Posted on

Massachusetts opens early voting for presidential primary ahead of Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday early birds hit the polls Monday in what could help decide the red-hot Democratic race for president.

For the first time in Massachusetts, polling stations were open early for voting in a presidential primary.

“I thought for a primary, you’re likely to get a low turnout,” said independent Newton voter Daniel Krasa, who said he voted for Elizabeth Warren. “But all these voters here, I’m just surprised. It’s a good sign.”

A steady stream of voters moved in and out of Newton City Hall, including Newton Congressman Joseph Kennedy III, who hopes to win Ed Markey’s Senate seat in the fall.

“I’m thrilled to be here and, obviously, cast a vote for Senator Elizabeth Warren, who I think is going to make a great president of the United States. I’m excited to be able to support her and to be able to fill in that oval today is a real privilege,” Kennedy told the Herald.

About 1 million Bay Staters cast their ballots during a two-week early voting period in the 2016 presidential election, according to Secretary of State William Galvin.

Voters in Newton and Boston were vocal about who they’re with in this presidential primary, but even more outspoken about who they’re against.

“I am not going to vote for Bernie Sanders. I do not believe in the things he believes in. He’s apple pie in the sky — he can’t possibly commit, absolutely cannot deliver,” said Newton voter Betty Whitney. “It makes me nervous.”

Just a week away from the 15-state, March 3 Super Tuesday tilt, some voters turned to a well-heeled white knight to bring the Democratic race back toward the center: former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

“I had to hesitate, but I support Michael Bloomberg,” said independent Newton voter Phyllis Baker. “I’ve listened to all the others and they just don’t sit well with me.”

Whitney said she believes Bloomberg is the only Dem with enough cash and enough swagger to take on President Trump.

“It takes strength and a little bit of guile,” she said.

But Bloomberg hasn’t swayed everyone.

“We considered Bloomberg, but after his performance in the debate, we didn’t think he could really go up against Trump,” said Newton voter Irene Tanzman, who cast her ballot for Sanders.

“I just don’t even know what he stands for. He’s just a little bit better than Trump,” said Boston voter Erin Kinney, a Democrat, about Bloomberg.

The early voting period runs until Friday. Voters can find polling locations and times at the Massachusetts Secretary of State website.

Posted on

Matthews comment deepens Sanders rift with MSNBC

NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Matthews’ comparison of Bernie Sanders’ victory in Nevada to the Nazi takeover of France has deepened discontent that the Democrat and his supporters feel toward MSNBC, the network that’s usually friendly territory for liberals.

Matthews was expected to address his comment, made during the network’s coverage of the Nevada caucus on Saturday night, on his show Monday.

Even before Matthews’ analogy, a report in The New York Post said the Vermont senator had confronted MSNBC’s president, Phil Griffin, before the Las Vegas debate last week and said the network had not been fair to his campaign. MSNBC would not comment on the report.

In some respects, it recalls tweets of protest that come from President Donald Trump when he hears things he doesn’t like on Fox News Channel, the network where many of his fans congregate. MSNBC has a liberal prime-time lineup led by Rachel Maddow, while conservatism reigns at Fox, led by Sean Hannity.

Matthews, reporting on Sanders’ victory on Saturday, said he was reminded of a French general reporting to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that France had fallen to Germany in the summer of 1940.

“Churchill says, ‘how can it be over? You’ve got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over,’” Matthews said. “He said, ‘it’s over.’”

Sanders’ communications chief, Mike Casca, tweeted that he “never thought part of my job would be pleading with a national news network to stop likening the campaign of a Jewish presidential candidate whose family was wiped out by the Nazis to the third Reich. But here we are.”

It wasn’t even the only Nazi reference on the network last week. Chuck Todd had earlier read from a commentary in the digital publication The Bulwark that compared Sanders supporters to a “digital brownshirt brigade” that hounded opponents and enforced discipline — much like Trump’s.

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace also commented about how the Sanders campaign, like Trump’s, had engaged in the “dark arts” of abusing and bullying the press.

“What do we miss in terms of paying attention to a squeaky, angry minority and ignoring the majority?” she said.

Casca did not immediately return calls seeking comment on other examples of what had set off the campaign. It was notable that at Sanders’ victory party in San Antonio on Saturday night, the televisions were tuned to CNN, not MSNBC.

A Sanders supporter and MSNBC contributor, Anano Giridharadas, commented on the network Sunday that MSNBC and the Democratic power structure are stuck in an old way of thinking and missing what may be going on.

“It is time for all of us to step up, rethink and understand the dawn of what may be a new era in American life,” Giridharadas said.

An MSNBC spokesperson said that “we don’t owe fawning coverage to a Democratic campaign. We owe fair coverage.”

The network may be caught in a situation similar to news networks when Trump took over the Republican Party in 2016 — with a lineup of anchors and contributors light on supporters of the party front-runner and stocked with old hands. Matthews is a veteran commentator and newspaper columnist who was chief of staff to House Speaker Tip O’Neill in the early 1980s. Prime-time host Lawrence O’Donnell was an aide to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the early 1990s. Wallace was a Republican who worked for President George W. Bush.

A study last fall by the liberal digital magazine In These Times criticized MSNBC for not covering Sanders as much, or as positively, as rivals former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But at the time, Biden was the presumptive front-runner and Warren was surging, so it’s not surprising that conventional wisdom would reflect more positively on those two campaigns.

The Sanders team’s discontent with MSNBC didn’t prevent campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, from appearing on the network Monday for an interview with Stephanie Ruhle.

When asked by Ruhle about criticism from veteran Democratic strategist James Carville about the Sanders campaign, Shakir showed disdain for the old order.

“I’m not worried about James Carville,” Shakir said. “He’s a political hack.”

___

AP political correspondent Will Weissert contributed to this report.

Posted on

Joe Biden 2020 Campaign Is Another Democratic Party Retread

RONDA CHURCHILLGetty Images

Someday, someone will have to write a monograph concerning the sweet-tooth that the Democratic Party has for its retreads. At least for the most part, and in the modern era, if you’re a Republican who loses a major election, your career goes into the woodchipper while you’re still delivering your concession speech. Remember Rick Lazio, the fresh young congressman who ran against Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2000 after Rudy Giuliani chickened out? He lost, and then lost a Republican gubernatorial primary to crazy-man Carl Paladino, and Lazio hasn’t been heard from since. Scott Brown lost to Democratic women in two states and has been exiled to the Antipodes. It is very unlikely that anyone who lost to the president* in the 2016 primary will ever be a viable candidate for national office again. Republicans cut their losses with ruthless efficiency.

Not the Democrats, though. In 2012, with Barack Obama at the top of the ticket, Nebraska Democrats chose to run Bob Kerrey, a figure as deeply stuck in the 1980s as A Flock of Seagulls. He got crushed by a nondescript state legislator named Deb Fischer who got re-elected as a nondescript U.S. Senator in 2018. That same year, with Republican Bob Corker retiring, the Democrats found themselves facing Marsha Blackburn, a congresswoman whose politics were last seen floating away over the Smokies. The Democrats chose to run Phil Bredesen, a former governor who had left that office 12 years earlier. Thus Senator Blackburn has been inflicted upon the entire nation, with predictably batshit results. This isn’t an age deal. Not completely, anyway. This is a profound lack of imagination. Which brings us, inevitably, to Joe Biden.

When the history of this campaign is written, whether it wins or loses, the Biden campaign is going to be reckoned to be the fatburg that clogged up the outflow pipe. Throughout the winter and spring of 2019, Biden walked the parapets of Elsinore, freezing the money and the newshole that might have gone to other, fresher faces, and freezing the race itself until he finally announced at the end of April. At which point, for a number of critical weeks, he was the only story that most of the elite political media wanted to tell. Good old Uncle Joe. Everybody’s pal. Say what you will about the candidacies of Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris, but all of them started in a pretty deep hole. The ones that held themselves aloof from establishment support—with the exception of Pete Buttigieg’s campaign—are the ones that weathered the coronation portion of the beginning of the campaign.

Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Holds Caucus Day Event In Las Vegas

Biden’s campaign is the result of the Democratic Party’s profound lack of imagination.

Ethan MillerGetty Images

Here is the most singular statistic of the 2020 election: this is Joe Biden’s third try at the nomination, and he has yet to win a single nominating contest, be that caucus or primary. (He finally may get off the schneid this weekend in South Carolina.) Pete Buttigieg, who was released from the lab in Stepford in January, has won one more contest than Biden has. Moreover, Biden apparently has learned nothing from his previous two calamities, because he keeps making the same dumbass mistakes that sunk him in the past.

In 1988, it was cribbing from Neil Kinnock. In 2008, it was calling Barack Obama “articulate” and “clean.” And this week, it was this completely bizarre confabulation about getting busted in South Africa while trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison. From The New York Times:

But if Mr. Biden, then a United States senator from Delaware, was in fact arrested while trying to visit Mr. Mandela, he did not mention it in his 2007 memoir when writing about a 1970s trip to South Africa, and he has not spoken of it prominently on the 2020 campaign trail. A check of available news accounts by The New York Times turned up no references to an arrest. South African arrest records are not readily available in the United States…

Andrew Young, a former congressman and mayor of Atlanta who was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1977 to 1979, said that he had traveled with Mr. Biden over the years, including to South Africa. But Mr. Young said that he had never been arrested in South Africa and expressed skepticism that members of Congress would have faced arrest there.

For the love of god, Joe. Can you at least make new mistakes?

And, before the 2022 midterms, can the Democratic Party please find some new candidates? It did a great job in 2018 doing exactly that. No more retreads. All the tires on the wagon are blown.

Respond to this post on the Esquire Politics Facebook page here.

Posted on

A shady Russian spy tale that is splintering US democracy

The aim of any disinformation campaign is to foment bewilderment by trashing publicly agreed-upon facts. The state of politics in the current polarized era provides fertile openings for Russian social media trolls, bots and hackers. Mounting contradictory evidence over what exactly Russia is doing right now is only adding more uncertainty.

First, it seemed that there was fresh evidence of Moscow putting its finger on the scale for the President, reviving speculation about his bizarre deference for Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the warped logic of this spy tale, Trump has convinced himself that such perceptions make other people doubt his legitimacy, a belief that causes him to act in self destructive ways that also undermine the US political system itself.

But now, some intelligence officials tell CNN that the briefer who warned Congress about the operation may have overstated the intelligence and Moscow’s perceived preference for the President.

One intelligence official said that Shelby Pierson’s characterization of the intelligence was “misleading” and a national security official said Pierson failed to provide the “nuance” needed to accurately convey the US intelligence conclusions.

It was not clear whether Pierson’s interpretation of the analysis was overly dramatic or whether her approach was appropriate and there was political pressure to tone down the intelligence community’s conclusions.

Democrats were quick to seize on the original reports to warn that Moscow is again in the game to help Trump win in November.

The President and his aides hit back by claiming that the old KGB men in the Kremlin would much prefer a socialist, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, in the Oval Office.

And now both sides are thickening the fog by suggesting each leaked information about alleged meddling for political advantage.

In a sense, it doesn’t matter which version of these events is correct, since the effect is the same: a further eroding of trust in the democratic process.

The uproar underscores that four years after the initial election interference by Russia, US society is ever more susceptible to outside manipulation.

Torn national unity, distrust in institutions and a shattered concept of a mutual national reality — much of which can be put down to Trump and reactions to his tumultuous presidency — mean Washington is ripe for interference by foreign powers.

All of which suggests Russia’s efforts in 2016, updated for 2020, must rank as one of the most successful intelligence ops of all time.

Furious Trump targets intelligence community — not Russia

The President reacted to reports that Russia was again meddling — to help him win — with fury last week in a way that again underscored how he’s often more interested in protecting himself than the democracy that he’s sworn to shield.

He accused intelligence community briefers of giving Democrats an important electoral advantage by informing the House Intelligence Committee about the new Russian meddling and a supposed preference for Trump.

He replaced acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire with a political acolyte with no top-level intelligence expertise, Richard Grenell, the controversial US ambassador to Germany. Another loyalist, Kashyap Patel, who worked to undermine original accounts of Russian election meddling, is also now at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).
Patel once worked for former Republican House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, who maintains a backchannel to Trump and has fanned the President’s paranoia about a “Deep State” plot to undermine him in the intelligence establishment. Patel previously took direct aim at intelligence agencies with which he now works by helping to write the Nunes memo, a controversial document that alleged the FBI and the Justice Department abused Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act law by obtaining a warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The new arrivals at DNI are only multiplying the disconnect between the President and his intelligence agencies. They raise the possibility that only information helpful to Trump will emerge from the community. Such a scenario would infect the US clandestine services with politics and compromise their ability to maintain trust across the political spectrum.

Political chicanery adds to confusion

Hopes that the 2020 election would be immune from the corrosive effects of Russia intrigue quickly eroded. And political opportunism is now making the situation worse.

On Sunday, Trump archly suggested that Democrats might begin to suspect that the victory by Sanders in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses might have had its roots in Moscow.

“Are any Democrat operatives, the DNC, or Crooked Hillary Clinton, blaming Russia, Russia, Russia for the Bernie Sanders win in Nevada,” the President asked in a tweet.

Trump said on Sunday that he had not been briefed that Russia might be trying to help Sanders in the Democratic primary. CNN reported last week that Trump had been told.

“I read where Russia is helping Bernie Sanders,” Trump told reporters at the White House before traveling to India.

“Nobody said it to me. Nobody said it to me at all. Nobody briefed me about that at all,” the President said, further politicizing the issue of accusing House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of leaking on the issue.

“They ought to investigate Adam Schiff,” Trump said.

Schiff, who led the House impeachment case against Trump in his Senate trial, quickly pushed back.

“Nice deflection, Mr. President. But your false claims fool no one,” Schiff wrote on Twitter. “You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraine’s help in 2019, and won’t protect our elections in 2020.”

Another sign the administration is seeking to harvest the new Russian election meddling episode for political gain came in TV appearances by national security adviser Robert O’Brien.

“I don’t think it’s any surprise that Russia or China or Iran would want somebody other than President Trump,” O’Brien told ABC News “This Week.” O’Brien said he had seen no such intelligence or analysis that Russia is attempting to help Trump. But he suggested Moscow wanted Sanders to win the White House.

“There are these reports that they want Bernie Sanders to get elected president. That’s no surprise. He honeymooned in Moscow,” O’Brien told ABC.

In past administrations, national security advisers have gone out of their way to avoid such flagrant political interventions. But this administration has often dismantled the political guardrails surrounding the presidency.

Sanders warns Putin — but adds a political twist

Sanders responded to suggestions of Russian meddling last week with the kind of forceful denunciation of such activity that has been lacking from Trump.

“What I say to Mr. Putin, if elected president, trust me, you are not going to be interfering in American elections,” Sanders said.

The Vermont senator also however seemed to suggest — without evidence — that the report was leaked to damage him before the Nevada caucuses, which he won handsomely. His comment risked further politicizing the question of Russian election meddling in a way that could further undermine public confidence.
Sanders told Russia is trying to help his campaign

Defeated 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton offered an opinion that did little to ease the controversy.

“Putin’s Puppet is at it again, taking Russian help for himself,” Clinton tweeted.

One of the reasons why even a small Russian operation to stoke political discord is likely to succeed is the fractured national security consensus in Washington.

CNN reported that Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee argued that Moscow couldn’t be interfering because no President had been tougher on Russia.

Such a view reflects an alternative reality view of the current presidency. While Trump has sent lethal arms to Ukraine, much of his foreign policy has seemed to play into Moscow’s goals of weakening Western institutions like NATO.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Russia would like to see Trump reelected “because he has been a gift to Russia.”

“He has essentially ceded the Middle East to Russian interests. He has accomplished more in the undermining of NATO than Russia has in the last 20 years,” Murphy said. “And he continues to effectively deny that they have an ongoing political operation here in the United States.”

The flagrant political disagreements provoked by new reports of election interference highlight one clear truth about the current political environment: differing concepts of reality mean that foreign meddling may not be necessary anymore to undermine American democracy. Washington can get the job done itself.

CNN’s Jake Tapper, Jeremy Diamond and Zachary Cohen contributed to this report.

Posted on

Several Democratic Campaigns Face Cash Crisis Ahead of Super Tuesday

The race for the Democratic presidential nomination is about to enter its most competitive phase yet, and it’s likely to be the end for some of the eight remaining candidates.

Who will be the next to drop out is anyone’s guess, but several campaigns are either struggling to find a solid footing in early voting states or running out of cash—or in some cases both.

Four of the top six presidential campaigns entered February with near-depleted bank accounts, according to new campaign finance filings. And once you’re out of cash, it’s nearly impossible to recover.

“You are on a wing and a prayer when you run out of money. Miracles can happen, but it’s rare,” Matt Bennett, co-founder of the centrist Third Way think tank, told Newsweek.

Right now, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, with just $2.3 million, is the candidate with the least amount of money in the bank. She became the first top-tier candidate to borrow money, taking a $3 million line of credit in January, though she only accessed $400,000 of it.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigeg are also in the red, with $2.9 million and $6.6 million in cash on hand, respectively. Former Vice President Joe Biden is also low on funds as he entered this month with just over $7 million in his account.

In fact, one of the only Democratic hopefuls—who is not a self-funded billionaire—that has enough money to be competitive in all of the Super Tuesday states is Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator raised more than any other candidate last month and entered February with $17 million cash on hand.

Ami Copeland, a former deputy national finance director to Barack Obama, told Newsweek that the biggest problem for Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Warren is that they’re essentially “splitting all of the possible fundraising as they try to compete with Sanders.”

Copeland added that the Biden, Buttigieg and Warren campaigns have a lot of “fixed costs” such as staffing that will cause them to burn through their money more quickly. Klobuchar’s team, on the other hand, is slightly less robust and is likely to last the longest even with less in the bank.

But once a campaign does run out of funds, he advised them to “fire everyone and spend what remaining money you have on television in hopes that others drop out and you are the last Bernie alternative left standing.”

In addition to financial struggles, each of these candidates (besides Buttigieg, who has finished in the top three in each contest) has been mostly unsuccessful in the early-voting states so far. Biden came in fourth in Iowa, fifth in New Hampshire and second in Nevada. Klobuchar and Warren have each broken into the top three once but were not as successful in other states.


From left, Democratic presidential candidates Mike Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar stand onstage at the start of the Democratic presidential primary debate at Paris Las Vegas on February 19 in Las Vegas. Financing their campaigns are a big issue for most candidates heading to the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday.
Getty/Ethan Miller

The two Democrats who don’t have to worry about fundraising at all are Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer. The two billionaires have been pouring hundreds of millions into their 2020 campaigns with no signs of slowing down.

But having unlimited resources doesn’t because necessarily mean that the two candidates can stay competitive and viable as the race goes on.

“Just because you have money doesn’t mean you should stay in,” Democratic strategist Douglas Herman told Newsweek. “If the ultimate goal is to beat Donald Trump, then that’s just not helpful.”

Herman predicted that Bloomberg and Steyer will fade to the background if they fail to perform well in the next early-voting contests. But he argued that anyone who doesn’t have a significant block of delegates after Super Tuesday should “be on the list to drop out.”

So far, none of the candidates has a clear advantage on the road to capturing the 1,990 delegates needed to secure the party’s nomination. Sanders is currently in the lead with 35 delegates and Buttigieg is in second place with 24 delegates.

That could change after March 3, when 14 states award more than a third of all pledged delegates. But if the field of candidates doesn’t start to shrink soon, strategist say it’s likely that the Democratic Party could face a brokered convention.

“That will be very chaotic; and it could end up being very damaging, depending on the outcome. So it’s scary,” Bennett said.

Posted on

Biden ad: Sanders undermined Obama’s reelection

“When we rallied together to defend our president and all the progress he made they had his back,” the narrator says. Then, panning to then vice president Joe Biden, the voice-over continues, “He had his back,” and moving to images of African American supporters at an Obama rally, says “And you had his back.”

The ad then shifts to a black and white image of Bernie Sanders.

“But back in Washington, there was one guy with another plan,” the narrator says before an audio clip is heard of Sanders saying, “I think it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition.”

The ad is part of a broader $600,000 digital buy in South Carolina that the campaign is considering spinning into a broadcast ad.

“Bernie Sanders was seriously thinking about challenging our first African American president in a primary,” the narrator says, citing an Atlantic report entitled: “The Hidden History of Sanders’s Plot to Primary Obama.”

The Sanders campaign denies that Sanders ever had designs about mounting a primary campaign against Obama.

“This never happened. Bernie Sanders never considered a primary challenge to Obama,” deputy campaign manager Ari Rabin-Havt said in a statement. “Bernie was running for reelection in 2012 and that’s what he was focused on.”

Posted on

Bill Kristol Is Scared of Bernie Sanders’s Popular Ideas, Not His Rhetoric

Joshua BlanchardGetty Images

Quietly, now. Keep completely silent here in the duck blind across the river from the headquarters of The Bulwark, a small place with which American political sanity has no extradition treaty, alas. Anyway, if you stay absolutely still, you may hear the plaintive cry of the Solitary Nevertrumper. Wait. Listen. There it is now.

The Republican party allowed Donald Trump to capture it in 2016. This has been, I trust you agree, very bad for our country. As for the party, I’m not sure we’ll ever get it back on path to a decent and healthy American conservatism. It would be bad if Democrats went down a parallel path. America deserves better than a choice between an authoritarian populist of the right and a socialist populist of the left. How terrible it would be if, having resisted European-style illiberalism in the 20th century, we succumbed to it in the 21st.

Let us begin by examining the long and storied career of Butcher’s Bill Kristol in American politics, shall we?

Item: In 1993, he wrote a famous memo advising Republican lawmakers to resist any attempt at reforming the country’s healthcare system, which blew even more goats then than it does now. Kristol did not advise them to do so because he feared all that awful socialist populism, or because he was fighting a noble battle against European-style illiberalism. He advised them to do so because it was important not to give President Bill Clinton and the Democrats a win, and very important not to give the American people a healthcare system that made sense because then they’d like it and it would be hard for the Republicans to take it away. In other words, Kristol put down the road map that led, inevitably, to the screwing of Merrick Garland.

Item: He shilled for Dan Quayle, the ur-Trump as regards a lack of qualifications for high political office.

Item: He shilled for the catastrophic Iraq war. And still does.

Item: He shilled for Sarah Palin, the ur-Trump for belligerent ignorance.

Item: He tried to make it happen in 2016 for a National Review writer named David French as an alternative to El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago. America wouldn’t have known David French if he’d sat in its lap.

So, in terms of pure politics, taking advice from Kristol is like taking a seamanship course from Captain Joe Hazlewood. When I talk about the prion disease afflicting the GOP, a good case can be made for Bill Kristol as its Patient Zero.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders Campaigns In Texas

Bernie Sanders’s ideas are popular, which scares the bejeezus out of Bill Kristol.

Drew AngererGetty Images

But I want to call attention to another obvious tell in this piece, this (and maybe Elizabeth?) business that’s salted throughout the analysis. You will note that he calls on Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar to bail in order to set up a Democratic nominating process between Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Mike Bloomberg’s wallet. But somehow, he has no specific advice for Senator Professor Warren. This is very interesting to me, and it says to me that Kristol is not really afraid of Bernie Sanders and his rhetoric but of the ideas he’s bringing into the race—popular stuff like universal healthcare; a vigorous response to the climate crisis; a social-safety net worthy of the name and adequate to the times; and the death, once and for all, of supply-side economics. Hence, he marshals an offensive against Sanders while disappearing the one person in the field who might be able to poach some of the Vermonter’s base without talking about Fidel Castro.

Kristol wants those ideas to die. He wants an ideological safe space in which he can feel comfortable, and a base from which conservative Republicans can screw up the country on more familiar lines. If the ideas put forth by Sanders and Warren were to become law, then people would like them and would severely chastise any party that attempted to take them away. Kristol is running the same mug’s game here that he was running in 1993, and the hilarious thing about it is that his analysis is absolutely correct. Fly away, little bird. Fly away home.

Respond to this post on the Esquire Politics Facebook page here.

Posted on

James Clyburn Warns Having ‘Socialist’ Bernie at Top of Ticket Could Cost Democrats the House

House Majority Whip James Clyburn believes having Bernie Sanders as the Democrat party’s presidential nominee could cost them control of the House of Representatives.

Clyburn’s comments, made during an interview this past Sunday on ABC “This Week,” are yet another sign that the party is panicking at the thought of having an extremist candidate at the top of the ticket.

Host George Stephanopoulos inquired as to whether or not Sanders would get more pushback heading into a state like South Carolina and whether or not his place at the party’s helm might turn the House majority over to Republicans.

Clyburn agreed that the tag of ‘Democratic Socialist’ would “be an extra burden for us to have to carry.”

RELATED: Trump Calls Sanders a Communist, Adds Fuel to Democratic Fires

Bernie the Burden

Clyburn proceeded to flesh out his explanation as to why Sanders could potentially be a suicidal choice for the Democrats.

“If you look at how well we did the last time [in 2018] and look at the congressional districts, these were not liberal or what you might call progressive districts,” he explained.

“These are basically moderate and conservative districts that we did well in, and in those districts, it’s going to be tough to hold onto these jobs if you have to make the case for accepting a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist,” continued Clyburn.

President Trump has picked up on the impending disaster looming in the distance for the opposition party, even portraying Sanders as a ‘communist.’

“I think he’s a communist. I mean, you know, look, I think of communism when I think of Bernie,” Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity.

“I think of Bernie sort of as a socialist but far beyond a socialist,” Trump continued citing Sanders’ honeymoon in Moscow. “At least he’s true to what he believes.”

RELATED: Trey Gowdy Shreds Idea Russians Would Help Trump in 2020 – They Prefer ‘Comrade Sanders’

Boosting Biden

Clyburn views Sanders as so much of a ‘burden’ that he is stepping in to try and stop the socialist curmudgeon’s momentum.

He told Stephanopoulus that he had no intention of endorsing a candidate prior to the debate in South Carolina. But reports have already leaked out that he has somebody in mind.

Politico reports that “Clyburn, who wields enormous influence in his home state of South Carolina, is planning to endorse Joe Biden” according to multiple sources.

“The planned endorsement is expected three days ahead of the state’s Saturday primary, giving Biden an important boost in a state that will likely determine the fate of his candidacy,” they write.

Over the weekend, Bernie taunted Democrats displeased with his rise in a party of which he’s not even a member.

“I’ve got news for the Democratic establishment,” he wrote. “They can’t stop us.”

Clyburn is allegedly going to try.

The burden he speaks of is one entirely of their own party’s making. Had they not cheated Bernie out of the nomination last go-around, his mindless progressive following wouldn’t be so adamant about dragging him over the finish line today. Had they not let his little minions in Congress – the ‘Squad – dictate the direction of the party, they wouldn’t be having as much trouble shutting their supporters down.

Clyburn sees the writing on the wall. Sanders will not only cost the resistance party the White House in 2020, but he might also very well cost them both Houses of Congress.

President Trump with a supermajority for two years would be a thing to behold. The meltdown on the left, epic.

Posted on

Hillary review – did the US presidential hopeful take the wrong road? | Film

There is a melancholy fascination to Nanette Burstein’s sympathetic and respectful documentary interview with the enduringly opaque Hillary Rodham Clinton. It will be broadcast by Hulu in the US in four parts, like a good-energy inversion of David Frost’s four-part conversation with Richard Nixon, and presented as a 252-minute special at the Berlin film festival.

Burstein structures her narrative like a Hollywood movie, in a series of flashbacks from the unfolding tragicomic drama of the presidential election campaign. It takes us back to Clinton’s childhood, her time at Wellesley College and Yale Law School (where she met Bill), her time as the governor’s wife, as the president’s wife with the attendant issues – Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky, the three-strikes controversy – her time as New York senator in the new millennium and then her fateful tilts at the White House. As the past starts to converge with the present, there is a confluence of bad omens: her tense concession speech when Barack Obama beat her for the 2008 presidential ticket sounds like a rehearsal for the horrible real thing of 2016.

Clinton is interviewed on camera about her spectacular career in public life, which ended with that failure that is any politician’s birthright – the humiliating defeat at the hands of Donald Trump. She also speaks about the decades of misogynist abuse that she has had to absorb, mostly in an era when you had to toughen up and never admit to being hurt. Clinton remembers all this with good grace and good humour, and with that folksy, teacherly-grandmotherly chuckle she cultivated to ward off unpleasantness. (Her voice has changed over the years; Burstein finds TV footage of interviews she gave when Bill Clinton was governor in Arkansas, and she sounded a lot more down-home, promising to “work as haaahd as uh cay-un”.)

Watch the trailer for Hillary on YouTube

She stays even-tempered, except when she talks about how Bill had to admit to her the truth about Lewinsky in the late 90s and how their daughter, Chelsea, kept their marriage together. Bill is interviewed, and Obama makes a gracious contribution. Hillary never sounds angry about Trump, but comes close to revealing her contemptuous rage at Bernie Sanders, whom she clearly regards as a populist poseur.

There are no actual omissions in Burstein’s documentary, although Sanders conspiracists may complain that there is no examination of possible bias in the way the Democratic contender was chosen in 2016. But Burstein does not ask about Clinton’s acquaintance with Trump in the days when he was a celebrity Democratic supporter, and shies away from asking about the incident in September 2016 when Clinton appeared to faint when leaving the 9/11 memorial service. It might have been interesting to hear more about the personal toll of electioneering, the 18-hour days and seven-day weeks. Everyone could sympathise with that.

What emerges from Burstein’s film is that Clinton found herself surrounded by a non-partisan, Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of populism, attacked by Trump from the right and Sanders from the left – and there is anecdotal evidence that once Clinton had won the ticket some young feel-the-Berners went over to Trump to protest at the establishment. And establishment is undoubtedly what Clinton is. Tellingly, in an early remark, she says an inspiration was Bobby Kennedy, as opposed to John Kennedy: the family member put in an unelected position of power. Incredibly, her male opponents could claim insurgent-underdog status. Bill Clinton made his way in the scrappy business of politics by selling himself and pushing and pleading for power. Not Hillary. She won office as New York senator on her own merits and did perfectly well, but by then had acquired the reputation and mannerisms of entitlement.








Changing political ground … Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at a presidential debate in October 2016. Photograph: Paul J Richards/AFP via Getty Images

In 2016, she was somehow too late (because Obama had used up all the oxygen) and too soon (because the media and governing classes were still unready for another step change). The political ground had changed beneath Clinton’s feet. Trump had mastered the new languages of reality TV, celebrity and social media – and mainstream media were hypnotised by his quasi-fascist bullying and ratings boosting. And, beyond anything Clinton might say about policy, there was unemployment and stagnation and a huge constituency of angry people out there, targeted by the data occultists, people who could be made to believe almost anything on a smoke-without-fire basis and feel it was time for a grassroots Kulturkampf against liberals.

Watching this documentary, I felt that Clinton should perhaps have had Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s life and career. Clinton could have been a supreme court justice by now – and a popular heroine into the bargain, with HRC T-shirts and buttons and comic books – making a real difference to policy, living a happy and incrementally successful life, without having to beg for votes and without having to endure the insults of bullies and sexists and idiots. There is still a reticence to Clinton, an obvious reluctance to say anything that could be used against her or against the Democrats in the 2020 campaign. But opening up is simply not her style.

Posted on

Impeachment Witness Inks Seven-Figure Book Deal

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Impeachment Witness Inks Seven-Figure Book Deal

Add Marie Yovanovitch to the long — and growing — list of Trump haters who cash in on their TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome).

The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who was so toxic President Trump had to fire her, testified against the president at House impeachment hearings. Now, she’s getting more than a million dollars from publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, according to a New York Post report.

The book, a memoir that is not yet titled, is set for release in spring 2021.

“Yovanovitch’s book will deliver pointed reflections on the issues confronting America today, and thoughts on how we can shore up our democracy,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in a statement.

Yovanovitch is represented by the Javelin literary agency, which has handled books for other #resistance icons such as ex-FBI director James Comey and former national security adviser John Bolton.

Yovanovitch’s long career in the U.S. Foreign Service came to an abrupt end in May 2019 when President Trump had her recalled from Ukraine.

At the time, Trump was pressuring Ukrainian officials to investigate Hunter Biden’s work with the energy company Burisma. Hunter’s father, Joe Biden, then was a frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Tons of other TDS sufferers have inked big book deals, including former FBI Director James Comey, former National Security Adviser John Bolton and former Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Andrew McCabe. Christine Blasey Ford, who testified against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, raked in more than $600,000 on a GoFundMe account.

But Comey has really cashed in big time,  including “six-figure speaking fees, prestigious writing contracts, a TV series, and a multimillion dollar book deal,” Business Insider reported in October.