As #BernieSanders Rises, So Does The Perfidy of Angry Pundits Like Paul Krugman | #Neoliberalism on Blog#42

As #BernieSanders Rises, So Does The Perfidy of Angry Pundits Like Paul Krugman

It is a very strange day when both Paul Krugman and Lloyd Blankfein chime in on Bernie Sanders’ banking reform proposals on the same day and it turns out they’re sharing the same bed!

Bankfein had this to say on CNBC’s Squawk Box:

Sorkin: You mentioned politics and politics are bad and Bernie Sanders taking a shot at you. How do you see this whole campaign turning out and also do you think it’s impacting the markets in any meaningful way?

Blankfein: I think he mentioned me by name. I don’t take it personally since we never met. Another kid from Brooklyn. How about that? It has potential to look to personalize it. It has potential to be a dangerous moment, not just for Wall Street, not just for the people who are particularly targeted, but for anybody who is a little bit out of line. We have a moment in time where people are — it’s a liability to say I’m willing to compromise, I’m going to get one millimeter off the extreme position I have and if you do, you have to backtrack and swear to people that you’ll never compromise. It’s just incredible. It’s a moment in history. Eventually, people, the electorate, will notice nothing is getting done and somebody will come up with a new idea of saying hey send me to Washington I’ll compromise and I’ll get things done and that will be the new, new thing and everybody will rally to that point. There’s a pendulum that swings in markets and also in the political economy as well. But right now, it’s an odd moment in time. Could you imagine we could ever have a country if the Jeffersons and the Hamiltons just came in there with a total pledge and commitment to never compromise with the other side?

Blankfein hits only one nail on the head, but without realizing he hit an entirely different nail than the one he intended. Yes, voters have long noticed that nothing’s getting done and, worse, what little good has gotten done is being undone, bit by bit, no thanks to the interference of the industry he represents, both with the sanction of the neoliberal wing of the Democratic contingent in Congress and the neoconservatives and conservatives there. So, if polarization is having the effect of making the left intransigent, that intransigence translates into Democrats finally realizing they’ve been hurt, not helped, by decades of triangulation, and that core principles cannot be abandoned without dire consequences.

The most recent budget that was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama contains no budget budget increase for the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) as it is tasked with even more responsibility as part of the implementation of Dodd-Frank. You can’t be serious about regulating an industry that failed so spectacularly that the public had to intervene in order to prevent a massive failure, only to de-fang the very regulations intended to prevent another meltdown by depriving the agency of a full operating budget.

This tack, asphyxiation through the de-funding and repeal of regulations is the same one Republicans have been using since gaining control of the House of Representatives, at the bidding of the banking industry, and with the acquiescence of certain liberal-leaning Democrats . The IRS is another vital government agency that has also seen its funding severely curtailed, making it much harder to do what it is tasked to do: collect taxes from unwilling entities. Indeed, today’s news cycle informs us that the IRS had to shut down tax return electronic filings because of computer hardware issues. Were the IRS adequately funded, would it have been forced to take the same action?

Blankfein’s analysis of our politics is naive to the uninformed listener, and jaded to those who are in the know. Naive in that he compares politics to trading in the stock markets when politics are far more complicated than trades, and jaded because he leads the very powerful group of people who rigged the markets in the first place. Elizabeth Warren, who was asked about Blankfein’s statements, said this:

“When Blankfein says that criticizing those who break the rules is dangerous to the economy, then he’s just repeating another variation of ‘too big to fail,’ ‘too big to jail,’ ‘too big even to prosecute,’”

Warren is correct. Blankfein sees Sanders’ candidacy and his success as dangerous, not to the political process, but to the elites and their ability to continue manipulating the political process and, through it, the entirety of government policy.

Which brings me to Paul Krugman who, in the past few weeks, has spared no effort in his attempts to tarnish Bernie Sanders’ policies one by one, very methodically. On a day when several of his peers in the pundit class put out glowing analyses of the performance of the Dodd-Frank Act and claims this proves Sanders’ call for regulation of the banks is unnecessary and even dangerous, it was pretty strange to see Blankfein make an appearance on TV , effectively driving home that same point. That Blankfein would feel threatened by a Sanders presidency is hardly surprising. Sanders has been a very vocal critic of Wall Street, including Mr. Blankfein, specifically, and the Federal Reserve, from the days of Alan Greenspan to the present day. But that Krugman would take Blankfein’s position in order to prop Hillary Clinton, how twisted is that?

Sorkin: Do you think Wall Street or the business community should be worried about Bernie Sanders or is when you see the comments? I’m just curious what the reaction is. I’m assuming you’re backing Hillary Clinton.

Blankfein: Yes, you’re assuming it. I don’t want to help or hurt anybody by giving them an endorsement.

One must stress that Paul Krugman’s service to the nation, as a preeminent columnist and economist, cannot be overstated. Without his vocal advocacy, we probably would not have corrected the course of one of America’s worst economic failures. Krugman was instrumental in raising public awareness and ensuring the full understanding of what was happening. That said, and over the last two years, Paul Krugman has been on a mission to re-frame the narrative of the Obama administration’s achievements in specific areas and in ways that just aren’t supported by the reality still lived by tens of millions of Americans. Yes, millions of jobs have been created under President Obama and we are better off today than we were in January of 2009. Does that mean the suffering has ended? Are all these new jobs high quality, high wage jobs? Healthcare has been treated similarly by Krugman. Millions more subscribers than forecast have elected to sign up for Obamacare. How do the coverages compare to what used to be called “good insurance?” What about the cost? Do the deductible levels currently set leave subscribers so exposed that they could go bankrupt? What about the rate at which insurers deny service? Availability of physicians and facilities on Obamacare networks? How do all those compare to good insurance? Here too, while the benefits of having so many more people covered with healthcare coverage are undeniable, qualitatively speaking, it is as undeniable that there are huge problems with the setup and who it benefits the most. Universal healthcare would not only extend coverage to 29 million Americans who are currently without access in the renegade states, but also cut out the obscene profits the insurance middlemen are reaping and removing the large albatross that deductibles and coinsurance embody. Under Obamacare, unless you have a Platinum plan, you can easily incur enough medical debt to go bankrupt, or be discouraged from getting needed treatment. Yes, in the absence of the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, Dodd-Frank adds just a bit more security. But is that little bit of security sufficient? Will it prevent another too-big-to-fail situation? Does it prevent banks from consolidating to the point where they present an even bigger risk? As Professor Robert Hockett of Cornell University explains:

Sanders’s rival for the Democratic nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, joined by her husband’s former Treasury secretary, Larry Summers, objects to this proposal (although both make constructive proposals of their own). Her professed ground is that the original Glass-Steagall Act wouldn’t have prevented our most recent crisis, which was caused mainly by shadow banking. This is a bit like objecting to the iPhone 6s because your flip phone had inadequate functionality. It suggests incomprehension of Sanders’s, Warren’s and McCain’s proposals, for the whole point of these proposals is to regulate 21st-century shadow banking just as the original Glass-Steagall regulated 20th-century shadow banking.

So what is shadow banking? “Shadow banking” refers to the performance of risky bank-like functions by institutions that are not as carefully regulated as banks. The most dangerous such function is that of borrowing short-term in order to invest in longer-term financial instruments, all while hoping that you will be able to “roll over” — renew or refinance — your short-term loans over the durations of those longer-term investments. When you can do that, you can make a great deal of money by investing in higher-end speculative financial instruments, because short-term borrowing costs are lower than long-term speculative yields. But you also put those who lend to you — notably bank depositors or counterpart small savers (more on them, below) — at great risk, for you’re engaged in a “musical chairs” form of finance: You avoid bankrupting yourself and your lenders only as long as your speculative investments keep rising, bubble-fashion, in price.

But if you listen to former Fed Chair Bernanke’s interview with ABC’s This Week in September in which he claims his policy tweaks and the tools Congress gave the Fed before his departure are plenty to avert a disaster, and the only things missing are regulations on shadow banking (AIG being the type of risk he refers to.) That is the same position Hillary Clinton officially adopted on banking reform in her debate answers, and now Paul Krugman is blessing this idea, through this and other writings, in the last couple of weeks. If Bernanke can’t really be faulted for having conservative views, he was a Republican until last year, and if we’ve rightly been doubting Clinton’s progressive chops and the effect Wall Street money has on her policy choices, then what does it say about Paul Krugman who, at the end of 2014, was still writing like this in “Wall Street’s Revenge:”

“But what Congress did is still outrageous — and both sides of the ideological divide should agree. After all, even if you believe (in defiance of the lessons of history) that financial institutions can be trusted to police themselves, even if you believe the grotesquely false narrative that bleeding-heart liberals caused the financial crisis by pressuring banks to lend to poor people, especially minority borrowers, you should be against letting Wall Street play games with government-guaranteed funds. What just went down isn’t about free-market economics; it’s pure crony capitalism.

And sure enough, Citigroup literally wrote the deregulation language that was inserted into the funding bill.

Again, in itself last week’s action wasn’t decisive. But it was clearly the first skirmish in a war to roll back much if not all of the financial reform. And if you want to know who stands where in this coming war, follow the money: Wall Street is giving mainly to Republicans for a reason.”

The voting public has learned a few things since December 2014, including just how much the Clintons have earned in Wall Street donations to SuperPACs and speaking fees. As Krugman wrote, follow the money…

As a public, we’ve been groomed from 2008 to believe two things: 2016 is inevitably Hillary’s turn, and a majority of Democratic-voting Americans supports Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Indeed, preparations for this coronations have been made since 2008, in the background:

The Undemocratic Party

Naturally, it began with fundraising. In early 2013, Clinton supporters founded the Ready for Hillary super PAC, which over the next two years raised about $13 million. While Ready for Hillary cast itself as a grassroots effort fueled by very small donors, over half the PAC’s cash haul arrived via gifts of $2,500 or larger. A full third of the total came from gifts of $10,000 or more.

The really big money, meanwhile, came from other sources. In January 2014, Priorities USA Action, the largest super PAC to support Barack Obama’s reelection, declared it would back Clinton — a move the New York Timescalled “perhaps the earliest start to big-dollar fund-raising in support of a nonincumbent presidential candidate” ever.

When Clinton declared her candidacy last spring, the big dollars were ready: Priorities USA almost immediately collected over $15 million, virtually all of it in gifts of $500,000 or more. To date Priorities USA has raised over $50 million for Clinton, with another $42 million in future pledges.

Source: The War On Bernie Sanders, Jacobin

Krugman and other pundits’ carefully crafted narratives  have fostered an atmosphere in which no criticism can be made of the current economic situation without appearing to reduce President Obama’s legacy, when it would have been just as easy to point to the deficiencies caused by GOP obstruction and nullification without, in any way, detracting from our president’s excellent track record. Why then, has Krugman spent the last two years writing a rather substantial body of work in praise and support of President Obama’s achievements?

The answer is two-fold: in a political environment where the left swung further leftward, it is the only way for a neoliberal candidate like Hillary Clinton to maintain a neoliberal agenda, and it keeps Black voters in Clinton’s corner, because they are assumed to want to preserve Obama’s legacy at any and all costs. It is true that whomever is chosen in the primary will be elected thanks to a significant number of Black voters and the presumption is that Blacks will be united in their desire for President Obama’s legacy to be kept intact, especially if the issues are framed in the context of succession versus erasure. Make no mistake, the pundit class, in its effort to denigrate Sanders is painting him as the same kind of nullifier as the Republicans, as an outsider who is trying to take over the Democratic party; as “other” in the context of mainstream American thought.

Our favorite pundits, old and new, all are engaged in the same tactics they’ve spent the last seven years criticizing the Republicans for. It’s a well-orchestrated game in which one pundit writes something and all the others reference that to build upon it and create a new narrative which the rest of the press refers to as if it were fact. But these were opinions to begin with; not facts… This is how American public opinion is being manipulated and half a picture painted in the media.

Where have we seen this kind of political manipulation before? For that, we must reach back to the cold war era and Senator Joe McCarthy and his Select Committee on Un-American Activities and the damage he inflicted on tens of thousands of Americans through the witch-hunts he waged for decades. Last year’s movie, Trumbo, tells the story through the lens of what happened to one Hollywood writer whose career, and his friends and colleagues’ were nearly ruined.

What is going on today, isn’t quite the same in the sense that there is no obvious witch-hunt going on and people aren’t being forced to testify against lie about each other in public hearings. We don’t have Rosenbergs standing trial for treason. No, the drama that is unfolding is far subtler but no less damaging to our democracy. If the narrative has been that the plutocracy is grabbing power through the GOP apparatus in Congress and state governorships and state houses, to anyone paying attention to our news cycle, it should be more than obvious by now, that those same plutocrats and oligarchs are playing both ends against the middle or more accurately, the middle and right ends against the left, as it were, in order to preserve the current oligarchic order. As I’ve written previously, the press has no small part in the attempts to influence public opinion in the ongoing Democratic primary election.

But remember, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is falling apart because of her and her husband’s inability to manage public careers that are devoid of scandal and filled with ethical judgment. No one forced the Clintons to take money from Wall Street. It was a choice they made. Hillary could have given nearly free speeches as Sanders always does. She has chosen not to and she is against any kind of effective banking reforms. Veteran Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein appeared on CNN today to speak about Hillary Clinton and her habit of self-inflicted wounds:

During the latest Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton accused Bernie Sanders of an “artful smear” campaign against her for his jabs against her on the money she and her husband and daughter have earned from speaking fees and donations from Wall Street. Watch:

But as she was shrilly lobbing accusations against Sanders, look who was sitting next to the former governor of Vermont that Clinton repeatedly mentions supports her and not fellow Vermonter, Bernie Sanders?

Yes, right in the New Hampshire debate audience, sitting right next to Howard Dean, was Steve Elmendorf, acolyte to none other than Lloyd Blankfein. Who says Hillary doesn’t have a finely honed sense of irony and a perverse sense of humor?

Indeed, as Matt Taibbi writes in “The Vampire Squid Tells Us How To Vote,” on Blankfein’s appearance on CNBC last week:

“Anyway, according to his book, Geithner got good advice from Clinton. The former president advised him to press for tax hikes on the rich, but to “make sure I didn’t look like I was happy about it.” Then Clinton added that Timmy shouldn’t take the public-anger thing too hard:

“You could take Lloyd Blankfein in an alley and slit his throat, and it would satisfy them for about two days,” Clinton said. “Then the blood lust would rise again.””

This is how the Clintons view us, and whom the press is protecting. This is the pecking order Paul Krugman so desperately tries to preserve in his desperately acrid attacks on Bernie Sanders, and his use of the derogatory “Bernie Bro” meme to attack anyone who supports Sanders. This is the same tactic those who propped Joe McCarthy used, successfully, for years, in order to tarnish the reputations of innocent people and neutralize them. Is Paul Krugman a present day Hedda Hopper? You be the judge. Read his op-eds and blog posts written during the month of January and February 2016. They represent an abrupt departure from what had been the silent treatment given to Senator Sanders’ candidacy, and it coincides with his rise in the polls from ZERO, to within single digits of overtaking Clinton.

As I wrote in a previous piece, there are no prophets in the media. There are no prophets in politics, either. There are only those who are willing to compromise ethics in order to advance their careers, with very few exceptions who have managed to have a career with few ethical shortcuts. What is unfolding now is a high stakes play to draw the public’s attention away from certain Democrats’ indebtedness to the same corrupting forces in American politics that they’ve railed against for the last few years, with the sole aim and purpose to ensure the installation of the Democratic party’s sanctioned candidate as victor in the primary, over the public’s wish, if need be. It must take a panicked establishment to go ahead and attempt to convince the public that it is better off with incremental change because sweeping change is impossible. At no time in recent memory have so many public media figures tried to interfere with an election – certainly not while telling the public that change is not possible. Change is up to the public will. What is or isn’t possible is up to the public will – not the say so of some pundits with clear conflicts of interest.

Keep your eyes wide open. Keep your news sources varied, and your trust in those who have the least to gain. Keep in mind this warning from the Prophet Jeremiah:

“Therefore, do not listen to your false prophets, nor to your diviners, nor dreamers, nor enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, that tell you not to serve the king of Babylon… But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, says the L-rd, and they shall till it, and dwell therein…”

Jeremiah 27:4-11


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Transcript: Lloyd Blankfein on CNBC’s Squawk Box

SORKIN: YOU MENTIONED POLITICS AND THE POLITICS ARE BAD AND BERNIE SANDERS TAKING A SHOT AT YOU PERSONALLY. HOW DO YOU SEE THIS WHOLE CAMPAIGN TURNING OUT AND ALSO DO YOU THINK THAT IT’S IMPACTING THE MARKETS IN ANY MEANINGFUL WAY.

BLANKFEIN: I THINK HE MENTIONED ME BY NAME. I DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY SINCE WE NEVER MET. ANOTHER KID FROM BROOKLYN HOW ABOUT THAT. IT HAS POTENTIAL TO LOOK TO PERSONALIZE IT. IT HAS POTENTIAL TO BE A DANGEROUS MOMENT. NOT JUST FOR WALL STREET, NOT JUST FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PARTICULARLY TARGETED BUT FOR ANYBODY WHO IS A LITTLE BIT OUT OF LINE. WE HAVE A MOMENT IN TIME WHERE PEOPLE ARE — IT’S A LIABILITY TO SAY I’M WILLING TO COMPROMISE, I’M GOING TO GET ONE MILLIMETER OFF THE EXTREME POSITION I HAVE AND IF YOU DO YOU HAVE TO BACK TRACK AND SWEAR TO PEOPLE THAT YOU’LL NEVER COMPROMISE. IT’S JUST INCREDIBLE. IT’S A MOMENT IN HISTORY. EVENTUALLY PEOPLE, THE ELECTORATE WILL NOTICE NOTHING IS GETTING DONE AND SOMEBODY WILL COME UP WITH A NEW IDEA OF SAYING HEY SEND ME TO WASHINGTON AND I’LL COMPROMISE AND I’LL GET THINGS DONE AND THAT WILL BE THE NEW NEW THING AND EVERYBODY WILL RALLY TO THAT POINT. THERE’S A PENDULUM THAT SWINGS IN MARKETS AND ALSO IN THE POLITICAL ECONOMY AS WELL. BUT RIGHT NOW IT’S AN ODD MOMENT IN TIME. COULD YOU IMAGINE WE COULD EVER HAVE A COUNTRY IF THE JEFFERSONS AND THE HAMILTONS, JUST CAME IN THERE WITH A TOTAL PLEDGE AND COMMITMENT TO NEVER COMPROMISE WITH THE OTHER SIDE?

SORKIN: DO YOU THINK WALL STREET OR THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT BERNIE SANDERS OR IS? WHEN YOU SEE THE COMMENTS. I’M JUST CURIOUS WHAT THE REACTION IS. I’M ASSUMING YOU’RE BACKING HILLARY CLINTON.

BLANKFEIN: YES, YOU’RE ASSUMING IT. I DON’T WANT TO HELP OR HURT ANYBODY BY GIVING THEM AN ENDORSEMENT.

KERNEN: I WOULD PHRASE IT DIFFERENT THE YOUNG PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY ARE SUPPORTING A SOCIALIST. SUDDENLY WE FORGOT SOCIALISM DOESN’T WORK. I’M READY TO FIRE ALL THE ACADEMICS AT ALL THE UNIVERSITIES AND SEND MY DAUGHTER TO BRIGHAM YOUNG OR LIBERTY OR SOMETHING.

QUICK: IT IS PROBABLY A REFLECTION OF THESE PEOPLE GROWING UP AFTER THE FINANCIAL CRISIS.

KERNEN: I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS A REFLECTION OF BUT SOCIALISM DOESN’T WORK REAL WELL. LIVES ARE NOT REALLY IMPROVED BY IT.

 

 

—-

 

Much more work to prevent another financial meltdown

FEBRUARY 2, 2016

  • George H. Blackford

    This is nuts! The electorate is not looking for someone who is willing to work with right-wing ideologues to achieve incremental change. That’s what Democrats have been doing for 40 years. The result has been stagnant wages, millions of people losing their homes, and
    a financial crisis that led to massive transfers of wealth and income from the bottom to the top.

    Democrats have consistently failed to present a coherent set of ideas and facts to counter the absurd right-wing nonsense the Republicans have been selling to the electorate for 40 odd years. As a result, hardly anyone seems to know that if don’t increase taxes it is going to
    be impossible balance the budget without cutting Social Security, Medicare, devastating our social safety net, or crippling the ability of the federal government to function. Nor do they realize that we are among the least taxed of the advanced countries of the world where only Chile and Mexico of the OECD countries pay lower taxes than we do. ( http://www.rweconomics.com/Deficit.htm and http://www.rweconomics.com/Waste.html )

    Look at the numbers; do the math! Why doesn’t the electorate understand these simple facts? The reason is that Democrats have ignored them rather than explained them to the electorate.

    Hopefully, Sanders will find the courage to speak the truth to the American people and help to change this. At least he seems to be off to a good start. See: http://www.rweconomics.com/LTLGAD.htm and http://www.rweconomics.com/IVR.htm

  • mahood

    I am disgusted that you would smear Krugman — in his column and here, as McCarthyite. You want to call him a HillaryBro or whatever fine: turn about is fair play. But this is ridiculous. Shame on you.

    • You should be more disgusted with what he’s protecting and who benefits from it. Hint: unless you are a Wall Street baron, it ain’t you.

      Krugman has spent the better part of the last two years moving away from the issues that propelled this nation into the state it is in now, in order to position himself to protect the Clintons at this time. That is perfidious.

  • dclark92064

    I like Bernie a lot but I am troubled by the paranoid bunch of crazies like you that seem to be part of the deal of supporting him. The campaign that you and many others have been conducting against other Democrats is pretty hard to stomach.

    • More than your disagreement with me, I am troubled by your refusal to entertain the notion that someone of Krugman’s stature intervening in a primary, as he has, is proper, or that he is intervening at all. The last two weeks’ worth of blog posts and op-eds have consisted of attack after attack on Sanders, and on positions that have always been core democratic doctrine. Nothing Sanders is proposing in his platform is anything Krugman himself has never been a strong proponent of. Yet, now that Sanders is high in the polls, Krugman criticizes, not the positions themselves, but that they are Sanders’. Suddenly, nothing can be aspired to and we must all aim much lower.

      Don’t you find that the least bit curious and disingenuous? Have you not noticed that the Times, as a newspaper, has been on a mission to discredit Sanders both in straight news reporting and in the opinion section?

      I don’t care what you think of me. I do care that the press is intentionally skewing the news to protect one candidate.

      • dc15773

        Krugman should stay out of the primary because has too much stature??? That’s crazy! You seem to believe that only people with no stature (e.g. you and me) should “intervene”. Krugman (and I) would favor a single payer system. That is not the issue and has not been the basis for his critique of the Sanders campaign. It is that Sanders is likely to be badly defeated in the general election and consequently much of what has been accomplished will be dismantled, and we will get a bunch of new right wing members on the Supreme Court. I like Bernie. I am pleased that he is pushing the agenda a bit to the left. I wish I thought he could win. Reading the attacks of his ardent supporters on other Democrats causes me to worry even more. You are driving divisions that are going to be hard to heal and will make the election of a right winger more likely.

        • Now, you are choosing to misinterpret what I wrote. Krugman should be even handed. He hasn’t been. He could have rendered an analysis of the policies each candidate proposes and where he falls. He hasn’t. Instead, he’s chosen to do everything he can to destroy Sanders’ reputation, stooping so low as to distort Sanders’ positions and using memes to support his criticism.

          What happens if Sanders wins the primary. How does Krugman pivot back? Or… does he support Bloomberg? See how that works?

          • dc15773

            Krugman has been more even handed toward Bernie than the Bernie’s supporters have been toward him. This page of your commentary is an example of what I mean. If Sanders wins the nomination the radical-progressive Clinton supporters will have little difficulty supporting him, unless they have been so offended by the insults from Bernie’s supporters they sit it out. The moderate-progressives may have a more difficult time but they too may come around. If Sanders does not win the nomination I don’t see how you and others can pivot back. Or…do you support Trump, Rubio, Bloomberg, etc? The aggressive commentary among progressives is divisive and going to make it more difficult to win in the general election. See how that works?

          • I’ve been monitoring this primary since it began and Sanders threw this hat into the ring. Thousands of Times readers have been complaining about the way Sanders has been treated by the Times since May. I wrote a piece that was published in three magazines that documented the shoddy reporting on Sanders through the month of September. That piece prompted the Times Public Editor to investigate. Look it up.

            This was just published by Gawker. http://gawker.com/this-is-how-hillary-clinton-gets-the-coverage-she-wants-1758019058

            It is obvious you just won’t look at what has been going on.

            Change is coming. Like 2008, 2016 is not Hillary’s time.

        • ChipsPOV

          I’m sincerely curious why you suppose that Hillary is more electable in the general election. Forget about comparing Clinton to Sanders and please tell me why you think Clinton can fend off the attacks of the Republicans and win the election.

          May I suggest, if you haven’t already, to pay attention to the right wing media and the Republican candidates perception / attitude / opinion / criticism of Hillary Clinton. It is hard to miss given that it is pretty much 24/7. It may not be fair; it may not be accurate; but, it’s there and it’s been consumed as the gawd awful truth by conservatives everyday for many years. She is arguably the GOP’s poster child for most hated person in the world, even more than Obama!

          Also, I’m wondering if you agree that this is an anti-establishment election – both for Democrats and Republicans? Do you think Hillary is or is not an establishment politician?

          I’ve voted and followed politics since 1972, but I don’t know everything and I try to understand other people’s viewpoint and rationale. I’m a liberal who lives in South Carolina so I need to see all sides to survive. Anyway, if you have time to respond, I thank you.

          • dc15773

            You are obviously correct that Hillary Clinton has been the object of furious attacks from Republicans. Given Republican positions on issues such as health care, women’s rights, gay rights, environment and global warming, and economic inequality,k they should be attacking Clinton who is far from their position. They generally attack her on other issues such as Benghazi, emails, etc. She has withstood many years of the attacks. You are right that they hate her, but it is also true that Democrats are not losing any votes because the right wing hates Clinton (or Obama, or Sanders); they were never going to vote for a Democrat. The issue is how effective Republican attacks are with more moderate, more independent voters. Those attacks have been somewhat effective. Part of the reason the right-wing has been attacking Clinton so furiously is that they expect her to be the nominee and fear that she can win. They have not been so active in attacking Sanders because they do not fear him. They have not expected him to be the nominee and would prefer that he is the nominee since they believe he will be easier to defeat. If he becomes the expected nominee the attacks with ramp up tremendously. His being a “democratic socialist” and his statement of being ready to raise taxes on the middle class have given them a lot to work with. Don’t expect a fair discussion about what it means to be a “democratic socialist” or a careful analysis the trade-off of taxes and health care premiums and the net positive that will be for the middle class. The attacks will be more intense than what Clinton has endured and will create FUD with many people in the middle of the political spectrum.

            Being hated by the right wing is a qualification any candidate I will support must have. Both Clinton and Sanders qualify. The real question for me is who will stand up to the right wing attacks more effectively. It does not matter what liberal Democrats (e.g. you and I) may think about the attacks, what matters is how effective they will be with people in the middle of the spectrum who will decide the winner of the election. Clinton has shown she can withstand those attacks and her support already reflects any damage from the attacks. Sanders’ current support has a significant down side potential.

            Your question about “anti-establishment election” is interesting. You are right that both Republican and Democrats are moving toward new untested candidates. Republicans are moving to the right and Democrats to the left. Both are moving to their base, which means they are moving to voters that were almost certainly going to vote for them anyway. What is not clear to me is the impact on voters in the middle. It seems that both parties are getting more participation (at least more energy) due to “anti-establishment” candidates. It seems the Republicans are getting a larger increase than the Democrats but it is still very early. Trump and Cruz have shown they can take a significant fraction of votes on the right. Sanders has show he can take a significant fraction of votes on the left. What is not clear is how the middle is going to react to a Trump or Cruz candidacy from the right or a Sanders candidacy from the left. If it is a Trump or Cruz against Sanders, Bloomberg will enter so that is a three way race and I don’t know who would win. If it is Rubio/Kasich ticket vs a Sanders/??? ticket, I believe Rubio wins, probably by a wide margin. If it is Rubio/Kasich vs Clinton/Castro, it is a close race. If it is Trump or Cruz vs Clinton, Clinton wins big. That is my guess.

            Liberals need to support the most liberal candidate that can be elected. There is a tendency to support the most liberal candidate. It is easy to get excited when a very liberal candidate shows strength among Democrats. I can appreciate that. What I have trouble with is the attacks among liberals that are nearly as vicious as the attacks from the right.

            BTW, you have my sympathy and admiration. Being a liberal in South Carolina must be tough! Don’t let the turkeys get you down.

          • ChipsPOV

            Thank you for your rational and considered reply. I think the goal of electing at every opportunity the most liberal candidate is laudable and I agree that we must face practical political considerations. I was hoping you might give me a reasonable amount of hope that Hillary could prevail over a Republican candidate.

            I still remain convinced that if the Republicans could choose any Democrat to run against they want to run against Hillary Clinton. They have spent millions of dollars in the last 2 years on a very public, vicious and scurrilous attack on her character. They are ginning up their base and setting the stage for their general election attacks. They have absolutely no fire power against Sanders relative to Clinton. Bernie and his supporters would love to debate Republicans over his democratic socialist approach for America. Their anti-America, anti-middle class and anti-social safety net attacks will expose who they are defending – the rich. Let’s not forget that there are as many Republicans as Democrats that have lost jobs and have stagnant wages.

            Maybe because I live in a red state, I have a greater understanding of the zealous mindset of conservatives. You probably already understand that they are devoid of facts or substantive reasoning. There are countless examples of stupidity and irrationality on the part of conservatives – global warming, Planned Parenthood, the Second Amendment, immigration, human and social rights, just to quickly name a few obvious ones.

            If you may be wondering how large swaths of the population are living in some alternate reality, I suggest that this largely has to do with the conservative propaganda machine that has operated 24/7 for the last 20 years. Wherever I go and where the TV is on, the channel is set on Fox News. It is hard and it is frustrating but I challenge you to listen to Fox News 4 hours a day, from 7p to 11p for a whole month, and don’t listen to any other news. If you do that then you will have an inking of the extraordinary brainwashing that occurs. Hopefully, you won’t lose touch with reality.

            Hillary is backed by the Democratic political establishment and associated corporate owned media, including the NYT, CNN and MSNBC. Democracy has been circumvented by the primary/caucus system, the allotment of super delegates and the Electoral College system. For someone like Bernie, it is an uphill battle despite the fact that the majority of traditional, progressive and liberal Democrats either support him (me) or want to support him (you.)

            My greatest fear is that the Democrats will overlook or discount Hillary’s vulnerabilities, nominate her, and then she goes down narrowly in defeat to the Republicans. If that happens, people like me and I believe you will go from being disappointed to being very, very mad at the Democratic establishment for refusing to stand strong and unified with the base of the party. On the other hand, should Hillary become President, then I believe that like Obama, she will be a status quo establishment politician, positioned right of center and beholden to and in control of the plutocrats. Today she supports progressive ideas and proposals. Once in office, I believe she and the establishment will return to the status quo, politics as usual that has led to massive and unprecedented income and wealth inequality.

            I’ll vote against the Republicans, of course, and obviously Clinton is a far better choice than any Republican. But, I must say that my heart and head tells me if Sanders is not our next president then I there is little hope for progressive change in America. In my case, as a 65 year old baby boomer, whoever is elected, whatever happens, it will be too little, too late for me so I’m fighting for younger people and the future of democracy in America.

            In light of the death of Scalia, we are now at a watershed moment in American history. We are soon going to find out whether conservative or liberal principles define our country and what we face going forward. If Republicans think they can choose to ignore the Constitution and avoid their Constitutional duties in their quest to pursue their radical political ideology, I believe it will lead to their undoing as a viable major party but it will also create an irreconcilable division in the country. The Republicans have created a fascist-like monster that is too large and out of control to rein in – they are irresponsible, reckless and dangerous. Over the next 11 months, we’ll also learn about the true heart and soul of the Democratic Party.

  • Martha_Shelley

    Rima, maybe you can clue me in. I really don’t understand why Krugman is doing this. It can’t be that his main source of income is the column he writes for the NY Times. Thanks, Martha

    • You’re right. Money doesn’t seem to be the motivator. The answer, whatever it is, should include these elements: he is a neoliberal at heart and that is why he favored Clinton in 08 and he is a progressive in times of trouble, and he has an intense dislike of people of Sanders’ background based on intra-tribal affiliation and political philosophy. Then, there is status. What could be more prestigious, for someone who already has a Nobel and is the top opinion writer at the NYT? Top consigliere position in a Clinton White House?

      I think the strongest motivator is his deep disdain for Sanders. Krugman seems to be petty enough to let that drive him.

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