Should you be glad Hillary lost?

Chait makes the good case for, “well, yeah, actually.”  Now, all this is predicated on Trump totally not ruining everthing– honestly, a real possibility.  But, if Trump is just run-of-the-mill awful, there’s a strong case to be made that the Democratic party is way better off in 2020 than if Hillary had been elected.  Chait:

Imagine what the political world would look like for Republicans had Hillary Clinton won the election. Clinton had dragged her dispirited base to the polls by promising a far more liberal domestic agenda than Barack Obama had delivered, but she would have had no means to enact it. As the first president in 28 years to take office without the benefit of a Congress in her own party’s hands, she’d have been staring at a dead-on-arrival legislative agenda, all the low-hanging executive orders having already been picked by her predecessor, and years of scandalmongering hearings already teed up. The morale of the Democratic base, which had barely tolerated the compromises of the Obama era and already fallen into mutual recriminations by 2016, would have disintegrated altogether. The 2018 midterms would be a Republican bloodbath, with a Senate map promising enormous gains to the Republican Party, which would go into the 2020 elections having learned the lessons of Trump’s defeat and staring at full control of government with, potentially, a filibuster-proof Senate majority.

Heck, as Nate Cohn responded to this in a tweet,

And, yes, Trump will do some very real damage, but Chait paints the optimistic case here:

Trump won the presidency by running a campaign that went far beyond the usual sunshine every president sells on the campaign trail. Trump’s populist vision collapsed every policy dilemma into a simple question of negotiating skill that he could solve easily and painlessly. Trump has few clear paths to bolster his popularity while holding together his partisan base. Building the wall will be difficult and time-consuming. Renegotiating Nafta in a dramatically favorable way, as Michael Grunwald explains, is probably impossible. Republican standbys like cutting taxes for the rich and loosening regulations on Wall Street and greenhouse gases are feasible, but all deeply unpopular. All those achievements would also be easily reversible in a way Obama’s biggest policy accomplishments were not. The tax cuts will almost certainly have to expire automatically after a decade. Trump’s deregulatory agenda will be reversed by the next Democratic president…

Trump mortgaged everything to win the election by making promises that he lacked any remotely practical plan to fulfill. The gains for him and his party will be scant, and the political costs of obtaining them high…

And Trump is not a shrewd politician. A string of horrifying leaks has depicted a man far too mentally limited to do his job competently. The president is too ignorant of policy — he simply agrees with whomever he spoke with last — to even conduct basic policy negotiations with friendly members of Congress who want him to succeed. Nor does Trump know enough to even identify competent people to whom he can delegate his work. He’s a rank amateur who listens and delegates to other amateurs…

And Trump is not a shrewd politician. A string of horrifying leaks has depicted a man far too mentally limited to do his job competently. The president is too ignorant of policy — he simply agrees with whomever he spoke with last — to even conduct basic policy negotiations with friendly members of Congress who want him to succeed. Nor does Trump know enough to even identify competent people to whom he can delegate his work. He’s a rank amateur who listens and delegates to other amateurs.

Now, sure, there’s a lot of “ifs” in here, but the basic logic– especially of what we could have expected politically during an HRC presidency is pretty sound.  Even when I was confident she was going to win, I was also really, really worried she’s be a one-term president.

So, are we better off with Trump as president?  Sure, seems crazy to say, “yes.”  But, if he is only awful (for which he is clearly on track for), rather than colossally bad, in four years, the answer may well be yes.

Susan Rice! I mean, squirrel!

Sorry for the slow blogging of late.  Spent a good part of Monday hosting Jamelle Bouie– which was awesome– and yesterday catching up for Monday.

Anyway, I haven’t followed the news as closely as usual, but what I have seen is pathetic.  While at dinner Monday night, the restaurant had CNN on TV and, from what I could tell, the entire time they focused on whether Susan Rice had illegally spied upon or illegally leaked about Trump.  Of course, there’s no evidence that she’s actually done anything wrong, just lots of conservatives and conservative media pretending like they have evidence she’s done something wrong.

Yesterday afternoon, the NPR news update had this as one of the top stories of the day and then featured a news story a few minutes later that discussed how serious these allegations might be, then admitting there was no evidence of any wrongdoing.

Ugh!!!  Conservatives gin up some non-story, push it like hell, and the “liberal media” gives it all types of attention.  Very nice explainer on what’s really going on in Vox:

 

The Rice flap, on close inspection, isn’t a story about the Obama administration purportedly spying on the Trump campaign. It’s a story about how far the conservative media and some congressional Republicans are willing to go to muddy the waters around Donald Trump’s wildest and least defensible ideas.

Alas, this isn’t just a story of “conservative media” it’s a far more disturbingly a story of how “mainstream media” will let the conservative media set the news agenda with some new, shiny object.  Again, there’s no actual evidence, just innuendo, that Rice did anything wrong.

So who’s right? Well, the actual experts on intelligence and national security who have followed this story — regardless of their political affiliation — have nearly uniformly backed Rice.  [emphases mine] They believe there would have been nothing worrisome about Rice asking for the names of Trump officials to be unmasked while in her post as the administration’s top national security official.

“Nothing in this story indicates anything improper,” Susan Hennessey, a former attorney for the National Security Agency and current Brookings Institution fellow, tweeted. “What we’re seeing here is US officials doing jobs to respond to what had markers of a counterintelligence threat: the Trump campaign.”

There are two important things to note about this controversy. The first is that the revelations about Rice do not in any way support the president’s claim that team Obama “wire tapped” Trump Tower during the campaign. The timing is off — the intercepts Rice sought access to cover the transition, not the campaign — and getting the name of an American caught up in lawful US surveillance of foreign nationals is completely different from an illegal wiretap targeting the president’s chief political opponent.

The second is that there is no evidence whatsoever that Rice’s behavior was improper.

Again, I expect this stupidity from Fox News, etc., but this shows how the so-called liberal media follows news routines, in which pushing a liberal ideology just not a concern.  Alas, following the latest, bright shiny object is not exactly a great sort of approach, either.

Image result for squirrel dug

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