Friday, October 14, 2016

But but but... it's just risotto recipes

I'm looking forward to the end of the 2016 campaign.  It was fun during the primaries when the Democrats were actually arguing over the outsized  influence of the corporate oligarchy and the Republicans were staging a bizarre revolt against the rotten money power that controls their party. As we stagger to the finish, though, that's all well behind us.  The Democrats have fully embraced the oligarchs and what's left of the Republican Party is no longer in revolt so much as just plain revolting.

Another annoyance about this stage of the campaign is the near total absence of substance coming from either major candidate or their surrogates.  Of course when one side nominates a lecherous quasi-fascist reality TV star, that's almost understandable.  But that isn't the only source of the inanity.  It's clear now (as it should have been for several months) that Hillary Clinton is going to be President. One would think that the focus of discussion now would be on the kind of President she will be.  One would be wrong about that.

With the election reduced to fait-accompli status, it might be a good idea for the party assured of victory to start to work setting the governing agenda.  Let's talk now about what we'd like to see President Clinton accomplish in order to attach the popular mandate of the landslide election to our priorities. For some reason Hillary partisans aren't interested in doing this. In fact, they are doing everything they can to forestall that kind of talk.  Even now, as they've beaten the American voter into submission, the Hillary people aren't in the mood to take a victory lap.  Instead, they are still playing defense. Sloppily.

Take the recent Wikileaks releases of hacked emails, for example. It's understandable that the campaign itself considers them a distraction or embarrassment. But what about those Democrats who aren't employed directly by the campaign or the DNC? Or what about just the average voter? There's some stuff in there that most of us might find worth talking about.

In her speeches to Goldman Sachs, Hillary basically said that bankers are the best people to regulate bankers and that if you aren't getting rich in America, you must be some kind of loser.
At the Goldman Sachs Builders and Innovators Summit, Clinton responded to a question from chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, who quipped that you “go to Washington” to “make a small fortune.” Clinton agreed with the comment and complained about ethics rules that require officials to divest from certain assets before entering government. “There is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives,” Clinton said.
She also admits her own position on Syrian intervention is going cost a lot of civilian lives
In her remarks to Goldman Sachs, Clinton pointed to the Syrian government’s air defense systems, and noted that destroying them would take the lives of many Syrian civilians.

“They’re getting more sophisticated thanks to Russian imports. To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas.  So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk—you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians,” she said. “So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you take a lot of civilians.”
That's actually an example of the "private Hillary" being better than "public Hillary." It might bode well for what comes after the election.  On the other hand, we're in a shooting war in Yemen now, apparently. So... well, we'll see.  Anyway, none of us are much surprised to learn also how much Hillary loves Wal-Mart but that's in there too.

There's other stuff but let's not catalog it all here.  The point is that, despite the protestations of the professional sycophants and hangers-on (lol risotto!), there's relevant information in these emails. They tell us what sort of President we're about to have and what she and the people around her believe. In a better world, this would be the most relevant election topic at this point given the inevitability of the outcome. Instead, thanks to Donald Trump, we're spending time in 2016 arguing over whether or not women are people.

Here's why it matters that we start to contemplate the Clinton Administration now.  David Dayen writes that the leaked emails also instruct us that by the time Obama took office in 2008, the opportunity to substantively shape the course of the new Presidency had already passed.
If the 2008 Podesta emails are any indication, the next four years of public policy are being hashed out right now, behind closed doors. And if liberals want to have an impact on that process, waiting until after the election will be too late.

Who gets these cabinet-level and West Wing advisory jobs matters as much as policy papers or legislative initiatives. It will inform executive branch priorities and responses to crises. It will dictate the level of enforcement of existing laws. It will establish the point of view of an administration and the advice Hillary Clinton will receive. Its importance cannot be stressed enough, and the process has already begun.

The wing of the Democratic Party concerned about personnel decisions made its opinion known almost two years ago. Dan Geldon, now chief of staff to Senator Elizabeth Warren, met with Dan Schwerin, a top adviser to Clinton’s campaign, in January 2015. According to an email follow-up with Podesta and others, Geldon “was intently focused on personnel issues, laid out a detailed case against the Bob Rubin school of Democratic policy makers.” He was also “very critical of the Obama administration’s choices.”
Dayen goes on to argue that this year the so-called "Warren Wing" has earned some clout during the election (Bernie won 42 percent of Democrats!) and deserves to be heard in these discussions. But given the condescension toward them that drips out of some of these emails, it's not clear just how much influence they'll end up having.

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