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Member since: Tue May 13, 2008, 03:07 AM
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REMEMBER When Republicans LOVED Hillary Clinton?

Today they may be sketching out their best attacks on the Democrats’ leading potential candidate for 2016, but once Dick Cheney, Paul Ryan, et al. had plenty of nice things to say.

My, my,....beloved by so many reTHUGS.........

For the better part of a quarter-century, Hillary Clinton has loomed over American politics as a hate figure for many on the right—and she seems poised to re-assert her dominant position in right-wing demonology in 2016. But there was a time, stretching roughly from her concession of the Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama in 2008 to the Benghazi attack in 2012, when conservatives changed their tune on Clinton. In fact, plenty of Republicans even said nice things about her. Here are seven she can look back on as she weathers the attacks of the next presidential cycle.

Dick Cheney

The former vice president is not known as a soft touch, but for a brief moment in 2011, he seemed to hold Clinton in high regard. During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Cheney told host Chris Wallace of Clinton: “I have a sense that she is one of the more competent members of the current administration, and it would be interesting to speculate about how she might perform were she to be president.” Cheney also suggested that, if elected, Clinton might be easier for Republicans to work with than Obama.

Paul Ryan

Republican superstar Paul Ryan is still mooted as potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate. But even if he doesn’t run, the Wisconsin congressman will be a major force in the GOP as the next chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Back in January 2013, though, he was fresh off a losing presidential ticket when he suggested that Hillary Clinton in the White House would have ensured a return to a balanced budget. “Look, if we had a Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles as chief of staff of the White House or president of the United States, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now,” he said. “That’s not the kind of presidency we’re dealing with right now.”

Carly Fiorina

While Ryan is still on the fence about running for president, Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive and 2010 U.S. Senate candidate in California, seems to be going full steam ahead toward a bid for the White House in 2016. Yet Fiorina, who seems to be positioning herself as a GOP alternative to Hillary Clinton who could appeal to female voters if nominated, has her own history of complimenting the former secretary of state. In 2008, while campaigning for John McCain, Fiorina said: “Having started as a secretary and eventually become a chief executive officer, I not only have great admiration and respect for Hillary Clinton and her candidacy and her leadership, but I also have great empathy, I must tell you, for what she went through.”

Orrin Hatch

The most senior Republican in the U.S. Senate, Orrin Hatch will not only lead the Senate Finance Committee in 2015 but will become president pro tempore of the Senate, making him third in line in presidential succession. In 2010, when Clinton was being floated as a possible Supreme Court nominee and Hatch was the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Utah senator said of his former colleague: “I happen to like Hillary Clinton; I think she’s done a good job for the… secretary of state’s position, and I have high respect for her and think a great deal of her.”

John McCain

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee and longtime Arizona senator has long had a cordial relationship with Hillary Clinton. Indeed, Clinton once described McCain as “her favorite Republican.” The affinity goes both ways. In 2011, at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, McCain praised Clinton as “an international star” who has done “a tremendous job” as secretary of state. He also later told to CBS News, “I respect Secretary/Senator Clinton; I respect her views.”

Condoleezza Rice

Rice has praised Clinton, who succeeded her as secretary of state in 2009, on several occasions and said repeatedly that Clinton was “doing a fine job.” In 2010, she told Bill O’Reilly: “Hillary Clinton is someone I’ve known for a long, long time. She’s a patriot. I think she’s doing a lot of the right things.” Rice then added, “She’s very tough... and she’s got the right instincts.” George W. Bush’s top foreign-policy aide stood by those words two years later, when she described Clinton as “great” to Ohio Republicans.

Lindsey Graham

Perhaps no Republican has spoken more highly of Hillary Clinton than the South Carolina senator and prominent foreign-policy hawk, who went so far as to describe the then-secretary of state as “a good role model, one of the most effective secretary of states, greatest ambassadors for the American people that I have known in my lifetime” in May 2012. The Republican also went out of his way to praise Clinton to The New York Times three months later, saying, “She is extremely well-respected throughout the world, handles herself in a very classy way, and has a work ethic second to none.”


Looking At The Fault Lines, Reading The Tremors - Is A SPLIT COMING In The Democratic Party?


Gaius Publius has been watching to see if the Neoliberal corporate stranglehold on the party is weakening at all, and just where pushback might be coming from in the near future. Gaius Publius has been on this beat for a while. In setting up his two most recent posts on this, he references an earlier post laying out fault lines to describe what might become an Open Rebellion Caucus.

As DWT [Down With Tyranny] readers know, Steve Israel, the DCCC, and to a lesser extent the DSCC, have been disasters for the Democratic Party, if "success" means "taking or keeping control of Congress" and "disaster" means "failing to try to do that." These Democratic train wrecks have been well document on these pages-- for example, here and here. But click any link tagged "Steve Israel" or "DSCC" to get the gist.

You also know that corporate-aligned Democrats, including most party leaders and many who work with them, are more than eager to excoriate any progressives who dare to consider forcing neoliberal Dems out of office, especially if hurting neoliberals also hurts party chances in elections. Attacking the party from the left and attacking neoliberal rule of the party are cardinal sins, almost hanging offenses. The venom goes very deep.

The magic phrase, the one you hear the most, is "Ralph Nadar!" but excoriation comes in other flavors. Like: "Do you really want Romney to be president?!" Or: "The one thing that would make me vote for Hillary Clinton ... Jeb Bush!" Or these days: "OMG, it will be your fault if we lose the Senate!" Always with the exclamation point. Always with the scorn, the flecks of virtual spittle, the virtual hair on fire.


Well, after the debacle of the midterms where so many of the neoliberal favorites got trashed at the polls, Gaius Publius identified three groups to watch as the progressives being stifled by the party become increasingly frustrated:

▪ Democratic voters have arguably rejected neoliberal, corporate, billionaire-serving Democrats in 2014. The country is ready for change, and the day Democrats offer one, they'll win elections by the bucketful.

▪ Democratic activists and writers are desperate for something better from their party. Their cris de coeur are private for now, said amongst themselves, and those cries are not cried by all. Nevertheless, a great many progressive voices and hands are done, have had it, with the Mark Warners and Pryors of the world, and very vocally so.

▪ Some Democratic insiders are similarly ready to rebel. There are pockets of donors, strategists and office-holders who "get it" — get that they can't be principled (that word again) and support the Geithners, the Pritzkers, and the Orszags. And if they can't support the Geithners, how can they support a White House that regularly coughs them out for consideration?


Here's the thing to watch. With Democrats in the minority in the upcoming Senate under Mitch McConnell, there will be opportunities for Democrats to vote against the Republican agenda and stake out progressive positions safe in the knowledge they won't get anywhere. But... a real test will be to see which Democrats take positions in opposition to the President and others in the party whose agenda serves the bipartisan corporatocracy. Gaius Publius has identified one such test: Elizabeth Warren's opposition to the nomination of Antonio Weiss by Obama for a senior post at the Treasury Department. As Warren proclaims in a Huffington Post commentary...


Read the whole post by Gaius Publius - it's that important. And then look at the follow-up, where Warren is already being attacked for her opposition to Weiss. Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times has written a piece denouncing Warren for her opposition, with the provocative title Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Misplaced Rage at Obama’s Treasury Nominee. Gaius Publius has some pungent analysis of the Sorkin slam, and makes the following observation:

"....But it's clear the other side is engaged and wants this nomination badly. Perhaps to them it's "symbolic" of something.

Watch this appointment

Again, watch this one. It will tell you a lot about Senate Democrats, the state of my fancifully-named "Open Rebellion" caucus — Will other Senate progressives go along, or toe the neoliberal line? — and perhaps reveal the role of Harry Reid going forward. I'm reading and hearing that all is not glassy-smooth across Senate Democratic waters, at least regarding the Weiss nomination. At The Nation they're calling what Warren is doing an "insurrection" and they say she's not alone in insurrecting.

About time, say I...."





There's more to Elizabeth Warren's rejection of Obama nominee Antonio Weiss than meets the eye. Could this be the start of a progressive Senate insurgency?

I've been a fan of an "Open Rebellion Caucus" among progressive office-holders and insiders — the principled and conscience-led — for a long time. For example, in a pre-election piece titled Are Democratic Leaders Already "Tea Partying" The Progressives? I noted at the end:

"Open Rebellion Caucus" ... a group that says No and openly defies corporate Democratic leadership. I believe I've seen one forming in the House already. Next time I'll give an example of a golden opportunity to form an Open Rebellion Caucus in the Senate, an opportunity that was not taken. Stay tuned.


I'll come back to the situation in the House another time. That Senate "golden opportunity," which was lost, occurred in January 2013 when progressive Senators proposed strong filibuster reform — and voted for weak reform — because that's what the "bipartisan moderates" wanted. (Note: It's not the progressive loss that I'm calling out; it's the way pro-reform progressives voted.) Why does Open Rebellion matter? Why rebellion — progressive insurgency — against billionaire-controlled Democrats matters could become an essay in itself, and someday it will. But simply put, it matters for two main reasons. One, because conscience matters — yes, that — and two, because there are already cracks in all three layers of the progressive movement buried within the Democratic Party:

▪ Democratic voters have arguably rejected neoliberal, corporate, billionaire-serving Democrats in 2014. The country is ready for change, and the day Democrats offer one, they'll win elections by the bucketful.

▪ Democratic activists and writers are desperate for something better from their party. Their cris de coeur are private for now, said amongst themselves, and those cries are not cried by all. Nevertheless, a great many progressive voices and hands are done, have had it, with the Mark Warners and Pryors of the world, and very vocally so.

Some Democratic insiders are similarly ready to rebel. There are pockets of donors, strategists and office-holders who "get it" — get that they can't be principled (that word again) and support the Geithners, the Pritzkers, and the Orszags. And if they can't support the Geithners, how can they support a White House that regularly coughs them out for consideration?

Cracks within all three groups are visible if you're looking for them. I spent a week in Washington recently, selectively and explicitly looking for them. The intra-party war within the first two groups isn't fully formed, yet, but it could be; the rumbles are loud enough. But among voters, the results appear to be in. When progressive policies are wildly popular as ballot measures, and corporate Democrats are rejected as "no solution at all," the crack in the base is wide as a canyon and deep as a fracking well. Now that widening crack is spreading to office-holders. The "Hell No" caucus targets billionaire-serving Democratic leaders Our first look at office-holders who refuse to play "follow the neoliberal leader" starts in the Senate. POLITICO noted the formation of a "Hell No" caucus led by people like Sen. Jeff Merkley, but carefully couched it as an anti-Republican group (my emphasis everywhere):

Liberal ‘hell no’ caucus rises

The defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline in the Senate marked a major show of muscle for next year’s new hell-no caucus: liberals. ... [R]ed-state Democrats like Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska are on their way out, and liberals like Jeff Merkley, Bernie Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse — with Elizabeth Warren leading the way on messaging — may cause as many headaches for Senate Republicans as tea partyers caused Democrats in the past four years. ...

Here's that "Hell No" caucus in action, but with a different target. Elizabeth Warren, writing recently at Huffington Post, has this to say about Antonio Weiss, an Obama nominee for a senior post at the Treasury Department. Warren's objection to Weiss has been covered before, but I want to offer an additional take. As you read, tell me who she's taking on, Republicans or her own billionaire-led party leaders:

Enough Is Enough: The President's Latest Wall Street Nominee

I believe President Obama deserves deference in picking his team, and I've generally tried to give him that. But enough is enough.

Last Wednesday, President Obama announced his nomination of Antonio Weiss to serve as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the Treasury Department. This is a position that oversees Dodd-Frank implementation and a wide range of banking and economic policymaking issues, including consumer protection.

So who is Antonio Weiss? He's the head of global investment banking for the financial giant Lazard. He has spent the last 20 years of his career at Lazard -- most of it advising on international mergers and acquisitions. ...



This Teacher TAUGHT His Class A POWERFUL Lesson About PRIVILEGE

I once saw a high school teacher lead a simple, powerful exercise to teach his class about privilege and social mobility. He started by giving each student a scrap piece of paper and asked them to crumple it up. Then he moved the recycling bin to the front of the room. He said, “The game is simple — you all represent the country’s population. And everyone in the country has a chance to become wealthy and move into the upper class.”

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

“To move into the upper class, all you must do is throw your wadded-up paper into the bin while sitting in your seat.” The students in the back of the room immediately piped up, “This is unfair!” They could see the rows of students in front of them had a much better chance.

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

Everyone took their shots, and — as expected — most of the students in the front made it (but not all) and only a few students in the back of the room made it. He concluded by saying, “The closer you were to the recycling bin, the better your odds. This is what privilege looks like. Did you notice how the only ones who complained about fairness were in the back of the room?” “By contrast, people in the front of the room were less likely to be aware of the privilege they were born into. All they can see is 10 feet between them and their goal.”

“Your job — as students who are receiving an education — is to be aware of your privilege. And use this particular privilege called “education” to do your best to achieve great things, all the while advocating for those in the rows behind you.”

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com



Elizabeth Lauten GOP Staffer Who Said Obama Daughters Lack 'Class' TO RESIGN


The Republican congressional aide who wrote a widely-disseminated Facebook post criticizing President Barack Obama's daughters says that she is resigning today.

Elizabeth Lauten, the communications director for Tennessee Rep. Steven Fincher, told NBC News by phone Monday that her resignation is already "in the works."

In a post that went viral over the weekend, Lauten wrote that Sasha and Malia Obama should have shown "a little class" during the annual Thanksgiving ceremony to pardon two turkeys at the White House.

"Rise to the occasion," she wrote. "Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar."

Lauten later deleted that post and penned an apology on Facebook, writing that she now sees "more clearly just how hurtful my words were."


The DAMAGE Done By America's RAGS-TO-RICHES Mythology

Horatio Alger's 'Bootblacks' jumpstarted the rags to riches American myth.

"...The rags-to-riches mythology, this chase for ever-increasing wealth, is not healthy for our nation. It does more harm than good. It prevents out leadership from crafting legislation that helps the poor and middle class. It is why people vote against their best interest and will push for and defend tax cuts for the 1 percent..."


Rags-to-riches stories have been with us in the United States since before we were a country. Immigrants by the millions came to our shores in search of a better life and wealth. Many of these stories were popularized in mid-19th century by Horatio Alger Jr., through his tales written for young boys about young boys going from rags to riches—which in reality turned out to be nothing but a myth. His stories were a little creepy, with an older man always taking care of a young boy, but that is for another diary.

Horatio Alger Jr. does not have a corner on the market with perpetuating the myth of rags to riches. We see it in films like Ma and Pa Kettle, Rocky, and Trading Places. On television we see it on The Beverly Hillbillies, game shows like Who Wants to be a Millionaire, talent shows like American Idol, and reality shows like Survivor. The theme of the movies and scripted television shows is that anyone with a little luck, or with a skill, can become rich. Game shows push the myth that you can play and win; however, they never show the winner having to sell the prizes to pay taxes on their winnings, or how people struggle dealing with sudden fame and fortune. Shows like American Idol portray how "easy" it is to become a star, but in reality very few fortunes are made in the music business, there are millions of amazing artists out there who play in bars every weekend with no shot at ever getting a huge recording contract. Reality shows like Survivor actually exhibit the worst side of the chase for wealth—that it's okay to screw over your fellow man or woman to win a million dollars.


Even our retirement system is based on the myth of rags to riches. If you save enough, you will retire with millions in your 401(k) plan. But life events like illness, divorce, job loss, or something out of your control like a downturn in the stock market can wipe out your life's savings, leaving you with nothing. The quest for wealth, the desire to go from rags to riches, has dominated American culture from before our nation was founded. This quest for ever more wealth gave us the robber barons during the Gilded Age. It has given us what we have today, wealth inequity on a scale that we've not seen in the United States since 1929, and we all know what happened then.

As a nation, we need to take the focus off of the rags-to-riches myth. Instead of chasing the dollar, we should focus on making sure that everyone has a place at the table, and everyone gets a share of the pie. There is no reason that a CEO should be making 350 times the average worker. Pay the CEO less, raise the wages of those actually doing the work. We not only need a raise to the minimum wage, we also need a maximum wage. We need to ensure that every American can have a comfortable retirement—at an age when a person can actually enjoy life after a lifetime of work.



President Obama TAKES DOWN CHUCK TODD And His Obama Bashing Book

President Obama had one comment when he saw Chuck Todd’s Obama bashing book in a bookstore. With one word, Obama summed up Todd perfectly.

According to the New York Post (take it with a huge grain of salt),

Shopping at a Washington, DC, bookstore Saturday, President Obama spotted a copy of “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd’s new book about his presidency.

“Oh, Chuck Todd!” Obama exclaimed. “Let’s see what Chuck has to say here!”

“How is he writing a book already? asked his 16-year-old daughter, Malia. “Sad.”

“He’s just sad,” the president joked in response.


The idea that Todd “wrote” a book is highly debatable. I am working on a review of Todd’s Obama bashing book, and it can be summed up as less of an exploration of the Obama presidency, and more of a dear diary entry from a member of Beltway press centered on why Obama is big meanie who won’t kiss the rings of the D.C. media elite. There is very little in Todd’s book that hasn’t been voiced by President Obama’s critics on the right a million times before. Chuck Todd is sad. He wasn’t even the first choice to replace David Gregory as moderator of Meet The Press. Chuck Todd was NBC’s safety date, which the network turned to after the people that they really wanted turned them down. Meet The Press is continuing to flounder, because Todd is David Gregory with a love of politics. Notice that I used the terms politics, not policy or journalism.

- Faced with a changing landscape that is making them irrelevant, the Beltway press has taken out their rage on Obama. Chuck Todd is sad, and I would also add pathetic. He is quickly becoming a dinosaur facing extinction, because the way political leaders interact with their constituents is changing and no amount of sad whining can bring back the status that is evaporating for the mainstream press.



Charlie Cook: Hillary Clinton Unlikely To Run In 2016

Veteran political analyst Charlie Cook said at a speech in Kansas City, Missouri that he thinks Hillary Clinton is highly unlikely to run for president in 2016. Most observers consider a Clinton candidacy an almost forgone conclusion, but Cook gave her only a 25-30% chance of entering the race to succeed President Obama, according to the Kansas City Star. Clinton has stumbled on the promotional tour behind her memoir “Hard Choices”, which was released this summer, leading Cook to believe she’s either “rusty” or “has lost her fastball.”

Previously, Cook has speculated that Clinton may be “too old” to run for president. “How many 67-year-olds make nine-year commitments, and what concerns have to be addressed if they do?” the 61-year-old wrote in February. That same month, Cook pegged Clinton’s chances of running at “maybe 70%.” He suggested there was only about a “30% chance that she doesn’t throw her hat in the ring.” That’s an almost perfect inverse of his current prediction. His new estimate counters conventional wisdom and considerable evidence. Clinton has said publicly several times that she’s thinking about running for president, her husband has joked about her impending run, and dozens of friends and advisors are gearing up for a seemingly inevitable run.

While Clinton insiders insist she hasn’t made up her mind, they also say that something catastrophic would likely have to happen to keep her from getting into the race. Even some in her orbit who are encouraging Clinton not to run think she probably will. Clinton has also done nothing to tamp down the outside groups that have sprung up to pave the way for a future run. Cook is the publisher of the Cook Political Report, a highly respected nonpartisan venue of electoral prognostication, data, and analysis that’s been a gold standard in Washington for almost 30 years.

Meanwhile, Cook said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has little chance of making it out of a Republican primary, if he decides to run. “Bush has two issues working against him to win the Republican primary for the 2016 presidential election,” Cook said at the private event in Kansas City. “One is immigration reform, which he favors; and two, is his advocacy of education reform.”


Former Clinton Pollster: Hillary LACKS 'New Car Smell'

"...Hillary Clinton has lost the "new car smell" she might need to win the presidency in 2016, said Democratic pollster Doug Schoen on Sunday..."

“The president said [last week] that the next president needs … a new car smell, and it’s pretty hard for me to say … that she [Hillary] has a new car smell," Schoen told radio host John Catsimatidis in an interview to air Sunday on New York's 970 AM. Schoen, who worked on Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign and is now a Fox News contributor, said he expects Clinton to run, but that she will face challenges having served in Obama's administration as secretary of State. “The real question is how does she separate herself from Obama, yet not get so far away from him that she alienates his base constituency?” he said. Schoen said recent polls suggest 2016 is shaping up to be a tough fight.

A Nov. 26 poll by Quinnipiac University showed Republican Mitt Romney ahead of Hillary Clinton 45% to 44% in a theoretical matchup. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush trails slightly behind, at 41%. “We’re in a real barn burner. The race hasn’t even begun, and it’s tied ostensibly between Hillary and Mitt Romney," Schoen said. "We’re in a statistical tie here. It’s anyone’s to be won." Another potential challenge for Clinton is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is gaining prominence within the Democratic Party and is seen as a possible 2016 contender, Schoen said. “I think she’s a strong candidate, if she runs," he said. "It's undeniable that the Democratic political base wants the kind of populism that she's been offering the electorate."


GOP Staffer CALLS Obama Daughters Classless, DRESSED FOR THE "BAR"



For most people, Sasha and Malia Obama's spiritless appearance at this year's White House turkey pardon was a lesson about humility, showing how even the world's most powerful man is still just "ugh, Dad" to his teenage daughters. But one Republican House staffer saw something else entirely: two girls dishonoring America with their slutty clothes and brazen teen-ery.

"Dear Sasha and Malia [...] try showing a little class," read a Facebook post by Elizabeth Lauten, communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee. "Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect and not a spot at the bar."

Predictably, Lauten's bizarre rant about how the president's 13 and 16-year-old children looked like bar slags was poorly received, drawing fire after a screenshot was shared on Twitter by The Root's Yesha Callahan. As some noted, the comments seemed particularly ironic given the numerous alcohol-related charges racked up by Bush's daughters during the last Republican presidency.

On Friday, Lauten—who once served as the New Media Political Manager of the Republican National Committee—posted a (since deleted) apology on Facebook:

"..I reacted to an article and quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager. After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents and re-reading my words online, I can see more clearly how hurtful my words were. Please know that these judgmental feelings truly have no pace in my heart. Furthermore, I'd like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience..."

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