Sanders v. Clinton Democratic Debate: Corruption, Health Care and Theories of Change

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

I can’t break out my Magic Markers™ for the Sanders v. Clinton debate last Thursday because there’s not enough time in the world. So I want to look at three seemingly distinct topics: corruption, health care, and what the smart people who ride the Acela call “theories of change.” For each topic, I will compare and contrast Sanders and Clinton; and I’ll weave the three topics together at the end.

Before I begin, though, let me set the context for the (“truly great”) debate: Elite panic at Clinton’s performance. McClatchy:

Dick Harpootlian, a prominent criminal defense lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina, and former chair of that key Southern state’s Democratic Party, said the addition of more debates reflects panic among Clinton and Democratic figures who support her in the wake of Sanders’ unexpectedly strong challenge.

“Hillary was against having more debates, now she’s for debates,” Harpootlian told McClatchy. “This is what’s wrong with our party. The minute she’s in trouble, they decide they need more debates. If she had done much better in Iowa, there wouldn’t be more debates.”

Others agree. The Los Angeles Times uses more measured language than (Sanders supporter (!)) Harpootlian, which is not hard, but the conclusion is the same:

The fact the session took place at all was a reflection of the changed nature of the contest. Originally, Clinton agreed to just six debates sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee, which has weathered criticism it tried to shelter the party’s front-runner and stave off a serious challenge.

Her willingness to join Sanders onstage — and agree to later debates in Michigan and California — was just one sign the race has grown much tougher than Clinton and her supporters had hoped.

Now, I’m assuming Wasserman-Schulz is still di– messing around with the schedule, and so a viewership ranked 17 of 19 debates, equivalent to a Republican undercard debate, wasn’t a bug, but a feature. If that’s true, I’d argue that the Clinton campaign hoped both to keep Clinton wrapped in tissue paper and land a knockout blow in the form of an admission or a gaffe suitable for YouTube; Clinton’s diatribe on “If you’ve got something to say, say it directly” looks a lot like a setup for such a punch. If so, Sanders didn’t fall for it and wasn’t rattled, and he wins by not losing. (In fact, the Sanders campaign landed a solid counterpunch of its own, as we shall see under “Corruption,” below, and enabled Sanders himself to stay on the high road. That’s how it’s done.)


Our famously free press doesn’t like to use the word “corruption” — that’s Third World stuff — but let’s go ahead and call things by their right names. From the debate transcript at the Washington Post:

SANDERS: What being part of the establishment is, is, in the last quarter, having a super PAC that raised $15 million from Wall Street, that throughout one’s life raised a whole lot of money from the drug companies and other special interests.

To my mind, if we do not get a handle on money in politics and the degree to which big money controls the political process in this country, nobody is going to bring about the changes that is needed in this country for the middle class and working families.

CLINTON: Yeah, but I — I think it’s fair to really ask what’s behind that comment. You know, Senator Sanders has said he wants to run a positive campaign. I’ve tried to keep my disagreements over issues, as it should be.

But time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to — you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought.

And I just absolutely reject that, Senator. And I really don’t think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you. And enough is enough. If you’ve got something to say, say it directly.

But you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received.

CLINTON: So I think it’s time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out…

Shorter Clinton: “You say I’m corrupt. Prove it!” In longer form, Clinton makes the strong claim that “you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received.” This claim can be disproved with a single example. Here ya go.

Let’s look at what Elizabeth Warren has to say on Clinton and the bankruptcy bill; note the appeal to those burdened with student loans. (Many of you may have seen this, but it’s well worth a second look. The video was “blasted out” to the press “almost instantaneously” by the Sanders campaign, to whom we should give credit both for being both better at oppo and more agile than we might think.) Here it is:

From the 2004 transcript at Bill Moyers:

ELIZABETH WARREN: One of the first bills that came up after she was Senator Clinton was the bankruptcy bill. This is a bill that’s like a vampire. It will not die. Right? There’s a lot of money behind it, and it…

BILL MOYERS: Bill, her husband, who vetoed…

ELIZABETH WARREN: Her husband had vetoed it very much at her urging.


ELIZABETH WARREN: She voted in favor of it.


ELIZABETH WARREN: As Senator Clinton, the pressures are very different. It’s a well-financed industry. You know a lot of people don’t realize that the industry that gave the most money to Washington over the past few years was not the oil industry, was not pharmaceuticals. It was consumer credit products. Those are the people. The credit card companies have been giving money, and they have influence.

BILL MOYERS: And Mrs. Clinton was one of them as Senator.

ELIZABETH WARREN: She has taken money from the groups, and more to the point, she worries about them as a constituency.

Well, so much for “artful smear.” (I saw that one go by on the Twitter, and thought “Uh oh,” but then it suddently died, as if some decision had been made no longer to propagate it. Perhaps this video was why.)

Note how narrow Clinton’s definition of corruption is: Money in exchange for a vote. That is the criminal definition of corruption — the quid pro quo — as we’ve seen from Zephyr Teachout, but corrupton as the Framers understood it, as an infection in the body politic, has a far broader definition: “The self-serving use of public power for private ends.”[1] Clearly, using one’s official position as a former Secretary of State and a likely future President to collect $675,000 from Goldman is exactly that. And I’m amazed how many Clinton supporters, at least on the Twitter, simply refuse to see this. Do they believe, as Yves asks, that Goldman is investing in Clinton with no thought of return? If so, I’ve got a campaign headquarters I’d like to sell. Transpose the example from high politics to local politics. Assume Clinton’s running for re-election as dog-catcher. She gives a speech at Premier EZ Catch, Inc. for $675, and then later awards Premier EZ Catch the contract for dog catching nets. Am I entitled to call that corrupt? Of course; Clinton would never have been offered the $675 had she not been, as a public official, in a position to award the contract. Would I vote to re-elect Clinton as dogcatcher? Of course not.

And now to compare Clinton to Sanders: Things are a lot simpler with Sanders; his net worth is $419,000[2]. Let me break out my calculator… And so his lifetime accumulation of wealth is $256,000 less than the $675,000 Clinton made for three speeches at Goldman. And then there’s the campaign fundraising model: 70 percent small donors. “[T]he $20 million it reports to have raised in January came almost exclusively from online donations averaging $27 a piece.” So, with Sanders, even if we use Clinton’s definition of corruption, the question of quid pro quo doesn’t arise. There’s not enough quid.

Health Care

To health care. Rather than shredding Clinton’s false claims about Sanders on health care policy, I want to compare and contrast their health care policy successes. First, Clinton. The transcript:

CLINTON: Before it was called Hillarycare — I mean, before it was called ObamaCare it was called Hillarycare because we took them on, and we weren’t successful, but we kept fighting and we got the children’s health insurance program. Every step along the way I have stood up, and fought, and have the scars to prove it.

With “kept fighting,” Clinton is being a little disingenuous. The Clinton administration began their effort in 1993, and the “Health Security Act” was deep-sixed by the leadership in 1994. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was only proposed in 1997; it’s not part of the Health Security Act’s legislative history at all. That said, it’s a good program, and Hillary Clinton can take some of the credit for passing it. From

Hillary Clinton took a major role in translating the new law into action. The program leaves to the states the job of setting up coverage and getting children enrolled, a task that continues to be a struggle to this day. … In April that year the first lady gave a speech saying nearly 1 million children had been enrolled during the previous year, but that increasing the figure was “one of the highest priorities” of her husband’s administration. She said the president would seek $1 billion to fund a five-year “outreach” effort, with a goal of increasing enrollment to 5 million by 2000. Our conclusion: Clinton is right [to take credit].

In 2014, over 8 million children were enrolled in CHIP.

Second, Sanders. The transcript:

SANDERS: And let me just say this. As Secretary Clinton may know, I am on the Health Education Labor Committee. That committee wrote the Affordable Care Act. The idea I would dismantle health care in America while we’re waiting to pass a Medicare for All is just not accurate. …

So I do believe that in the future, not by dismantling what we have here — I helped write that bill — but by moving forward, rallying the American people, I do believe we should have health care for all.

Sanders, with “I helped write that bill,” is claiming at once too much and too little. Too much, because — thank heavens — Sanders didn’t architect or draft the ACA; that was a job for Max Baucus and the insurance companies. Too little, because what Sanders did do was get Community Health Centers into the bill:

However, as negotiations were in their final stage, Sanders successfully pushed for the inclusion of $11 billion in funding for community health centers, especially in rural areas. The insertion of this funding helped bring together both Democratic lawmakers on the left and Democrats representing more conservative, rural areas.

“There was no one who played a more important role than Sen. Sanders” in securing that funding, Daniel Hawkins, vice president of the National Association of Community Health Centers, told the Intercept last year. (Sanders’ camp forwarded PolitiFact the Intercept article as evidence for his statement.)

Community Health Centers, too, are a good program:

The new law provides an additional $9.5 billion in operating costs and $1.5 billion for new construction. With this additional funding, community health centers will be able to double the number of patients they serve to up to 40 million annually by 2015.

That’s 20 million.

Now let’s step back and compare and contrast Clinton and Sanders:

1) Sanders, just like Clinton, is capable of being “pragmatic,” if that’s defined as settling for a partial good. Clinton got CHIP initiated; Sanders got CHC expanded.

2) If we take coverage numbers as a metric, Sanders is a more successful pragmatist than Clinton; 6 million covered by Clinton, vs. 20 million covered by Sanders.

3) Sanders is most certainly capable not only of legislative achievement but of coalition-building. In a time of divided government and partisanship even more ruthless than under the Clintons, Sanders could “bring together both Democratic lawmakers on the left and Democrats representing more conservative, rural areas.”[3]

So one could certainly make the case — at least in health care — that Sanders is a more effective politician, and a more effective pragmatist, than Clinton. (Of course, Sanders didn’t have to cope with the reputational effects of the HillaryCare debacle. So there’s that.) Why would that be? I think there are two reasons (and I’ll get to the second in the next section). First, Sanders had set high goals in the beginning of the legislative process. He didn’t negotiate with himself, or start from the perspective that he had to ask for half a loaf because that’s all he was going to get. Politifact summarizes the legislative history:

Still, when Sanders says he “helped write” the bill, it would be reasonable to imagine that Sanders was an integral player in the crafting of the bill over a long period of time — an insider in the process. And that’s not the reality.

Before the final bill was enacted, Sanders and his allies on the party’s left flank regularly expressed frustration at the concessions they had to make during the legislative process.

“Public-option proponents, including Sanders and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, say they already have given up enough,” Politico reported in late November 2009. “They agreed to forgo a single-payer system. They decided not to push a government plan tied to Medicare rates. And they accepted (Harry) Reid’s proposal to include the opt-out provision. That’s it, they say.”

Politico went on to quote Sanders saying, “I have made it clear to the administration and Democratic leadership that my vote for the final bill is by no means guaranteed.”

If Sanders had started from Clinton’s perspective of fear of “contentious debate” and what is “achievable,” and made his first offer his final offer, would he and his allies have achieved even as much as the CHC? I doubt it.

Theory of Change

Elsewhere, I contrasted Clinton’s theory of change as “trench warfare” with Sanders’ theory of change as “breakthrough.” Here, I want to weave together theories of change with corruption, using health care as an example. Above, I presented one reason that Sanders is an effective and pragmatic politician: He set high goals. (Clinton characterizes having a high goal as an initial offer as “Making promises you can’t keep.”) Here’s the second reason: He had the right kind of outside pressure to help him. To see this, let’s look at the what happened to single payer advocacy in the HillaryCare debacle. From Vicente Navarro, who was inside the process:

Jesse Jackson, Dennis Rivera (then president of Local 1199, the foremost health care workers union), and I went to see Hillary Clinton. We complained about the commitment to managed care competition without due consideration of a single-payer proposal supported by large sectors of the left in the Democratic Party. We emphasized the need to include this proposal among those to be considered by the task force. Mrs. Clinton responded by asking Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition to appoint someone to the task force with that point of view. And this is how I became a member of the White House task force. I later found out that there was considerable opposition from senior health advisors, including Starr and Zelman, to my becoming part of the task force. According to a memo later made public and published in David Brock’s nasty book The Seduction of Hillary Clinton, Starr and Zelman disapproved of my appointment “because Navarro is a real left-winger and has extreme distaste for the approach we are pursuing”– which was fairly accurate about my feelings, but I must stress that my disdain for managed competition and the intellectuals who supported it did not interfere with my primary objective: to make sure that the views of the single-payer community would be heard in the task force. They were heard, but not heeded. I was ostracized, and I had the feeling I was in the White House as a token — although whether as a token left-winger, token radical, token Hispanic, or token single-payer advocate, I cannot say. But I definitely had the feeling I was a token something.

(If only Jesse Jackson had run, and not Michael Dukakis!) This is the inside game: “appoint someone to the task force” Then comes the outside pressure:

It was at a later date, when some trade unions and Public Citizen mobilized to get more than 200,000 signatures in support of a single-payer system, that President Clinton instructed the task force to do something about single-payer. From then on the battle centered on including a sentence in the proposed law that would allow states to choose single-payer as an alternative if they so wished.

Now let’s contrast the outside pressure — considering national union leadership as outsiders, for the sake the argument — for single payer when ObamaCare was being passed. There were petition drives, and also (some) unions, like National Nurses United, though shamefully not the SEIU. But there were also these forms of elite reaction to outside pressure (somewhat reformatted):

(1) The Democratic nomenklatura, which censored single payer stories and banned single payer advocates from its sites, and refused even to cover single payer advances in Congress, while simultaneously running a “bait and switch” operation with the so-called “public option,” thereby sucking all the oxygen away from single payer;

(2) Democratic office holders like Max Baucus, the putative author of ObamaCare — Liz Fowler, a Wellpoint VP, was the actual author — who refused to include single payer advocates in hearings and had protesters arrested and charged;

(3) and Obama himself, who set the tone for the entire Democratic food chain by openly mocking single payer advocates (“got the little single payer advocates up here”), and

(4) whose White House operation blocked email from single payer advocates, and

(5) went so far as to suppress a single payer advocate’s question from the White House live blog of a “Forum on Health Care.” (Granted, the forums were all kayfabe, but even so.) As Jane Hamsher wrote, summing of the debacle: “The problems in the current health care debate became apparent early on, when single payer advocates were excluded [note, again, lack of agency] from participation.”

(It looks like the lesson the Democratic establishment took from the HillaryCare debacle was not to appoint single payer advocates at all, instead of putting them on committees and then shunning them.) All these examples exhibit outside pressure exerted by single payer advocates on elites in the Obama administration and its allies in the political class. Now review Navarro’s narrative. Do you see any similar examples there? (It’s possible that such examples did happen — readers? — but it seems unlikely to me that Navarro would not have mentioned them). It could be that I’m too close to the single payer battle to be objective, but this is a distinction. I don’t recall people getting arrested on behalf of single payer in Senate hearing rooms when HillaryCare was going down, for example. So that, to me, is the second reason for Sanders success with CHC.

And where, pray tell, would such outside pressure on the political class come from, in a Sanders administration? Well, that would be the political revolution that Sanders constantly speaks of:

SANDERS I’m running for president because I believe it is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. I do believe we need a political revolution where millions of people stand up and say loudly and clearly that our government belongs to all of us and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors.

And is there an example in recent history of a movement that could perform this task? Why yes. Yes there is. It was called Obama for America, and it was highly effective in 2008. Here’s what happened to it:

As Jessica Shearer, a top Obama field organizer in 2008, who managed nine key states for the campaign, said a year ago at our PDF symposium on networked organizing after the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, the Obama team had basically “kneecapped” their grassroots after the 2008 victory. “If Dean had been put in charge of the Democratic Party after that election, that list might have really built the democracy. It might have built a party. It might have allowed people a place to engage. Instead, it was this weak echo chamber, where they couldn’t be one step to the left or one step to the right of anything the president said.”

Marshall Ganz, who initiated and organized Obama for America, agrees with Shearer:

President Obama, Ganz says ruefully, seems to be “afraid of people getting out of control.” He needed the organizing base in 2008, but he and his inner circle were quick to dismantle it after the election. Yes, Ganz concedes, they kept Organizing for America, with its access to the vast volunteer databases, alive; but they made a conscious decision to neuter it, so as to placate legislators who were worried about the independent power base it could give Obama. Following a meeting of key members of the transition team, they placed it under the control of the Democratic National Committee.

So a Sanders theory of change doesn’t have to be that hard: Don’t replicate the Democrat’s strategic failure — I’m being very charitable here — of gutting a movement once built. We know how to do the right thing; so do it. Change is hard; but the theory of change is not hard.

And this brings me right back round to corruption. The Democrat Party and, more importantly, its voters and constitutents, are not faced with a choice between Clinton’s incremental, insider-driven trench warfare strategy, and Sanders’ breakthrough, outsider, movement strategy. The first cannot work; the second can. Why?

The insider strategy founders on corruption. You saw that in Warren’s video on Clinton and the bankruptcy bill. When Clinton’s private interests changed after her transition from First Lady to Senator, she flipped on policy to favor her new Wall Street contributors constituents; “the self-serving use of public power for private ends.” And exactly the same thing will happen with any insider strategy today; corruption will defeat it.

A movement strategy is the only way forward. And we already know how to do it!


[1] Under oligarchy, we might ask ourselves if corruption is the normal — indeed, normative — interface between state and civil society, at least for elites.

[2] I know that’s way above average for the United States; it seems like a lot to me. But it’s way below average for Presidential candidates and Senators. Sanders is the 86th poorest Senator in a Senate where the median net worth is about $2.8 million. Clinton’s net worth is estimated at 50 times greater than Sanders.

[3] So put that in your “electable” pipe and smoke it.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. jgordon

      This still oddly seems like an endorsement, which is a bit odd for a place that does not allow endorsements. Could I put in a good word for Trump?

      1. Yves Smith

        If you want to depict NC as having a house position, it is that Clinton 1. Has a vastly overblown track record as in she’s held plummy jobs but either accomplished little or had negative accomplishments at each of them and 2. She and Bill are hopelessly corrupt, going back to the very beginning of their political career, with the late 1970s (!!!) commodity trades, which became public only after Bill became president.

        And you are depicting us as having a bias, as opposed to having our views come out of analysis. It’s the Mighty Wurlitzer of the media and the Democratic Party hackocracy that has managed, very successfully until recently, in depicting Hillary as something that she is not. There’s a certain amount of exaggeration a marketer can get away with in pushing its product. with Hillary, the boosters have gone far enough into fabrication as to enable them to be caught out.

        So we are solidly anti-Clinton. I still have reservations about Sanders despite his successes so far and him having a much better economic policy and foreign policy position than she does (as in he is merely not very enthusiastic about moar warz, as opposed to against them).

        If you say nice stuff re Trump you will get shot at in a big way. Honestly, I don’t see how anyone with an operating brain cell can have any enthusiasm for any of the leading Republican candidates.

        1. jgordon

          Yes, I will say something good about Trump: Donald Trump is silly and ignorant, but he’s got guts. And guts is enough! I do not sense the same killer instinct and sheer gall in Bernie Sanders that I sense from Trump, and that is Bernie’s fatal weakness. My feeling is that Bernie will fold to status quo once he’s sat down and talked to–where as Trump would have those who try to give him The Talk thrown out the nearest window. Trump might be crazy and wrong about some things (or a lot of things) but at least he has an irrepressible streak of independence. You can discount that if you like, but to me that is the most admirable quality any politician could have today!

            1. jgordon

              They’re all egomaniacs. The only question is how attached to the current corrupt establishment they are–and how much they’re willing and able to stand up to and go their own way. I don’t see any possibility of that for Bernie, though there is some hope for Trump.

          1. Paul Tioxon

            Talk about guts?

            Hannibal Lecter for President!

            He’ll Eat Oligarchs for Breakfast, Putin For Lunch and illegals for desert! Nobody will force feed him want he doesn’t want!

            1. NotoriousJ

              Ok, but you have to admit that if HRC were to get the nomination, it would perhaps be more worthwhile to give trump 4 years to destroy what’s left if the GOP. We would survive (well, probably).

              1. jgordon

                This. I could be persuaded to vote for Bernie, even over Trump, even if I wouldn’t be particularly enthusiastic about it. But I would vote for a dog turd before I vote for Hillary.

          2. dk

            There’s smart guts and there’s silly/ignorant guts, my observations indicate that silly/ignorant guts can much more easily get one killed. And it doesn’t always work out well for the people standing nearby either.

            And I don’t see how a guy who can’t handle a couple of hours in front of Megyn Kelly (and not even one-on-one, but as part of a fairly large panel with multiple moderators) can be said to have much in the way of guts. Big fail, that.

        2. Lee Trevino

          In her positions as First Lady, US Senator and Sec. of State Mrs. Clinton has by far more accomplishments than Sen. Sanders. I don’t know of anything Sanders has accomplished for the USA. He voted against the Iraq war, that’s it, one vote. Neither Cruz nor Rubio have any Senatorial accomplishments to brag about. Mr. Bush and Mr. Kasich do have some significant gubernatorial accomplishments, but nothing earth shattering. Vulgar mouth Trump has no governmental accomplishments, four bankruptcies, a fake University where he screwed hundreds of students out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and several eminent domain victories where his casinos went broke. The bottom line is that Trump has little to brag about if he had not been given 100 million by his daddy to “help” him get started. Bottom Line: I’m supporting Mrs. Clinton, she is without a doubt the most accomplished and most qualified.

          1. Yves Smith

            Please tell me of a single thing Hillary has actually accomplished. She has titles on her resume as opposed to accomplishments.

            She screwed up the health care reform effort at the beginning of Bill’s first term. She was moved out of visible policy roles after that. I know because I’m old enough to have read the contemporaneous reports. The only thing I can see that she did as First Lady was get Bill to veto the bankruptcy reform bill. But she voted FOR it as Senator in 2001, and the only reason it didn’t pass was because Bush vetoed it because Schumer had slipped in a provision to protect abortion clinics from the harsher new provisions of the bill/\.

            As Secretary of State, she has been a disaster. Start with Libya. Even her bundlers can’t point to any accomplishments there. When asked, one said she’d made the management of the State Department more democratic. That was all she could come up with. Help me.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Elsewhere, I’ve asked to see institutional signs of such a movement. Maybe they exist; I think after the election will be too late. So saying I haven’t seen signs of something that’s key to what the Sanders campaign says is a requirement is hardly tantamount to an endorsement.

        1. steelhead23

          This is your site. Unless you are prevented from issuing an endorsement for a candidate for public office (ala IRC 501(c)(3)), the edict against endorsements is yours alone. It is clear that Sanders is the best candidate of either major party. Why not simply say so?

          1. ambrit

            It is early days yet steelhead 23. Things could still become topsy turvy. Imagine an O’Malley versus Jindal general election. Besides, to promote ‘critical thinking’ necessitates some ‘curbing of enthusiasm’ in the electoral arena. An Echo Chamber is the last thing any ‘serious’ blogger wants, if only to dispel the insinuation that said blog is a vanity project. Many commenters exhibit some degree of ‘vanity,’ (raises hand,) but the administrators of this site show remarkable restraint. I suspect that they wish for us to do likewise.

            1. steelhead23

              Ambrit, I wholly agree with you. I was imprudent. Yet, the commissariat could have chosen to delete my transgression, and chose not to. I must admit to a rather strong emotional response that a viable candidate for president has identified, nay – called-out, the element I consider most dangerous to both democracy and prosperity in the U.S. But I shall restrain myself here.

              1. ambrit

                I can see it, since I feel it myself. I don’t have a clue as to how many people read this site every day, but it is surely North of Zero. That being so, the Site proper has to, as it is said in the Law, show the ‘appearance’ of impartiality. The exhortations must be subtle, as in ‘reasoned discourse.’
                All in all, the history of ‘formal’ politics in America is one of partisanship and ‘vigorous’ debate. Our exchanges here fall wholly within the boundaries of that historical trend. Our more ‘enthusiastic’ utterances, when held within nebulous bounds of ‘good taste,’ remain, and remind us of our own ‘animal spirits.’ This refusal to impose very strict rules of conformity differentiates the NC ‘brand’ from ‘fallen’ sites such as DK, and the Fox pantheon. Don’t consider such self restraint as a self censorship so much as a self editing.

          2. jgordon

            Hmph. Obama fooled me in 2008. Like hell it will happen again. If I decide to support Bernie here in 2016, it’ll be with the full knowledge that he’ll probably cave and backstab everyone who supported him at the end of the day.

          3. Gaylord

            Because Jill Stein is the best candidate of all, and the party duopoly enforced by the media is one of the main reasons why our election system is totally corrupt.

  1. susan the other

    Hillary’s dilemma horns: if she debates too often the public, now much wiser, will see thru her BS; if she does not debate her well-earned reputation of being flat-out corrupt will prevail. All of which makes me think the unthinkable – that Bernie will go nose to nose with her for the duration and in the end he will lose by a coin toss at which point he will endorse her as “my good friend”. And etc.

    1. spiny

      Doomsday scenario is a Sanders lead in elected delegates but an HRC nomination because of the super delegates. Not likely, but possible.

      1. jgordon

        Now wouldn’t that be interesting. I wonder if the Democratic Party would actually have the guts to follow through with something like that. Fun stuff.

        It seems a lot more likely the the establishment Party apparatus would quietly rig things behind the scenes so that Hillary got more votes no matter what–sort of like suspiciously seems to have happened in Iowa.

        Well you certainly can’t accuse these people of timidity–here they are willing to overtly rip away the facade of Democracy–the one the holding this sinking wreck of a society together–so that they can get their favorite corrupt candidate the nomination. I just have to shake my head and laugh at these delusional nuts.

        1. Debra D.

          I am aware of three instances where the Sanders campaign has now backed down from confronting the DNC:
          1. Iowa caucus delegate counts in several precincts are being challenged. Originally, the Iowa Dem Party chair would not allow an audit. However, she changed her mind.
          2. After the VAN data breach, Bernie Sanders sued the DNC to regain control over his campaign records. He also raised a $1 million in a 24-hour period. The lawsuit is ongoing.
          3. Due to his ability to contest in the primary, and because of his strong showing in Iowa, MSNBC scheduled a Feb. 4 unsanctioned debate. The DNC finally agreed, but Sanders got three more.

            1. jgordon

              We’ll see. Bernie being willing to endorse Hillary if he has to–to me that’s like telling a Christian that Bernie is willing to endorse Satan–if he has to. That is a line that should not have been crossed.

  2. diptherio

    Interesting that OFA was gutted because the status quo types were worried about Obama having an “independent” power base. And Obama seems to have been more than happy to go along and let his independent base be dismantled.

    Someone had a quote from Michael Hudson the other day (citation needed) about how he was told that he wouldn’t be successful running for office because the elite king-makers won’t back anybody without some kind of dirt on them, to ensure their tractability. This OFA things sounds to me like Obama rolling over and showing the power-structure his tummy. “Don’t worry, I’m a submissive lapdog. I won’t bite anybody you don’t tell me to.”

    1. jo6pac

      Yep, he’s in it for the speaking fees, private jet rides, and golf. Oh and the most important a lieberry built on public land.

      Thanks Lambert and it is fun to watch Bernie give her a run for their money.

    1. MaroonBulldog

      He didn’t say that Rubio and Cruz “are not white”; he said they are Hispanics. They are both of Cuban extraction, and the last time I checked, Cubans are counted as Hispanics. “Hispanic” is an ethnic, not a racial, classification. Being “white” in no way disqualifies a person of Hispanic ethniticity from being counted as Hispanic.

  3. DakotabornKansan

    Lambert, excellent post to be chewed and digested thoroughly!

    Glenn Greenwald also points to a passage in Alex Pareene’s “Hillary Clinton Has a Henry Kissinger Problem” that captures a key part of Clinton v. Sanders that many pundits haven’t grasped…

    “She’s a creature of a fundamentally corrupt system, who comfortably operates within that system and accepts it as legitimate. Clinton has had trouble countering that critique because, well, it’s true. It’s not that she’s been bought, it’s that she bought in…

    “One problem afflicting our online discourse is that many of her dimmer fellow liberals in the press keep being baffled at Clinton opposition from leftists who extensively criticize the institutions of American liberalism.”

    1. MikeNY

      She’s a creature of a fundamentally corrupt system, who comfortably operates within that system and accepts it as legitimate. Clinton has had trouble countering that critique because, well, it’s true. It’s not that she’s been bought, it’s that she bought in.


      Great post, Lambert.

    2. Thure

      “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”


      And so it goes for corruption as well, after a while its the only reality people know.

  4. ian

    I keep seeing the $675K in speaking fees, what hasn’t gotten enough attention is the total that the Clintons have received: over $150M (Bill and Hillary). Sure, they are doing what others have done, but they have been doing it on an industrial scale.

    1. Dugh

      How much do Blankfein and other big, insider players have in the HillBilly son-in-law’s loser hedge fund?

    2. Vatch

      In addition to their personal wealth, their foundation has assets well above $150M. I found their 2013 IRS form 990 online, and their assets were $277 million. A lot of corporations and rich people want to be on the good side of a possible future U.S. President, so there have been plenty of bribes donations. The foundation has since refiled their forms 990 for the years 2010 through 2013 (and possibly also 2014), so some numbers have probably changed. You are quite correct that they are raking in the money on an industrial scale.

  5. wally

    Our hopes too often are crystalline arguments constructed in protected environments. A selected example or two from the past, a scrap quoted from here and there and we think we have an edifice. But, comes a little breeze, a bit of handling and the delicate structure is crushed.

  6. Clive

    While watching, I kept expecting Hillary to say that she could help me get a 6-pack stomach using this weird old tip.

  7. fresno dan

    “Note how narrow Clinton’s definition of corruption is: Money in exchange for a vote. That is the criminal definition of corruption — the quid pro quo — as we’ve seen from Zephyr Teachout, but corrupton as the Framers understood it, as an infection in the body politic, has a far broader definition: “The self-serving use of public power for private ends.”[1] Clearly, using one’s official position as a former Secretary of State and a likely future President to collect $675,000 from Goldman is exactly that.”

    Wonderful analysis.
    I would just note that it seems to me that the Clintons and their ilk epitomize modern corruption – The Clintons don’t change their views because of bribes. A Rhodes scholar doesn’t need to get a brown paper bag stuffed with hundreds to do what his client wants. The client does what Clinton wants. It just so happens that the Clintons and the bankers are of the same Davos Man elite, and share the same world and policy views. The Clintons don’t have to be paid to try and make Goldman Sachs richer – they already believe that!
    The Clintons are much more like consultants anticipating what political issues could come up, and through a comprehensive program of appointments, alliances (including marriage), and preemptive attacks, neutralization of any anticipated problems, as well as providing insights into future opportunities. Indeed, the Clintons get hired by Goldman for exactly the same reason that Goldman gets hired by the market. Goldman’s insider knowledge and connections make them more valuable.

    Goldman has so many employees who have been Treasury secretaries…well, because they love America? Well, of course they love America – it works great for them. And for anyone who is smart, hard working, and plays the game the way it IS SUPPOSE TO BE PLAYED. And they, and their defenders, certainly don’t want it changing in ANY substantive way that could possibly make them poorer, OR even reduces the RATE that their wealth ever increases. Nothing so crass or venal as bribes have to happen. You just have to understand who your friends are, and what you do for them. A really expensive prostitute never takes the cash in advance – the clients want to enumerate them generously. And at this level of “service” the provider truly wants a happy client….win-win as they say in Davos.

    I am sure in the mind of Hillary that she honestly believes she is serving Goldman Sachs honestly, honorably, and to the best of her ability. She believes that the “Davos Man” elite view provides the framework for great material growth – she understands not to even ASK if the growth is equitable.

    Their are plenty of lawyers, economists, and policy elites that can marshal “sophisticated” arguments for such a viewpoint. The fact that this viewpoint has guided US policy for near 50 years, and that corresponds exactly to the diminution of the middle class, is something that Hillary Clinton could not accept. The Clintons, like many successful people who get rich who attribute their good fortune to diligence, hard work, and upstanding moral behavior, instead of because of the true reason – – luck, brown nosing, and unabashed grandstanding, will like most humans be incapable of facing that their beliefs are wrong and the people they have allied themselves with are self promoters and sycophants, and bad.

    1. divadab

      good addition to the thread, Fresno Dan. I think you put your finger on something important- Hillary Clinton believes herself to be a good person doing good work. And she believes also that her view of the realities of elite class political life is pragmatic and furthermore she succeeds within that world by dint of hard work and diligence and therefore has achieved and deserves wealth.

      I think she’s deeply insulted to be accused of corruption. However, is she deliberately blind to the systematic corruption of the political process?

      1. JTMcPhee

        “As senator, Wall Street was part of my constituency.” Or word to that effect. Believes she is doing good in a good system? Really? “We came, we saw, he died” cue the Monte Burns cackle…

    2. ian

      One other thing needs to be said about the ‘speaking fees’: it isn’t just Clinton that is being bribed, it is all of the other prospective office holders. The moral: be good to Goldman Sachs and you too can collect huge speaking fees after you retire. The whole thing reminds me a bit something I read about a guy who was acquitted of manslaughter and gave all the jury members a paid vacation to Europe. Not bribery, just an insurance policy for the next time he found himself in front of a jury.

    3. oh

      Well said! The American people are quick to criticize other countries as corrupt because they too think that it’s okay!

  8. fresno dan

    But was Shkreli’s performance actually more objectionable than that of the legislators who were performing alongside him? Elijah Cummings, of Maryland, is the ranking Democrat on the committee, and he used his allotted time to deliver a scolding. “Somebody’s paying for these drugs, and it’s the taxpayers that end up paying for some of them,” he said. “Those are our constituents.” In fact, it’s hard to figure out exactly who is paying what for Daraprim. Shkreli and Turing have claimed that hospitals and insurance companies will pay, while patients who can’t afford it will get a discount, or get it for free. And Nancy Retzlaff, Turing’s chief commercial officer, told the committee about her company’s efforts to get the drug to people who can’t afford it. The arrangement she described sounded like a hodge-podge, an ungainly combination of dizzyingly high prices, mysterious corporate bargaining, and occasional charitable acts—which is to say, it sounded not so much different from the rest of our medical system.

    Even so, Cummings acted as if Shkreli were the only thing preventing a broken system from being fixed. “I know you’re smiling, but I’m very serious, sir,” he said. “The way I see it, you can go down in history as the poster boy for greedy drug-company executives, or you can change the system—yeah, you.” Cummings has been in Congress since 1996, and he is a firm believer in the power of government to improve industry through regulation. And yet now he was begging the former C.E.O. of a relatively minor pharmaceutical company to “change the system”? It seemed like an act of abdication.

    One of the strangest things about the anti-Shkreli argument is that it asks us to be shocked that a medical executive is motivated by profit. And one of the strangest things about Shkreli himself is that he doesn’t seem to be motivated by profit—at least, not entirely. Last fall, Derek Lowe, a chemist and blogger affiliated with Science, criticized Shkreli’s plan to raise prices as a “terrible idea,” not least because such an ostentatious plan posed “a serious risk of bringing the entire pricing structure of the industry under much heavier scrutiny and regulation.” He called on the pharmaceutical industry to denounce Shkreli as a means of protecting its own business model; from an economic point of view, Shkreli’s strategy seemed self-defeating. At least one person close to Shkreli seems to have agreed. One of the most revealing documents uncovered by the committee showed an unnamed executive imploring him not to raise the price of Daraprim again, saying that the risk of another media firestorm outweighed the benefit. “Investors just don’t like this stuff,” the e-mail said. Shkreli’s response was coolly noncommittal: “We can wait a few months for sure.”

    A truly greedy executive would keep a much lower profile than Shkreli: there would be no headline-grabbing exponential price hikes, just boring but reliable ticks upward; no interviews, no tweeting, and absolutely no hip-hop feuds. A truly greedy executive would stay more or less anonymous. (How many other pharmaceutical C.E.O.s can you name?) But Shkreli seems intent on proving a point about money and medicine, and you don’t have to agree with his assessment in order to appreciate the service he has done us all. By showing what is legal, he has helped us to think about what we might want to change, and what we might need to learn to live with.

    Reminds me very much of a movie were the “good” vampires have to kill a “rogue” vampire who is just sucking up way more blood than he needs or deserves. Because the villagers apparently are willing to give up a few people as the normal course of events…
    Of course, the hardest thing to take is the unbelievable rationalization proffered by FDA officials (at the behest of their bosses, congress of course) to prevent willing buyers from buying from willing sellers….because those sellers are in those hell holes of filth and decomposition like Germany, Switzerland, and France. Funny how wonderful the market is….except when it isn’t. So much better that people go without heat than risk buying prescription drugs from Europe…because our government is SO CONCERNED about their health.

    1. tegnost

      I am so with you on this. The hypocrisy is hard to bear as I listen to people say he’s supposed to be nice. Nice? What? He’s supposed to be regulated because he’s doing what any rational person would expect him to do, and essentially what his corporate responsibility requires of him, and niceness is not a part of the decision. I think that he may still be considered truly greedy, though, and as you point out his actions my be looked down upon by his peers who disdain the light shining upon them.

  9. Amateur socialist

    I know many NC readers are also fans of Harry Shearer’s weekly radio show/podcast Le Show. This week’s episode features a delicious segment of Clintonsomething wherein Hillary and Bill discuss what the new think tank should be named. Priceless and available for free (eventually) at or other podcast servers (i.e. iTunes etc.)

    1. Skippy

      Neoliberal evolution on display…. start charity foundation as a front for the asset trust and then blossom into a think tank…. which in turn becomes a self licking ice cream cone…

      Skippy…. whats not to like – ~~~~~

  10. TedWa

    Forced myself to watch a HRC townhall this morning and she was again harping on Sanders wanting to get rid of the ACA and start over and how we’ll lose the ACA in a huge fight in Congress. Add to that her pollsters that are push polling with questions like “Do you want Sanders single payer health care that’s going to cost $20 trillion or HRC’s improvement of the ACA?” and you know she’s in trouble, and it’s just started. Sanders can be one smart politician and I think she’s in over her head as she can’t see beyond the “corruption is normal” framework she’s coming from. Talk about being compromised – wow

      1. Jen

        Only if you can find people in NH who answer calls from phone numbers they don’t recognize this close to the primary. I’m not planning on answering my land line until November 2nd.

      2. reslez

        Here’s a guy in NV who was push polled (I feel a little bad for the telemarketer…)

        There are individual reports of pushpolling in NH reported to Sanders volunteers on the relevant subreddit (SandersForPresident). Not sure if allowed to link. NH is a two party consent state so it may be difficult to get recordings.

        C-Span about push polling in NH: Pollster David Paleologos asked about Hillary Clinton campaign push polling against Bernie Sanders

    1. wally

      It’s really hard to see the point of this sort of thing. So her son-in-law has money or works in banking… so what? Do you really think Bernie, as President, is somehow going to ride in and take trillions of dollars from the wealthy and spread them around? There seems to be a huge amount of fantasy and unreality afoot… a sort of George McGovern idealism that somehow pushing a ‘pure’ candidate for President will change the world, or even change a significant number of mind in the US… or even make any difference at all. Well, except end us up with a 6-3 conservative majority on the Court. Now, THAT would be an important change. You want that?

      1. auntienene

        Your anti-purity, fantasy, unreality statement insults the intelligence of everyone who wants a return to human decency in government. No president has ever changed things alone and never will. If Bernie wins, it’s because he will have inspired us to form a movement for change. Just like Reagan and movement conservatism. They succeeded and so can we.

        1. likbez

          Sorry to pour some cold water on your enthusiasm.

          Victory of Reagan was the victory of neoliberalism, or quite coup in the USA. Much like Bolsheviks coup in 1917. Essentially a change of social system.
          Or neoliberal revolution, if you wish. The end of New Deal Capitalism.

          Bernie is centrist democrat by European standards. He does not offer anything other the resurrecting of remants of a New Deal. But social situation is different and the state is fully captured by neoliberals. So to me he looks more like Don Quixote.

          The story follows the adventures of a nameless hidalgo who reads so many chivalric romances that he loses his sanity and decides to set out to revive chivalry, undo wrongs, and bring justice to the world, under the name Don Quixote.

          I wish Bernie good lack and want him to win, but he is in a very precarious situation. He does not have a formal party and without a party any politician is a hostage of the current elite. Or you need to be a retired general and has absolute loyalty of your former troops.

          Unless he wins the civil war within Democratic Party against the currently dominant Third Way faction (Clinton faction) and becomes the leader of the Party he is doomed one way or the other. The elite is pretty inventive and vicious. They do not take hostages. I doubt that he can achieve that. The party is already sold.

          And even if he become POTUS he capabilities will be very limited. He will face “shadow state” in full glory. And it’s the “shadow state” which rules the country. That’s what iron law of oligarchy is about. “You want a friend in this city? [Washington, DC.] Get a dog!” ― Harry S. Truman

          Sanders adherents looks to me somewhat similar to Occupy Wall Street movement. He runs his campaign on the indignation of people with status quo, with unfair and corrupt system, In other words he runs on a negative platform of addressing injustices and resurrecting the elements of the New Deal .

          But the truth is that this is impossible without dismantling neoliberalism and he probably does not even think in those terms. As if Wall Street will allow him to introduce Tobin tax on financial transactions to finance state college education without mortal fight.

          In such a situation usually nationalist like Trump has better chances. In comparison with other Repugs he at least has some paleoconservative tendencies.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author


            Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign raised $33.6 million in the last three months of 2015 and another $20 million in January alone, the campaign announced Sunday. The campaign further stated that 1.3 million people have made 3.25 million donations to Sanders’ run — a record number of donors at this stage in a presidential campaign.

            The Sanders camp said that the fourth quarter total will show 70 percent of the campaign’s donations came from small donors. Further, the $20 million it reports to have raised in January came almost exclusively from online donations averaging $27 a piece.

            Last I checked, Occupy didn’t scale like that. (That’s not to say that donating to a campaign is equal to a movement; it isn’t. But a mailing list of people who’ve demonstrated tangible commitment is certainly a good start.)

            For the rest of your comment, Rome wasn’t sacked in a day.

            1. 3.14e-9

              That’s not to say that donating to a campaign is equal to a movement; it isn’t. But a mailing list of people who’ve demonstrated tangible commitment is certainly a good start.

              It’s not just the people making donations, but the army of volunteers who are doing phone banking and organizing events on their own. Now, I suppose all candidates have an army of volunteers. O had them. But the day after they won his ground war for him, he sent them home. Bernie says he wants the army to stay involved, and I think it could happen 1) if he really means what he says, and 2) the ground forces can be converted to something like a civil engineers corps.

          2. templar555510

            But tides always turn eventually :

            I saw the long line of the vacant shore,
            The sea-weed and the shells upon the sand,
            And the brown rocks left bare on every hand,
            As if the ebbing tide would flow no more.
            Then heard I, more distinctly than before,
            The ocean breathe and it great breast expand,
            And hurrying came on the defenceless land
            The insurgent waters with tumultuous roar.
            All thought and feeling and desire, I said,
            Love, laughter, and the exultant joy of song
            Have ebbed from me forever! Suddenly o’er me
            They swept again from their deep ocean bed,
            And ina tumult of delight, and strong
            As youth, and beautiful as youth, upper me.

            The Tides
            Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

      2. Titus Pullo

        Voting for someone to protect the liberals from a conservative Supreme Court is the least inspiring reason to vote. That is already a tired Clinton argument that rests on the implication that Clinton can win in the general.

        Maybe you should consider she has to win the nomination first, and she’s having a heck of a time beating Sanders, mostly because of her own flaws (and Sanders understanding of a judo politics).

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        Say, Wally. A piece of advice: Consider reading the post. The thesis has nothing to do with the McGovern campaign, or Krugman’s shockingly dishonest “pure” straw man. The Vermont F-35 base is sufficient to dispose of any purity argument. Nobody here is arguing Sanders is pure.

  11. Pak

    This is the most exciting race since the nail-biter that Kim Jong-Il won for the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland. America’s Chondoist Chongu revolutionaries are responding with patriotic fervor to a cleverly-engineered squeaker, furiously blaming the other party for the actions of the state. None of our permissible Songun champions will address US compliance with the minimal standards of the civilized world: The International Bill of Human Rights, the UN Charter, the Rome Statute.

    Step up the three-revolution red flag movement!

    Become the props and iron shields that support and defend the lineage of Mt. Paektu alone to the death!

    Let us carry through the great Generalissimos’ instructions on “grass for meat”!

  12. Pookah Harvey

    Krugman’s latest hit piece on Bernie’s electability has pissed me off. Here was my comment:

    Here is something another political scientist has discovered:
    “Interviewing a roomful of undeclared voters recently, Neil Levesque, executive director of Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics, asked which presidential candidate they were most likely to support when the state holds the country’s first primary in two weeks. The majority of these New Hampshire voters, he said in a phone interview from Manchester, cited the Republican real estate developer, Donald Trump. Their second choice? Bernie Sanders, the self-styled social democratic senator from Vermont.”
    How many “undecideds” do you think will flock to Clinton if Trump loses the nomination? Who really has a better chance to win the national election?

    This is one of the few times I have seen the pollster ask who would be your second choice without limiting it to party, as in who is your second choice among the Republican candidates?

  13. Pat

    Spent some time at a foreign affairs lecture. Between my conversation with a twenty something Clinton supporter, AND the lecturer and two old women in the audience I can tell you denial is deep.
    First off the younger woman did admit that Steinem and Albright were not good for Clinton, but she also brought up the Bernie supporters are mean to people meme. Now I have no doubt some are, I can also tell you from experience that the Mulder vs. Scully wars were nasty and not pretty. People say mean things on the internet all the time, and maybe it isn’t ‘right’, but Sanders needs to stop taking this stuff seriously and say flat out that both sides have supporters with more passion than common sense. And that only the publicly campaign acknowledged and requested support needs a response from either campaign. IOW, he is not responsible because someone is mean on the internet and he needs to stop apologizing or acknowledging it because it does get equated with the nasty and condescending crap from actual surrogates like Steinem and Albright and Chelsea.
    But it was the other things that really really bothered me. The stupid and factually unsupported meme that Clinton will get more done because she is more pragmatic and understands how it works more. That being the Secretary of State means that Clinton has a better grasp of the world than any one out there regardless of her said record at State. And that Sanders doesn’t have either an understanding of what he is asking to get into AND that he doesn’t have the organization needed to get elected. I thought the latter idea got destroyed when it turned out that despite spending millions less than the candidate who could not lose, Sanders actually had as many field operation sites in states with later primaries as Clinton did, and in quite a few cases more. Because, once again she was inevitable, and didn’t have to worry about those states. But for the most part there was no addressing these flights of fancy.
    I’m really going to have to get my act together and put together a record of the Sanders and Clinton accomplishments as elected officials. And perhaps send it out without identifying who did which just so the shock can be greater when people realize how much more Sanders has done with his time. Although the people smart enough to remember that Sanders has many more years of experience, mayor, Congressman, Senator won’t be fooled. Only the idiots who think being married to the elected official is experience won’t. As for that other pragmatic myth, maybe I should also supply them with a easy cheat sheet of Congressional and Senate seats that are up for grabs and what the counts are for majorities while I’m at it. And point out that while there is a long really long shot of retaking the Senate, the House is going to remain Republican. And follow up that Republican majorities that despise Clinton won’t care how pragmatic she is, anymore than they gave a damn that Obama kept trying to offer them so many things they wanted.

    1. Elissa Heyman

      Please put that comparison out, or what each candidate has actually done as an elected official, so people can see; that is a really missing piece of information. That meme is absurd because it is BERNIE who is the progressive that gets things done, and across the aisle.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, I was a Clinton supporter in 2008. This campaign is nothing. I have no doubt — granted, I can’t bear to do the research — that I could find people spouting the most vile misogyny then who are yammering about Berniebros today. Democratic tribalism…

    3. Jeff W

      I’m really going to have to get my act together and put together a record of the Sanders and Clinton accomplishments as elected officials.

      Here’s a start: “Bernie Gets It Done: Sanders’ Record of Pushing Through Major Reforms Will Surprise You” (AlterNet).

      For Hillary Clinton, there’s this: “The Hillary Clinton record: In the Senate, she reached across the aisle, but the old ways there are no more” (Yahoo! Politics).

  14. Dayne Goodwin

    Nation magazine April 26, 1993: “Health Care Reform Round 1 – BIG PLAYERS VS. SINGLE-PAYER” by David Corn: “…“Senators tell me this,” notes Senator Paul Wellstone, who has introduced a single-payer bill. “They say, ‘Look, your bill is [the] most desirable, but the organized special-interest groups can’t accept it.
    It can’t pass. You bump up against the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical companies and others. And
    we’ve got to pass something .’ ”
    In Washington all policy is politics. That’s no secret. Those advocating a revolutionary reform-one that
    would eviscerate one of the American people’s least favorite industries, the insurance trade-are being told to get real, to work within the borders. The word comes from on high. Several national advocates of a
    single-payer system, including Dr. David Himmelstein of Physicians for a National Health Program, sat down
    with Hillary Clinton in February. She listened attentively, asked smart questions-how would such a system
    encourage more health providers to perform primary care rather than specialize?-but she gave no indication their presentations would make a dent in her plan, some form of managed competition in which the health
    care delivery system is organized into large purchasing cooperatives likely to be dominated by insurance companies.
    It was evident Hillary is thinking a lot about politics. Can you realistically tell me, she asked, that there are
    any big powers that support single-payer and that can take on the insurance industry’s lobbying and advertising budget?
    “I said, ‘About 70 percent of the U.S. people favor something like a single-payer system,’” Himmelstein recalls. “‘With presidential leadership that can be an overwhelming force.’ She said, ‘David, tell me something interesting.’ ”
    . . .

  15. Jeff W

    Since this post mentions the Democratic candidates’ competing “theories of change” here is Jeff Spross in The Week on “How class could eventually remake the Democratic Party” with a somewhat different take:

    This is where Bernie Sanders’ revolt within the Democratic Party — which in many ways mirrors Trump’s GOP revolt — comes into play. His thesis is that the Democrats need to go hard left on economics. So he’s picked a few key class-based priorities — the minimum wage, campaign finance, single payer healthcare, and infrastructure investment — and proposed truly massive and aspirational goals. His idea isn’t to moderate on social issues (though he doesn’t play them up as much), since political science shows that while poorer voters are more socially conservative, they vote based on pocketbook issues.

    His idea is to bring the Democrats’ economic stances up to speed with the progress they’ve made on social and identity issues, and make them a genuinely economically leftist party again. This will lose them upper class and donor class votes. But so what? They’ll solidify their support among black Americans, Latinos, and women; pull a lot of new working- and lower-class whites into the party; and leave a lot of poorer Americans who currently don’t vote with the impression they’ve finally go[t] something to vote for. Sanders’ position isn’t simply that this is the right thing to do. It’s that reliance on economic populism specifically will set up the Democrats with far more durable majorities in the future.

    By contrast, Hillary Clinton’s approach is basically to preserve as long as possible the existing coalition — with its top-heavy reliance on upper class voters. She certainly isn’t backsliding on economics: She has come down in favor of a $12 minimum wage and has ideas on campaign finance reform. But her incremental building on ObamaCare is paltry to put it mildly. And her approach to the economic issues in general is like her approach to everything else: lots of tinkering, but nothing super ambitious. She’s also come out swinging on identity and social issues like access to abortion, voting rights, immigration and gender equality.

    The differences between Clinton and Sanders are often chalked up to “theory of change” stuff, or idealism vs. practicality. Which isn’t quite right. It’s more about competing theories of what the Democratic coalition needs to become.

    [emphasis added]

  16. Ray Phenicie

    But you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received.

    The International Business Times had already tracked the Clintons on this lie when Mrs Clinton uttered it the other night.

    The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the (William J) Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

    What the IBT investigation reveals is:

    If you, as a nation seeking U.S. arms deals were in a questionable position with Secretary Clinton’s State Department that position could be and was open to positive and direct influence by making sizeable contributions to the Clinton foundation.
    If you were a nation with a poor human rights record with the US State department, you as an offender could pay off the ‘parking fine’ with a contribution to the Clinton Foundation and voila-billions of dollars of U. S. arms would flow your way.


    Here’s yet another flagrant example of influence peddling
    where Secretary Clinton swings 180 in the direction of money flowing into the Clinton foundation

    The details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation — supplemented by millions more from Giustra himself — Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact. Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it “strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.” The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra.

    In this example of influence peddling, the vote for the offending nation – involved Bill Clinton having done much in the way of background influence peddling. Study these articles please, familiarize yourself with them and broadcast far and wide if you care about the future of Democracy.

    Finally, to summarize the whole pile of sleaze that is known by the name Clinton

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