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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

It's OK To Point Out Dem Candidate Differences - But Be Fair

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 02/07/16 15:25, Edited: 02/07/16 15:25

by Dave Mindeman

I realize that when you have an intra-party contest, there will be points of contention and differences that need to be defined. I get that. But there are a couple of arguments going on lately which I think are pretty lame. And it is one on each side.

First, in regards to the Clinton contention that Bernie Sanders' preference for single payer will blow up Obamacare. That is not even close to accurate and pretty unfair. With a President Sanders, Obamacare will never be repealed and will only be dismantled if a better system can actually pass Congress. If he can't get it through, then we still have the current system. End of argument.

Secondly, the Sanders campaign charges about Clinton's Goldman Sachs speeches also stretches the bounds of credulity. Yes, Clinton takes a lot of corporate donations and yes, a lot of money comes from Wall Street. She has taken a similar pathway to most of the other Presidential candidates, including Obama. Bernie has carved out a preferred donor base, but not many political figures are able to do that. Kudos to him - but it hardly makes Hillary Clinton some kind of corporate shill. I live in the 2nd Congressional district - I know corporate shills.

And let's take the Goldman Sachs speeches. Yeah, that is a lot of money to be paid for a speech, but Bill and Hillary Clinton built a reputation and a global foundation that commands those types of fees. Goldman Sachs is not buying influence - they are trying to take advantage of a brand. When they can announce that Hillary Clinton is going to give a speech on foreign policy at their venue, it raises the profile of not only Hillary Clinton, but also Goldman Sachs....or whatever corporate or non-profit entity manages to get either of them for their discussions.

Sure, it is easy to look at the correlation and be suspicious. But I also think it is unfair to assume the worst. I think she has trouble explaining such fees because the Clinton's have acquired a high level of influence. I doubt that Goldman Sachs is going to be able to pressure the Clintons to bend to their will when they have global connections all over the world that interconnect in a host of ways.

The proof of that is a thoughtful and tough policy on the banking industry. Nobel economist Paul Krugman said that Hillary's plan is the best of any of the Presidential candidates.

And in addition, Clinton's reasoning about representing New York, the home of Wall Street is valid as well. Bernie Sanders' representation of Vermont has definitely affected his stances on the gun industry. Both Hillary and Bernie are moving leftward on those positions now....and for me, their explanations are good enough.

So, before we get into these constant charges and counter charges in social media, please remember - these two candidates are head and shoulders above the public policies that we would see if the GOP candidate would win.

If you want to point out differences, I understand, but let's keep it fair.
comments (2) permalink

Clinton vs Sanders: On Health Care

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 01/15/16 20:06, Edited: 01/15/16 20:10

by Dave Mindeman

The campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have been having contentious exchanges on the health care issue. And the negative talk seems to be accelerating. But it would be more constructive if both sides would stop distorting the positions held by the other.

I, personally, have been a single payer advocate for a long time. On this, I agree with Bernie. The ACA has problems because the public option was blocked from being part of the bill. That has been a flaw from the very beginning.

And I do not believe that Sanders is out to dismantle all the health care programs that have been working and helping poor people across the nation. I am sure that there will be a method of working all these program advantages into his overall plan.

But Hillary Clinton has some legitimate policy concerns to be addressed here and the Sanders campaign should not dismiss them as political attacks. The Sanders campaign did promise to get the details of his health care plan out to the public....and I, along with others, would like to see and examine it.

I also would like Sanders to address concerns that if we open up the health care debate in Congress again with new legislation, how can the Sanders campaign promise that we won't come out worse than where we are now?

The ACA passed with an all Democratic Congress. The likelihood that Sanders will have the same if he is elected are virtually nil.

Hillary's contention that we should work to improve the ACA and make it closer to a universal system is pragmatically the more viable option. We could revisit a public option and possibly allow the states to opt out for a single payer system of their own.

Both campaigns are essentially advocating for the same end result. Universal health care. Progressives have long felt that the single payer method of Medicare for All, as Bernie proposes, is the best and most cost effective means to do so. And in a more progressive political majority world, that is the avenue that we could pursue. But we still have not reached that point.

The Clinton campaign is wrong to make this about taxes - because paying for Bernie's plan will be offset by lower insurance premiums and out of pocket costs. However, if the Sanders campaign won't divulge the nature of how this is paid for, it leaves the campaign open for legitimate criticism....and if isn't Hillary, the Republicans will gladly oblige.

This Democratic health care discussion is necessary, but it doesn't need to be contentious. Both sides have the American people's best interests at heart.

Which is more than we can currently say for the GOP.
comments (1) permalink

The Iran Treaty: Another Consideration

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 07/15/15 17:09

by Dave Mindeman

This Iran treaty is very important to the United States and Republicans are not even considering the strategic ramifications. It used to be said that politics ended at our country's shores and foreign policy, especially international treaties, was off limits to the petty vagaries of partisan politics.

Our Republican friends have ground that theory into dust.

What I don't understand about the instant criticism from Republicans is a failure to look at the bigger picture.

Yes, Iran wants sanctions lifted and yes, the money could be used for more interventions across the Mideast. But the goal has been to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and this treaty puts an indefinite hold on that acquisition.

But even beyond that, no treaty would be signed unless both parties have broader goals to meet and it sure looks like both parties have ISIS in mind.

Iran is a Shiite dominated country. ISIS is a Sunni organization. Iran has already been involved in Iraq with ground forces against this group. Doesn't it feel like Iran has a more immediate problem with ISIS than a longer term goal of a nuclear weapon? Is it possible that the more immediate threat has become the more important threat to deal with.....and a treaty to remove some of the sanctions and get the US off their back might be, in broader terms, a means to let them gear up for an ISIS fight?

The US not only gets to stop Iran from moving toward nuclear weapons, but they open up a possible "ally" in the fight with ISIS. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Chances are good that if Iran uses new sanction free money to obtain conventional weapons and strengthening their economy, their target will not be Israel, not the United States, but the Sunni dominated ISIS group.

Something to consider.
comments (1) permalink
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