Saturday, March 26, 2016

Talking Taibbi

So, I've been challenged to "learn something" from this Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone piece on why Hillary is awful and why you are stupid for voting for her and the Millenials get it, man!

But I think they do understand. Young people have repudiated the campaign of Hillary Clinton in overwhelming and historic fashion, with Bernie Sanders winning under-30 voters by consistently absurd margins, as high as 80 to 85 percent in many states. He has done less well with young African-American voters, but even there he's seen some gains as time has gone on. And the energy coming from the pre-middle-aged has little to do with an inability to appreciate political reality.

Instead, the millions of young voters that are rejecting Hillary's campaign this year are making a carefully reasoned, even reluctant calculation about the limits of the insider politics both she and her husband have represented.

For young voters, the foundational issues of our age have been the Iraq invasion, the financial crisis, free trade, mass incarceration, domestic surveillance, police brutality, debt and income inequality, among others.

And to one degree or another, the modern Democratic Party, often including Hillary Clinton personally, has been on the wrong side of virtually all of these issues.

Hillary not only voted for the Iraq War, but offered a succession of ridiculous excuses for her vote. Remember, this was one of the easiest calls ever. A child could see that the Bush administration's fairy tales about WMDs and Iraqi drones spraying poison over the capital (where were they going to launch from, Martha's Vineyard?) were just that, fairy tales.

Yet Hillary voted for the invasion for the same reason many other mainstream Democrats did: They didn't want to be tagged as McGovernite peaceniks
. The new Democratic Party refused to be seen as being too antiwar, even at the cost of supporting a wrong one.

Taibbi's argument is literally "You can't be this stupid to vote for Hillary Clinton, a child could see through her."  That's not convincing me to vote for Clinton, but believing everyone who does vote for her is stupid is not making me want to vote for Sanders, either.  But here's where Taibbi loses me for good:

Is Hillary really doing the most good that she can do, fighting for the best deal that's there to get for ordinary people?

Or is she just doing something that satisfies her own definition of that, while taking tens of millions of dollars from some of the world's biggest jerks? 
I doubt even Hillary Clinton could answer that question. She has been playing the inside game for so long, she seems to have become lost in it. She behaves like a person who often doesn't know what the truth is, but instead merely reaches for what is the best answer in that moment, not realizing the difference.

This is why her shifting explanations and flippant attitude about the email scandal are almost more unnerving than the ostensible offense. She seems confident that just because her detractors are politically motivated, as they always have been, that they must be wrong, as they often were.

But that's faulty thinking. My worry is that Democrats like Hillary have been saying, "The Republicans are worse!" for so long that they've begun to believe it excuses everything. It makes me nervous to see Hillary supporters like law professor Stephen Vladeck arguing in the New York Times that the real problem wasn't anything Hillary did, but that the Espionage Act isn't "practical."

If you're willing to extend the "purity" argument to the Espionage Act, it's only a matter of time before you get in real trouble. And even if it doesn't happen this summer, Democrats may soon wish they'd picked the frumpy senator from Vermont who probably checks his restaurant bills to make sure he hasn't been undercharged.

But in the age of Trump, winning is the only thing that matters, right? In that case, there's plenty of evidence suggesting Sanders would perform better against a reality TV free-coverage machine like Trump than would Hillary Clinton. This would largely be due to the passion and energy of young voters.

Young people don't see the Sanders-Clinton race as a choice between idealism and incremental progress. The choice they see is between an honest politician, and one who is so profoundly a part of the problem that she can't even see it anymore.
Matt Taibbi, who will defend Edward Snowden regardless of the actions he took, thinks Clinton violated the Espionage Act with her email server because maybe, you know, the Republicans are right and beating Trump shouldn't be what matters, if it was you'd pick Bernie. And again, Taibbi is not the kind of person who would suffer one iota in a Trump presidency, unlike the rest of us.

I'm tired of being treated like I'm stupid, hateful, racist, "low-information", not liberal, uncaring, evil, or a combination of the above for thinking that Bernie Sanders wouldn't represent my interests better than Hillary Clinton would, and that even considering Clinton makes me insufficiently moral.  This is not how you convince people to come around to your side, this is how you convince people to ignore you as a jackass.


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