Monday, July 24, 2017

A More Thoughtful Letter to an Angry Clintonite

Some recent comments by the Senate Democratic Leader has prompted Clintonite Hillary Schwartz to write "An Angry Letter To Chuck Schumer," in which she asserts that the New York Senator has thrown Hillary Clinton under the bus. Her subject line: "When You Throw Hillary Clinton Under the Bus, You Throw Millions of Her Supporters Under It Too, Especially Women." A brief response:

Get over yourself. When you assert, "I speak for millions of women," you’re not going to get--or earn--anything but ridicule from anyone worthy of being taken seriously. To clear the air on the subject under discussion, this is the allegedly terrible thing Chuck Schumer said:

"'When you lose to somebody who has 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia--you blame yourself,' Schumer (D-N.Y.) told The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe and David Weigel. 'So what did we do wrong? People didn't know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that.'"

That’s not riding some wave of "Hillary hate"; it’s what's known as taking responsibility. For Clintonites who have never learned about that, it's what adults do when they screw up, as Democrats have so royally screwed up in recent years.

Now, if it's any consolation, Schumer is probably just putting on a show when it comes to reform. For the moment, he can tell which way the wind's blowing but if he were serious, he would have offered a much more forthright acknowledgement of the colossal mistake that was Clinton and, more broadly, Clintonism, as embraced by Obama.

You write:
"Unfortunately, you are following the lead of Bernie Sanders whose outreach on behalf of the Party is 'Democrats suck.' That is not a winning pitch, other than for him."
Unfortunately for you, we have numbers on this and they tell a very different story. From the big Harvard/Harris survey:

This is a couple months out of date at this point but I have the graphic handy and the numbers haven't changed that much since. On the other hand, the numbers have changed a great deal since your talking-points were minted around 2 years ago. Bernie Sanders enjoys massive support among Democrats. You play the usual game of pretending as if Sanders was just the candidate of middle-class white guys; these numbers correct that. In the same poll, he's not only more popular with women than with men, he's significantly more popular with women than Hillary Clinton (Sanders has 58% support among women, Clinton only 45%). He's even more popular among those who voted for Clinton than Clinton herself (81% of Clinton voters say they have a favorable view of Sanders vs. 76% with a similar view of Clinton). So you're not actually speaking for anyone when it comes to this pointless hypersensitivity about Democrats taking any responsibility for their mistakes. You talk about having been "thrilled to vote for HRC" but HRC was hated by most people--on election week, she was polling at 55% unfavorable. You're complaining about Schumer allegedly rolling over the Democratic base but this is the Democratic base, and you’re not representative of it.

Democrats have been brought to one of their lowest levels in the very long history of the party. Doing nothing isn't an option. Sanders' message isn't "Democrats suck." It's that Democrats need to proactively embrace a progressive agenda. That's not only entirely sensible, it's essential for Democrats if they ever want to dig themselves out of the very deep hole in which they find themselves at the moment.[1]

Like so many Clintonites, you freely assign nefarious motives to Sanders with absolutely nothing to support your claims--the ludicrous notion that he's "not interested" in helping the party and is merely "playing both sides of the fence… to boost himself." Sanders has a progressive agenda he's pursued significantly longer than most people reading these words today have even lived. If, after all that time, he hasn't proven that agenda is the thing to which he’s committed, no one has ever proven such a thing of themselves. Sanders wants the Democratic party to reform so it can win and enact that agenda. Said agenda is incredibly popular, enjoying not only overwhelming support within the Democratic party but widespread support from the general public. Some good news for those who want it: Sanders is also the most popular politician in the U.S. at the moment. No positive purpose is served in smearing him with this garbage and no end is served except to harm the progress of that agenda. Donald Trump and his Trumpanzees will certainly appreciate that. No one of good conscience should offer it a moment's kind thought.

Here are the facts of life: Clinton was not only a bad candidate, she was an historically bad one who launched her campaign when polls were already showing more people disliked than liked her, ran one of the all-time awful campaigns and lost to the most unpopular major-party presidential candidate in the history of polling. She and those who supported her--and Schumer himself was a key member of Team Clinton--have saddled us with Trump. Democrats are now looking to pick up the pieces and try to rebuild. You can be a part of that process or write things like your "open letter," which is basically a declaration that you're part of the problem instead. Choose wisely. This time.



[1] You write:
"I understand the urgency of having a more cohesive and strong economic message, as well as boosting support, but how about surrounding it with an overall positive message by going straight to the plans that the Democrats have and what the Democrats have and are fighting for? Must you do an anti-sell with the sell?"
Despite your implication, Schumer and the congressional Democrats are already rolling out the broad outlines of that positivist economic message. It's still early days, so somewhat sketchy and experience has dictated one should be fairly cynical about the commitment of these Democratic leaders to any genuine reform but at least on paper, they’re making steps in the right direction. Your suggestion that they simply not address what got them to their present sorry state is a non-starter.

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