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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Where Hillary Clinton in 2016 is Concerned, Leftwing Reporters are Engaging in Gamesmanship, for Gamesmanship’s Sake

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

According to the two socialist reporters below, other socialist and communist writers are attacking Hillary Clinton, just to gin up Democratic voter turnout for primaries over a year away. They also refer vacuously to “economic populism,” but only one of their talking heads, Michael Tomasky, gives any content to the phrase: “student loans.”

Apparently, either the lefty media operatives are just using “economic populism,” as a vacuous talking point, or it is meant to deceive white working-class voters into thinking the Democratic Party, which is sworn to their destruction, somehow supports them. But if the DPUSA supported working-class whites, it would oppose the illegal, unconstitutional illegal alien amnesty put forth by the dictator calling himself “Barack Obama.” That would be THE economically populist position. (Actually, the same would apply to working classes of all races, but blacks are so genocidally racist that they support any policy that will harm, whites, even if the same policy will hurt blacks even more.)

And so, we have two despicable, treasonous, ruling political parties, each of which wants to feign support for some sort of vague “populism,” both of which, however, hate the people whose votes they rely on. If these “reporters” were worth their salt, instead of being DPUSA operatives writing about their comrades, they’d play this card for all it’s worth. Then again, if they were worth their salt, they'd be asking if there's even going to be a 2016 election.
 

 

The liberal media's not ready for Hillary
She has no viable opponent, so progressive outlets are trying to create one.
By Maggie Haberman and Hadas Gold
11/12/14 7:28 P.M. EST
Updated 11/13/14 11:46 P.M. EST
Politico

Elizabeth Warren says she’s not running. Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar have said the same. Even Martin O’Malley has refused to take shots at Hillary Clinton.

So the liberal media is taking matters into its own hands.

Absent a strong challenge to Clinton from the left so far, progressive media outlets are trying to fill the void — propping up Warren, the Massachusetts senator, Jim Webb, the former Virginia senator who has made noise about running for president, and outgoing Maryland Gov. O’Malley, the only one laying any groundwork toward a run. Even Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who styles himself a “Democratic socialist,” is getting some play in an effort to avoid a coronation.

(Also on POLITICO: Why Wall Street loves Hillary)

The fight is less about ideological purity than it is about motivating the Democratic base, especially after the party’s wipeout in last week’s midterms.

The anti-Clinton drumbeat in progressive outlets picked up quickly as soon as the midterms were over.

“The Lesson from the Midterms: Elizabeth Warren Should Run in 2016,” read the headline the day after the elections from In These Times.

“Bernie Sanders is the Presidential Candidate America Truly Needs,” added Mic.com, a relatively new site aimed at progressive millennials, on Monday.

(Also on POLITICO: Clinton left out by liberal donor club)

The Nation, which has been flexing muscle after a wave of economic populism swept over the Democratic Party, has been beating the drums for a Clinton challenger for months. At times, The New Republic has chimed in about Clinton’s weaknesses. And in October, Harper’s Magazine ran a piece by far-left writer Doug Henwood that ripped Clinton as a hawkish centrist out of step with the spirit of the times.

Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and part owner of The Nation, is blunt about her motives: The magazine, still an influential voice on the left and an outlet experiencing renewed relevance in a populist Democratic Party, plans to play a role in shaping the primary — with or without Warren.

“We believe that there’s a kind of economic populism and an agenda … that we hope to drive into 2015 and 2016,” Vanden Heuvel said in an interview. “And Hillary Clinton, because of her history, because of her team, has not been part of that wing of the Democratic Party. … [E]ven the most ardent Hillary fans should understand that sometimes not only her party and the country — but her candidacy — would be better served if she has competition.”

(Also on POLITICO: The Rudy Giuliani guide to beating Hillary Clinton)

The Nation played a key role in 2013 in New York City’s mayoral primary, endorsing little-known Public Advocate Bill de Blasio early and giving him momentum among the primary’s deeply liberal voters. In this year’s Democratic primary for governor in New York, the magazine endorsed Zephyr Teachout, a virtually unknown law professor who became a painful thorn in Andrew Cuomo’s side and kept his winning margin in the primary uncomfortably low.

Progressive media outlets are less attempting to prop up Warren as a potential candidate than to make sure her populist crusades — like cracking down on the banking industry — will define the debate. At times, that involves promoting Warren, but it also will mean looking at people like Sanders, who has started visiting early states and has said that Clinton will need to explain her relationship with Wall Street. Even Webb, who was Ronald Reagan’s Navy secretary and claims to have told President Barack Obama that health care reform would be a “disaster,” has gotten some love on the left.

The various outlets’ focus on Warren and the field of potential anti-Hillarys has caught the eyes of Clintonland, which views the Massachusetts senator skeptically and is well aware that she has said little positive about the former secretary of state, including when the two appeared at the same political rally for failed gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley last month. Clinton insiders have said privately that they see Warren as trying to keep some small ember alive about her own future, even as she insists she’s not running for president.

• • •

If The Nation and The New Republic, which ran its own pro-Warren cover in November 2013, are all about encouraging reasoned, healthy debate on the issues, Harper’s Magazine is going in the opposition direction. In bright, shining neon.

“Stop Hillary!” blared the headline on the magazine’s October cover.

“It was just commissioned to be critical, and they got what they asked for,” Henwood said in an interview about his article, in which he described Clinton as part of a “widespread liberal fantasy of her as a progressive paragon … in fact, a close look at her life and career is perhaps the best antidote to all these great expectations.” (David Brock, a Clinton ally who runs both Media Matters and the pro-Clinton group Correct The Record, attacked Henwood’s story as a “liberal screed” that would have “no effect other than bolstering the Republican case against her, and so we’re going to push back on them.”)

The Clinton-questioning chorus isn’t just lefty magazines, either. Mika Brzezinski, the co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” has repeatedly encouraged Warren to go for it, and she was critical of Clinton’s gaffes about her wealth during her book tour. On Wednesday, Brzezinski said Warren challenging Clinton in a primary “would be great.” Her MSNBC colleague Chris Hayes has publicly questioned Clinton in recent months, including what he called her “bizarre” silence on the police shooting in Ferguson of an unarmed [sic] black teen.

The questioning of assumptions about Clinton’s march to the White House — and not just on the left — is partly a story of journalists looking for sharp angles on a Democratic primary race that threatens to be deadly dull. The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, for instance, recently took a sober, straightforward look at the “trap” Clinton could fall into assuming inevitability, writing that the midterm election results could lead to “a Republican Party that overinterprets its mandate in Congress and pushes its presidential candidates far to the right, freeing Democrats to gamble on someone younger or more progressive than Clinton.”

But the doubt among progressives is real, even though Clinton may be better positioned with the base of the Democratic Party now than in 2008. Back then, her media critics had more alternatives to work with — a slew of sitting senators were openly running for the Democratic nomination, including Barack Obama and John Edwards, a progressive favorite until his marital troubles came to light.

Clinton’s record, particularly her vote for the Iraq War in 2002, was also more unsettling to the left in 2008 — a weakness that Obama skillfully exploited. Now, most of the debate over social issues such as same-sex marriage has been settled within the Democratic Party, and the new frontier is economic populism — the very cause that has fueled Warren’s rise.

So Clinton still has to guard her left flank, but she also has influential defenders among progressives, too.

In the past two years, the Daily Kos, a hub of progressive online activism that was a thorn in her side in the 2008 primary, has been far more positive about her prospective candidacy this time around — and critical of outlets that try to bolster anti-Clinton narratives. Its founder, Markos Moulitsas has refused to engage in the speculation that Warren might change her mind and run, and has described Clinton as the party’s best hope for a second history-making victory after electing a black president in 2008.

“It’s a distraction,” Moulitsas, who wouldn’t comment for this story, wrote in a February Daily Kos editorial. “With Clinton’s commanding general election trial heats, not to mention demographic shifts shoring up our electoral picture, we’ll have the luxury to look beyond the presidential and take a more holistic approach to the cycle.”

Arianna Huffington also has been positive about Clinton since last year, despite some Clinton allies recalling bitterly how the site she founded, The Huffington Post, handled her in the 2008 race. In April of that year, during the thick of the campaign season, Huffington Post ran a story that called into question whether Clinton was the champion of working-class, white voters that she claimed to be at the time.

Though Huffington has yet to express such full-throated support for Clinton, she made an open plea for her to return to public life shortly after she left the State Department. And when asked about a Clinton candidacy, Huffington told talk show host Wendy Williams in June she thinks “it would be fantastic to have a woman president.” (Huffington declined to respond to a POLITICO request for comment.)

Salon writer Joan Walsh has repeatedly written favorably about Clinton, and was set to appear at a panel for the pro-Clinton super PAC, Ready for Hillary, on Nov. 21, though conference organizers say Walsh pulled out to avoid appearing partisan.

Of all the anti-Clinton narratives, the Warren bubble remains the most sustained. It swelled late last year when TNR, which enraged many on the left when it endorsed Joe Lieberman over John Kerry in 2004, profiled her. The reported [?] essay by writer Noam Scheiber was headlined, “Hillary’s Nightmare? A Democratic Party That Realizes Its Soul Lies With Elizabeth Warren.”

Warren gave a rare interview for the story, in which Scheiber concluded that “if Hillary Clinton runs and retains her ties to Wall Street, Warren will be more likely to join the race, not less. Warren is shrewd enough to understand that the future of the Democratic Party is at stake in 2016.”

Warren aides insisted at the time that nothing had changed and she wasn’t planning to run. And the Warren intrigue seems to have passed fairly quickly there — seven months later, Scheiber and TNR ran a follow-on story about Clinton headlined, “How Hillary Won Over the Skeptical Left,” that acknowledged the degree to which the party has coalesced around the former secretary of state.

Yet the Clintons often have a way of keeping the longer goal in mind. A year after that Warren piece set off alarm bells in Clintonland about whether the senator was pushing the story — Warren aides reached out to Clintonland at the time to soothe concerns, according to people familiar with the discussions. And Bill Clinton is set to be the featured speaker at a TNR gala to mark the magazine’s 100th anniversary in Washington next month.

Still, the progressive outlets remain a potential force against Clinton — their publishers have shown a willingness to lob a grenade in her direction, and get attention doing it.

“You don’t have to be ‘left’ to object to stasis in politics,” said John MacArthur, the president of Harper’s.

“Anytime you challenge the received wisdom, the people who benefit from the received wisdom are threatened,” he added. “She’s happy with the situation where people think it’s inevitable, she can’t lose … and somebody suddenly raises the possibility of a challenge or the wisdom of a challenge. So yeah, it has to make them somewhat nervous because it gives people ideas.”

Michael Tomasky, the Daily Beast columnist who has covered Hillary Clinton as a candidate since her 2000 race for U.S. Senate, predicted the noise against her will be more about trying to get the potential White House candidate to embrace progressive economic issues like student loans and ending tax breaks for the wealthy than genuine attempts to drum up a strong primary challenger.

“There’s going to be a lot of anti-Clinton [sentiment] in the Democratic, liberal left end of spectrum,” Tomasky told POLITICO. “Some of it will be genuinely against her, and some of it will be for the purpose of trying to push her in that direction.”

It gives Clinton an opportunity, he said, and she should view it that way – and craft positions that appeal to the left accordingly: “She’ll have a galvanized Democratic Party behind her, versus half a party which felt only a little enthusiastic.”

As the field becomes clearer and Republicans ratchet up their attacks against Clinton, those who might not be too happy with Clinton will quiet down, David Corn, Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones magazine, said in an interview.

“It’s easy to gripe about Hillary. It’s a lot harder to find a solution.”

Authors:


mhaberman@politico.com
@maggiepolitico

Hadas Gold
hgold@politico.com
@hadas_gold

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