The Widdershins

Tools of Power…

Posted on: January 29, 2016

Good Friday morning Widdershins.Hillary Blue background

Ashes to ashes,

Dust to dust,

People are scared,

The GOP’s gone bust.

This was the prayer of commitment delivered as we watched the Republican Party cannibalize itself last night.  There is little wonder why the alarm bells are ringing in the ever diminishing circle of thinkers in this country.  People are finally realizing no matter who the Republicans nominate from this Rogues Gallery of Know-nothings, the result is the same – a future navigated through a rearview mirror.

The alarm is being sounded in editorials like the one in The Washington Post excoriating Bernie Sanders.  Here are just a few sentences:

Sen. Sanders is a politician selling his own brand of fiction to a slice of the country that eagerly wants to buy it…Mr. Sanders is a lot like many other politicians. Strong ideological preferences guide his thinking, except when politics does…When reality is ideologically or politically inconvenient, he and his campaign talk around it. Mr. Sanders’s success so far does not show that the country is ready for a political revolution. It merely proves that many progressives like being told everything they want to hear.

Hard ChoicesThat last sentence, “[P]rogressives like being told everything they want to hear,” should send a shock wave to the subterranean crowd of keyboard jockeys.  If the tune sounds familiar, we last heard it in 2008 from the “hope and change” chorus as they lip-synced it to every song in the top 100.

The only discordant voice in that choir was Hillary’s.  She dared to be realistic.  She challenged that hopey/changey thinking with the words:

The skies will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.  Maybe I’ve just lived a little long, but I have no illusions about how hard this is going to be.  You are not going to wave a magic wand to make special interests disappear.

Even now, Obama is conceding Hillary was right in 2008:

Obama, for all his political optimism, is on Clinton’s side of this debate. He doesn’t just seem frustrated by Sanders’s theory of political revolution — he seems, at times, regretful about the high expectations he created for liberals in 2008, and the fury with which his campaign assailed Clinton for the narrowness of her political vision.

So now the same organizations, run by the same young men swilling Red Bull, who maraud over the internet throwing keyboard tantrums, are again preaching pie-in-the-sky.  Doing the same thing over and over again doesn’t seem to indicate insanity to them, it is their only playbook.I'm on my way

To this I say, “Reality is the price you pay when the propofol runs out.”  We can ill-afford to be huffing fantasy juice when at least three seats on the Supreme Court are at risk.

Let’s do a quick reality check:  Where were the hopey/changey boyz in the 2010 or 2014 mid-terms?  This lack of attention, lack of enthusiasm, and laziness toward the hard work of politics has resulted in Republican control of the House.  This is due to gerrymandering courtesy of 32 Republican governors and 25 state legislatures fully controlled by Republicans.

There are 211 safe Republican House seats, just 7 short of a working majority.  Of these safe seats, only 16 were won by fewer than 10 percentage points.  Toss-up seats are an endangered species.

Hillary Campaign SignsWhat this means is simple – these safe Republicans don’t fear general elections — they only fear primaries!  The fear is that someone will run farther to their right and out “conservative” them in the primary.

When you place this lens on Bernie’s call for a political revolution, ask this one question:  Just how many Republicans are going to proclaim in a primary their new-found love for turning the nation into the United States of Sweden?

For those believing that force of personality can incite a political revolution, there is detox waiting.  This was the same stuff the Obamabots were trafficking in 2008.  Political reality had a little something to say about that.

Opinion leaders are beginning to understand what most of us around these parts have known for a decade or more:  While pragmatism doesn’t lend itself to fancy four-color stylized “Hope” posters, realistic pragmatism does have a concrete goal and a plan to get there.  As Hillary said to BLM activists:Bumper Sticker

I don’t believe you change hearts.  I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate.

Hillary is the only person on both sides of this race who understands superior knowledge and diligence can be tools of power.  She is the only person certified in the operation of such power tools.  We would be fortunate to benefit from her craftsmanship.

Take this conversation in any direction you might like.  Enjoy your Friday.






24 Responses to "Tools of Power…"

I just thought of a good Clinton bumpersticker: Her picture, as above, and the words “Let’s Get Real.”

Happy Friday. Great post, Prolix! @1 Quixote, nice one!

I truly believe that the Republican primary voters are not looking for a President any more. They are looking for a person who tells them what they want to hear and who sounds pissed off. (Much like the brogressives, actually.) There is a complete disconnect between the candidate they want, and the job for which they’re interviewing, so to.speak.

The idea of people skills and intelligence as power tools is very appealing to me. They are more associated with influence than with power for most people, I think, but as a consultant, I see daily just how powerful influence can be. 😊

@1, Quixote, send it to the campaign. It’s a good one and so TRUE!

@2, I totally agree the far Right fringe and the brogressives are the same just on either end of the political continuum. The want to be fed exactly what they want to eat and not anything more.

The aspect of “power tools” is closesly associated with “transformational leadership”. Unfortunately, the traditional models of “power” are synonymous with the “transactional leadership” model. Essentially, it is unequal power being used as a “carrot and stick” construct. Transformational leadership is persuasion and influence leveraging — I can see you as tremendously successful using both of them to change workplaces for the better.

I’ve seen recently that a number of the bernieboyz have taken to castigating Krugman now that he’s come down on the “sense and sensibility” side. 😉

And as you said Prolix, it’s amazing that this same group of folks haven’t realized a thing since 2008. Hopey/changey isn’t going to get it done when you have 200+ Republican House seats that are highly unlikely to be changing sides.

If we thought Paul Ryan had a stoic expression on his face during Obama’s last SOTU address, can you imagine his expression with a Bernie SOTU address?

Good article here about why Hillary has a good chance of winning the Iowa caucuses.

The caucus system rewards wide-spread support, meaning that huge turnout in college and urban areas produces diminishing returns, given that each precinct elects only a certain number of delegates.

While Sanders draws massive crowds across the state, about 27 percent of his backing is concentrated in three counties that are home to big universities, according a poll by the Des Moines Register.

The survey also showed that Sanders leads among younger voters, first time caucus goers, and independents — three groups that tend to be less likely to caucus.

Clinton, meanwhile, has strong backing among one of the reliably caucus-going demographics: Older women.

“They’re going to come out no matter what,” said Rep. Dave Loebsack, who’s backing Clinton after supporting Obama eight years ago.

@5, I heard someone say the other day that the Berniebots had descended like locust on one of her pieces and within an hour had almost 2,000 vile comments.

@6, I read an article and the reporter had talked with ten Iowa organizers who had worked for Obama. Of the ten, six were actively working for Hillary and the seventh was close to committing.

Prolix – that is very perceptive of you – that is indeed my MO and passion while at work!!

Fredster – do the brogressives really not get that Bernie is running in a primary for a Party he doesn’t even belong to? There is NO CHANCE he the nomination, and he’s not making any ideological “point” by running. It’s just vanity, greed and ego with him at this point.

I didn’t think Obama was a real Democrat either, but for very different reasons. Obama had an undeserved reputation as a Socialist…Bernie actually is one!

mb: I’ve never been able to figure out exactly what the bernie bros realize or don’t realize or don’t get. Has Bernie gotten any support from anyone in Congress? Does he have any superdelegates supporting him? I just know that they seem to be clueless to the harsh realities of the actual political world.

@10, Fredster, I think Bernie has two, count them, one and two, congressional endorsements. Raul Grijalva, the Rep. from Arizona who never seems to be able to keep his shirt tail tucked in and Keith Ellison, DFL party (Minnesota Nice and soft socialist). Personally, I like them both, they are co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus. They just seem to be misguided here.

Prolix, I know both names and yes I think they’re both good congress critters. I won’t disagree about them being misguided or under some misapprehensions.

Prolix, great post! This has been quite a week in our political world. It feels like the tide is turning, and Bernie is finally getting his long overdue vetting from the media. Wapo really cleaned his clock yesterday. (Fredster, sorry your had to pay for their subscription!)

annie-no biggie there. It just means I went over my allowed freebie articles and I do read a good number of articles there. Besides, it was worth it to read them slap Bernie back some. 😉

I read that Yeb! just felt so much better since Trump wasn’t on the stage in last night’s debate. He actually felt like he could let go and relax. Well maybe just a little bit.

@15, is that a low energy sloth?

@13, thanks Annie. It is about time, as you say, someone paid attention to someone whose major campaign platform is raising taxes. Can you imagine the drubbing the Democrats would take? Just think what the House would look like with another 50 Tea Partiers? They would have to infuse the water coolers with distemper meds. When they were sworn in they would put their hands on Bibles and one of those inverted cones would be put around their necks.

@16: Yes, in most cases. But it had enough sloth energy to hang on there.

That Theory of Change article was good. I especially liked this about Hillary..

” I imagine her negotiating the fine points of a health care bill, having mastered every lesson from 1993 and every detail, and getting Senators McConnell and Grassley in the room, and them walking out having agreed to something they barely understand. Superior knowledge and diligence can be a tool of power.”

@19, GAgal, totally agree, I thought that article was uncommonly thoughtful. The Mark Schmitt article from 2008 is a case study in the rampant misogyny during that election. It was total Obamabot fanboy stuff, but even at that point, there was the realization that:

In his influential 2008 essay on Democratic theories of change, Mark Schmitt wrote that “Clinton’s theory in a sense takes the status quo for granted more than the others, but it’s appropriate in certain situations. … Superior knowledge and diligence can be a tool of power.”

It’s interesting to note that the Theory of Change comes from the world of philanthropy.

Oh this is delightful. Sarah Palin’s PAC is not doing so well.

Confirmation of something about Bernie’s supporters thatwe already knew, but it’s worse than I thought.

@18: Is there such a thing as a high energy sloth?

Fantastic ad with Bill…

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