Friday, March 13, 2015

Separating the Signal from the Noise

I'm coming late and reluctantly to the game. But I am finally going to write a few words about the current hysteria over Hillary Clinton.

First of all, we don't know whether or not she will be the Democratic nominee in 2016. That looks extremely likely, but I don't indulge in fortune-telling. If she is the nominee, there are a couple of things we should keep in mind.
  1. It is sexist to equate Hillary with Bill - whether that includes giving her credit for his successes or faulting her for his shortcomings. She deserves to be evaluated as her own person.
  2. Any attempt to suggest that Clinton will be more or less vilified by Republicans and the media than President Obama is a losing proposition. The specifics of how they go after Clinton will be different than how they've attacked this President. But attack they will. It's their only game plan at the moment.
Because of those things, Democrats are going to have to get a whole lot better than they've been lately at separating the signal from the noise. What we've been exposed to over the last couple of weeks over Clinton's emails is nothing but noise. Most of us knew that within a few days of when the story broke. Even so, way too many liberals reached back into their 90's playbook and managed to do all sorts of pearl-clutching about how Bill and Hillary did/didn't handle things in the past. It all came down to the whole "optics" thing - which is the very definition of noise.

I refuse to get caught up in that nonsense because there are some signal issues that I'm interested in hearing about. For example, I need to know how strongly Clinton will fight off Wall Street attempts to gut the Dodd/Frank reforms. Her past hawkishness towards Iran and her recommendation as Secretary of State that we send troops into Syria raise all sorts of questions for me about how she would handle the ongoing unrest in the Middle East. I'm also very interested in things like her thoughts about the war on drugs, criminal justice reform and what kind of people she would nominate to the Supreme Court or important positions like Attorney General.

Do you see how stupid it is to worry about the fact that it took her a week to schedule a press conference over questions about emails when you compare it to issues like that? But those are the places Democrats should be pushing Clinton. Relying on either the media or a primary challenger to do that for us means abdicating our responsibility.

I'm hearing some Democrats say that they are dispirited by what has been happening these last couple of weeks over the whole email nonsense. But what is dispiriting to me is how poorly so many Democrats have responded to this non-scandal when we have an awful lot of important stuff to talk about.


  1. I'd add an addendum to your second point: Any attempt to suggest that will be more or less vilified by Republicans and the media than President Obama is a losing proposition.

    Democrats need to internalize the lesson of the last 30 years: The Republicans didn't hate Clinton/Gore/Obama because of anything they did. They hated them because they were the Democratic nominees and therefore stood in the way of their God given right to the White House.

    Any Democrat who gets the nomination in 2016 will face the exact same onslaught of bullshit. If you don't want to support Hillary because you are already tired of having to deal with this crap and think someone else will be safer then you are deceiving yourself.

    1. I accept that as a friendly addendum!!!!


    2. Whoops. That should have been "Any attempt to suggest that the Democratic nominee will be more or less vilified by Republicans and the media than President Obama is a losing proposition". I tried to highlight the difference and that only resulted in it being dropped.

    3. BS. The hatred/obstruction Obama receives goes beyond Party affiliation. It has EVERYTHING to do with Race. To deny that is disingenuous.

  2. I think if you created a Venn Diagram with one circle composed of the social media pearl clutchers and the other composed of boots-on-the-ground Democrats who actually do the work of helping people get elected, there would be very little overlap between the two circles. Pearl Clutching is noise in and of itself. The signal right now...we have an election THIS year. I don't equate "liberals" with Democrats. There are a whole lot of liberals out there who never lift a finger for the Democratic Party, or even identify with the party. A lot of them are actually Libertarians. I'm not worried about they pearl clutchers...they're gonna clutch...nothing we can say or do will change that.

    1. Oh Tien how CAN you call them pearl clutchers??? They wear environmentally correct, indigenously handmade natural product necklaces made by people they'd dismiss and never talk to! But pearls? Never pearls!

  3. I'm confused - not unusual, I confess! But are you implying that when the Republicans get around to choosing their candidate Democrats will stand around applauding quietly and muttering, "Well done old chap, best of luck and all that!" No, of course they will not, they will go in for exactly the same the same version of throwing rotten veg as 'HillBilly' is receiving now.

    The fact that a former Sec. of State kept all her e-mails on a private server is legitimate news and something the American public should know about when they have to judge her sense of responsibility for high office.

  4. This Emailgate served one purpose at reminded Dems that may be new to the game that the word Clinton jabs deeply into the gut of the Right. Everything the say they stand for is the opposite of how the Clinton's see it. And that creates a very toxic atmosphere when combined with a Media largely owned by the Conservative Right and a widely watched network, FOX, that will say anything about the Clintons, true or not. Will it be the same kind of hate directed at the Obama's? No. That is race based. But the idea of a Woman, and one named Hillary Clinton, in the presidency, will send them into the same crazy and ugly territory. If she is elected, it will be eight years of it, guaranteed.

    1. If she gets elected, there's no way in heck we get 8 years of it. People are already suffering from Clinton fatigue. After 4 years of her and Bubba, the American people will find the other side very attractive if only to get away from the non-stop drama.

  5. 2.Any attempt to suggest that Clinton will be more or less vilified by Republicans and the media than President Obama is a losing proposition. The specifics of how they go after Clinton will be different than how they've attacked this President. But attack they will. It's their only game plan at the moment.

    Wow. You're really off base with this one. The pure notion that the vilification of both candidate & President Obama is somehow no different than any other past or future Dem, is a disgusting false equivalence. President Obama takes crap from both & all sides. The fact that both the Rightwing & "Leftwing" media [past & present] have presumed Hillary as their "ideal nominee" BEFORE SHE HAS EVEN ANNOUNCED TO RUN, is just one of the many examples of this.

    How many Conservatives vowed to vote for Hillary during the Dem primaries just so "The-Black-Guy-Can-Be-Nowhere-Near-The-General-Election"?

    How many White female Dems vowed to either not vote at all or vote Republican just because the Black guy won the nomination fair & square? Imagine the media blowback if Black voters did that if the situation was reversed.

    Constant questions about his racial dna, religion, education, patriotism, qualifications of his job title, & even his date of birth; there's no real comparison of the mistreatment between Barack Obama & any other political figure period! Nancy, you should know better.

  6. Funny how folks would drum home the theory that Obama has to "earn" his way to the Dem nomination whereas the presumption is that Hillary will be given the nom based on her name value alone. White Privilege much?

    The media would stress that candidate Obama has to walk on eggshells & make amends with Hillary voters after the primaries. Fast forward to 2016, Hillary's foolish campaign strategy is to run away from the success of the Obama Presidency & falsely presume that the Obama coalition voters will jump on the bandwagon just because "there's no one else"?? Get the flying fuck out of here.

    I'm an Obama supporter & if Biden doesn't run or if a third party doesn't come along, then I'm going to exercise my right & not vote at all.

    The Clintons are nothing but trouble & I wouldn't be surprised if this "Emailgate" was created by themselves to further feed their spotlight driven egos since that's all they care about.