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“The Day Of Reckoning Is Nigh”: The Democratic Race Has Now Devolved Into Nastiness

The Democratic nominee for president will be running against a political novice who is widely despised, or a senator so unpopular that only two of his colleagues support him, or a governor far too moderate for his party’s hard-line base, or someone else chosen at a bitterly contested convention. For Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, what could possibly go wrong?

Plenty. Begin with the fact that the Clinton-Sanders race has devolved into gratuitous and self-destructive nastiness.

The rhetorical hissing and spitting escalated Wednesday when Sanders charged that Clinton — a former senator, secretary of state and first lady — is not “qualified” to be president. It was a ridiculous thing to say. One thing it’s impossible to claim about Clinton is that she lacks an adequate résumé.

When challenged on the statement, Sanders resorted to the she-hit-me-first defense: “She has been saying lately that she thinks that I am, quote-unquote, not qualified to be president.” The problem is that Clinton never said such a thing. In fact, when pressed repeatedly by “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough on the question, Clinton touted herself as the better choice but refused to say that Sanders is unqualified. (I should note that I often appear on Scarborough’s show.)

Clinton did, in that interview, echo her standard critique of Sanders, which is that his proposals are pie in the sky. She drew attention to his recent meeting with the editorial board of the New York Daily News in which he was asked for details of his plan to break up the big banks. His less-than-complete answers, Clinton said, show that “what he has been saying about the core issue in his whole campaign doesn’t seem to be rooted in an understanding of either the law or the practical ways you get something done.”

Ouch. Sanders wasn’t that bad at the Daily News. And frankly, his questioners seemed more confused about some aspects of financial regulation than Sanders did.

On Thursday, Sanders was still hopping mad. At an appearance in Philadelphia, he told reporters that “if Secretary Clinton thinks that I just come from the small state of Vermont, that we’re not used to this, well, we’ll get used to it fast. I’m not going to get beaten up. I’m not going to get lied about. We will fight back.”

Clinton clearly wanted to be seen as taking the high road. “I don’t know why he’s saying that, but I will take Bernie Sanders over Ted Cruz or Donald Trump any time,” she said.

Does that ring a bell? Does anyone else recall those early debates in which both candidates pledged to forswear personal attacks and stick to the issues? We’re now at the point that it takes days of bitter squabbling before the campaigns can even agree on a time and place for their next debate. It will be in Brooklyn — Sanders’s birthplace and the site of Clinton’s campaign headquarters — on April 14. One assumes the gloves will be off.

It is no mystery why this once-polite contest has become so testy: What may be the day of reckoning is nigh.

Clinton’s lead in delegates is now big enough that Sanders practically has to run the table in the remaining states. He needs decisive wins, starting with the April 19 primary in New York. Conversely, Clinton can effectively put the nomination out of Sanders’s reach with a big victory in the state that elected her to the U.S. Senate.

The Clinton campaign’s view is that Sanders is already so far behind that he’ll never catch up; they should know, because that’s the position Clinton was in vs. Barack Obama in 2008. It is time, the Clintonistas believe, for Sanders to think about dropping out in the interest of party unity.

I have argued that Sanders has every right to stay in and that his many supporters in states yet to vote should have the chance to express their preference. But if it’s not time for Sanders to pull out, it’s also not time for him to scorch the earth in a way that damages Clinton’s prospects in November should she win the nomination.

Democrats begin general election campaigns with a big structural Electoral College advantage. But they forfeit this edge if progressive voters elect to stay home. The party cannot afford to have Sanders supporters — if their candidate loses — licking their wounds and nursing their grievances.

It ought to be hard for the eventual Democratic nominee to lose. More Clinton-Sanders nastiness just might do the trick.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, April 7, 2016

April 8, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic Presidential Primaries, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Doomed”: Rupert Murdoch Stands By His Horribly Shameless And Irresponsible Tabloid

Last week was not a great week for the New York Post. But then again, not many weeks are. It’s front page last Thursday wrongly identified two innocent young men as the bombers of the Boston Marathon. (It did so without explicitly referring to them as suspects, just to ensure that they wouldn’t lose a lawsuit or have to apologize.)

Murdoch defended his paper on Twitter, because it is 2013 and stuff is weird:

All NYPost pics were those distributed by FBI.And instantly withdrawn when FBI changed directions.

— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) April 20, 2013

Hm. Here’s how Col Allan defended his story to Salon: “The image was emailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men….” So “distributed by the FBI” might be technically accurate (not that we have any way of knowing) but it is not a great defense. The photos were not distributed to the press or to the public, as the photos of the Tsarnaev brothers would be the same day that Post cover ran. The photo was never intended to be put on the front of a newspaper with copy asserting that the people pictured were responsible. There’s also no way to “withdraw” a physical newspaper printed and distributed all over New York City. I saw copies of the paper at bodegas in Brooklyn well into the evening.

Murdoch (who has become shockingly respectable in his old age) loves his New York Post and he will always defend it.

As long as Richard Murdoch has owned it, the New York Post has been defined by its shamelessness and total lack of interest in taking responsibility for its worst errors and poor judgment. It is quite hard to get fired — or be forced to resign in disgrace — from the Post, for the crime of getting something disastrously wrong. No heads rolled when the paper reported in 2004, on the front page, that John Kerry had selected Dick Gephardt as his running mate. The paper even still prints the cartoons of Sean Delonas, a hateful,unfunny, repetitive cartoonist who invariably draws all gay people as mincing cross-dressers and who once plagiarized his own joke within two months of making it. In 2003 the Post published an editorial bemoaning a Yankees loss to the Red Sox the morning after the Yankees beat the Red Sox.

Murdoch’s Post cares so little what others think of it that it doesn’t even make editorial changes that would make it more successful — say, by being less racist and terrible in a diverse, liberal city. The Post is so awful that it has allowed the Daily News — a terminally boring rival tabloid published by a slightly less terrible but much less interesting rich person — to survive.

The thing all these incidents have in common is that no one was punished for them. Post editor Col Allan might be an irresponsible drunk pigfucker (we have no way of confirming or denying the charge!) but he is Rupert’s irresonsible drunk pigfucker. As long as the old man is around, Col’s job is safe.

There are reasons to be cheerful, though: The New York Post is assuredly going to die, and it may even do so fairly soon. This summer, News Corp will split into two companies. One will be made up of the money-making bits of News Corp.: TV stuff and the movie studio, basically. The other will be the newspapers and magazines and book publishing. Murdoch will be chairman of the new newspaper company. Its CEO will be Robert Thomson, former editor of the Wall Street Journal and Murdoch’s “closest confidant,” according to The Australian (a Murdoch paper). Murdoch loves the newspapers. No one else does, which is why that company’s CEO will be an editor, not a person with actual company-running experience. Once Murdoch goes, though, none of his children will care to subsidize their father’s bizarre newspaper-publishing habit. And Rupert Mudoch is 82 years old.

And the Post will probably be the first paper to fold or be sold. The New York Post loses millions of dollars a year. Unlike the Wall Street Journal, rich people who control vast amounts of other rich people’s money don’t read it, making it less interesting to advertisers. The paper, after the Murdoch and Allan regime, is worthless. The New York Post is doomed. Right now we’re just seeing how many people it can smear on its way out.

 

By: Alex Pareene, Salon, April 22, 2013

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Boston Marathon Bombings, Journalism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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