Friday, February 5, 2016

Bernie the Hedehog vs. Hillary the Fox

Greg Sargent framed last night's debate pretty well:

"Sanders basically has faith that there is a majority view in this country that supports much more aggressively redistributive policies (much higher taxes on the wealthy than Clinton can stomach) and a much more ambitious government effort to set a high minimum standard of living (single payer, a higher minimum wage) than Clinton can accept. Sanders believes that there is a majority view out there that understands this to be in everyone’s common interest, transcending racial and class lines, and that it can be accessed by adequately communicating this interest to the American people, thus mobilizing them, and by breaking big money’s distortion of the discourse and political system."

"Clinton doesn’t necessarily believe in the latent majority view of the American people that Sanders envisions. She’s more inclined toward the view that forces such as “negative partisanship” ultimately cloud people’s views of their own interests, and that often there isn’t a perceived common interest between different groups. These problems and divisions, Clinton believes, are exacerbated by a system that is designed to frustrate change, and that these structural realities have to be maneuvered around and cannot be overwhelmed by organization and persuasion — though they can perhaps be mitigated by them. Clinton doesn’t believe taking Wall Street and corporate money has to skew policy outcomes, but more to the point, she thinks that giving up that money would probably compromise the Democratic Party’s ability to achieve short term advances in keeping with her view of what the American people and the system can tolerate."
"It’s a good argument to be having."

Again, in 2004 her comments to her financial donors I think make her point:

"Senator Clinton voted against the two major tax cuts packages introduced by President Bush, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and theJobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003,[48] saying it was fiscally irresponsible to reopen the budget deficit. At the 2000 Democratic National Convention, Clinton had called for maintaining a budget surplus to pay down the national debt for future generations. At a fundraiser in 2004, she told a crowd of financial donors that "Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you" but that "We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." think this makes her point. Look at her record and her policies, not just who her donors are. Bernie by dismissing public financing admits you need money in today's campaign system no matter what.

The Atlantic has a very good piece by David Graham on the sense in which Bernie is the hedgehog and Hillary is the fox. I find the fox more what we need to move things forward in Washington.
A Debate Between a Hedgehog and a Fox

"Bernie Sanders doggedly pursued his one big idea about reforming American politics, while Hillary Clinton detailed her many proposals for change."

True. I think you get a good idea of the difference in approach in another observation of Greg Sargent, this one on Twitter:

"Notable: Hillary tends to talk about need to boost incomes; Sanders tends to talk about the distribution of wealth."

This again points out she is a fox. She always boils down questions to actual policies. What voters care about is less an abstract question of distribution but for their income and that of their kids to go up.

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