Trump pot mocks Franken kettle

President Donald Trump has mocked Senator Al Franken after revelations of sexual harassment.

Trump wading into this has raised a few eyebrows given revelations and accusations involving him and harassment. And Franken has at least admitted bad behaviour, Trump attacked rather than acknowledged wrongdoing.

the exposure of Trump’s misconduct during last year’s presidential election campaign was a significant step towards the flood of revelations and accusations over the last month, started with the crash and burning of Harvey Weinstein.

NY Times: In Mocking Franken Over Claims of Sexual Misconduct, Trump Joins a Debate He Started

Last fall, Donald J. Trump inadvertently touched off a national conversation about sexual harassment when a recording of him boasting about groping women was made public at the same time a succession of women came forward to assert that groping was something he did more than talk about.

A year later, after a wave of harassment claims against powerful men in entertainment, politics, the arts and the news media, the discussion has come full circle with President Trump criticizing the latest politician exposed for sexual misconduct even as he continues to deny any of the accusations against him.

In this case, Mr. Trump focused his Twitter-fueled mockery on a Democratic senator while largely avoiding a similar condemnation of a Republican Senate candidate facing far more allegations. The turn in the political dialogue threatened to transform a moment of cleansing debate about sexual harassment into another weapon in the war between the political parties, led by the president himself.

Indeed, Republicans on Friday were more than happy to talk about Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, who apologized this week after a radio newscaster said he forcibly kissed her and posed for a photograph a decade ago appearing to fondle her breasts while she was sleeping.

Democrats, for their part, sought to keep the focus on Roy S. Moore, the Republican candidate in Alabama who has been accused of unwanted sexual conduct by multiple women going back even further, including one who was 14 at the time.

It has embarrassed both Democrats and Republicans, with both being guilty of partisan attacks while turning a blind eye to their own transgressors.

But the notion that Mr. Trump himself would weigh in given his own history of crude talk about women and the multiple allegations against him surprised many in Washington who thought he could not surprise them anymore. A typical politician with Mr. Trump’s history would stay far away from discussing someone else’s behavior lest it dredge his own back into the spotlight.

But as Mr. Trump has shown repeatedly during his 10-month presidency, he is rarely deterred by conventional political wisdom even as he leaves it to his staff to fend off the cries of hypocrisy.

White House aides labored on Friday to distinguish Mr. Trump’s case from those of others, arguing that the president’s conduct was not at issue because he won the election last year after voters had a chance to evaluate both the claims against him and his denials.

That’s typical of the excuse making for their own, something that has more than tacitly approved of and enabled ongoing sexual harassment going back at least fifty five years to the abuses of President Kennedy.

“This was covered pretty extensively during the campaign,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary. “We addressed that then. The American people, I think, spoke very loud and clear when they elected this president.”

She added that Mr. Trump still maintained that the more than a dozen women who have said that he kissed or groped them against their will were all lying. And she acknowledged no double standard in the president chastising others for sexual misconduct.

“Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn’t,” she said. “I think that’s a very clear distinction.”

Yes, it is a clear distinction. Franken has admitted what he did was wrong, happening in an area that allowed it.

Of course Hillary Clinton has waded in to this.

But Democrats saw the distinction differently. Hillary Clinton said Mr. Franken’s apology and call for an ethics committee investigation “is the kind of accountability I’m talking about — I don’t hear that from Roy Moore or Donald Trump.”

Speaking with Rita Cosby on WABC Radio, Mrs. Clinton added, “Look at the contrast between Al Franken, accepting responsibility, apologizing, and Roy Moore and Donald Trump, who have done neither.”

There’s a high degree of irony there given that tacl of apology and accountability of her husband, Bill.

For her own part, the sexual harassment conversation has been uncomfortable for Mrs. Clinton as well. Conservatives defending Mr. Moore point to various allegations made against Bill Clinton when he was president, including sexual assault, and even some liberals said they should rethink their defense of the 42nd president.

On Franken versus Ttrump she has a valid point.

But the condemning of opponents alongside defending of their own politicians by both Democrats and Republicans is evidence of a morally corrupt political system in the United States.

Trump’s denials, now alongside his mocking of Franken, looks distinctly like a socially corrupt president. The worst rot, whether it be Kennedy, Clinton (Bill) or Trump, is clearly at the top.

Accusations and trials in public by media are far from ideal, and will be manifestly unfair to some.

But this rot has been allowed to continue for a long time, and actions outside the old way of doing things (blind eyes and under-carpet sweeping) needed something drastic and unconventional to break the cycle of harassment and abuse.

And apart from the nonsense of “the president’s conduct was not at issue because he won the election last year after voters had a chance to evaluate both the claims against him and his denials”:

RCP average Trump approval:

  • Disapprove 56.9%
  • Approve 38.4%

The US voters did choose a president with a highly suspect past, but that was over an opponent with her own suspect past plus the known poor sexual behaviour of her husband. That’s not a strong position from which one can claim the moral high ground.

There is evidence at least of Trump having an appalling attitude to women in the past. The pot should start by addressing that adequately.

Trump frustrated he can’t order the Justice Department around

President Trump he is frustrated but sort of acknowledges that he shouldn’t get involved in what the US Justice Department and FBI do, but he still seems unable to resist. He has been particularly prominent in commenting about the investigation of his own campaign.

It’s sad that the President even thinks of being able to demand and dictate to justice organisations.

@BengaminWittes:

I’ve been thinking about these comments Trump made. What a fabulous tribute they are to the men and women of the DOJ and the FBI!

The tribute is, of course, inadvertent: Trump doesn’t understand the statement he is making about independent law enforcement. But let’s unpack it for a moment.

The President is saying that he would like to interfere in ongoing investigations. He is saying that he would like to order up investigations of his political opponents. He is announcing that he is a corrupt actor who does not believe in the rule of law.

He is a man who is capable of firing his FBI Director because he will not aid him in these endeavours and to threaten his Attorney General and his Deputy Attorney General and the special counsel over the inconveniences they pose him.

Even as I type this, he is tweeting about how DOJ should be investigating Clinton. (For example: )

In these comments, he is announcing frankly how badly he wants to corrupt the Department of Justice.

And yet, he is “frustrated.” Why? It’s not because of Jim Comey. He got rid of Jim Comey. It’s not because of Sessions or Rosenstein. Lordy knows they have not shrouded themselves in glory.

It’s because the norm of independent law enforcement—which he is menacing—is actually strong enough to constrain him—at least right now.

It’s strong enough that he can fulminate all he wants about investigating Clinton and still Mueller does his job, and the FBI does its job, and the men and women of the DOJ do their jobs, and none of their jobs, as our democratic polity has determined them, is to fulfill his undemocratic ambitions to loose investigators on people he doesn’t like and to have the Justice Department protect him.

It’s a stunning statement of presidential constraint: A president actually saying that he aspires to corrupt interference with law enforcement and can’t pull it off. Let it warm your heart. It sure warms mine.

But the attempts at interference continue.

 

Just now:

More than eight years after Bergdahl walked off his base in Afghanistan — and unwittingly into the clutches of the Taliban — Bergdahl walked out of a North Carolina courtroom a free man Friday. Bergdahl, who pleaded guilty to endangering his comrades, was fined, reduced in rank to E1 and dishonorably discharged — but he received no prison time.

Prosecutors had requested a 14-year prison term following a week of emotional testimony from the survivors who were wounded during missions to find Bergdahl after he left the base in June 2009. Bergdahl’s defense team has asked for no prison time.

In closing arguments, defense attorneys argued that Bergdahl already had suffered enough confinement during five years of brutal captivity by Taliban allies. They asked the judge for a dishonorable discharge and no prison time.

Their argument for leniency also cited harsh campaign-trail criticism by Donald Trump and Bergdahl’s mental disorders.

The 31-year-old soldier from Hailey, Idaho, was brought home by President Barack Obama in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Obama said at the time that the U.S. does not leave its service members on the battlefield.

Republicans roundly criticized Obama, and Trump went further while campaigning for president, repeatedly calling Bergdahl a traitor who deserved death.

So Trump has been trying to interfere in this case since before he was president. He is still doing it as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.

Because US justice officials appear to refuse to be influenced by Trump it is just futile posturing, but it’s a piss poor look for a President.

Bernie Sanders gets it. First he gets a swipe from Trump.

But he responded:

Bernie gets it. I don’t know whether it is deliberate attempts at distraction by trump, or that he is easily distracted from his job, but one could legitimately question who the crazy one is.

World’s most powerful female politicians

Forbes Magazine has named Jacinda Ardern as the 13th most powerful female politician in the world. I think this is a bit premature, but it will increase Ardern’s international profile.

Most Powerful Women In Politics (Forbes):

  1. Angela Merkel, Chancellor Germany
  2. Theresa May, Prime Minister, U.K.
  3. Tsa Ing-Wen, President, Taiwan
  4. Michelle Bachelet, President, Chile
  5. Federica Mogherini, Foreign Policy Chief, European Union
  6. Ivanka Trump, Senior Advisor, The White House
  7. Ruth Bader Ginsburg/Elena Kagan/Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justices
  8. Queen Elizabeth II
  9. Sheikh Hasina Wajed, Prime Minister, Bangladesh
  10. Beata Maria Szydlo, Prime Minister, Poland
  11. Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor, Myanmar
  12. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation & Development, U.A.E.
  13. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, New Zealand
  14. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President, Croatia
  15. Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, U.K.
  16. Nikki Haley, Ambassador to United Nations, U.S.
  17. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Norway
  18. Elvira Nabiullina, Governor, Bank of Russia
  19. Liyuan Peng, First Lady, China
  20. Hillary Clinton, Former Presidential Candidate, U.S.
  21. Dalia Grybauskaite, President, Lithuania
  22. Kersti Kaljulaid, President, Estonia

Not surprising to see Merkel at the top, and Theresa May is probably up there as well but it’s debatable how powerful she is in the UK let alone the world.

Surprising to see Queen Elizabeth II there. She is a figurehead, not a power in politics.

Hillary Clinton well down the list is no surprise, she has no political position.

Not sure that Ivanka Trump is particularly powerful either.

RNZ: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/top/342900/ardern-makes-list-of-most-powerful-women-in-global-politics

Dirty democracy: Clinton, Trump, Russia

Investigations and revelations continue on dirty democracy involving the US and Russia.

The use of Facebook by Russians continues – CNBC: House panel plans to release Russian ads that ran on Facebook, committee leaders say

The House Intelligence Committee plans to release Russia-linked ads that ran on Facebook during the 2016 election, the panel’s leaders said Wednesday, according to NBC News.

The House committee is investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. Reps. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., are leading the probe.

Facebook has already shared about 3,000 ads bought by Russia-linked groups with the congressional committees investigating the Russian influence campaign.

Google also has discovered that Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on its platforms, according to reports.

Recode:  Facebook admits Russia agents used Messenger to disrupt U.S. presidential election

A top Facebook executive admitted Wednesday that Russian agents had used the social network’s popular Messenger platform to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook Messenger boss David Marcus disclosed that a “very small” number of the 470 accounts active in the Russian interference campaign were using Messenger to communicate with their users.

Messenger was reportedly used by some pages with ties to Russian operatives. Marcus, like other Facebook executives, argued that the work done by Facebook around the world was being wrongly “overshadowed” by the Russia “narrative.”

Investigations continue into possible links between the trump campaign and Russians.

Newsweek: DID TRUMP FAMILY, ASSOCIATES BREAK LAW WITH RUSSIA? A GUIDE TO POTENTIAL SUSPECTS IN MUELLER’S PROBE

It has been a big few days in the ongoing investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and possibly collude with Donald Trump’s campaign. The president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has appeared before multiple congressional committees…

Paul Manafort: At the same time, the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller is delving deeper into Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager.

This week, it was reported that the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, in conjunction with Mueller, is investigating Manafort for money laundering. It is widely believed that Mueller aims to use the money laundering charges to flip Manafort and turn him into a witness against Trump.

Roger Stone: A longtime adviser to Trump, Stone boasted during the campaign that he was in communication with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange before that outfit released emails from the account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. Stone has also confirmed that he exchanged messages with a hacker believed to be responsible for attacking the Democratic National Committee.

NBC:  Kushner Under Scrutiny By FBI as Part of Russia Investigation

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, has come under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation, multiple US officials tell NBC Nightly News.

And the Clinton campaign is also reported to be close to Russia in it’s dirty campaigning too – Washington Post: Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.

After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.

So both the Republicans and then the Clinton campaign have had Russian connections in what appears to have been a particularly dirty campaign.

The US and Russia have interfered in other democracies for a long time, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that Russia has tried to interfere in the US election, and both sides have had connections to Russia in conducting their campaigns.

Vanity Fair: THE DIRTY TRUTH ABOUT THE STEELE DOSSIER

On many levels, the Post story merely confirms earlier reports about Steele’s backers. The same day that BuzzFeed published the dossier in its entirety, CNN confirmed much of Corn’s earlier reporting. “The memos originated as opposition research, first commissioned by anti-Trump Republicans, and later by Democrats,” Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper and Carl Bernstein wrote. (As Howard Blum recently reported for Vanity Fair, the funding for the research originally came from a “Never Trump” Republican but not specifically from the war chest of one of Trump’s rivals in the G.O.P. primary, according to a friend of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.)

The involvement of Clinton and the D.N.C. in funding the Steele dossier is not surprising, but it does add fuel to the partisan fire. “I have to say, the whole Russian thing is what it’s turned out to be,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday morning. “This was the Democrats coming up with an excuse for losing an election.” Conservative pundits and commentators celebrated on Twitter, seeing in the Post story validation of their arguments that the connections between the Trump campaign and Russia were overblown, if not fabricated.

Complicating matters is the fact that Fusion GPS has also worked with Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who attended the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, in which Donald Trump Jr. was promised damaging information on Clinton as part of what was described to him as a Russian government effort to help elect his father.

It is all extremely messy.

It has become a very dirty democracy in the US, with mud covered credibility. I don’t know if it is repairable.

The end result so far is the Trump presidency that risks becoming an increasingly disastrous train wreck.

Despite mounting claims Trump calls Russian interference a hoax

The investigation of Russian interference in last year’s US election is claiming more evidence it happened, but Trump claims it is all a hoax.

This has been messed up more due to Hilary Clinton promoting her book and claiming she was hard done by.

The pinnacle of US politics is not a pretty sight.

CNN: Trump says this is all a hoax. Mueller, Congress and Facebook disagree

Special counsel Robert Mueller and three congressional committees are investigating Russian interference in the election, but President Trump is still telling his fans it’s a “hoax.”

Trump has used the “Russia hoax” label at least once a month since March. He said it again in a tweet on Friday — that scrutiny over Facebook ads from Russian-linked accounts was just part of the continuing “hoax.”

There is mounting evidence to the contrary. National security officials and congressional leaders agree that Russian meddling must be thoroughly investigated.

But the president continues to deny it.

“He has a very difficult time separating out the fact of the Russians affecting the election and the outcome,” David Sanger of The New York Times said on CNN’s “New Day.”

With a pair of tweets on Friday, Trump tried to turn the focus back to his opponent in the election. After calling Russia a hoax, he asked, “What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?”

Trump was echoing conservative commentators who say he won the election in spite of grossly unfair media coverage.

Hillary Clinton has been on a highly successful book tour for the past two weeks.

During the book tour, Clinton herself has sharply criticized the news media’s influence on the election. Her view is that the press went relatively easy on Trump, partly because they thought Clinton would win, which gave him a big advantage.

Trump has an opposite view. “The greatest influence over our election was the Fake News Media ‘screaming’ for Crooked Hillary Clinton,” he tweeted on Friday. “Next, she was a bad candidate!”

In effect he’s saying “look over there,” at media bias, “not over there,” at the mounting evidence that Russia tried to sway the election in his favor.

New leaks and revelations emerge every day about Russian meddling in the election. Some of the stories describe connections between Russians and people in Trump’s orbit.

Facebook’s role in inadvertently spreading Russian propaganda, some of it explicitly anti-Clinton, has come into focus this month. On Thursday, the company pledged to hand 3,000 Russia-linked ads over to Congress, and it announced a nine-point plan in response to election interference.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg clearly doesn’t think the talk of Russian interference is a “hoax.”

Fox News: Trump launches tweetstorm against Kim Jong Un, Rand Paul, ‘Russia hoax

Earlier this month, Facebook uncovered approximately $100,000 spread across approximately 3,000 ads in fraudulent ad spending across its platform tied to the 2016 presidential election. The “potentially politically-related ads” were bought from accounts with U.S. IP addresses, but the language was set to Russian, Facebook said.

While Trump accused the media of promoting Clinton, in her new book “What Happened,” Clinton blamed the media — and many other factors — for her loss.

The involvement of the media in the US election was complicated. It’s difficult to judge who they helped or hindered more. Trump wouldn’t have succeeded without them giving him so much attention – it’s unlikely he would have even been nominated if it wasn’t for his successful playing of the media, so it’s ridiculous that he now accuses the media of working against him.

Some media coverage certainly was negative (some of it was justified) but that probably helped Trump. And media support of Clinton probably worked against her campaign as much as for it.

But back to the Russian interference, surely it is very important that this is investigated properly, for the sake of the integrity of US democracy, as tainted as it is.

And it is improper of a president to trash an investigation into his campaign and into members of his campaign team.

Clinton still unpopular

One of the reasons Hillary Clinton failed in last year’s presidential election was her relatively high unpopularity. While it doesn’t matter now she is political history, she is just as unpopular (her excuses for losing won’t have helped).

People tend to not like losers, especially sore losers.

The Democrats aren’t doing much better.

Fox News:  Is the Democrats’ brand ‘worse than Trump’? Some party officials admit it is

Chris Murphy, a Democratic senator from Connecticut, made some candid comments that caught my eye yesterday.

“The fact that we have spent so much time talking about Russia has been a distraction from what should be the clear contrast between Democrats and the Trump agenda, which is on economics.”

Bingo. Running mainly against Donald Trump didn’t work for the Dems in 2016, and it’s not working now.

Ohio Democratic congressman Tim Ryan told the New York Times that his party is “toxic” in large swaths of the country: “Our brand is worse than Trump. We can’t just run against Trump.”

They are diverting from their own substantial problems by trying to blame everything on Trump.

One of the stupid things about this approach is that they don’t need to show how bad Trump can be, he keeps doing that himself. His stupidity over the Comey non-tapes is evidence of that – seeTrump “did not make…any such recordings”.

Trump’s unpopularity is similar to Clinton’s. From FiveThirtyEight:

538TrumpPolls2017June22

That is historically low approval for a president in their first six months in office. Trump has managed to get there through his own efforts, he doesn’t need the Democrats to discredit him.

That both Clinton and Trump are so disliked is an indictment on the state of US politics.

 

Clinton excuses again

I don’t know why Hillary Clinton has chosen to launch another round of excuses for losing the presidential election, but she doesn’t seem to be scoring much sympathy.

Fox News: Clinton says she takes responsibility for loss to Trump — but blames plenty

Hillary Clinton says she’s not running for president again, but she may be running out of excuses for why she lost the White House to President Trump.

Former FBI Director James Comey, Facebook, The New York Times, Russia, WikiLeaks, misogyny, the pressure of high expectations and the Democratic National Committee have been among the people, organizations and attitudes Clinton has saddled with responsibility in recent days for her stunning November loss.

Clinton, who has said she’s writing another book, has often told her interviewers she takes “absolute personal responsibility” for the loss. However, in other questions, she’s spread the blame liberally.

This time she let rip at the Democrat Party.

The former Democratic standard-bearer was perhaps her most forthcoming at Recode, even slamming her party for an inept election operation.

“It was bankrupt, it was on the verge of insolvency, its data was mediocre to poor, non-existent, wrong,” Clinton said. “I had to inject money into it – the DNC – to keep it going.”

The media were a factor that had to be managed, but that worked for and against both candidates.

Clinton on Wednesday night also took aim at The New York Times – typically viewed as a left-leaning publication – for treating her secret server scandal “like it was Pearl Harbor.”

James Comey’s intervention obviously damaged Clinton’s chances but that was because she was already on shaky ground.

And the man in charge of that server investigation, Comey, didn’t escape Clinton’s wrath, either – particularly at issue for Clinton was the letter Comey sent to Congress late in the campaign announcing new evidence in the case may have been discovered. Comey ultimately never recommended Clinton be prosecuted.

Then a Clayton’s excuse:

“I take responsibility for every decision I make – but that’s not why I lost,” Clinton said Wednesday at the Recode Code Conference in California.

She lost because she and her campaign were not good enough against one of the most flawed and vulnerable opponents imaginable.

Chris Cillizza at CNN: In election blame game, it’s time for Hillary Clinton to take her share

Hillary Clinton’s list of who’s to blame for her 2016 election loss gets longer with every passing day.

On Wednesday, in an interview with Recode’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, Clinton added a few more names to her list: The New York Times and the Democratic National Committee. That’s in addition to the media, James Comey, Donald Trump, the Russians and her supporters’ assumptions that she would win the race.

The one person missing from that list? Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Sure, in her Recode interview, Clinton made passing reference — as she has done in her other post-election appearances — to the idea that she made mistakes.

“I take responsibility for every decision I make — but that’s not why I lost,” she said.

The first half of that sentence is pure politician speak; the second half is what Clinton really believes.

Whining over half a year later is not going to change the result, and worse, it is unlikely to help the Democrats move on and sort themselves out.

The truth of the matter is this: Hillary Clinton’s name was at the top of the campaign and signed on the checks her staff received. It was her decision to set up a private email server and exclusively use it for her communications as secretary of state — the first person in her position to do that.

She was the one who kept giving high-paid speeches to the likes of Goldman Sachs even after it was clear she was going to run for president. (“They paid me,” Clinton explained Wednesday.)

She was the one who struggled to grasp — despite the repeated warnings of her staff — that the email issue was causing her major image problems on questions of honesty and trustworthiness.

She was the one who struggled to put away a once-quixotic challenge by Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary.

She was the one who premised her entire general election strategy on the idea that once voters knew who Trump was and what he said, they would have no choice but to vote for her.

She’s the one who decided against visiting Wisconsin even one time between the Democratic convention and the general election.

All of those things played roles — you can debate how big or how small — in her loss. And Clinton had control of every single one.

There’s something worse than a loser in politics – a sore loser who won’t accept their failings and flaws.

And the more Clinton goes on and on making excuses and blaming everyone and everything else for her failure the worse it gets.

Biden bashes Clinton

Joe Biden has said what many people thought, especially voters in some pivotal US states, Hillary Clinton wasn’t a great candidate. She was so poor she lost to Donald Trump, someone with no political experience and lacking support even within his own Republican Party.

Phily.Com: Joe Biden slams Hillary Clinton: ‘I never thought she was a great candidate’

Joe Biden has a reputation for saying what’s on his mind, and on Thursday night, he reportedly didn’t hold back at all about former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“I never thought she was a great candidate. I thought I was a great candidate,” Biden reportedly told an audience of hedge fund managers at the annual SALT conference in Las Vegas.

“No man or woman should announce for the presidency unless they genuinely believe that for the that moment in the nation’s history they are the most qualified person to deal with the issues facing the country,” Biden continued, according to TheStreet’s Ronald Orol.

Despite his criticism of candidate Clinton, Biden did add that he thought Hillary would have been “a really good president.”

She may have made an ok ‘same old’ establishment sort of president, but she is unlikely to have shaken up fundamental problems in the US political system. She was one of the established ruling class.

And we will never know how she would have managed the job.

Biden considered standing against Clinton for nomination last year but decided against it. His son had died then previous year. he would have been very establishment too.

Biden has repeatedly said his emphasis right now is on his family being “put back together,” but on Thursday left the door open about a possible run in 2020.

“If I get those things done, and I’m healthy and viable, and it looks like I’m the best man to do it, I may very well do it,” Biden said. “But my family comes first.”

“Could I? Yes,” Biden continued. “Would I? Probably not.”

Biden would be nearly 78 years old in 2020. At age 70, President Donald Trump is the oldest president to ever assume office.

Probably not. If he won he would be nearly 82 by the end of his first term, so a second term would be a stretch on age and health alone.

In any case the Democrats need to be doing something very different if they want to rebuild after their embarrassingly poor results last year. They lost the presidency, and failed to gain a majority in either the senate or Congress.

To revitalise, the Democrats need someone much different to either Clinton or Biden to lead them.

A problem with US politics is that parties don’t decide who might lead them until election year, so the next three years may be manoeuvring of those wanting to set up their preferred presidential candidate more than addressing the real and fundamental problems in the party and the country.

 

Comey ‘probably cost Clinton the election’

An analysis of polls and media coverage by Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight makes a strong case in support of the claim that The Comey Letter Probably Cost Clinton The Election

It may well have been the final nail in a poor campaign. Trumps campaign was also poor but it succeeded where it mattered, with the help of Comey.

But Silver also makes a strong case for the influence of the media and their denials of the impact they have.

And this applies to New Zealand as well, on a smaller scale.

Hillary Clinton would probably be president if FBI Director James Comey had not sent a letter to Congress on Oct. 28. The letter, which said the FBI had “learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” into the private email server that Clinton used as secretary of state, upended the news cycle and soon halved Clinton’s lead in the polls, imperiling her position in the Electoral College.

The letter isn’t the only reason that Clinton lost. It does not excuse every decision the Clinton campaign made. Other factors may have played a larger role in her defeat…

But the effect of those factors — say, Clinton’s decision to give paid speeches to investment banks, or her messaging on pocket-book issues, or the role that her gender played in the campaign — is hard to measure.

The impact of Comey’s letter is comparatively easy to quantify, by contrast. At a maximum, it might have shifted the race by 3 or 4 percentage points toward Donald Trump, swinging Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida to him, perhaps along with North Carolina and Arizona. At a minimum, its impact might have been only a percentage point or so.

Still, because Clinton lost Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by less than 1 point, the letter was probably enough to change the outcome of the Electoral College.

And yet, from almost the moment that Trump won the White House, many mainstream journalists have been in denial about the impact of Comey’s letter.

It hasn’t just been journalists who have been in denial about the effect of Comey’s letter. Trump chooses to ignore it and promote his own greatness, but that is what he does.

Many Trump supporters seem to want to think he won simply on merit and don’t want to consider he wasn’t that great, he just ended up being slightly less ungreat than Clinton in a few key states.

Why would the media want to ‘forget’ about the Comey letter effect?

The motivation for this seems fairly clear: If Comey’s letter altered the outcome of the election, the media may have some responsibility for the result.

The media were as poor throughout the campaign as the Clinton and Trump campaigns, and as with other issues they over-emphasised the Comey letter, helping make it a game changer. The whole campaign debacle was an appalling advertisement for democracy.

One can believe that the Comey letter cost Clinton the election without thinking that the media cost her the election — it was an urgent story that any newsroom had to cover.

But if the Comey letter had a decisive effect and the story was mishandled by the press — given a disproportionate amount of attention relative to its substantive importance, often with coverage that jumped to conclusions before the facts of the case were clear — the media needs to grapple with how it approached the story.

Is the media likely to examine and grapple with how it handled the election? That’s probably as likely as Clinton examining and accepting her own shortcomings, or as likely as Trump becoming modest about his win and his presidency.

If I were advising a future candidate on what to learn from 2016, I’d tell him or her to mostly forget about the Comey letter and focus on the factors that were within the control of Clinton and Trump. That’s not my purpose here. Instead, it’s to get at the truth — to figure out the real story of the election.

The real story is that the Comey letter had a fairly large and measurable impact, probably enough to cost Clinton the election. It wasn’t the only thing that mattered, and it might not have been the most important. But the media is still largely in denial about how much of an effect it had.

That applies to the whole campaign.

Modern media plays an integral part in elections. They are a major influence on what voters learn about candidates.

And media has moved far to far from being reporters, investigators and informers, and they have become far too much political activists and promoters.

This is not just true of the US.

In New Zealand the media have become tools of political campaigns because it generates headlines and stories, and some in media have become virtual political activists, their egos driving their coverage more than balance and perspective.

This is likely to continue because the media are excused by the majority, those who win, those who get favourable outcomes, those in power, in part due to the campaign influence of media.

The media probably cost Clinton the election as much as the Comey letter did, but the media had also contributed significantly to Clinton – and Trump – being the eventual candidates. Two very flawed candidates in a very flawed political system dominated by a very flawed media.

Social media has a growing influence, but in large part that is due to the deficiencies of the ‘mainstream’ media.

Clinton blames everything else and herself

Hillary Clinton, in a public interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour at the Women for Women International summit in New York, took “absolute personal responsibility” for her loss in last year’s election and admits making mistakes, but still blames her loss on the unprecedented intervention of FBI head James Comey.

“I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate, I was the person who was on the ballot. I am very aware of the challenges, the problems, the shortfalls that we had”.

“Did I make mistakes, oh my god, yes, you will read my confessions, my request for absolution. But the reason I believe we lost were the intervening events in the last 10 days.”

“If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president”.

“I was on the way to winning until a combination of (FBI Director) Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off”.

“”The evidence for that intervening event is, I think, compelling, persuasive, and so we overcame a lot in the campaign”.

Comey’s letter did impact significantly on the campaign and may well have swung it against Clinton, but that’s history – and it’s history that wouldn’t have happened if Clinton wasn’t such a flawed candidate with too much political baggage who ran a poor campaign.

Clinton also said she believed misogyny played a role in her defeat. It may have done but I don’t think that’s a major factor – balanced against that was repulsion at the revelations about Trump’s attitude to women.

Clinton also had a dig in advance at Trump.

“If he wants to tweet about me, then I am happy to be the diversion because we have a lot of things to worry about”.

“He should worry less about the election and my winning the popular vote than doing some other things that would be important for the country.”

She suggested that if Trump launched a fusillade on Twitter, it would be “better than interfering in foreign affairs.”

She will have known that this will have annoyed Trump, and inevitably he responded via Twitter:

FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!

The phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?

In some ways Trump’s campaign was great, it worked where it mattered most, but it was in other ways an awful campaign for an awful candidate.

As Stephen Collinson at CNN says: Clinton, Trump can’t stop airing their 2016 grievances

In a stunning interview Tuesday, Clinton, the former Democratic nominee, vented her still raw emotions and blazing bitterness over her defeat by Trump — pointing to Russia and FBI Chief James Comey as the key drivers of her loss.

Trump, for his part, rarely lets more than a few days go by without boasting about his outsider win. Then, remarkably for a victor, he disputes the result — claiming without evidence that millions of illegal voters handed Clinton a popular vote triumph.

The prospect of regurgitating the most bitter election on record must horrify Americans who were forced to live through it for roughly two years.

But given Clinton’s public anger over her loss and Trump’s unwillingness to move on, a long-range rhetorical rematch is inevitable, especially since Clinton has a book coming in the fall.

The President is extraordinarily touchy about the merest suggestion that his victory is not totally authentic. Clinton has now given her supporters, many of whom believe she was cheated out of breaking the highest, hardest glass ceiling in politics, even more reasons to view Trump as illegitimate.

And the President is unlikely to take a pass at Clinton’s unflattering description of his performance, including her renewal of her claim that he was unprepared for office.

As his tweets show he didn’t take a pass, but it’s sad that Clinton has let her bitterness boil over so publicly.

It’s rather ironic that a clash over one of the most powerful and important jobs in the world continues to be so petty and childish.

Both Clinton and Trump continue to remind the world how bad US democracy has become.