The Widdershins

Good Monday, all! It’s the day before the New Hampshire primary, and we know it’s not likely to be a happy day for fans of Hillary. Still, according to 538, if she loses, it might not be as bad as we think.

…Clinton might be more credible in claiming a moral victory if she were to lose by a margin in the single digits. Her husband, Bill Clinton, declared himself “the comeback kid” in 1992 after losing the New Hampshire primary to Tsongas by 8 percentage points. And the media bought it because Bill Clinton outperformed expectations; charges of marital infidelity in the lead up to the primary had caused Clinton’s poll numbers to tumble.

So a lot will come down to how the press interprets the margin in New Hampshire. Sanders needs to come out of the Granite State with some serious momentum. He has an incentive to run up the score.

I suppose we will see whether Hillary’s support there is stronger than it appears to be. It certainly was in 2008, when she pulled out a surprise victory against Barack Obama even after a devastating loss in Iowa.  However, Obama was from Illinois, not Vermont, as Sanders is.

And speaking of Sanders…I’ve heard some people say that hey, he’s made his point, but now maybe it’s time for him to step down. But frankly, I’m not sure what his point actually is. Is it just me?

Here are a few things that make me feel his quest is more about self-aggrandizement and enrichment than revolution.

  1. Bernie’s running as a Democrat. This is a huge red flag. Bernie isn’t a Democrat, and never has been. Why is he choosing to run for President, masquerading as something he isn’t? Isn’t that rather, oh I don’t know, lacking in integrity? He could have gone the third-party route and run as an Independent, which he actually is. But then, whatever high moral message he professed to be spreading would have reached fewer people – including the whiny brogressives who, disappointed in their former idol’s feet of clay, are looking for a new bright shiny object to worship. Isn’t it nice to have access to all those Hillary Haters who could not possibly lower themselves to vote for Our Girl? Isn’t it nice to have access to ALLLLLL their money? Isn’t it nice to let them swarm the Internet like the poisonous insects they are, stinging and biting at all those who dare support the warmongering criminal Clinton over their sainted Bern Bern?Imagine Bernie’s campaign without all of these boosters helping him to gain some legitimacy as a potential Democratic candidate. He would be an annoying gadfly, a spoiler – but not the big deal he is now. Is this really a coincidence, folks?
  2. What actually is his message? I’m pure and good, everyone else is bad and indebted to Wall Street? Follow me and the billionaires will lose? Okay, I’ll bite. What are his plans to do crash the oligarchs’ party? Yelling and pounding your fist doesn’t exactly intimidate these people, and frankly, they don’t care how much you post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.And, if Bernie’s not indebted to billionaires and Wall Street, then why isn’t he taking public financing? I don’t believe that “small donors” BS any more than I believed it when Barack Obama said it – and turned out, he was lying. Just sayin’ that I’ll bet there are more than a few bundlers (Republican ones) in that woodpile than Bernie would admit.
  3. What are the ethical standards that would satisfy The Great Sanders? This bar seems to be changing all the time. All of a sudden, it is not okay that Hillary took large speaking fees? Why not? Was any other Presidential candidate subjected to this type of purity test? (Uh, no.) There is nothing more American than making money, and yes, Hillary’s made a lot of it. I fail to see what on earth the fuss is all about, and Kathleen Parker feels the same way.This latest tempest in a teapot makes me wonder if Bernie is not just a socialist, but a communist, favoring an income limitation on all Americans. I actually wouldn’t mind some income redistribution myself, but till the day that ALL Americans are held to this standard, it’s absurd to claim Hillary should be the only one to adhere to it.  Gee Bernie, what’s in YOUR wallet?

I hope you have found these ruminations entertaining and/or distracting, as we bite our nails through the second Democratic votefest this year. I personally am hoping that Hillary gets a lot closer than the polls indicate, as she did in 2008. You never know, my friends!

This is an open thread.

Good Saturday, Widdershins.  Welcome to twilight.  Tomorrow is Superbowl 50, and then The Dark Times will fall for the next six months.   Some of us are serious fans of the sport, others not so much.  As I’m sure you know, I thoroughly enjoy football, and will happily watch a game between just about any two teams.  I don’t have a great attachment to either team, so I’ll go with my back-up team picking plan, which is by the number of alumni from my school on each team.  Yep, it’s the “number of ‘Dawgs in the fight”criteria, so Carolina (3 Bulldogs) beats Denver (1 Bulldog), paws down.  I kind of hate it, as I am not a fan of Cam Newton – he was famous for less than adherence to the rules while in college , but it is what it is, so go, Panthers.  Woof!

One thing that we can all agree upon is that the commercials are fabulous.  I actually know people who watch the game for the commercials.  So list your faves below, along with anything else that’s on your mind.  It’s been a tense week and we deserve a little R and R.

This is an open thread.

(1) Mean Joe Green (Coca-Cola), 1979

(2) The Force  (Volkswagon), 2011

(3) Out the Wazoo (E*Trade), 2000

(4) Terry Tate, Office Linebacker (Reebok), 2003

(5) Lost Dog (Budweiser), 2015


Circular Firing Squad

Tonight — live from New Hampshire — another Republican circular firing squad will be televised.  So if you were wondering, a Quentin Tarantino movie has not broken out.

We are interrupting our regular Chat broadcasting of all-time great Super Bowl ads for a few hours just in case any of the participants might say something noteworthy or Donald Trump discovers something else to insult.  Chat’s post will magically reappear courtesy of the giga-wizards of WordPress after the debate.

ABC DebateThe debate will be aired on ABC, starting at 8 p.m. and will be moderated by David Muir, the anchor of  “World News Tonight” and Martha Raddatz, co-achor of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” Joining them will be  WMUR political director Josh McElveen and conservative journalist Mary Katharine Ham.

Get the popcorn and make your bet on whose family will be bummed-out come Wednesday morning because daddy is coming home.



Blood, Sweat & Tears released Spinning Wheel in 1969.  Bernie Sanders climbed up on his painted pony last night and reprised the hit in a stunning redux of BS sans the T.

Have you seen Bernie?

Have you seen Bernie?

Bernie forgets that “revolution” also means spinning round and round in circles.  If, like BS&T, you have the benefit of proper psychedelic assistance, spinning becomes a beautiful thing.  In politics it’s not.

Radical revolution means tipping off your axis – creating havoc, losing your way, falling out of sync with your orbit.  With a well-meaning heart and eyes fully scrunched shut as he dreams of another day, radical spinning seems to be Bernie’s goal.

Bernie’s curmudgeonly naiveté seems hell-bent on destroying the Democratic Party for a generation, but why should he care – he only signed up three minutes ago.  After more than 20 campaigns where he deigned the Democrat label as somehow impugning his credibility, Bernie searched his soul, screwed up his courage, and bravely checked boxes on forms at the Federal Election Commission.  Voila he’s a Democrat.

This conjures several observations:

(1) Is Bernie a progressive or just a pragmatist borrowing a label for the sake of expediency?

(2) Could the pragmatism of checking the “Democrat boxes” on the F.E.C. forms have something to do with access to the DNC voter and contributor rolls for fundraising?

(3) Bernie Sanders’ behavior in demanding debates, their locations, and criticizing the DNC is like inviting a guest to dinner and having that guest criticize the timing, the food, and the place setting?  That is not a guest – that is the dinner party scene from Beetlejuice with someone who is possessed by something other than clear-headed thinking.

Funny, he looked like Larry David...

Funny, he looked like Larry David…

When it comes to the banking fubar, here are a few thoughts.  Bernie’s banking proposal is 4 pages long – a whole three pages more than one page.  Those four pages represent little more than a call for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall.  Great – that’s something anyone who has read a newspaper in the last seven years can smugly proclaim at a dinner party.

Would Glass-Steagall have stopped the 2008 crash?  No, not in the least.

Without going into detail, the 2008 crash was occasioned by the shadow banks – the money-market funds, hedge funds, private equity funds, and broker-dealers – that are one self-fulfilling panic away from causing another run on the banks.  Bernie’s call for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall has not a thing to do with shadow banking.  Hillary’s plan, as endorsed by Paul Krugman and other reform-minded economists, does – it reins them in.

A few thoughts tangentially related to the banks regarding speaking fees.  First, hundreds of thousands of dollars for a speech is hard to fathom for those of us who regularly go “change diving” in our sofa cushions.  Second, the egos of Wall Street CEOs, which happen to be slightly larger than Montana, require an ever-escalating competition with one another to land the biggest talking fish for paid speeches.  Don’t ask me why, but it is a weird zipper-less competition of my “speaker” is bigger than yours.

Why is the competition so fierce?  Because the competition doesn’t cost them a thing courtesy of tax loopholes allowing them to deduct every last cent of the fees.Greenspan

And one more thing I want to make crystalline:  I don’t care if I ever again hear Mrs. Alan Greenspan feign breathless, stunned stupefaction about speaking fees.  Someone, I don’t know who it will be, needs to call Andrea Mitchell out on the fact her husband has wallowed at the trough of speaking fees, even grunting and snorting for the shadow bank precipitating the 2008 crash:

Alan Greenspan, $250,000 per speech: Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan has been able to bring in the bucks since retiring through giving speeches. Only a week after his retirement, Greenspan spoke at a Lehman Brothers dinner, earning himself $250,000.

Andrea Mitchell – suck it!  Since you drag Bill into every Hillary story as fair game, take your bileful Clinton hate and go crawl into bed with your quarter-million dollar talking prune who, by the way, repeatedly ignored the ever-increasing signs of the 2008 crash during his tenure.

One last thought about last night:  Bernie and his day-care tenders, a Tad Deviant (Tad Devine) and Jeff Weevil (Jeff Weaver) are strategically betting primary voters won’t care about foreign policy and the role of Commander-in-Chief.  No one knows who, or even if, Bernie has talked to anyone about foreign policy.  Even those who are supposedly Bernie’s advisors don’t know how their names got there.

“Apparently I had a conversation with him last August,” said Tamara Cofman Wittes, a Brookings Institution Middle East scholar, after checking her calendar upon hearing that her name was on a list of people the Sanders campaign said he had consulted in recent months. “My vague recollection is that it was about [the Islamic State] but I don’t really remember any of the details.” Wittes added that she backs Clinton.

“I don’t know how I got on Bernie Sanders’ list,” said Ray Takeyh, an Iran scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations who says he spoke to Sanders once or twice about the Iran nuclear deal at Sanders’ request in mid-2015.

Vampire Squid (1)This is something of which I’m sure – Karl Rove, the Brothers Koch, and dozens of other billionaires funding the Right’s vampire squid of dark-monied creations do care about foreign policy.  Have no doubt; they are paying close attention to this primary.

Last night wasn’t about revolution.  It was about spinning the wheels deeper and deeper into the mud of political gridlock. Bernie’s angry outbursts will feed the dark-monied vampire squid through the fall election.  Be assured, we will hear his outbursts again.  But why would Bernie care – he won’t have to defend against them.  Hillary will.


Have a great Friday.  Feel free to take this conversation in any direction you might deem appropriate.  And if appropriateness doesn’t do it for you, just have fun.


Here are eight things I learned Monday evening.Iowa caucus 3

  1. People who are not Democrats love them some Bernie Sanders. Bernie won over two-thirds of Independents participating in the Iowa caucus.  Interestingly, he lost Democrats by a rather resounding 56% to 39%.  As a prelude to coming attractions:  Guess who cast over half the votes in the 2008 New Hampshire primary?  That’s right – Independents and ever-helpful Republicans who, as good Samaritans, want to assist their Democratic friends by selecting the most unelectable candidate.
  1. Forty-three percent (43%) of Iowa Democrats consider themselves to be Socialists. This statistic supports the rather unique proposition that Iowa is truly representative of what a non-representative cross-section of the Democratic Party looks like.  Accordingly, only 47% of all Americans (that’s Ds, Rs, Is, and everyone else) would even consider voting for a self-described Socialist candidate.  So much for the Socialist Republic of Iowa.
  1. Channeling Walter Mondale’s “Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you.  I just did,” is not usually considered a masterful political stratagem.  Bernie’s braggadocio about raising everyone’s taxes isn’t a purity test.  It is dumb.  It reinforces every liberal stereotype.  It answers the prayers of Republicans.  Bernie is painting with a broad brush and he is smearing all Democrats with this meshugas.  It needs to stop.Bernie Sanders
  1. Hell hath no fury like an Obamabot scorned. It seems as if a vast majority of Berniebots are merely Obamabots whose warranty ran out.  It is amazing to watch the contortions, without anything resembling logic, these Berniebros put themselves through in order to try and square the circle of their support for Obama before he became the “Disappointer in Chief”.  A perfect example is Van Jones, a paid CNN talker, who is massively over-employed in a role where logic couldn’t have been a prerequisite for hiring.
  1. In yet another example of the idiocy in allowing Iowa to play the inaugural role in selecting nominees, minorities comprise only 9% of Iowa voters. Conversely, in the Democratic primaries as a whole, minorities will represent four in ten voters.  Unlike Independents, minority voters aren’t feeling the Bern.  In fact, Hillary won three-fifths of minority voters in Iowa while Bernie attracted less than a third.  Nationally, Hillary polls even better than this among minorities and in the delegate rich environment of larger states, minorities will play a much more important Hillary-friendly role.
  1. Marco Rubio seems to have studied the lessons of Dubya being appointed President. After months of polling in third place, clad in his ego-boosting boots and his overbite, Rubio marched out and declared himself to have overcome all the odds by securing – third place.  The originating genius of the “expectation mirage” is James A. Baker, who was tasked with being Dubya’s “manny and minder” during the 2000 election.  Baker declared Dubya President and began assembling a Cabinet.  He was also behind the great Brooks Brothers Riot in Dade County.  Rubio, or more likely someone babysitting Rubio, learned the lesson of expectations management quite well.
  1. Poor Jebra Bush ended up spending about $2,800 per vote. That’s a record and doesn’t count Super-Pac spending.Hillary in front of the flag
  1. And this is probably the most important lesson for Hillary supporters. When is a win not a win?  Answer:  When Hillary is the winner.  These were some of the headlines on Tuesday:

The New York Times: “Hillary Clinton Campaign, Unnerved by Iowa, Braces for New Hampshire”

The Washington Post: “Photo finish reveals shortcomings of candidate who once seemed invincible”

Politico: “How Iowa went wrong for Hillary Clinton”

CNN: “Did Hillary Clinton really win the Iowa caucuses?”

No one in the press seemed to remember, other than Dana Milbank, that the margin of victory for Rick Santorum over Mitt Romney was a scant 34 votes.  Rick Santorum and his sweater vest were treated as conquering heroes in the press.

This incredibly unfair double standard was never more evident than when Hillary made her statement and the talking heads immediately faulted her for claiming victory.  This criticism frothed while they admitted, “She didn’t explicitly say she had won.”  CDS has risen to new heights of illogical hallucinations.

This also brings me to this learning – something is “bad wrong” when watching MSNBC makes one want to turn the channel to Fox for less biased commentary.  MSNBC is again infected by and has surrendered to CDS.  Monday night MSNBC was Fox-lite when it came to Hillary prejudice and Bernie-gasma.

Unfortunately, these conditions are not going to get better in the short-term.  It will take another three weeks for things to right themselves.  Nevada’s Democratic primary is set for February 20th and South Carolina’s is set for one week later on February 27th.

Until then Widdershins – mind these lessons.  Enjoy your Wednesday and take this conversation in any direction you might like to explore.



Gooooood Monday, all! Can you believe it – the first votes of 2016 are FINALLY going to be cast today. This day has been 9 years in the making, Widdershins, and oh, how thankful I am that you’ve all been here with me, helping us all deal with the incessant ups, downs,Despite being on a plane half the day and working the other half (plus,) I will somehow make the time to obsessively check the results approximately 1,002,748 times, right along with all of you. Unfortunately, for those of us not in the Hawkeye state, it’s all we can do.

Or, maybe not! Here’s a list of things to do while waiting for the results of the caucus. Perhaps one of them will ease the ever-present anxiety prior to the publishing of the final tally.

  1. Read the latest polls. Most of us like the site 538, so here’s how things are shaping up today based on the most historically accurate poll in Iowa: Hillary wins by 3%. Der Trumperer wins by 5%. Yay, and ewwwwwww!
  2. Binge-watch that show you’ve been saving up for just such an emergency.  After hubby and I finished watching “The Wire” (Just. WOW!), we started on “The Blacklist.” The first season was $19.99 on Amazon, which equates to about $1/episode. 22 hours of insanely delightful “WTF” in delicious 48-minute bits.
  3. Try to understand what a caucus actually is. Perhaps you have grown up with the caucusing process, but as a woman who’s only lived in primary states, it doesn’t make all that much sense to me. If you are still a bit fuzzy on the details, here are a few pointers.
  4. Read this hopeful and fascinating article about feminism in the Washington Post. Long story short: feminism isn’t dead – it’s evolving, strengthening, and expanding.
  5. Google “Iowa” and watch/read random things about it, like this.
  6. Stop by TW and gnaw your nails here until things settle down.

However you choose to spend your time, I think today is going to work out the way we want it to – at least on the Democratic side. So I’m hopeful too, like Chatblu. May we all be celebrating tonight!

This is an open thread.

Good Saturday, Widdershins!  The Iowa caucus begins on Monday, thus beginning the dash to the nomination.   With any luck, we’ll get through the next four months or so and have a candidate we have waited for for eight long years.  We can hope, anyway.

With that I mind, I’ve created this post to honor songs of hope.  There are not a lot with “hope” in the title, but there are an abundance of great tunes that are hopeful in spirit, and I for one can use such a lift right now.  So post whichever songs fill you with hope, wonderment, or any other such feeling that will get you through the next three days, and onward to Iowa we go.

This is an otherwise open thread.

Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul.  Emily Dickinson.

This is an open thread.  Chatblu.

(1) Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

(2) Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow – Fleetwood Mac

(3) I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash

(4) Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

(5) Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows  – Leslie Gore


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