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• Hillary’s Howard Dean problem
• Obama’s imperial press conference
• Take Five: Keystone to a Senate flip?
• Is a Trump-Cruz pact taking shape?
• Oh, deer
HILLARY’S HOWARD DEAN PROBLEM
Hillary Clinton is in New Hampshire for a day of semi-retail politicking to try to tamp down enthusiasm for her rival, Bernie Sanders. But if she wants to do that, a better place to be might be Phoenix, where the annual Netroots Nation conference is being held.
Clinton, who touts her large number of small-dollar donors, still relied on the plutocratic caste for her substantial quarterly haul. Simply put, she has a problem with her base, and it seems to be persistent. Not unlike Mitt Romney facing a field of political impossibilities, Clinton can be confident that she can eventually defeat her own party. But that, of course, doesn’t set one up for general election success.
And the GOP knows it, for sure. The Republican National Committee is taunting Clinton for her absence, dropping a punishing briefing book on Clinton later today. Within it is a damning collection of Clinton flips and flops, base disagreements and chilly poll numbers.
The Netroots movement is hallowed ground for Democrats. This was where the movement to block establishment favorite John Kerry was born in 2003. It was also where the lessons learned from that defeat were shaped into the successful strategy that suffocated Clinton’s shock-and-awe campaign in 2008. There would have been no Obama presidency without Netroots.
Clinton relies on big donations that fund a campaign that uses social media to cram messages that are meant to appear organic. But there’s little online activists hate more than phony online activism.
And we see today another example of the perils of dropping the establishment hammer too hard on the Democratic base.
Under fire for allegedly breaking a compact with other AFL-CIO to withhold their endorsements until Clinton had staked out sufficiently liberal positions, American Federation of Teachers boss and longtime Clintonista Randi Weingarten told Politico that the surprise weekend endorsement wasn’t to help shore up Clinton’s weakening left flank but rather because of the overwhelming support Clinton has received in two town halls and a poll conducted by the union.
Tell that to the thousands of dissidents who are backing a petition to have the union rescind its endorsement.
But Weingarten was dismissive. “Everybody loves Bernie, just like George McGovern, just like Howard Dean,” she said.
Er, that’s kind of the point. McGovern and Dean both did serious damage to Democrats. Dean’s turgid rhetoric helped push eventual nominee Kerry to the left and helped brand the party as reckless in a time of war. And the hard feelings of Netroots member insurgents that launched the Dean campaign denied Kerry the chance to move to the middle.
Nobody thinks Sanders is bound for the Democratic nomination, but a protest movement is growing and could leave Clinton with even less flexibility when she moves to, as she promised, “a nice, warm purple space” for the general election.
At the very least, Dean’s fellow Vermonter Sanders represents a similar threat to Clinton. But to invoke McGovern is just wild. Who’s Hillary Clinton in that comparison? Edmund Muskie or Hubert Humphrey? Yeesh.
Dean himself has been co-opted by the Clintons. But the energy and anger he represented is more real than ever. If Clinton tries to blow past her base with some well-constructed issue pandering and a lot of cash, she will be made to pay a dearer price.
Hillary’s camp spends big bucks on polls - Weekly Standard: “Hillary Clinton has already spent nearly one million dollars on polling. According to the Democratic presidential candidate’s first Federal Election Commission disclosure report, the campaign has already spent $904,915.00 on polling…The Hillary for America campaign, the Clinton campaign's official title, has already spent $18,699,814.02. So far the campaign has raised $47,549,949.64. Clinton has $28,850,135.62 cash on hand.”
Bernie is about Bernie, not Hillary - Or at least that’s what FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver says. “The Bernie Sanders surge, in other words, has a lot more to do with Bernie Sanders than with Hillary Clinton. More specifically, it has to do with his left-populist politics.” Read about his math to back it up here.
[Donors for Bernie include Ben & Jerry’s ice cream founders, celebrities, and everyone in between. Read the eclectic list here.]
OBAMA’S IMPERIAL PRESS CONFERENCE
President Obama was not pleased by the questions offered at one of his rare press conferences.