Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 12.31.37 PM
PM Carpenter, your host. Email: pmcarp at mchsi dot com.
Screenshot 2023-10-21 at 2.03.43 PM
In Sausalito overlooking S.F. Bay with my uncle, Lucky Strike nonfilters and a case of Bud. Those splendid days are long gone.


  • ***


« Do "your" party a big favor, Bernie: Quit. | Main | Marco the Wunderklutz »

February 22, 2016


Peter G

As much as I love to observe and explore the complexities of policy and factional interest I am forced and delighted to concede that here you cut the Gordian knot. In the final analysis arguing about the merit of policies that will largely never be pursued or if they are, incrementally introduced, is an arid business. And those factional interests are going to do what they are going to do regardless of what I or anyone else thinks. This could all be concluded by super Tuesday and Sanders' campaign effectively placed beyond victory. But something tells me Bernie is going to want to carry through all the way to the convention. For if the valid argument for the very existence of his campaign was to pull the party to the left then it does not stop being a goal when victory is impossible. That would still be his job and he will have the money to do it and nothing better to do with his time than start campaigning for Hillary. Given that choice which do you think he will choose?

What to do about this turbulent progressive priest? Not much I'm afraid. Dropping a pile of campaign or Superpac money on him might prove highly counter-productive for it will feed his campaigns mythos. And on a more pragmatic level it just doesn't seem to work well anymore. The best I've got is this: yield to the far left on one thing. Give them as many town halls and debates as you can get the networks to air. (They're hungry for horse race content anyway.) I call this the top forty strategy. In that radio format the popularity of tunes rises and falls as people eventually tire of the same old tune and it is dropped from rotation. Bernie is already on the defensive for being a one issue candidate. Let him keep banging the same gong over and over again and I suspect it will get old fast. At the same time you apply pressure to elicit how he plans to make his dreams come true and he will be forced to concede that as president he would be forced to do what any president must, make deals. I would rather, on the whole, let the air out of his tires rather than club him to campaign death. He isn't such a bad guy really. He's just caught up in the thrill of adulation.

Anne J

It would help in the general election a great deal if the die-hard Bernie supporters weren't as hostile and ugly towards Hillary as the republicans have been for the last quarter century. If she wins it all, her presidency which will be difficult enough with the Hate-Hillary-Since-'92 party still firmly in control of at least one house of congress. She is by far the most qualified as well as the most realistic candidate running. I never hear her make huge promises of what she is going to do on "Day One" in office. If she was the diabolical criminal that the right and now some on the left claim she is, she would have been locked up years ago due to the republicans relentlessly stalking her for the past couple of decades, like a deranged ex-boyfriend. And now the Bernie fanboys are just as bad as any hostile republican.

Peter G

They aren't all that way. I would venture to suggest that even a majority are not that way. The internet is particularly good at amplifying discord.
In the final analysis Bernie either supports the Clinton candidacy or he does not. If he does the die hard Clinton haters will merely assume that Bernie has betrayed them and will be off in search of someone else to deliver rainbows and unicorns. And the Clinton campaign works to salvage what it can from the more pragmatic remains. If he doesn't then he can be useful to the Clinton campaign's positioning in the general election as a more centrist moderate able to give shelter to disaffected Republicans. And that obviously depends on just how horrible the Republican candidate turns out to be. I dream of Trump. Rubio could be a problem.


Must Hillary suffer the indignities of the democratic process? Can she survive competition from an old socialist Jew in the United States of America? Wouldn't it be healthier if subjects not conforming to their norms were swept behind the cable news cameras completely instead of only 99.9 percent of the time? Hillary did great on SNL months ago and should be debating Triumph the Comic Insult Dog to prepare for a possible run against Trump. Why disturb media story lines including that Bernie's supporters are all mirror images of Trump's hordes. Surely pundits will be fair if the narrative is left entirely to Republicans and Hillary's often dull, outdated platitudes and zealous campaign team.

But wait, that's not going to happen is it? Bernie won't drop out until some moment that he considers best. By then the damage will already have been done: Hillary will be a better campaigner for having had a sparring partner and some of the public will have re-assessed future possibilities.

Peter G

I just got through saying that all Bernie's supporters aren't like that. Because it is true. I am not sure what you mean about stuff being swept behind cable news channels. They don't sweep anything. On the contrary they magnify everything. In fact they so desperately need a horse race to cover that they go to ludicrous lengths to create the perceptions about the campaigns they are supposed to be dispassionately covering. Have you watched Maddow lately? She recently devoted a good chunk of her show to the endorsement of Sanders by a minor league state level assemblyman who happens to be black that I guarantee you never heard of. Was this the end of Hillary? Stay tuned.

Tom Benjamin

The American electorate has lost perspective. Eight years after the collapse the United States is doing great. I suppose one could argue they should be doing better, but I think that is a tough sell (to me) when the rest of the world is doing substantially worse. I'm actually surprised the American economy is holding up so well.

The Democratic party should be able to carry that forward in 2016. Instead a big chunk of Democrats agree with the Republicans on the economy. Why? Things are awful and getting worse, when it clearly is not so.

Part of it is like the attitude towards Congress. Everybody hates it, but most are happy with their own congressman. Maybe lots of people think "America is going to hell in a handbasket, but we're doing okay around here."

Another part of it is - just like in the Great Depression - many Americans lost nearly all their accumulated wealth with the crash. Their houses are still under water. A recovery does not restore that wealth. It was great that the economy came back so quickly but that does not convert debt into assets. Not for a long time.

The rich took the same hit on the value of their assets initially, but they don't have debt so they recover quickly as soon as the economy turns around.

Result? Resentment and angst. A population ripe for the populist message.


You're right. Cable "news" wants to cover a horse race. How often have you heard anything substantive about an issue? I stopped watching Maddow a long time ago; maybe years now. MSNBC lets her do something non-frivolous about once a year that I hear about. Last year it was Flint's water supply. In 2014 it was Bob McDonnell's sticky fingers. Have I missed anything?


What might be out of range up there is that the macro numbers might look fine, but there are pockets of poverty and unemployment, and the recovery itself is now more iffy:

The comments to this entry are closed.