Sanders Debate “Results” as Case Study of the Modern Versailles Hall of Mirrors

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 127 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in financial realm. Please join us and participate via our Tip Jar, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser, what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and our first target, funding for digital infrastructure and user improvements.

Yves here. I have to confess that I could stand to tune in with only one ear to the Democratic presidential debates last night. Part of it was that the six-person spectacle and the often-poorly-framed questions didn’t lend themselves to more than a superficial presentation of the candidates’ views. And for some important topics, most of all Syria, the responses from all the contenders were remarkably poor, although Sanders’ “Beware of the quagmire” was in many respects the least bad (although he still undercut that by saying he was willing to go to war for the right causes).

But what stood out head and shoulders even with my limited focus was on how horrible Clinton seemed. Oh, superficially she had the patter down best, and she had a clear presentation strategy: to use every opportunity to remind her audience of the breadth of her experience, on how many times she’d been a power player. Let us put aside the fact that pretty much everything she’s touched, from her effort to launch a national health plan to her tenure at State, has been a disaster.

One telling anecdote: a voter who is a prime Hillary target, a middle aged, white, high-income, well educated woman who has both worked in a serious professional job and raised a family, isn’t keen about Clinton: “She likes war too much.” She asked a friend who is a Clinton bundler to tell her what Hillary had accomplished at State. The answer? “She asked young people in the Department what they thought it could do better.” In other words, the best Clinton can tout to prospective backers is having been a more democratic manager. Save us.

I found her grating, and I don’t mean just her voice. She was overly confident and told too many obvious lies. I swear I can now even hear her tick when she knows she’s pulling a fast one: her voice becomes tighter, more strident. Her sound formation shifts a bit forward in her palate and her volume goes up a smidge. Her voice goes harder, a twinge more nasal, and flatter.

So as much as I came away thinking Sanders had a very uneven evening, in that he was very effective and crisp at some points, took his “let’s take the high ground” too far, and let Clinton and his other debaters off the hook (you can assail bad policy choices and lousy or flip flop track records without descending to personal attacks), and like all of them, was worrisome on foreign policy. But even with those warts, I still found him to be more compelling than the well packaged Clinton fraud, the candidate of the oligarchs now pretending to be the progressive booster of the decimated middle class. I was thus surprised by the virtual unanimity of the punditocracy in declaring Clinton to have been the winner.

But this Alternet article, on the yawning chasm between focus group and various online poll reactions, versus the take of the chattering classes, yet again proves how isolated our elites and their media mouthpieces have become. Many of these people ride the Acela yet seem incapable of looking out the window and taking in the poor condition of many of the communities on the route. Or consider Janet Yellen, who had to have her staff locate three actual unemployed people for her to speak with before her first speech as Fed chair so she could feign having some direct knowledge. It appears that the struggling are so far removed from her sphere that they might as well be housed in zoo cages, as we did to pygmy Ota Benga.

Similarly, you’ll see that one of the reasons for “expert” antipathy to Sanders is that they deem him to be too angry. The well-enforced cultural norm, that one has to be well-domesticated and adhere to the requirement that discourse be “polite” as in bloodless, is a very effective device for stifling debate and marginalizing dissenters. One of the reasons that young people are so keen about Sanders may not simply be that he is voicing their grievances. It is also that he is validating anger as a legitimate reaction. Anger is particularly demonized in America, no doubt because anger is a hard-wired reaction to injustice in social species. Intelligent social animals both collaborate and cheat. Altruistic punishment, meaning the impulse to discipline cheaters even when the party inflicting the punishment incurs cost without getting any personal benefit, is a pro-long-term survival behavior, since too much cheating means that social structures start to erode.

In other words, Sanders is not just tapping into the desire of downtrodden members of the 99% for a fairer deal. He is also challenging the unwritten rules of elite discourse that have allowed the powers that be to dismiss complaints about what is a Best of All Possible Worlds…for them.

By Adam Johnson, an associate editor at AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter at @adamjohnsonnyc. Originally published at Alternet

Who “won” a debate is inherently subjective. The idea of winning a debate necessarily entails a goal to be achieved. What this goal is, therefore, says as much about the person judging its achievement as the goal itself. Pundits are ostensibly supposed to judge whether or not a candidate said what “the voters” want to hear. But what ends up happening, invariably, is they end up judging whether or not the candidate said what they think voters wanted to hear. This, after all, is why pundits exist, to act as a clergy class charged with interpreting people’s own inscrutable opinions for them. The chasm between what the pundits saw and what the public saw was even bigger than usual last night.

Bernie Sanders by all objective measures “won” the debate. Hands down. I don’t say this as a personal analysis of the debate; the very idea of “winning” a debate is silly to me. I say this because based on the only relatively objective metric we have, online polls and focus groups, he did win. And it’s not even close.

Sanders won the CNN focus group, the Fusion focus group, and the Fox News focus group; in the latter, he even converted several Hillary supporters. He won the Slate online pollCNN/Time online poll9News ColoradoThe Street online pollFox5 poll, the conservative Drudge online poll and the liberal Daily Kos online poll. There wasn’t, to this writer’s knowledge, a poll he didn’t win by at least an 18-point margin. But you wouldn’t know this from reading the establishment press. The New York Times, the New YorkerCNNPoliticoSlateNew York Magazine, and Vox all unanimously say Hillary Clinton cleaned house. What gives?

Firstly, it’s important to point out that online polls, and to a lesser extent focus groups, are obviously not scientific. But it’s also important to point out that the echo chamber musings of establishment liberal pundits is far, far less scientific. It wasn’t that the online polls and focus groups had Sanders winning, it’s that they had him winning by a lot. And it wasn’t just that the pundit class has Clinton winning, it’s that they had her winning by a lot. This gap speaks to a larger gap we’ve seen since the beginning of the Sanders campaign. The mainstream media writes off Bernie and is constantly shocked when his polls numbers go up. What explains this phenomenon? Freddie DeBoer had this to say:

This morning, I’ve been pointing out on Twitter that the unanimity of pro-Hillary Clinton journalism coming from the mouthpieces of establishment Democratic politics — Slate, Vox, New York Magazine, etc. — is entirely predictable and has no meaningful relationship to her actual performance at the debate last night. That’s because, one, the Democrats are a centrist party that is interested in maintaining the stranglehold of the DNC establishment on their presidential politics, and these publications toe that line. And second, because Clinton has long been assumed to be the heavy favorite to win the presidency, these publications are in a heated battle to produce the most sympathetic coverage, in order to gain access. That is a tried-and-true method of career advancement in political journalism. Ezra Klein was a well-regarded blogger and journalist. He became the most influential journalist in DC (and someone, I can tell you with great confidence, that young political journalists are terrified of crossing) through his rabid defense of Obamacare, and subsequent access to the President. That people would try and play the same role with Clinton is as natural and unsurprising as I can imagine.

Many establishment journalists were in a hurry to declare Clinton not just the winner of the debate, but of the party nomination. One fairly creepy exchange between Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker and Alec MacGillis summed it up nicely:

pasted image 2

“Pretend” there’s a race? Isn’t that sort of the whole point of democracy? To have as much debate and vetting as possible before nominating a potential leader of the free world? Matt Yglesias at Vox also dismissed this entire primary process out of hand:

pasted image 0

It’s unclear what the rush is. The first primary is months away, yet they’re ready to call it based entirely on an ad hoc analysis of one debate. This tweet by Michael Cohen of the Boston Globe perfectly sums up mainstream media’s cluelessness:

Embedded image permalink

A “protest candidate”? If Cohen hasn’t noticed, the electorate is full of piss and vinegar and rancor, which is precisely why an otherwise obscure, self-described Socialist has risen in the polls the way he has.

But the question still remains: why the rush to write off Sanders? Why the constant gap between how the public perceives Sanders and how the mainstream media does? Why, most of all, would anyone listen to the very same pundit class that was wrong in ’08 and continues to be wrong in 2015?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Pavel

    Great piece. I was stunned at how blatant the MSM bias was — the WaPo web site the morning after had 4 headlines all proclaiming one way or another that Hillary had won, and the UK’s “liberal” Guardian did the same thing, prompting hundreds of comments online that they were doing the same to Sanders as they did to Corbyn in the Labour leadership race a month or so ago.

    CNN itself is completely biased. None of the powers that be wants Bernie to win. He’s far from perfect, god knows, especially on foreign policy, but at least he’s not owned lock stock and barrel by the corporations.

    I confess I didn’t watch any of the debate — I find HRC’s voice too grating, just as I do Obama’s, and W’s back in his day.

    And what indeed were Hillary’s accomplishments as SoS — the destruction of Libya and unleashing of chaos in Syria, as far as I can tell.

    1. jrs

      Can’t we really trace this all back to the corporate owners and call it a day. Ok the access hypothesis is interesting but still ….

    2. Bev

      My Prediction: Bernie Sanders Will Win the White House
      by Eric Zuesse.

      In comments:
      We need our democracy. Some remedies:
      By Brad Friedman
      Recommended #OWS Demand: Let ALL Citizens 18 and Older Vote, On Paper Ballots, Count Them in Public

      I offer the following simple “demand” for consideration by OWS, as this one likely underscores almost every other. Or, at least, without it, all other demands may ultimately be rendered moot. Every U.S. citizen 18 years of age or older who wishes to vote, gets to vote. Period. Those votes, on hand-marked paper ballots, will be counted publicly, by hand, on Election Night, at the precinct, in front of all observers and video cameras.

      Get rid of those e-voting, e-scanning, e-tabulating machines owned by the abusive right.
      Who owns Scytl? George Soros isn’t in the voting machines, but the intelligence community is by Gerry Bello

      1. Bev
        The Case For Open Voting
        by Lynn Landes

        There is no transparency to our current voting system. Congress has legalized election fraud by allowing, if not mandating, non-transparent voting systems that prohibit direct access to a paper ballot and meaningful public oversight. Making matters worse, our public voting system has been privatized and outsourced to a handful of domestic, foreign, and multi-national corporations, most of whom have close ties to the right wing of the Republican Party. Just two companies, ES&S and Diebold, started by two brothers, Bob and Todd Urosevich, electronically process (using touchscreen machines or optical scanners), 80% of all votes. Their employees are in a perfect position to rig elections nation-wide. And evidence is mounting that elections in America have been computer programmed to prefer conservative candidates of both political parties.
        Electronic Voting Fraud: A Real Threat to Any Democrat Running for President
        Wednesday, 24 June 2015 00:00
        By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Truthout
        Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century
        Monday, 13 October 2014 By Jonathan D. Simon, Truthout
        Historical Overview and Analysis of Election Fraud
        Richard Charnin

        In the 1968-2012 Presidential elections, the Republicans won the average recorded vote by 48.7-45.8%. The 1968-2012 National True Vote Model (TVM) indicates the Democrats won the True Vote by 49.6-45.0% – a 7.5% margin discrepancy.

        In the 1988-2008 elections, the Democrats won the unadjusted state exit poll aggregate by 52-42% – but won the recorded vote by just 48-46%, an 8% margin discrepancy. View the state and national numbers:

        The state exit poll margin of error was exceeded in 135 of 274 state presidential elections from 1988-2008. The probability of the occurrence is ZERO. Only 14 (5%) would be expected to exceed the MoE at the 95% confidence level. Of the 135 which exceeded the MoE, 131 red-shifted to the Republican. The probability P of that anomaly is ABSOLUTE ZERO (E-116). That is scientific notation for

        P= .000000000 000000000 000000000 000000000 000000000 000000000 000000000 000000000 000000000 000000000 000000000 0000001.

        1. Bev

          ES&S is also Election Software and Systems as in following article which suggests a horrendous link between the ownership of a voting machine company to child abusers potentially to blackmail politicians. We need to save kids and democracy.:


          In comments:

          Still Evil after All These Years: The Franklin Scandal and Pedophilia in High Places
          By Charles M. Young Posted by Dave Lindorff

          The World-Herald Company is co-owner of Election Software and Systems, which counts half the election ballots in the United States.

          Hands-On Elections: An Informational Handbook for Running Real Elections, Using Real Paper Ballots, Counted by Real People – 2nd Edition
          by Nancy Tobi

  2. Clever Username

    Why is there an embedded youtube of Stalin’s Humanzee Experiment in the middle of this article?

    1. thefutureisowls

      Ditto. Total non-sequiter and lowers the apparent level of seriousness of this post to sub-buzzfeed. I’m flummoxed as to how that video ended up here, I hope it’s not ad algorithm grasping.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I have no idea. I not only did not embed that video (you’ll see the correct one is from a well publicized scientific experiment) but I have never seen the one that wound up in there. Creepy. Thanks for alerting me. It could have been up there for hours if you had not complained about it.

      1. nigelk

        Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable might have made you guys not-so-popular with some of the Important People…

        I hope it’s just a glitch, but stay vigilant…

  3. spooz

    It seems like such a small thing, but what really grated on my nerves when I watched Hillary in the debate was her smug smile, which seemed to be another expression of the confidence of the anointed one. Granted, I despise the woman so I am hardly unbiased, but I’ll take Bernie’s anger any day. Its a legitimate expression of his taking on the economic and political power of the billionaire class,

  4. Chris Williams

    Given that most of Americans don’t get their news, their perceptions of those in the know, from NC and other real news sites, Hillary will be a shoe in unless you guys get off your butts and get some skin in the game

    1. Chris Williams

      that’s not to say many of you aren’t doing heaps.

      It gets much harder for the MSM to lie when there are people on the streets.

      If I could get a visa, I’d be there now

      1. jrs

        Haha, I’m so cynical now. I thought by “people in the streets” you meant the HOMELESS. And thought “yes, it is kind of hard to lie about the economy and how it is actually functioning, with people sleeping in the streets everywhere”. Oh … you meant something else perhaps …

    2. Jamie

      “shoo in”, a term from horse racing indicating a fixed race… quite applicable to Hillary… but has nothing to do with footwear… FYI.

  5. rusti

    Freddie DeBoer’s quote is very interesting:

    And second, because Clinton has long been assumed to be the heavy favorite to win the presidency, these publications are in a heated battle to produce the most sympathetic coverage, in order to gain access. That is a tried-and-true method of career advancement in political journalism.

    I had been scratching my head looking for explanations that boil down to a level of individual agency. As subservient as the mainstream media is, I have a tough time thinking that the beat-level reporters have a gun held to their head told which candidate to cheer for. Instead it’s a career move to win the title of most-loyal-lapdog from Ezra Klein.

  6. jgordon

    While it may be true that the media pundits are delusional, rather than simply medacious, I think the point should be made that either way when the media reports things that are blatantly in conflict with reality then media is discredited.

    These people, in both the media and government, seem to have lost all sense of consequence and reality. For them lying and cheating are costless activities that can be employed ad nauseum without fear of retribution. But that’s not really true is it? The longer the water builds behind the dam, the worse the flood will be.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Interesting, late in the day news about Bernie’s fundraising that is truly eyebrow-raising:

      Only 270 of Sanders’ 650,000 donors gave the maximum $2,700 permitted under campaign finance law. And more than 77 percent of contributions – $20.2 million this quarter and $30.7 million altogether – came from individuals who gave less than $200.

      The campaign reported a surge of donations totaling $3.2 million since the Democratic debate.

      Read more here:

      To your point about national media ‘losing touch’, even with blogs and comment threads — when I was at the McClatchy site today, I was really intrigued when I spotted at item stating that McClatchy is closing overseas bureaus to put more focus on regional coverage. That strikes me as more than a random ‘tea leaf’ —

      McClatchy is the former Knight-Ridder, and has a network of local outlets all over the US. It’s going to be interesting as 2016 arrives to see whether this kind of business-information model (putting more emphasis on regional coverage) is better able to capture the public angst than the DC Beltway pundits.

  7. Virginia Simson

    Yes! Absolutely first rate commentary.

    The Empress of Kaos and her vessal state mouthpieces need to realize she’s NOT running the country yet.
    Her smug superiority over her status rather than a body of accomplishments is very frightening really.

    I can’t stand listening to her knowing all the suffering she has caused to so many ordinary people. From the wars in LIbya, Syria and the war on drug addicts in this country … she’s truly loathesome.
    But who is going to call her out?
    I protested her at one of her fundraisers ($2500 a plate; very progressive ..). Some guy came up and yelled at ME that I am not a “patriot”.
    If her brand of neoliberalism is what it takes to be patriotic, well …

    1. nigelk

      Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.

      Ours hasn’t deserved it since before any of us were born.

      Her response on Snowden disqualifies her in my mind from being so much as a city councilwoman.

  8. timotheus

    We have an excellent example of pundit cluelessness in the UK elite’s massive near-dementia over the triumph of Corbyn in the Labour party internals. Not only did they completely miss what was happening under their noses, they have now abandoned any pretense of objectivity in their permanent assault on him disguised as reporting. Their biases are approaching open derangement to the point where even those not paying close attention may begin to filter out the hooting hysterics. Our opinion shapers run the risk of generating the skepticism attached to members of Congress as the official line becomes too blatant and simply turns into background noise to a large chunk of the population.

    1. James Levy

      I think it was inevitable that she would be seen as a winner, the way Reagan was after the second debate, simply by showing up and not pissing herself on stage or talking like a mental case. Clinton was calm and assured and didn’t make any obvious gaffes. Elites of all stripes wanted to be reassured, and they were reassured, so Hillary “won.” It is this process of reassuring those who already have penciled her in as the nominee that counted in the MSM, not any points made or arguments won by the “contestants.”

      1. Brindle

        Yes, Hillary as “product” was a success. The substance of her positions was irrelevant, it was the functioning of the hologram that was deemed paramount.

      2. Oregoncharles

        “reassuring those who already have penciled her in as the nominee that counted in the MSM, ”

        Did you mean to say they’ll cheat, if necessary, to MAKE herthe nominee? Because I think that’s what you said.

        1. James Levy

          No, they just assume she will win, find her acceptable, and want things to work out that way. They may cheat, but I think what they want is for Hillary to be in good form and keep the narrative flowing. That’s why they were so happy that Hillary performed adequately at the debate.

      3. Ed Walker

        Good point, James Levy. Most people haven’t been paying attention to anything other than horse race coverage, because that’s all there is in the media. Seeing Bernie and hearing him explain his position is meaningful for them far beyond that horse race stuff.

  9. Lucy Finn-Smith

    I think its a bit sexist to say Hillary’s voice ” grates ” , or her smile is ” smug ” …would this be said about a man ?
    Hillary has been active in women and children issues since early 1980s when she was first lady of Arkansas. Bernie is great on all issues , I love all his ideas, but the truth is what most Americans see ( and are told by the media ) is an ” angry old hippie /socialist who wants to give away ” free stuff ” .
    He has managed to move the conversation but I do not see him being the nominee. I think Bill Maher said it best when he said ” , am I ready for Hillary , yes , am I excited about Hillary , no “

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I say this all the time about men. I’ve made even harsher remarks about Jamie Dimon’s ‘tude before Congress. And people who hold the prejudice you describe about Bernie are typically ones who’ve only read that he is a socialist from Vermont (granolahead state!) and have never seen him speak. His positions are utterly middle of the road as of the mid 1980s.

      I suspect you also have not been reading the site long enough to realize that I am female and don’t take well to political correctness.

      I must remind you that:

      1. Conventional wisdom as of May was that Sanders was going nohwere

      2. Clinton’s disapproval ratings keep rising the more exposure she gets, and now exceed her approval ratings

      3. She loses in polls when matched against ANY of the Republican candidates 1:1 save the really fringey ones.

      4. She looks unhealthy. I can see her breaking down physically as things go on. She’s on coumadin, an anti-stroke med which is not prescribed casually. Odds are high her passing out in the Middle East was a mini-stroke. And her medial report suspiciously comes from a small-town MD and reads as if it was negotiated by attorneys. You’d expect someone at her level to be seeing top doctors affiliated with a major teaching hospital.

      The odds do not favor her being the nominee. Place your wager on Biden or Sanders.

      1. Furzy Mouse

        I completely agree with you Yves about Hil and Bernie…she was shrill and angry…but the MSM ignored that, and pointed the finger at Bernie, who was calling for us all to work together, and demonstrated his willingness to do just that…Hil’s voice is horribly grating; when the rerun of the debate came on CNN, I had to turn it OFF…what a pack of zombie lemmings we have in the commentariat…GO BERNIE!!

      2. Deloss Brown

        Oh, yes, indeed, it works both ways. I talked to a very dear friend last night who said that she wouldn’t vote for Bernie because she couldn’t stand listening to his voice for four years.

        I do not share everybody’s strong revulsion for Hillary. And the Republicans are terrified of her: I’ve been getting emails from STOPHILLARYPAC for a year. I would rather have Bernie as President, I think. But I’m a gradualist. I’d rather have ANY Democrat. The Republicans have no sane candidates, as I understand the word.

        Whatever happens, Bernie has dragged a lot of topics into the light. If he continues to define “socialism” as paid family medical leave, Medicare for everybody, and protection of Social Security, even the least observant will begin to see what the debates should be about. And the Republicans are absolutely incapable of talking about these things. Ridicule may cause them to change position on global warming and evolution–but it hasn’t so far.

        And if Bernie hadn’t been on stage, I doubt that Hillary would have shouted “Tax the rich!” But she did.

        Confusion to our enemies. Going to send NC a few pennies now. Good luck to Yves.

        1. none

          I like Bernie’s voice, can’t stand how he keeps saying “and let me say THIS…”. I hated Al Gore’s voice and everything else about him. Hillary’s voice is good but her cackling laugh scares the piss out of me.

      3. John Zelnicker

        Thanks, Yves, for the synopsis of Hillary’s health issues. I had heard there were some, but I didn’t realize it was as serious as coumadin indicates. I agree with your wager, as I think we will see her drop out for health reasons and Biden will be brought in.

        1. JEHR

          Well, I wouldn’t say that someone (like me) taking medication to prevent a disease is necessarily sick. The medication itself helps keep the body healthy. However, I did notice that Hillary looked tired during the time she was secretary of state.

          1. JTMcPhee

            A close fàmily member takes Coumadin ™, generic name is warfarin. It is in fact a scary med, and requires attention to a consistent set of nutrition inputs. As well as very frequent monitoring of the coagulation properties of her blood. A few leaves of kale sent my dear one to the hospital, at risk of a thrombus. The therapeutic range is narrow, and stress can cause excusions. The med itself causes many problems with long use. There must be something significant about HC’s health for her to be ingesting that med. If nothing else, better pay close attention to the people in the line of succession…

        2. Crazy Horse

          I’ve had the same impression about Clinton’s state of health as Yves. And the best possible thing for the country would be if her massive cardiac failure came sooner rather than later.

          On the other hand once she is ensconced on her throne, It probably would make little difference from a policy standpoint if she were brain dead and on life support. Any politician is merely a figurehead— but the Empire slogs on regardless of the waters rising around it’s feet or the cliff up ahead.

      4. nigelk

        Thank you for dissembling one of the few remaining charges against Sanders supporters since he’s unassailable on the issues (relative to Clinton – he’s problematic on foreign policy for me also but she’s the worst possible Dem candidate).

        Critiques about Clinton’s presentation are legitimate. She’s running to be our representative to the rest of Earth. Her grating voice, smug smile, and general air of pomposity are off-putting to voters and will cost her like it did in 2008. And anyone who cares what other countries think of us would be wise to take this into account. It is difficult to imagine Sanders morphing into an “Arrogant American” leader like all of the last 5 since Carter.

        No one is sexist for pointing that out, any more than pointing out she’s a Warmongering Neoliberal former Wal-Mart Board Member tied to Wall Street who had a road-to-Damascus moment on income inequality at some point in the last 6 months (oddly, only since Bernie began eating her lunch) and now expects us to ignore a 30 year record of helping everyone in “The Big Club” at the expense of the citizens who turn the gears to generate their obscene and unearned wealth.

        She’s an enemy of the very concept of human dignity itself, and quite frankly, if she were a man, I’d be HARDER on her without the fear of being labeled a misogynist for being anti-Imperialism.

      5. Roger Bigod

        Noticing vocal tone isn’t sexist. One of the enduring memories of McGovern was the whiny, nasal fingernail-on-blackboard voice. For years I’ve used it as an illustration of the thesis that the loser of a presidential election is the one who sends the message that a vote is a moral, self-improving obligation like eating spinach.

        There seems to be an element of sexism in favor of females in the lack of response to Hillary’s “We came, we saw, he died.” Hard to imagine a male SoS coming out with that, especially with the self-satisfied giggle.

        1. Inverness

          Yes, men have been subject to complains about annoying voices. I enjoy Sander’s Brooklyn by way of New England staccato speach, actually. I recall an Israel candidate, Herzog, who was running against Netanyahu in Israel, and actually admitted that his nasal whine was hurting his campaign.

          1. Lambert Strether

            I’ve been turning down the sound and throwing things for 15 years. First Bush’s voice grated, then Obama’s grated. Now Clinton’s voice grates. None of this is surprising.

      6. pwndecaf

        I will vote for Bernie first – he is my hope for the nomination. If Biden decides to run and wins the nomination, I’ll vote for him.

        If it is HIllary as the nominee, I’ll still vote for Bernie.

        1. trinity river

          Joe Biden –
          Vice President Joe Biden: No improper motive by feds at Waco, the Davidians “committed suicide”.

      7. Lucy Finn-Smith

        I love this site and have been reading it for years , long may it continue !
        I guess I underestimate the strong emotional involvement Americans ( I am Irish born , naturalized American ) have ,in their Presidential elections .
        I have a friend who changed channels every time Bill Clinton came on the screen, ” he gives me nausea ” he said … then when GW Bush was elected I was almost doing the same thing !
        I see Hillary as a very strong leader, more liberal than Bill , smarter than Bill ,(he himself has said this ) she is not as politically skilled as Bill and she is the first woman seeking this office so all the rules for her are different . I have been observing her for 33 yrs , ( I live in Little Rock ) She can do this job and do it well .

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Since you claim to be an observer of Hillary how do you rationalize Hillary’s views on:

          -the security state
          -her efforts on behalf of TPP and Keystone until she was being hounded at every campaign stop
          -her questionable campaign decisions in 2007/8
          -her inability to help female candidates win elections in 2014
          -questionable donations to the Foundation from ugly parties who seem to be beneficiaries of her policies.

          If you approve of her positions, that’s fine, but the opposition to Hillary is based around a view of her record not of her intelligence or being less liberal than Bill. The opposition is her support for extreme right wing policies. Do you have any explanations or is Hillary being “smart” good enough? Do you have any observations about Hillary’s 33 years in the public eye?

          1. Lucy Finn-Smith

            I am not an expert on foreign policy , I hate war , the Iraq war was a disaster but MANY Dems voted for it , why single her out? Afghanistan is now a quagmire, and Pres Obama is being castigated for assassination by drone -see Digby on latest whistleblower.

            She has admitted Iraq was a disaster , ( the first Gulf war was hailed as a big success and some Dems were castigated for voting against that war, this is probably what she was thinking at the time )
            As regards advocacy , Hillary has always supported women children and families by word and by deed and she is not at all squishy re. being pro choice from the very beginning, this in the bible belt state of Arkansas. As regards Corporations , Big Pharma , and Wall Street they have to be courted at first , nothing can be done from the outside , better to get in power and then put Warren on their tail …… right now they are hoping for Hillary because Bernie scares the pants off them ,,,,,, in this way he is moving the needle and that is his purpose now .
            America will simply not elect a man like Bernie at this time , ( happy to be proved wrong on this ) his ideas WILL come , it will take 20 yrs or so , ( after 8 years of Hillary )

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              She’s running for President on her foreign policy acumen despite participating in the push for the invasion of Iraq. That is why Hillary gets singled out. Bernie on the other hand voted against the war, but I guess he’s not an expert.

              Hillary said, “we made a mistake” while demanding or not working to fix those mistakes or hold liars to accountability. 25 or so Democratic Senators and 150 Representatives didn’t make that mistake

              Word and deed? Come on now, she’s a cookie cutter Democrat at best who wastes the treasury on wars, has wrecked Haiti, threw millions off welfare, enriched the wealthy, cheered on devolution, and empowered hideous hacks like her campaign manager John Podesta who lobbied to end the pesky ban on federal employees entering the lobbying business. She hasn’t called for reform of the Democratic Party.

              Wall Street needs of be crushed, not reasoned with. The financial sector is too big, and I forgot to reference the House of Saud, who don’t care very much for women except as property.

              I should point out you didn’t address a single concern except to say hey other people are jerks too.

              1. OIFVet

                Foreign policy acumen, what a joke. And she learned nothing from Iraq, absolutely nothing. “We came, we saw, he died,” and then there was chaos. Not enough chaos, apparently, as Egypt and Syria followed on her watch. I don’t want more of the same, which is 100% what we are bound to get if she is elected.

                1. Inverness

                  Lucy, I think we’re talking about brand loyalty, here. If you examine her voting record, personal history (board of Walmart) and failures (just compare her to Kerry, who did get that Iran Deal), she’s not only unimpressive, but dangerous.

                  1. Lucy Finn-Smith

                    I absolutely disagree , I agree with ALL of her positions on policy , I see the same thing that is happening as happened in 2008 , the “purists ” ” all or nothing ” , are slamming the ” lets get there by inches, incremental changes “, people , and again we are fighting among ourselves while the ” crazies ” may well take over the whole shebang if we are not united …….
                    There is no perfect candidate , Obama has disappointed on numerous fronts —public option ??? — we can get her elected , it can happen . She will not put her army of supporters out to pasture as Obama did and say ” I got it from here ” and then ,,, gridlock …

                    1. JTMcPhee

                      That last parts about not betraying her supporters – Wall Street, or Main Sreet, I have to ask? — you know this about her how?

                    2. NotTimothyGeithner

                      Which domestic policies?

                      Do you agree with Hillary when she was for TPP or her position of the last week when she suddenly came out against it after reports went around it was dead?

                      How about her support for DOMA over the years? Keystone?

            2. Strangely Enough

              Hillary was the only one on stage who voted for the Iraq war. That should be a disqualifying factor for anyone seeking the presidency.

        2. hemeantwell

          I see Hillary as a very strong leader

          Leadership in the service of neoliberal market nihilism. I hope we can do better.

        3. Strangely Enough

          It may come as a surprise, but some people, myself included, have voted for Cynthia McKinney, and Jill Stein, in seperate presidential elections. Pretty sure they are both women. And, they were not write-ins.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              You’ve gone from Jill Stein to Hillary? Except for their gender, I’m not sure how one can make this leap. Stein is concerned about Hillary’s e-marketing scandal and still running in case you were interested.

        4. Crazy Horse

          If this were still a country where laws meant anything we would not even be having this conversation. By choosing to conduct State business and store classified information on a private server hidden from oversight Hellary Clinton broke the law. The statute calls for prison terms for offenders and also bars them from holding future public office.

          However in an oligarchy those who have achieved sufficient power are no longer subject to laws.

          Bernie Sanders showed himself to be a weak little politician by his attitude of “move along now, nothing to see here—” Although the plank he is running on may look like a breath of fresh air, what basis have we for concluding that he will not sign on to the next war sponsored by the Empire of Chaos? (unless the current war that the Overlords are fomenting with Russia turns out to be the final one for the Empire)

          ps the spelling of Clinton’s name is not a typo

        5. none

          Lots of other women have run for president. Carly Fiorina is getting significant attention on the Republican side this cycle, and Michele Bachmann ran in 2012. Jill Stein was the Green party nominee in 2012 and is running again this year. Shirley Chisholm on the Dem side in the 1970s was before my time, but I think there may have been one or two since then. Running doesn’t mean much, getting elected is more interesting. It hasn’t happened yet but maybe Elizabeth Warren will run someday.

    2. Katiebird

      That smug smile (like just about every other element of her campaign this year) is modeled on Obama. That smile (with squinting eyes) looks exactly like Obama saying that Hillary was “likeable enough” …. I hated it on him, and I hate it on her.

      1. ambrit

        That smarmy grimace turns me off as well.
        As I struggled up from the Gates of Sleep this morning I ‘flashed’ on an image of Clinton wearing that ‘used car salesman’ grin with the caption; “The Desolation of Smug.” The image of Bernie as a Hobbit has a definite appeal.

        1. OIFVet

          Her hyena cackle. It’s unbearable. It is also probably not fair to the hyenas to compare them to Clinton. When Sanders did his chevalier act about the emails and Clinton cackled, I had a flashback to “We came, we saw, he died.” It’s the cackle of the predator, harbinger of more death and destruction. I shuddered at that one.

          1. Crazy Horse

            “We came, We saw, He died.” Cackle,chortle. Clinton’s foreign policy in aTwitter sized sound bite.
            (as she watches live video of Gadaffi being sodomized with a bayonet by our Al-Quadea affiliated “freedom fighter” allies in Lybia.)

      2. RabidGandhi

        Frankly I could live with her smug smile, cackles, canned demeanour, whatever… if she would only not destroy countries like Libya/Syria, break up TBTFs and jail bankers, fight for single-payer, stop the police from murdering brown people…

    3. zapster

      Ron Paul and Jim Webb grate on my nerves. As do others. GW made my skin crawl. Hannity is strident and slimy. O’Reilly is the sultan of smug. :\

      1. James Levy

        I don’t mind angry, but I hate smug. People can have a reason to be angry. No one has a reason to be smug.

    4. Oregoncharles

      HRC’s voice grates because it’s very forced. Granted, other, not so metallic voices, like Obama’s, also grate just because we now know who they really are. But I think the forced quality is important, and not because of her gender.

      Smugness is a universal human fault with little connection with gender. Obama is probably the ultimate example; after all he’s the ultimate con artist. Hillary is probably more genuine.

    5. Kris Hughes

      It’s like you’re saying no one makes fun of Trump’s hair. Hell, everyone in the public eye is a target. Webb’s voice grated on me. (I’m female by the way) and so did Hillary’s, and so does Bernie’s a bit, but I still support him.

      As for affirmative action for politicians – Maggie T completely cured my of thinking women will do a better job, and Obama has pretty much cured me of thinking the same about racial minorities. And that’s actually how it should be, isn’t it? I’ll vote for a black, gay, disabled woman when I think she’s the best person for the job, and not before.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Trump’s hair is part of Trump’s brand. So I think that’s OK. For the rest of it, I try to avoid it.

        The whole question of quality of voice is a vexed one; and I remember plenty of sexist comments from 2008.

        That said, I hadn’t heard such an extended passage of politicians talking for literally years (I mostly stick to transcripts) and my reactions were so strong I think it’s a useful topic for discussion. We ought to be able to distinguish sexist tropes from our reactions to the timbre and tone of voices of public figures, after all, difficult though it may be.)

  10. Mary Lou Isaacson

    One issue that is not ever discussed is the fact that many Americans cannot even watch the debates.
    I live in an area that has no cell phone service and no cable TV. Satellite TV is available but is
    often lost in storms. So my husband and I hunkered down to watch the debate on our little
    laptop and were “grateful” that CNN was so generous in making this possible.
    There are many Americans who do not have internet and do not have some form of cable TV.
    These are the very poor and lower middle class who have been forced to cut back on all monthly
    expenses in order to survive. How democratic is this?
    I am angry. I have never supported Hillary Clinton and I look upon the Clintons as opportunists
    who have become rich on the political system. The “party” machine members want to keep
    their jobs and the wealthy want to continue to privatize everything and fleece all of the rest of us.
    Clinton is owned by the party and the banks. The media is part of the club.
    Bernie is our only hope. Let us all help him to continue. We have been forced to live lies for
    the past 30 or 40 years. The media cannot ignore him if he can continue in his path.

    1. redleg

      You aren’t alone in your view or righteous anger that you have vividly described.
      In my opinion, I would rather see a genuine fascist get elected president and suffer the consequences than a faux-“liberal” corporatist Dem (Clinton, et al.) and suffer the same consequences but make the actual fascists look honest in comparison.

    2. aliteralmind

      I’ve never been politically active in my life. I was inspired the morning after the debates to write this:

      There is no way for *anything* Bernie Sanders proposes to be accomplished, unless we as a people stand with him, and behind him, as he tells the deadlocked-by-DESIGN congress to do what needs to be done.

      Make no mistake, by a very long shot, Bernie Sanders is the most important candidate of our lifetimes. Obama was great, Bill Clinton was great, but they were both corporate shills who could only do so much within the suffocating constraints put on them by their donors.

      The 99% has been made to accept this do-nothingness, this hopelessness, these monthly mass shootings, this global warming, this justice-for-only-the-one-percent, and these evil companies that consider illegal activity–at only the 99%-s expense, of course–as the *foundation* of their business.

      We have been brainwashed, starting with our parents’ generation, that this is all just okay and normal. We are given a few gentle pats on the head, an iPhone and five hundred channels, and we all are told to go and relax, because we worry too much and work too hard. They reassure us that they’ll take care of us because, you know, trickle down economics….

      The world is burning, and ‪#‎istandwithbernie‬, to help him, for once in our lifetimes, start solving some truly enormous problems before it’s too late.


      (And the potential passage of the TPP makes this all-the-more urgent!)

      1. hemeantwell

        Obama was great, Bill Clinton was great, but they were both corporate shills who could only do so much within the suffocating constraints put on them by their donors

        Perhaps what this article brings out is that the attribute of “greatness” is a product of corporate state sponsorship. The trick is to make official tolerance and enthusiasm appear to be an individual quality. Would Clinton have been great if his supposed comment early on about “fucking bond traders” served as a guide to his policies? Nah. They would have given him the Carter treament, making him look feckless/ineffectual/moralizing, etc.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Carter lost union votes which cost him the election. Surprisingly enough, Carter crushed the truckers unions and reneged on his ’76 promise to get rid of Taft-Hartley. Did the union members who “abandoned” Carter abandon him over media portrayal on “Nightline” or Carter’s anti-union policies? The media can rewrite history, and plenty of Democrats don’t want to come to grips with the real Carter because he probably spent much of his life trying to atone for his Presidency. Carter can whine about not sending enough helicopters, but he might want to look at his domestic record, the real one not the record Team Blue pretends cost him the election to justify their corporatism.

  11. Steven D.

    I confess to being amazed at the collective media freak-out over Bernie Sanders. It’s like they all shouted, “A black man with a gun!,” and pointed their own guns at him and shot him.

    It’s a stark illustration of how the media serves as just another pillar of the neoliberal empire, rather than guardian of democracy. They’re entirely corrupt.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      I agree. The corporate MSM’s obvious organized “Circle the Wagons!” effort to move the needle away from Sanders suggests more than a whiff of panic is in that foul neoliberal air. It is a sign of political weakness, not confidence in the strength of one’s arguments.

      1. athena

        Anecdotally, I noticed Democratic Party loyalists becoming angrily aggressive to Sanders supporters yesterday on facebook, calling us all kooky conspiracy theorists and on par with Trump supporters, saying we had cheated on the online polls, etc. They actually feel threatened now.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Team Blue establishment is heavily invested in Hillary, largely because the are too loathsome to advance without patronage. Take DWS. Down in Florida she was laughed at around during the state this Spring when she expected to be nominated for Senate after she oversaw the election disaster, crushed the Marijuana initiative, and forced Charlie Christ (an honest to go Republican) on to the ballot.

          Is future candidate and former lobbyist candidate X connected to ACA? If the answer is yes, they won’t win an election outside of Versailles. The last thing they want is for people outside of Versailles to regain power over the mechanisms of the Democratic Party.

    2. Bridget

      It’s exactly the same reaction that Trump is getting on the other side. I am coming around to the view that Clinton v Bush is a win/win for TPTB and Sanders v Trump is a lose/lose. I hope they both get their respective nominations.

      1. redleg

        Exactly. Both represent revulsion of the existing power structure, which IMO is why the MSM can’t figure out what is going on.

  12. oho

    Reportedly (google it for the poll), only 45% of Democrats! knew that there was even a debate.

    Presuming that most of the spinning was aimed to deter a Biden bid and prevent big money donors from defecting away from HRC.

    If HRC et al. want to wallow in their own self-awesomeness, go ahead.

    Bernie is raising plenty of cash, and when Q3-Q4/2015 fundraising figures are released, lots of crow is going to go around.

    1. nigelk

      “…only 45% of Democrats! knew that there was even a debate.”

      “Exxxxxxxxcellentttttt,” hissed Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, rubbing her hands together…

      1. craazyboy

        Deb is probably cooking up plans for Debate 2.0 (improved version)

        Narrows things down to 3 empty chairs. No live coverage necessary. The press will tell us what happened.

        Memo to press – get the War on Women angle too, this go around pleaz. No more of this Mr. Nice Guy Bernie stuff. You can do better. Bernie does look kinda like a wife beater or a child molester, doesn’t he??. Maybe it’s the crazy hair or the angry voice. Just a suggestion. Put your thinking caps on. All inputs appreciated.

  13. aronj

    “The media” is bound to have conflicted feelings about a candidate who attacks “Citizen’s United” since the ruling represents a major source of advertising revenue. “Don’t cut off the hand that feeds you”.

  14. david

    “again proves how isolated our elites and their media mouthpieces have become”

    Media isn’t isolated, it is controlled dissemination of mass distribution of talking points – all the coverage in US and Europe has been the same way with the same headlines for Russian coverage, Ukraine, MH-17, and now Syria. So clinton is added to the list for the No Fly Zone of truth in reporting.

    The reporting objective is known before the event takes place. Reminds of BBC coverage in 2001 when they reported the demolition of building # 7 “before” it went down.

    she is dangerous:

    War will come easy, SS will be destroyed, TTP will be enforced rigidly, Banks will run wild – The 2016 Agenda!

    1. redleg

      SS won’t be destroyed, per se. It will be handed over lock, stock, and barrel to Blankfein and Dimon. Then it will be destroyed by default (excuse the wordplay).

  15. Carolinian

    Great post. Chris Hedges, in one of his many interviews, says that the bias of most reporters is not ideological but that it’s more about their careers. He knew that there were certain things he couldn’t say at the NY Times and that when he finally did say them he would be fired and he was fired. Perhaps it’s the owners of these far too powerful institutions that need to be put under the spotlight.

    But at least we still have the internet and sites like this one. Once people begin to seek out alternative sources of information those owners will see their own livelihoods under threat.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        But the bandwagon dynamic we see playing out of sycophantic and even overtly dishonest reportage in order to position oneself higher on the access hierarchy for a presumed Clinton administration only has power as long as she remains the presumptive nominee. This dynamic and its trail of carrots surely begins to lose its coercive power when Sander’s rising poll numbers cross over Clinton’s declining numbers as I believe they will. Assuming of course that the motivations for the sneeringly biased reportage we are seeing of the campaign towards the nomination are primarily careerist/opportunist rather than ideological, what happens if it begins to truly look like a Sanders nomination is in fact a real possibility or even likely? Now I’ll assume that the people at or near the top of the news organizations, being the very elites Sanders inveighs against, will follow the Clinton campaign in lemming fashion off the cliff, but how far down the press hierarchy can this elitist wagon circling around the Clinton campaign penetrate? Will the editors and reporters who actually create the bulk of mainstream media content and aren’t members of economic elite be willing to follow?

        If Sanders becomes the nominee, as I am beginning to expect will happen, will the putatively liberal press after having lustily demonized them be forced to endorse a Trump or Cain candidacy as a lesser evil at the risk of alienating their readerships and indeed the bulk of their own organizations? What becomes of the NYT or the WaPo et al if they cross that Rubicon? It puts them in a very hard spot, a spot I would love to see them have to try to navigate their way out of.

        1. James Levy

          We saw this in the run-up to the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. The fix was in. Everyone in the elite media knew it. They also had an excellent idea of the way those who don’t “support the troops!!!” would be treated once the bombs started falling. So they complied with the narrative the Bush Administration and its allies wanted and either ignored or demonized those who didn’t with the sure knowledge that they would be “safe” once the shit hit the fan. And to this day no one has lost a job or gone to jail or been ostracized for having backed that war. But Phil Donahue was exiled from the MSM never to return.

          If Hillary wins, those who have played along will be well placed. If Sanders looks like he will get the nomination, the MSM will throw their hearts and souls behind the “moderate” conservative left in the Republican field. If by a miracle Sanders wins the Presidency, they will be openly opposed to his administration from Day 1 and not interested in access as all coverage will be outraged coverage as the “reasonable” candidate failed to win. It will be a the Carter presidency all over again, only worse (not because Jimmy didn’t try to play ball with the elite, but because they never felt him one of their own or anyone who “deserved” to be President–I will never forget the howls of outrage from the media when he walked down Pennsylvania Avenue rather than ride in his limousine/tank–and look at his ugly kid whom he wants to send to public school, and his drunk brother–so low class! such a rube!).

          1. hemeantwell

            Your reference to Carter is just what I had in mind in a comment above. The MSM is largely about mobilization of bias, aka mobilization of slime, covered up in an infotainment chocolate coating. Now, with alternative sources of info and dialogue I don’t think they can pull it off as easily as they did in Carter’s case.

        2. RabidGandhi

          My personal hunch is that if Sanders is the nominee (to the horror of Team Blue), he won’t be facing Trump or Cain, and that will make it a lot easier for the MSM and DNC powerbrokers to do everything possible to throw support to the “moderate” Repub candidate eventually foisted upon the GOP faithful (Bush? Mitty?). Call it PAC ex machina.

          Given how this has happened in every recent election cycle, with the clown car candidates eventually getting replaced by the establishment guy, the whole thing feels like that scene in Return of the Jedi, when they attack the death star and the star destroyers are just standing there, waiting. The big money has yet to open fire in this race.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            If it is Sanders v. Trump, then look for Bloomberg to get in as an independent and the entire establishment apparatus to throw in behind him.

            Which would be very interesting. If Sanders actually wins the nomination, that would portend the kind of battle inside the D party for which I have been advocating and, if the Sanders-ites won, I could envision the Wall Street/Bloomberg/Peterson crowd trying to start a new centrist party, leaving what is left of the Dems for the left and the R’s for the far right.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              There would be more never nudes than members of spoiled losers rallying behind a Republican everyday of 43’s administration. The legacy parties govern through nostalgia and tribal identity.

              An outsider billionaire would be different, but he would have to avoid the establishment despite the obvious irony and have charisma and a product or brand one could hold. Julia Louise Dreyfuss would work. She’s an heiress.

              1. RabidGandhi

                I’m always conflicted with your posts as to whether you’re dishing out eleventh level chess policy insight or if you’re drunk Lewis Carrol on an ipad. “More never nudes than members”?

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  “Never nudes” is from the show Arrested Development. The character suffering from the affliction of never being able to be nude even in the shower claimed there were “dozens of us.”

                  I have a Samsung tablet and don’t always write well on it.

          2. jrs

            How much to the horror of Team Blue could it really be, they could always pull out the super delegates.

            If I was to get all CT isn’t it odd that the Dems have super delegates and the Reps don’t. Just exactly what kind of populist movement must be stopped at all costs … Reps have other dirty tricks but not one that extreme.

  16. Bearpaw

    Anger is particularly demonized in America …

    Much less so for white, middle-class men, especially on the right. But pretty much everybody else, yeah. Always has been.

    1. sporble


      What strikes me here is a big disparity: everyone knows the Republicans are all about channeling
      anger. As far as I can tell, that anger knows no party lines. Discounting Bernie for being
      “piss and vinegar” – and calling him a “protest candidate” completely ignores the anger – and
      protest! – that’s out there.

      Civility is overrated.

      1. Erik

        Seriously, coverage of Trump is all about fawning over how he is successfully “tapping into the anger”. Of course, that coverage usually also ends with the statement that he will be overthrown eventually. I’m starting to think that the elite’s blindness to the electorate’s anger could result in a Sanders vs. Trump election, because the more the elite tries to pooh-pooh them and push Hill and Jeb (or Cruz or Rubio), the stronger their support seems to become. All done under the assumption that cooler heads MUST prevail.

        The irony is that Sanders got into the race with the stated intention of simply preventing a coronation and making Hillary swing to the left, but his success may make him a real contender. Meanwhile Trump got in stating in no uncertain terms that he WILL be President, but I can’t imagine that his real end game is to see this election all the way through.

  17. CJS

    Great article and comments, especially the point about positioning for future access. No one with critical thinking skills will be surprised that the MSM is simply serving its own interests by “manufacturing consent.”

    During the debate, Sanders repeatedly called for people to stand up and demand justice. It’s time to follow his example and speak bluntly to family and friends who have contrived artful but empty rationales for throwing their vote away on Hillary Clinton, a hopeless candidate who will not change anything.

  18. Bearpaw

    One thing that’s interesting is that it’s not as though mainstream corporate media likes Hillary, considering how they cover her. It’s more like they’re committed to her being the Democratic candidate who will lose in the general.

  19. EoinW

    Didn’t you people learn anything from 8 years ago? Sanders is the new Obama. It is another con. Your political system is not going to produce any solution to America’s problems because the system itself is the problem. Supporting the least bad candidate is like saying: “I’m going to watch ABC News rather than Fox News because they lie less.” In fact, the least bad candidate – the one with the greatest illusion of change – is the best candidate for prolonging the system. Case in point Obama’s foreign policy. Do you think a Republican president could have gotten away with the same things and still had the full support of America’s allies? Obama gave cover to the likes of Harper, Merkle and Cameron, making it ok to support American militarism again.

    If you really want change then root for Trump – the best option to discredit a corrupt system. Let’s get Caligula into office and American Pharoah into the senate! Supporting Bernie Sanders is to want to gain short term superficial changes – unless he’s lying like Obama, in which case you lose on all counts. It may appear the pragmatic thing to do but I think it’s simply fear to change the system.

    1. Vatch

      Let’s get Caligula into office and American Pharoah into the senate!

      Caligula was emperor from 37 CE to 41 CE. The Roman Empire, including some emperors almost as bad as Caligula, lasted for more than a millennium after that. Yes, the Western part of the Empire fizzled out around 476 CE, but the Eastern part remained strong for several centuries beyond that. The remnants of the Eastern Roman Empire didn’t disappear until 1453 CE.

      Electing Trump won’t discredit our current oligarchy. it will just provide some extra material for the political cartoonists, while business continues as usual. Instead of vainly hoping that a bad President will favorably catalyze the system, we need to focus on electing a good President. For now, the most rational candidate for such a role is Bernie Sanders. He’s not perfect, but he’s electable, and he’s better than most (perhaps all) of the other twenty or so Democratic and Republican candidates.

    2. nigelk

      I half expected a Jill Stein endorsement before we got to the Trump nonsense.

      “Support a 1%er, he’ll overturn the system” is ridiculous whether it’s Clinton or Trump or Bush or any of the other fascists out there.

    3. aliteralmind

      Bernie is the only one who is not bought/part of the 1%, and by far the only one who *feels* real to me, and I suspect to the tens of thousands flocking to see him. He *gets it*. He is angry exactly the way I am angry. He expresses it just the way (well, more eloquently than) I would express it–and importantly, without being disrespectful to those who disagree.

      Obama and Bill Clinton were both exciting and hopeful, but both largely bought, as is/was every other candidate since well before I was born. They were both good presidents, but extremely limited by having to please/not go against their donors.

      Obama’s campaign was exciting and hopeful. His presidency has been good enough. Bernie’s candidacy is also exciting and hopeful–more so. But I think his presidency will be even more exciting, because he *NEEDS ME* in order to a accomplish anything and everything he proposes. Bernie will be the first president that must work directly with the average citizens of the United States, on a day-to-day basis, in order to avoid another four years of gridlock. Every president before him has said, “Thanks for electing me, now go home and let me do what you’ve elected me to do.”

      I was inspired the morning after the debates, as I wrote in an above comment:

      His “enough of your damn emails” comment was perfection, both for his candidacy and as a human. Kind, gracious, gives his direct competition serious relief that her own campaign could never manage, and focuses the conversation away from this distraction. It changes none of her actions or the potential legal issues, nor the potential consequences she might have to face.

      I love this man.

    4. washunate

      I sympathize generally, but the specifics don’t really hold up. I think going into that comparison in some detail is helpful. First of all, not watching the corporate media is possible (indeed, one irony of the impoverishment of young people is they can’t afford cable, the primary medium by which establishment frameworks are advanced). But not having a president is not, and Trump is not going to solve our problems (although he’s certainly an intriguing vote in the GOP primaries…). As Vatch pointed out, Sanders is clearly the best option that is realistic.

      Second, Obama was a con, an empty suit, sure. But Sanders isn’t. He’s not a warmonger pretending he’s a pacifist. He says openly he’s willing to take us to war. He also has specific things he has advocated and sticks to that – namely college, healthcare, and the banks. We can agree and disagree on substance, but that’s not an empty marketing slogan the way Obama’s rhetoric was.

      Third, Obama wasn’t the leftist in the 2008 race (that brand in itself was part of the Hope and Change con projection system). It was Edwards and Kucinich that offered the more radical critiques (again, not necessarily better in practice – but their rhetoric was notably less friendly to establishment thinking). It may be hard to remember, but before the entire Democratic party basically threw Kucinich under the bus, he was holding out against the Obamacare juggernaught. And it also may be hard to remember pre-occupy, but Edwards made poverty and inequality (the ‘two Americas’) a central issue at a time when discussing such things was absolutely taboo in established political circles. To this day, many liberals still refuse to acknowledge that we have been in an economic depression for the past two decades give or take or grapple with the crappy jobs in which tens of millions of workers are trapped.

      Fourth, Obama represented two things that had real, genuine components: the identity politics of mixed-race parentage and the ability to inspire people to work for him. Indeed he was so successful on this front that once he won, the Democrats actually had to spend a fair amount of effort demobilizing people from actually getting stuff done. By showing that the poor leadership was systemic in the Democratic party rather than specific to the Clinton wing, his election marks an interesting inflection point from which the Democratic party cannot return. The party either has to reform, or it will simply become irrelevant. Obama singlehandedly destroyed the greatest long-term instrument of the establishment: their ability to beat and threaten and cajole critics into submission. So many people now identify as independent that the Dems risk losing critical mass as a political party. So many people are fed up with local Democratic mismanagement that the major social upheavals are happening in heavily Democratic areas of the country.

      That’s what I think Sanders running as a Democratic candidate presents. The clarity of choice of whether leftists can reclaim the Democratic party, or whether it is going to disappear.

      As far as truly changing the system, yeah, I agree Sanders won’t do that. He’s an imperialist through and through, just a softer and gentler one. But that’s all we have. If anything, Sanders is probably slightly more reasonable than Teddy and FD Roosevelt, and those were probably the two best guys at things like breaking up established interests and implementing worker friendly legislation in the American Century. Even among leftists today, many are interventionists at heart; that’s one of the real problems we are grappling with, and Sanders does not solve that. But then again, who does?

    5. Just Ice

      Disagree. It’s time to give a Jew a chance because for one thing they don’t have a New Testament to allow them (ostensibly) to ignore the OT wrt to oppression of the poor, usury, etc.

      Besides, one should not knowingly vote for evil and expect eventual good.

    6. jrs

      You have a point about hoping for Sanders to bring real change. Data seems to prove that the U.S. is a plutocracy and yet every 4 years we pretend to believe in democracy nontheless.

      But rooting for Trump is just nutty I’m sorry. This discrediting you hope for will not happen. Remember we probably had a senile President even and he was not discredited. Why? Propaganda can make turd sandwiches taste like pastrami. There is no limit to how bad it can get. By voting for bad you make things worse, it’s not eleventy dimensional.

  20. Howard L.

    If I had just woke up after a 25 year sleep and the debate was the first time I had a chance to see HRC, I would think she had won the debate. The reality is that HRC is a fixed quantity. We know she will take political positions based on solely tactical criteria. We know that the job titles on her CV look impressive but she has not accomplished anything. We know about the many corrupt incidents in her past. In other words, HRC is no longer trusted by vast numbers of people but is just about the perfect candidate for the MSM.

    Bernie Sanders on the other hand is an unknown quantity. The debate is probably the first time many of the viewers had a chance to evaluate him as a candidate. I think he will have to do better in the next debate but the goal for this one was for BS to be the clear alternative to Clinton. In this I think he succeeded as the other Democratic challengers were just a tad better than awful.

  21. mad as hell.

    Monkeys indeed. That clip is brilliant unlike the debate.

    The debate part that was the most grating that I seen between the ball game was seeing Debbie Wasserman Schultz sitting in the audience in her royal splendor.

  22. Brooklin Bridge

    Access to the queen is a good reason for the fawning, but to this degree? And so unanimously? Never mind what’s behind that curtain!!! (ignore those polls…)

    Every media stone you turn over; Baghdad Bob and Barbara are singing duets at the top of their lungs. Something more is going on.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Note also the backtracking such as at HuffPo. When even the MSM is embarrassed, you know it’s gone beyond usual.

  23. Erik

    We have a 2 year old and at a day care meeting yesterday the Toddler Room teacher was discussing how this is the year that they will gain their most critical coping skills, and I could not agree more with her points.

    One key point was how to deal with frustration and disappointment. If they want a toy that someone else is playing with, but that person doesn’t want to give it up, they have to wait, and it’s OK for them to be frustrated. We have to acknowledge that and teach them how to DEAL with it. It’s the wrong response to tell then *not* to be frustrated or try to dictate how they feel.

    It’s the same with anger. If someone takes a toy they are playing with, anger is a true emotional response and it’s not proper to invalidate it. We have to teach them how to cope with that emotion in a positive way rather than lashing out physically as they might otherwise do. Again, though, anger is *not* an invalid emotion.

    Apparently our media doesn’t know some of these basic things. Not to compare the electorate to a toddler, but they should know that anger can be a entirely valid response. Of course, the major media fall into two camps: the senior people like the Dana Bashes of the world, who have mostly a supporting role in raising their own kids through an army of help, and the young indentured servants working their way out of a pile of debt, who won’t have kids for another 10-15 years. So the parenting experience that may inform this is seriously lacking :)

    1. Eureka Springs

      As a teen my mother once declared in the middle of a lengthy conversation – “Anger is when you allow people to control you.”

      Which pissed me off…) Until I had time to think it over.

      But of course she was right… Sans times when allow is not entirely accurate.

      Which is one of many reasons why I do not pay attention to MSM, certainly would never give them money via satellite or cable subscriptions, except thru filter/scrutiny posts/discussions such as this.

      1. nigelk

        Mom told me “holding a grudge is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies.”

        I like your mom’s truism too.

        We must remember that most of our media are people who have had comfortable lives — for their entire lives — and have never suffered at all. They seem to take the reverse course of what the media’s responsibility is. Our MSM comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted.

      2. redleg

        There is also righteous anger, directed at a source of great injustice. Jesus Christ himself, the “Prince of Peace”, (per sacred texts) violently exhibited righteous anger toward (ahem) the bankers of his day.

        Although I am not particularly religious, this story is an excellent example of righteous anger and (go figure) it’s directed at the same problem – bankers and corruption – as Bernie and his supporters are angry about today.

  24. DJG

    Bracing analysis above. So there is no winner of the debate, only spinning perceptions.

    I’ll admit that I didn’t watch the debate. Yoga is better that Jim Webb and his Scots-Irish ancestral resentments.

    In the written coverage, I’m seeing a few things that pop out unattractively:
    –Attempting to exonerate Clinton for privatizing her e-mail messages and server. Really, even the most Marie Antoinette-ish CEO knows not to do such a thing. In this regard, Sanders comes across as detached from real life, and Clinton comes across as Carly Fiorina.
    –Thinking that the U.S., after four years of forcing the Syrian people to endure “enhanced interrogation techniques,” has anything meaningful to say about Russia, Syria, ISIS, or the al-Nusra Front. All of their responses were clownish–if not downright obtuse and bloodthirsty.
    –Clinton has a special animus toward Iran? And we’re supposed to live in her fantasy world of bombing a nation of 80 million that is three times the size of France into submission? I’ll wait till she sends Chelsea to officer-training school. In this regard, I think that both Clinton and Fiorina suffer from never having been subject to the possibility of a draft into the armed forces.

    1. Vatch

      I understand your point about what Sanders said regarding Hillary Clinton’s privatized email server. What she did was just plain wrong, and the investigation needs to continue. But I don’t think he was exonerating her. Instead, I think he was saying two things:

      1. There needs to be more discussion of substantial issues that affect millions of people, such as the worsening of inequality. The frequent articles about the email problem distract us from Hillary Clinton’s persistent obsequiousness towards the ultra rich.

      2. If Sanders wins the nomination, Hillary Clinton’s supporters will remember that he didn’t gang up on her over the email issue. They’ll remember that it was other people who pushed relentlessly on that issue, so they’ll be emotionally prepared to support Sanders in the general election.

      1. aliteralmind

        As I wrote above

        His “enough of your damn emails” comment was perfection, both for his candidacy and as a human. Kind, gracious, gives his direct competition serious relief that her own campaign could never manage, and focuses the conversation away from this distraction. It changes none of her actions or the potential legal issues, nor the potential consequences she might have to face.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        Hillary Clinton’s supporters will remember that he didn’t gang up on her

        What Hillary did with her personal email server was not just poor taste or error, it was a breach of security as well as an end run around legal issues of public scrutiny by a high ranking administration official where the rules were perfectly clear. Bernie is on somewhat of a thin line here between being magnanimous on the one hand and supporting the, rules for thee but not for us, school of leadership on the other.

        As Yves mentions, one can be gracious and still fulfill the obligation to call out dangerous and probably illegal abuses of privilege for what they are. No, it’s not a show stopper, but it seems to me, nevertheless, to be a VERY considerable gift to Hillary that takes something rightful away from the rest of us.

        Having said all that, from the easy chair of hind sight, I would have suggested getting such an opinion out clearly some time before the debate, and then saying exactly what he did in the debate.

  25. sid_finster

    From the MSM point of view, it makes perfect sense as a strategy.

    We know that access is the currency in Washington, and that Rodham is legendary both for treating any perceived slight as a personal attack and for holding a grudge for a very long time.

    Sanders, not so much. People respect him, but they don’t fear his wrath.

    Make Rodham mad and see your access go bye-bye if she ever is elected. Sanders is too even handed to do something so petty.

  26. Steven Greenberg

    I am surprised that nobody has commented on the Howard Dean strategy. The corporate media ended Howard Dean’s candidacy by repeatedly showing a doctored video portraying Dean as too angry.

    Some of the local “news” shows I watched played that doctored video several times in one news show. By several, I mean at least 5 times.

    Even I thought that though the doctored video was objectively false, that the media were trying to portray an underlying characteristic of Dean that they detected. Even I thought he was an angry man. Now I know that he was rightfully angry, but just ahead of his time.

    I don’t think this tactic is going to work against Bernie Sanders because this time around the voters are just as angry.

    Our counterattack is that “Oligarchs Say That Bernie Sanders Did Not Win The Debate” That meme puts Bernie Sanders’ name next to the idea of winning the debate. Think of the other ways you could phrase the meme that would put the wrong name in the same sentence as winning the debate.

    1. Carolinian

      “Too angry” used to be combined with “nuclear button” to make it extra scary. Graydon Carter pulled out this old chestnut the other day while writing about Trump.

      The press in recent years have always seen their role as vetting candidates. It was the excuse The Miami Herald used when they hid in the bushes outside Gary Hart’s motel room. The combination of pop psychology with self righteous high mindedness is what Atrios calls High Broderism.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Dean’s numbers dropped before the famed gaffe in Iowa and New Hampshire. Edwards had South Carolina and was on message, and Kerry was a much better primary candidate than he was in the general.
      The Democratic establishment jumped on the scream over time to delegitimize anger and draw attention away from Kerry’s move from middle of the road Democrat to a softer, gentler 43 which ultimately led to failure.

      Dean was an advocate of balanced budgets and “welfare reform.” I wouldn’t join Dean and Sanders at the hip over Iraq which was still only supported by 47% of the electorate before combat operations began despite the constant barrage of lies including the war mongering of high profile Democrats such as Hillary. It wasn’t the politically compromising position Democratic excuse makers like to claim it was.

      As for the 50 state strategy it’s a common critique of Team Blue.

      1. Jim McKay

        > Dean’s numbers dropped before the famed gaffe in Iowa and New Hampshire.

        Yes, but marginally & he was still ahead until then. The “Scream” was plastered all over every major TV news outlet, Morning “Joe” and everything else… for days. And all those “conversations” began with the question (something like): “Can an angry, out of control idiot like Howard be trusted?”.

        It was a MSM lynching, 24 & 7… plain and simple.

        I took 6 months off work after meeting Dean in SF early on (I’d never heard of him) before his campaign “caught fire”. I thought he was the most grounded, clear thinking and courageous prez candidate I could remember, and over the time I worked for him (and had many conversations) he only further convinced me. Even with being marginalized and ousted from that election over the “scream”, it was largely his work the the Dems building national grass roots organizations that got BO elected: Obama never would have had a chance otherwise.

        > Dean was an advocate of balanced budgets and “welfare reform.”

        Much more then that. He spoke forcefully and openly against Iraq, at a time Bush was still “riding high” with is “Patriotism” BS playing on our 9/11 national shock. Dean stood alone on this. Kerry’s zeal to get the nomination drove his cutting Dean off at the knees with the “scream” and Iowa backroom “deals”… a self created myopia I always thought led him to get “caught with his pants down” on Rove’s well orchestrated “Swift Boat” lie.

        If Dean resurfaced, I’d vote for him in a heartbeat.

    3. The Heretic

      There is a difference with being angry due to a purpose (think Martin Luther king, Malcolm X and being hysterical like Howard Dean. It was really funny watching that video. The Howard Stern show (back when he was not politically correct and was actually funny), made some really funny riffs.

      People like controlled anger, not the mouth foaming type.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Dean wasn’t hysterical. A combination of Dean having to shout from an underpowered microphone in a noisy hall (poor staffwork) plus tight focus by a network camera plus immediate propagation by Dean’s establishment rivals (IIRC Gephardt) did the trick.

  27. Trish Flanagan

    The problem for Hillary is that actions speak loader than words and her political record belies anything progressive that comes out of her mouth. The issue for Hillary is one of authenticity, of integrity in the sense of a coherency between actions and words and the cognitive dissonance that emanates from this disconnect. The American public know that HRC works on behalf of corporate interests and that service in the public interest is secondary. The American public know that she has had a hand in illegal and unjust wars. Her public record speaks to that. Nothing she says in a debate or any other speaking platform is believable . And unfortunately for her, the mastery of the political lie under the Obama administration has sensitized the American public to this Orwellian reality. Sanders may say things less well but I think voters believe what he has to say. This confers on him an overwhelming advantage in a debate situation. Who do you believe?

    1. Ulysses

      “The issue for Hillary is one of authenticity, of integrity in the sense of a coherency between actions and words and the cognitive dissonance that emanates from this disconnect. The American public know that HRC works on behalf of corporate interests and that service in the public interest is secondary. The American public know that she has had a hand in illegal and unjust wars. Her public record speaks to that. Nothing she says in a debate or any other speaking platform is believable .”


      Her attempt to look like she wants to reign in Wall Street at the debate was very revealing in this regard. An obvious attempt to deflect, distract, and obfuscate the well-known fact, that she sees her job as representing the interests of Wall St.– the same interests who have so “blessed” her and her husband.

      1. Kokuanani

        I think the phrase you meant is “rein in Wall Street,” as in pulling on the reins to “rein in” a horse.

        Although with regard to Hillary, “reign” [as in a sovereign’s governing] is, even by accident, the correct term.

        1. Jim

          I laughed out loud during the debate when Hilary said something like “when I was Senator from New York, I represented Wall Street.” Probably the most honest statement she made all night!

      2. meeps

        On the topic of special interests; thank you, Ulysses, for being the first to bring the language of the “blessed” into the dialogue. HRC said, “God given” no fewer than 3 times (perhaps once apiece for the father, the son and the holy ghost). Her first utterance even managed to cram it into a sentence containing a science appeal! Miraculously, the other candidates avoided this particularly offensive and increasingly dangerous form of pandering. How is it that such flagrant disregard for the Establishment Clause doesn’t automatically disqualify a Presidential candidate? The “pass” being given to this unholy alliance of theocracy and kleptocracy is nauseating.

  28. TedWa

    We Americans are surrounded on every side by politicians, pundits, MSM and even financial advisers on TV who only know what they are being paid to know. The Republican party is a full blown example of this by acting cognitively impaired nearly 100% of the time. Money in politics.

    Bernie is running without any super-pacs and getting donations from every day citizens and it’s blowing the minds of those controlling the purse strings. Bernie’s the man and in that he has everyone on stage from either party beat. Except for Trump maybe, who last I heard said he can’t be owned by billionaires since he is one. Somehow I think that’s his real appeal.

    Don’t forget to tip the host and hostess people. Where else are you going find an alternative to those propagada outlets ?! Yves, thanks for that update on her medical condition, I could tell something was seriously wrong but couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Trump is also being universally denounced by the Village usually just for daring to participate instead of his policy views which are on occasion better than anyone but Sanders currently running outside of abortion and immigration. Even Tom Tancredo hacked publicly tutted at Trump. I’m fairly confident Tancredo would favor concentration camps.

      Hillary routinely makes Trump hair jokes because a 25 year old observation still kills. Trumps appeal is the Village hates him for interfering with the spectacle of Versailles. They hate Sanders for the same reason, Trump for usurping the spectacle and Sanders for pointing out the absurdity of the spectacle. It’s a story when a star player on a championship team doesn’t attend the meet and greet with the President. The whole exercise is absurd, but it’s Versailles.

  29. Jim McKay

    > And for some important topics, most of all Syria, the responses from all the contenders were remarkably poor,

    I’m glad you mentioned that. AFAIC, the reality of US intervention consequences the last 15 years seems oblivious, not just to these Dem candidates but all the Republicans as well. And MSM news just regurgitates the errors, reinforcing them day after day. Your video in your post the other day: “If Only All Reporters Gave News Like This…… sadly, entirely captured this “feedback loop” national dementia. Scary thing about Syria: there’s enough (almost all) crazies in the candidate pool believing Putin is a “threat” and “must be stopped”, a major military confrontation with Russia is certainly possible… based entirely on (to put it bluntly) lies.

    Charlie Rose’s 60 Minutes interview with Putin was interesting, as far as it went. For those who have watched European & ME news the last week or so, there’s a lot of video of Putin. Among other things, he’s said (referring to US ME “interventions”:

    “Can’t you see what you’ve done?”

    One of Putin’s responses to Charlie was, they (Russia) had convincing documentation of US (and unsaid, but Israel as well) direct support for Georgia, Ukraine and several other causes of conflict which these candidates and MSM has “blamed” (falsely) Putin.

    I was thinking when hearing this answer, if CBS/60 Minutes really wanted to do U.S. (and world) a favor, give Putin a few hours airtime and let him go through this documentation in detail: most of US public is unaware of any of it. Maybe, just maybe it would arouse an anger level here demanding national reconciling of the realities, of just how destructive our actions have been. And, how much $$ goes into them depriving us of doing so much here that’s needed, but ignored.

    I don’t see a single candidate, from either party… speaking or addressing anything other then a few “feel good” vague “what I will do” proposals: virtually nothing addressing reality. It seems like all of their “vision” is from their own rear view mirror looking back the last decade or 2, nothing speaking to the future in new and creative ways.

    Hard to express, in this day and age… for a nation with our resources and knowledge, how this current crop of “new leadership” can be so, saturatingly… stupid. If I wasn’t seeing it with my own eyes, I don’t think I would believe it.

  30. Benedict@Large

    I learned to pretty much ignore whatever Matt Yglesias had to say before he even got out of Harvard. Of course he’s very bright, but he thinks way to much of this, and as often as not uses it as an excuse for sloppy thinking. We don’t need a new David Brooks.

  31. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Brilliant analysis.
    And the monkey video is sheer genius. That video displays what Dylan Ratigan calls ‘the Ultimatum Game’, and I think it is precisely what’s happening in America today — and is playing out on the left as support for Sanders, and on the right as support for Trump.

  32. Jess

    Great article. What I can’t wait for is the dissembling that will occur after Bernie wins Iowa and New Hampshire. If he wins South Carolina the pundit class of the Dem side will commit mass ritual suicide. (Won’t that be fun to watch!)

    I also wonder what might happen to them when they suddenly realize that a Sanders win might mean that they no longer have access, as in “frozen out in the cold”.

    1. cwaltz

      I think someone above has it correct. The elite(including those in the Democratic party) will try to enlist someone like Bloomberg. It’ll be Joe Lieberman all over again. They’ll support whoever best serves their interests, not who activists choose. It’s one of the reasons I don’t particularly think the “Democratic Party” can be reformed(although I am watching the activists that want Bernie to win.)They don’t really care who the base chooses, only what will advance what the party leadership chooses.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      “……wonder what might happen to them when they suddenly realize that a Sanders win might mean that they no longer have access, as in “frozen out in the cold”.”

      I expect increasing idiocy from our ‘left”-leaning punditocracy in the next few months. They’ll bring the noise level up to 11 when they realize there may finally be a small re-jiggering of the status quo.

      As Ives has mentioned above, neither Bernie Sanders’ nor Corbyn’s current policy views would have aroused comment in 1975. They are both from that era, and both tout ideas that were within bounds for the center-left 40 years ago.

      The current establishment hysteria is particularly disgusting and pitiful when viewed from the vantage point of living memory. 40 years ago we actually faced an existential threat. The USSR had thermonuclear weapons on perpetual alert, aimed at our cities. The men (it was mostly men) who ran our nation then wouldn’t have dared to mug for the camera the way our “leadership” class does today. They weren’t much more honorable, but they feared us properly………… back in the day.

      Fear of the electorate is the Lord’s choicest ornament in a politician.

  33. tpp

    I want to ask some of the journalists writing about Clinton’s “win”, if they wrote their articles before or after the debate.

    Who won it blatantly obvious to anyone who’s actually looked into metrics of who “won”. And, yes, I get the stupidity of winning a debate in this context.

    However, there is one big metric that clearly shows Sanders coming on top, or at least very, very favorably among voters. That’s the fundraising numbers his campaign managed to rack up immediately after the debate. What was it…$1.3M in less than 12 hours or something like that. Those donations are all from regular people, so clearly people watching the debate thought he did great.

  34. GinaBella

    As Mark Twain said “If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.”

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the almost total lack of transparency in elections/voting machines, the dropping of exit polls (because they are so correct and are still much used in Germany for example), and how all of this corporate ownership of/corruption of voting machines controls elections anyway. (no paper ballots to check actual votes, no check off voting…and of course all the Repugs thuggery to block all those who might possibly vote democratic anyway).

    That this debate (and possibly others even more meaningless and inaccessible to those who need to see it the most), the long campaigning kabuki theatre of clowns period is just entertainment for the masses, and the media who make lots and lots and lots of money from it, which is the point isn’t it.

    Here’s an excellent book on how corrupted our elections system is… Code Red: Computerized Election Theft by Jonathan D. Simon.
    Went to hear Simon speak recently and he mentioned how hard he has tried to get many to heed the warning, even Bernie Sanders – but no one wants to open this can of worms, because of course they would be dismissed as a conspiracy nut and would lose their place in the democratic hierarchy. It’s all about the money and power and fear…

    Anyway. I don’t think Sanders has a chance to even get on the ballot in November because of the superdelegates at the convention and I agree with Yves it will be either Biden or Billary because that’s what the big money people want. And what they want is what they get.

    Unless of course the American people wake up and support Sanders and elect lots of Green Party type candidates. Bwa…ha.ha.ha.ha…

    1. jrs

      All true but it’s election season and we must promptly forget everything we know (not that I know enough about voting machines to be any more than suspicious, but plutocracy and super delegates and so on for sure). It’s not that there is necessarily any harm in pulling the lever for Sanders, almost Pascal’s wager style, it’s just it’s not all we know to be true.

  35. different clue

    I have to get to work real soon, so without checking to see if someone else has already said it better than I am going to say it; the CFP MSM pundits and reporters are all conducting a co-ordinated Information Operation against Sanders. They and their masters hope that if they repeat “Sanders lost” often enough, that the broad masses of people who have been conditioned to take their betters’ word for things will agree that Sanders lost the debate.

    There is no direct cure for mass defference on the part of the majority who will eventually take the CFP MSM’s word for it on Sanders’s performance. But there is an indirect way to disarm that brain-bomb. If people who think Sanders lost because the Media says so were to decide individually and/or in groups that ” I (We) don’t care if Sanders lost. We like Sanders’s ideas anyway and will support them anyway”.

    In the meantime, the shrillness of the CFP MSM’s IOs is a testament to the level of their “fear of s Sanders Planet.”

    1. Daryl

      > There is no direct cure for mass defference on the part of the majority who will eventually take the CFP MSM’s word for it on Sanders’s performance.

      It seems to me like distrust of the media and use of alternative channels (internet) has reached a new high, so it may not have as much of an effect as they want.

      Not saying that it will be enough, just that their ability to manipulate reality seems to have diminished a lot over the past decade.

  36. JerryDenim

    My feelings exactly regarding the debates. Excellent observation Yves regarding the ‘civilized’ classes’s opprobrium regarding even the faintest whiff of anger.

    “The well-enforced cultural norm, that one has to be well-domesticated and adhere to the requirement that discourse be “polite” as in bloodless, is a very effective device for stifling debate and marginalizing dissenters.”

    I recently ( a year ago) ventured back out into the job market after a ten-year stint in one place. The standard interview format in my industry, as I suppose is the case with many fields these days, is the ‘tell me about a time…’ question and answer format. While preparing for interviews I really had to work very hard with savvy friends of mine who are good interviewers and other friends who are in the HR/hiring side of their respective businesses to scrub any hint of anger or strong character from my stories and replace the real me in the stories with a fake, happy-dappy, never angry, never perturbed, super-smilely, positive team player who always resolved every unpleasant work situation or challenge with a bouquet of flowers , a rubber chicken and a team-building exercise where every single party involved went away happy, their tender emotions intact and gratified. Some of my very best stories resulting in very positive outcomes that showed my professionalism, resolve, humanity, empathy and ethics had to be scrapped completely. If the story contained any hint of friction or me leveraging my authority to command the desired outcome even though doing just that was literally part of my job description, it had to go. I didn’t really register that experience as part of a broader cultural change at the time, I just figured it was the result of HR and psychology types taking over the hiring process in my particular line of work. But now I see it was part of the generalized American corporate zeitgeist. Corporate America is just as corrupt as Washington and they don’t want to hire principled people with backbones. Those people just might turn whistleblower. Banks, government, Fortune 500 companies, everyone involved with the selection process at powerful organizations these days just want smiling, non-threatening yes-men/women so the corrupt elite can continue to scheme and defraud.

    Me personally, I want more Sanders rage. Way more, lots of it! But yes it makes me wonder am I, or are we out of step with just the elite or is it also rank and file Americans as well? Clinton is so full of sh*t and she lies so casually and regularly I would love to see Sanders brutally take her down during a live debate. I would think no less of him as a candidate or as a gentleman. Like Lambert said yesterday regarding the TPP, ‘you can’t buff a turd’. Why allow Clinton to equivocate and mouth-fart ridiculous lies about the protections and benefits for the American worker in the secret undisclosed TPP? Why not call it a naked power grab and assault on American sovereignty/democracy by the international elite? Perhaps call it more of the same failed trickle down neo-lib NAFTA crap Billary delivered the first time around but much worse. I know, it sounds kind of paranoid, crazy even, and gasp! angry, doesn’t it? A brutally honest, but factually correct assualt on Hillary would probably turn-off a huge number of potential Democratic voters. (?) Does my preference for righteous rage make me a deviant anti-social nut or is it the American people who can’t handle a little truth and rage once in a while the ones with a problem?

  37. Roquentin

    One thing that really bothers me is that most of the major media outlets still include Joe Biden in polls when he isn’t even running. I strongly suspect this is done to make Sanders look less competitive. Hillary’s greatest strength is her “inevitability.” Most of her support is based on the idea she’s the only candidate that is supposedly viable. Once that melts away, the whole thing goes down. If sanders can win in Iowa and New Hampshire, I’d wager the whole race will pretty much be over. One early victory and the illusion of Hillary’s invulnerability collapses.

    I made it through about half the debate. Hillary is completely full of shit, even by the low standards of US politicians. I think one of the biggest problems for her is that she’s been around so long that most people know how she lies and it’s too easy to spot for a person of average intelligence. We know her, we know she doesn’t mean any of it. I suppose that’s part of the appeal. People that vote for Hillary, consciously or not, want everything to stay exactly like it is.

    I think Sanders did well enough on foreign policy, and I don’t think admitting there are circumstances in which military force should be used is a bad thing. Everyone knows this implicitly, and he avoided sounding like some kind of naive pacifist. Also, I think Sanders trying to take the high road was a move that at least broke even. Low blows and mudslinging can make you look bad to the general public. The last thing he needs to do is make Hillary look like a victim. She’ll play that card for everything it’s worth. The whole “Everyone is mean to me because I’m a woman and the criticism is all coded misogyny” line. Some of it is and always has been, to be sure, but the Sanders campaign can’t let her hide behind that. If the narrative starts shifting towards identity politics and away from the economy it won’t play out well for him.

  38. edinanmn

    I shouldn’t have been surprised to listen to the entire debate and then the talking heads afterwards telling me what I had heard. They said Hillary was the winner. CNN’s Jones announced Hillary was Beyonce! Like we need a President who can dance and sing (lip sync) all at once. I thought she was shrill and strident as ever and occasionally managed to be charming. No real change and just doing what she’s always done. I hope we have a choice at the ballots. If Sanders doesn’t get the Democratic nomination, I hope he runs as an Independent. I’m another baby boomer white woman who had a big professional career at one time and raised two kids. I’m also in the 1% income and still think we need to change our tax system.

  39. freedomny

    I do think folks are underestimating Sanders. I watched him on Ellen just now and people are drawn to him. I don’t think he comes across as too angry at all….I actually think many people are angrier than they are showing on the outside…because we have all been “taught” to be…,”positive”…

    Sanders is acting as the conduit…allowing us the forum to be, rightfully so, angry….but in a safe way….because he is saying exactly what so many Americans feel. When all of us know that you and I can be thrown in jail for stealing a loaf of bread – even to feed our kids – and not one banker has gone to jail for stealing an entire economy…How can you not feel Angry?

    I also think he is very smart because he is actually challenging the American people….he is telling us he
    can’t do it without our very real participation.

    This is politics as its best. And the fact that he is not taking any pac money, I think is going to pay off for him in the end.

    I know we’ve become jaded. But, I still am hoping.

Comments are closed.