Sunday, April 12, 2015

Last Call For Yes, It's About Race

The NY Times editorial board drops a brutal piece on the GOP's effort to try to bury President Obama's legacy under racist demonization.

It is a peculiar, but unmistakable, phenomenon: As Barack Obama’s presidency heads into its twilight, the rage of the Republican establishment toward him is growing louder, angrier and more destructive.

Republican lawmakers in Washington and around the country have been focused on blocking Mr. Obama’s agenda and denigrating him personally since the day he took office in 2009. But even against that backdrop, and even by the dismal standards of political discourse today, the tone of the current attacks is disturbing. So is their evident intent — to undermine not just Mr. Obama’s policies, but his very legitimacy as president.

It is a line of attack that echoes Republicans’ earlier questioning of Mr. Obama’s American citizenship. Those attacks were blatantly racist in their message — reminding people that Mr. Obama was black, suggesting he was African, and planting the equally false idea that he was secretly Muslim. The current offensive is slightly more subtle, but it is impossible to dismiss the notion that race plays a role in it.

And Republicans, those bastions of liberty and freedom, will certainly call for the destruction of the NY Times and the arrest or worse of its editorial board.

But it's about damned time that somebody with a press megaphone called Republicans out for their actions in 2015.  The country needs to be constantly reminded of this. And until voters choose to punish the GOP for this behavior, they will keep doing it with every Democrat they can find.

And It Happens Yet Again

Another black man running from the cops.

Another white cop shooting and killing him.

Another murder caught on tape.

Deputies wanted evidence on camera.

But when they recorded a sting against an alleged illegal weapons dealer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, earlier this month, cameras also rolled as Eric Courtney Harris ran, and when he was fatally shot.

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office released the video on Friday. The shooting was an apparent accident, it has said.

The reserve deputy thought he had his Taser in hand, not his firearm, and shot Harris "inadvertently," according to the sheriff's office.

In the last minutes of the video, Harris, a convicted felon, lies on the pavement with police on top of him. An officer calls for a Taser. But in place of an electric clicking sound, a gunshot rings out.

Then a voice can be heard saying, "Oh! I shot him! I'm sorry!" Another officer screams out, "He shot him! He shot him!

Harris, who is bleeding, calls out, too. He's losing his breath, he says. An officer yells back at him. "You f---ing ran! Shut the f--- up!" he yells. "F--- your breath."

The group of officers begin tugging Harris' hands behind his back as the video ends.

Another name on the list of the dead, Eric Harris. 

Another time where a black suspect ends up dead, without due process, without a court of law, but executed by police.

Another raft of excuses as why next time it won't happen.

Another time where the black community won't believe it.

And it will happen again, and again, and again.

Sunday Long Read: Do Work, Hil

Your Sunday long read this week is from NY Magazine's Jason Zengerle, as he reminds us that Hillary is going to have to work to win in 2016, and she's not very good at it.

For much of the Obama presidency, there has been a general sense of calm among Democrats about their chances to retain the White House. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of State was distinguished, if not especially consequential. Her favorability ratings hovered around all-time highs. It wasn’t just that her nomination seemed a foregone conclusion; given the dysfunction of the Republican Party and the demographic changes in the American electorate, the race seemed hers to lose. It was hard to find a Democratic operative not in fairly high spirits.

Then, over the past few weeks, the country watched as Clinton dealt with the fallout from the revelation that she used a personal email server while heading up the State Department. Her fiercest critics have charged that she employed the private email system to skirt government transparency laws and, in the process, endangered national security. Her supporters worry that, even if Clinton’s private email was legal and innocent, it was a self-inflicted error that has needlessly handed her enemies yet another cudgel to wield against her. But the glee and regret among Republicans and Democrats have been most pronounced over the disastrous press conference Clinton held at the United Nations to try to put the matter to rest, which served to remind them of something many had forgotten: what an abominable candidate she can be.

Standing in front of a tapestry replica of Picasso’s Guernica, she was testy, brittle, and, above all, unpersuasive — failing to demonstrate the most elementary political skills, much less those learned at Toastmasters or Dale Carnegie. “She read her prepared remarks like a high-school student,” marvels Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster who’s been a close observer of Clinton for more than two decades. “She looked down at her notes, then she looked up to the left, down at her notes, then up to the right. Almost the entire time, she avoided making eye contact with anyone.” A prominent Democratic operative is still horrified by the spectacle. “She came off as defensive and artificially put-off,” he says. Another Democratic operative says, “I’m a huge Hillary Clinton fan. I hope desperately she’s the next president of the United States, because I think she’d be a great president. But after that press conference, I do have major concerns about her ability as a campaigner and to get elected.”

The performance made a host of other recent Clinton missteps — seemingly minor at the time — suddenly loom larger in the minds of anxious Democrats. There was her strangely vapid Foggy Bottom memoir,Hard Choices, which racked up middling sales, and her obvious rust in the interviews she did to promote it. There was her continued buck-raking on the paid-speaking circuit, which seemed tone-deaf, if not downright greedy, for someone about to embark on a presidential campaign. And there was her hard-to-figure delay in assembling a staff for the campaign, so that, when news of the hidden emails broke, she had no infrastructure to defend her and instead had to rely on a hodgepodge of veteran freelancers like James Carville and Lanny Davis, whose reappearance made the latest Clinton scandal feel exhaustingly familiar. Democrats may be constitutionally prone to hysteria, but even so, the whiplash of these few weeks has been notable. Now, days before Clinton’s official announcement that she is, once again, in it to win it, some in her party are on edge.

Bill Clinton could run as a populist and pull it off.  Hillary is utterly terrible at it and it's how Barack Obama beat her in 2008.  So unless Hillary starts running the kind of campaign that people badly want Elizabeth Warren to run, she's in real trouble.  Yes, she has better people now (having ditched the odious and racist corporate scuzzbag Mark Penn as her 2008 manager), but she has to be a better candidate too, and so far she's nowhere near where she's going to have to be.

"Vote for me because I'm Hillary Clinton" failed in 2008, and it definitely won't work in the age of Snapchat.
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