The GOP’s 15 other Benghazi talking points for Hillary Clinton

On October 22, 2016, Democratic frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The supposed scandal has already claimed one scalp—just not hers. Would-have-been House Speaker Kevin McCarthy abandoned his campaign for the gavel after providing Clinton and the Democrats with a talking point that exposed the sham that is the entire Republican witch hunt:

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today?”

To be sure, McCarthy’s Kinsley gaffe (the kind in which “a politician tells the truth”) presents a real problem for Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and his laughable claim that “this investigation has never been about her and never will be.” After all, his is the eighth probe into the tragic September 11, 2012 killings of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three

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The 50-state strategy revisited: Was it the key to Obama’s victory in 2008?

Barack Obama and family on November 4, 2008 after winning the election.

A few weeks back, in looking at a recent study by SmartPolitics that showed a gradual hardening of statewide preferences in recent presidential election history, I noted that this could be viewed through the lens of recent discussion about resurrecting the 50-state strategy (one of the most identifiable features of Howard Dean’s tenure as head of the Democratic National Committee).
A piece of evidence that seemed to call for a renaissance for the 50-state strategy came from a 2013 retrospective by Louis Jacobson at Governing, which made the connection that the implementation of that strategy between 2005-09 also coincided with the best electoral years of recent vintage for the Democrats, particularly in states where they had not (in recent history, at least) been terribly strong.

With a presidential election on the horizon that is likely to be highly competitive, this week we dig a little deeper into the presidential

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The New York Times: When it comes to Clinton, it’s all the speculation that’s fit to print

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a press conference after talking about her strategy for rural America during a campaign stop at the FFA Enrichment Center at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa August 26, 2015.

Two things it’s never hard to find are Democrats who think the sky is falling and friends of prominent politicians who’d like their friends to run for president, and the media is doing its damnedest to turn this into a major story about the 2016 Democratic primary. The New York Times, of course, wants to be sure it’s a leader in this field, and so we get “Big-Name Plan B’s for Democrats Concerned About Hillary Clinton,” by Patrick Healy. The big names in question? Former Vice President Al Gore, who has been out of electoral politics for 15 years and shows no interest. Secretary of State John Kerry, who shows no interest. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has been extremely clear she is not running. And Vice President Joe Biden, who actually seems to be flirting with the idea.
It’s not clear who should feel more insulted by such speculation:

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I really am still undecided between Bernie and Hillary


In some ways I envy those of you who feel certain in your choice. I’m just not there yet. And I doubt I’m the only one, even on this site. On what basis is this undecided voter going to decide? That’s what this post is about.
At the heart of the matter, I’m a liberal. Because ours is a two-party political system—a duopoly really—and the Democrats have consistently been the more liberal of the two major parties during my lifetime, I am a Democrat. I freely admit, I am a liberal rather than a radical, but I do believe our system needs serious reforms. On the other hand, I don’t want to burn the system down. I believe in free markets, but with strong constraints to prevent abuse and a robust safety net to ensure that all citizens receive basic supports. All the major Democratic candidates are ideologically in

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If my mom was alive, she’d probably be voting for Hillary

Two Delta sorors at the Centennial Celebration

Delta Sorors at their Centennial in Washington DC, 2013

Why would my mom more than likely be voting for Hillary Clinton? Because my mom was a Delta. For those of you who have no clue what that means, Deltas are not an airline—it is the short name for a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the second oldest, and the largest, black female Greek letter organization in the world, with over 900 chapters worldwide, and over 250,000 members.
In 2013, Hillary Clinton spoke to 14,000 Deltas in Washington, DC. There were 20,000 of them at a convention celebrating 100 years of Delta Sigma Theta.

They wanted her to run for office, as you can read below.

How anti-abortion intensity wins in pro-choice America

For four decades, American public opinion on the issue of abortion has been largely unchanged. As the numbers from Gallup, the Pew Research Center, and other polls show, roughly half of Americans have identified themselves as “pro-choice” even as consistent majorities support keeping abortion legal in all or many circumstances.
But now, a new survey conducted for Vox by the communications and strategy firm, PerryUndem, revealed that for Americans abortion is “not so black and white.” Where past polls found a public bitterly divided over the legality of abortion, the Vox survey found nuanced views and surprising common ground. When questions moved “beyond legality and into [the] reality” of the abortion experience for American women, a much different picture emerged.

Nearly four in 10 respondents said they were “neither” (21 percent) or “both” pro-choice and pro-life. Just changing the wording from “abortion should be

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What presidents can do: the Supreme Court

Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton

A President Warren or a President Clinton would have power, but not as much as you think.

In his piece You Can’t Make The Congress Do Anything, which reviewed the book “The Fierce Urgency of Now”, Scott Lemieux writes:

We don’t have to speculate how effective LBJ’s leadership would be without a rare functioning liberal majority in Congress. After suffering major losses in the 1966 midterms, Johnson’s legendary leadership capabilities were of little value. In his final two years in office, he was forced to accept huge cuts to domestic spending, and could only pass a watered-down version of the Fair Housing Act [. . .]

Lemieux’s argument points to trying to win at the Congressional level as the key to enacting policies you want to see. Too often we all forget this through our obsession with the Presidency. And not just activists, even the rich suffer from this:

In the words of one veteran GOP fundraiser, traditional bundlers have been sent down to the “minor leagues,” while mega-donors are “the major league players.” [. . .]  [B]undlers, on the left and the right, are turning their attention to congressional races, where they can get more personal attention.

They get more than “personal attention.” They get real influence over those lawmakers. And that matters a ton, as Lemieux describes. The reality is there can be no progressive project without a progressive Congress, no matter who is president.

But there are certain powers a president has that transcend Congressional leanings: (1) the power to make war and formulate foreign policy, and (2) the power to nominate Supreme Court justices. More on this on the flip.