Presidential campaigning is weird.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a big splash at the Iowa State Fair this weekend, where she mingled with the crowd, took selfies, and ate a porkchop-on-a-stick, of which she was reportedly "a fan." Hey, who doesn't love food on sticks, amirite?
In other Clinton news: "Clinton embraces the left." Haha "news." In all seriousness, there is a notable passage buried in this article:
Also causing some consternation on the left, Clinton has largely declined to enter the high-profile fights over Obama's trade agenda and the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline.There are two ways of looking at her refusal to take a decisive stand: 1. She's a coward who just wants to evade taking a firm position; 2. She's a diplomat who doesn't agree with her former boss and friend who is the sitting president and she is keenly aware that public disagreement could potentially hurt his negotiating position. I suspect one's take on it largely depends on your feelings about Hillary Clinton.
...Some liberals are looking the other way on trade and Keystone, saying her work as Obama's secretary of state puts her in a uniquely awkward position to oppose those projects while the president is still in office. They're encouraged by her strategic decision not to endorse either.
"The fact that she hasn't said anything [on trade or Keystone] is actually pretty telling," said one liberal Democratic aide."
As for me: There are things I like about candidate Clinton and things I don't like about candidate Clinton, but she has never particularly struck me as a coward.
Relatedly (or maybe not! you be the judge!), President Obama went golfing with former President Bill Clinton over the weekend on Martha's Vineyard, and chilled out on the island while Hillary Clinton held a fundraiser for major donors, who are lukewarm at best on a run from Vice President Joe Biden. Obama hasn't endorsed Clinton, nor has he said anything negative about Biden, but his presence on the island this weekend sure seems to send a message. It's almost like Obama and Clinton are colleagues who work well together and are both extremely savvy politicians well aware of how best to help one another and know what the fuck they're doing or something!
Or they're just craven monsters! Potato potahto.
It's funny how what sure looks like savvy politics becomes "craven monstrosity" when it's practiced by a black man and a woman. Especially when they seem to be allying themselves to retain power in the highest office in one of the world's most powerful nations.
Martin O'Malley, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb continue to run for president. I promise I'm not avoiding bringing you terrific news about these fellows! There just isn't much to report—unless you're keen to hear about O'Malley complaining some more about the number of debates or Webb saying that Ronald Reagan was one of his favorite presidents. (Really.)
Meanwhile: I really don't know what the fuck Senator Bernie Sanders is doing, y'all. I really don't.
After protests twice derailed campaign events in recent weeks, the Bernie Sanders campaign has asked to meet with Black Lives Matter activists in Washington.Well, that sounds great! And even better, here's how Ferrell's email to the activists opened: "Hello all! My name is Marcus Ferrell, I am a senior staffer for Senator Bernie Sanders presidential bid in 2016. I am reaching out to you on behalf of our campaign because you are the folks doing the work for Black Lives Matter. I apologize it took our campaign so long to officially reach out." Wow, an apology no less?! That's awesome!
In an email obtained by BuzzFeed News, the campaign's African-American outreach director, Marcus Ferrell, told a group of activists that Sanders wanted a more formal interaction.
Then Sanders went on Meet the Press Sunday and totally pulled his usual "I won't say the words 'all lives matter' but I will clearly make the same point by deemphasizing the importance of Black Lives Matter" shtick, then said the email was sent without his knowledge and he didn't think an apology was necessary.
CHUCK TODD: BuzzFeed has an article out this morning. Headlines is this: Sanders' campaign reaches out to Black Lives Matter activists. Quote, I apologize it took our campaign so long. Tell me more about it.WHAT IS HE EVEN DOING?
BERNIE SANDERS: Well, that was sent out by a staffer, not by me. Look, we are reaching out to all kinds of groups, absolutely. I met with people at Black Lives Matter. We're reaching out to Latino groups. We're reaching out to the unions. We're fighting to expand Social Security and we're reaching out to senior groups. We're reaching out to health care groups because we believe that everybody in America is entitled to health care. We're reaching out to everybody. But on this issue of Black Lives Matter, let me be very clear, the issue that they are raising is a very, very important issue. There is no candidate for president who will be stronger in fighting against institutional racism and, by the way, reforming a broken criminal justice system. Chuck, we have more people in jail in the United States of America than any country on Earth. And we need real changes. We need to do away with the militarization of local police departments. We need to do away with minimum sentencing. We needed indication and jobs for our young people rather than jails and incarceration.
TODD: I understand that. But you said a staffer put it out but you felt an apology was necessary?
SANDERS: No. I don't. I think we're going to be working with all groups. This was sent out without my knowledge.
That is, of course, rhetorical—because unfortunately I know exactly what he's doing: He's bellicosely sticking to his message, which is tailored very particularly to straight white cis working class men, and insisting that it should appeal to everyone else, too, because he is an undeterrable subscriber to the notion of trickle-down social justice.
Even when members of this own campaign try to take an intersectional approach, and rightly apologize for not taking it sooner, Sanders outright rejects it. And further uses the language of inclusivity—"We're going to be working with all groups"—in a way that actually diminishes the significance of visibilizing marginalized people.
At this point, it isn't a failure to learn. It's a resistance to centering people many of his core white supporters don't want centered. If you imagine that's hyperbole, listen to [CN: racism; video autoplays at link] the audio of his Seattle audience reacting to Marissa Janae Johnson interrupting his event to stage a Black Lives Matter protest.
Every time Sanders is asked to center Black Lives Matter activism, he deflects by talking about "all groups." That isn't a mistake. Not at this point. It's a strategy.
For fuck's sake, Bernie.
[CN: Video autoplays at link] On the other side of the aisle: Donald Trump told a little kid at the Iowa State Fair that he is Batman. And in other news, 16 other assholes are still also running for president.
Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.