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« Kansas: an iconic post-conservative state | Main | Lindsey Graham's presidential campaign slogan: "If you can just stay awake …" »

June 01, 2015

Comments

shsavage

Alas. It's frequently the case in Democratic primaries that What Happens in Iowa Stays in Iowa.

Peter G

Or not. Worry? I'd say calculate based on this: http://www.vox.com/2015/6/1/8676727/hillary-clinton-popularity
That Bernie can draw hundreds of people to rallies surprises me not at all. Rand pere et fils could reliably do the same. And junior plans on doing exactly that in Iowa. I would submit that Clinton needs Bernie as a foil. As someone who she can both agree with and distinguish herself from as required by political circumstance. The surprising reasonableness of Bernie Sanders is no impediment to using him as stalking horse for what will fly policy wise while at the same time offering to more centrist voters a less "radical" alternative when her rather liberal senate voting record becomes an issue. I will concede that this is more about perception than fact but that is politics.

Peter G

So it does. But I am not surprised that people who make their living calling horse races and judging form have decided on very flimsy evidence that a close race is in the offing.

shsavage

Yet another example of the phenomenon where if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Bob

There's real reason for Hillary to worry. While the economy has improved significantly under President Obama there are solid reasons for the public to be receptive to a left populist message. Some of the Republican candidates are even making pathetic attempts at it.

Unemployment is down but so is labor participation ( http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000 ) and wage stagnation is a constant ugly reminder. Trade agreements, regardless of their merits, are unpopular. She might have to start practicing some tap steps to distance herself from hubby's economic policies, which Bernie has already started attacking. She won't have to dance as fast as Jeb, who will have to be careful not to set debate stages on fire, but could be put in the same position as Ginger Rogers minus the high heels; dancing backwards. It's hard to imagine Bill will be kept off the scene or even persuaded to be careful about what he says defending NAFTA.

Peter G

I disagree. She is perfectly free to pick and choose which populist messages she can co-opt from Bernie. Trade agreements are quite popular with lots of people. Ask farmers or people who work for companies that rely on exports. And her positioning on this is sublime. Should she become president she will likely have the fast track authority any president must have in order to negotiate at all. But that doesn't commit her to endorsing TPP. In the meantime, despite calls from the left to abjure it, she need only point out quite reasonably that she is not in office, can't see drafts and isn't in a position to commit either way. And she won't have to until there is a treaty that elected politicians will have to decide. Those will be the people drawing the most fire. And that is the time for her to make a prudent political judgment as to where the most votes lie. She has great political ground before her and endless possibilities to sell her policies as the moderate and prudent ones. The only person who could really screw this up is Hillary.

Peter G

I do admire the way Dionne thinks. In fairness that is because I so often agree with him. Hillary needed someone on the left to open the buffet for browsing and Bernie is doing a fine job. Not because he is a fire breathing faux socialist but because he is so damned reasonable. I withdraw whatever reservations I might have had about his candidacy. He is presenting a real vision of what universality means when it comes to what government can and should do. Show the way Bernie.

Bob

Things are a bit more complicated and can probably be moved by rhetoric: http://www.people-press.org/2015/05/27/free-trade-agreements-seen-as-good-for-u-s-but-concerns-persist/

Lower income households tend to vote for Democrats.

Bob

I agree with your other points.

Peter G

That's a good thing because lower income households are the principal beneficiaries of free trade. Conventional wisdom to the contrary service jobs have always outnumbered manufacturing jobs. Those jobs often feature lower pay and less benefits. Protective tariffs might or might not help certain specific interests but they always hurt the poor. They always make what the poor buy more expensive. Access to relatively cheap produce and goods from around the world best serves their interests. Concerns always exist and they should but not that concern. I agree that it is not always simple. Sometimes it is insanely complex and balancing competing interests extraordinarily difficult.

Bob

I was going to reply about how trade restrictions have been used by the US to help low wage industries in the past and ran across this comprehensive table: http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h963.html

You're right that restrictions sometimes hurt the poor, but I was trying to point out the importance of perception.

Peter G

I'm singing in the same choir. Going purely on what has been voted on them in the senate there isn't all that much daylight between Hillary and Bernie. Mind you, little legislation that Bernie would have liked to see had a snowflake's chance in hell of getting to a vote so reality is probably more distance between them then not. Perception will be there is less. I nevertheless tip my hat to Bernie for seeing to the heart of what social democracy means: everybody eat! I wonder now if there is room for Webb for I expected him to occupy this ground.

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