policy that will make a real difference on any economic issue. Explain why i should pay attention or vote.

  35. TG

    Yeah well, to cut to the chase:

    Hillary Clinton is scum. She talks like Eleanor Roosevelt, but she walks like Marie Antoinette. ‘The poor they have no bread? Then say we care and let them starve! Vote for me the Republicans are even worse! And I’m a woman!’

    I will vote for Hillary Clinton when hell freezes over and pigs fly and water runs uphill. Just saying.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Eh…I wouldn’t compare Hillary’s rhetoric to Eleanor Roosevelt who was an impassioned driver of progress. Do you see Hillary renouncing her involvement with C-Street the way Eleanor dumped on DAR.?

      It might be useful for the “Hillary is a woman” crowd to be confronted with the words of a great person in Roosevelt.

  36. different clue

    One might ask Clinton what was so funny about the manner of Gaddafi’s death. In this video she sure appears to find it risible.

    Here’s a harsh article with that video in it from a rigidly conservative thing called The American Thinker. I only link to it because it also offers embedded in the article an embedded clickylink to the “laughter video”.

    Why am I sending two links? Partly because I have seen a nasty new technology emerging on you tube . . . a bait-and-switch function. IFF! . . . the first link calls up the laughing Clinton video I think it will call up, it then moves very fast to another video, at which the URL in the You Tube find-it space also changes. I had
    to copy-click the first URL very fast in hopes of providing a link to the pre-switch “bait”.

  37. brazza

    That I read your analysis but could not be bothered to watch the video tells me just how utterly flat my ECG really is at the thought of a campaign filled with the same ole discredited faces. If I were a credible sample of voter intention, I would forecast the lowest voter turnout in the history of democracy.

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