I would say that overall, Jonathan Bernstein has been very supportive of Hillary Clinton. But he’s also a political scientist, and he tries to be honest. He was very honest after Wednesday, The Test Clinton Failed in the Florida Debate. He’s not saying that she did badly in the debate. I think we can all agree that Hillary Clinton is rather good at this debating business — which isn’t to say perfect, as her answers about her ties to Wall Street always strike me as hollow and tone deaf. But the question of the night was: why did Clinton come in with guns blazing?
I keep coming back to this: Hillary Clinton is way ahead. I would be far beyond shocked if my man Bernie Sanders were able to catch her — even with confirmed delegates. Now how can this be that I know this but somehow Clinton doesn’t? I mean, regardless of Sanders doing astonishingly well in Michigan, Clinton still won the day — increasing her lead in the only area that matters: delegates. And I very much fear that Bernstein is right that instead of looking at the facts, she looked at the Very Serious Idiots, “It’s not to her credit that she allowed the pundits’ agenda to distract her from her own goals.”
One month ago, I wrote about this, Could Sanders Win? Why Is Clinton Whining?! People want to pass this off as the result of 2008 when Obama came out of nowhere to beat her. But this is the same way that Clinton behaved in 2008. Again, Bernstein noted, “One of Barack Obama’s strengths in the 2008 campaign was his willingness to sacrifice a news cycle in favor of larger objectives.” It has never been a strength of anyone in the Clinton firmament. And in some cases, it’s the correct way to be as we have seen with the Clintons on a number of occasions.
But it isn’t here! I think Sanders has given Clinton a pass on a lot of issues. (It’s telling that the vast majority of criticisms of Sanders are actually criticisms of Sanders supporters on Twitter.) Hillary Clinton now attacks Sanders for supporting the Sandinistas, as if — What?! — he was supposed to support the Contras? Give me a break. I’ve backed away from this campaign, but it’s this kind of nonsense that makes me want to run over and give some more money to Sanders (which I will do as soon as this article is in the can).
Hillary Clinton Is Starting to Sound Conservative
And speaking of stupid, Hillary Clinton made the standard conservative argument about TARP, “It was all paid back! It didn’t cost the people anything!” There is this thing called an opportunity cost. The government loaned a bunch of money to the banks at below prevailing interest rates. They could have loaned that money to normal people at normal interest rates and made more. So it did indeed cost the people money.
What’s more, it gave that money at exactly the time that no one else would have given it. As Dean Baker wrote back in 2010, “Without TARP and the other government bailout programs, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America, and many other large banks would have gone bankrupt.” Bankrupt. This canned response makes me think that I’ve been wrong to think that Hillary does actually get it and is just a pragmatist. She seems truly not to get it.
Clinton’s Listening to the Wrong People
But it is even more concerning that she felt she had to come in and hammer away on Sanders, when objectively, she doesn’t. And then she was distinctly disingenuous at times (for example, this nonsense about the second bailout that Sanders voted against). And then she’s making silly arguments against Sanders about Latin American politics few people even remember and even sillier arguments for Goldman Sachs and other banks that she should know do not play to her strengths.
The big question is: will she be so bad at this stuff once president? Is she just going to listen to what they are saying in The Washington Post and react to that? If there’s something like the Gulf of Tonkin incident, I can now see clearly another unnecessary war because she couldn’t possibly wait two days or she wouldn’t “win the week” on The McLaughlin Group. It’s very concerning. And should be especially so for Hillary Clinton supporters.