Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bill Mitchell — The (neo-liberal) Third Way infestation continues

“Fresh thinking delivered to your inbox – Subscribe”. That is the message on the home page of Third Way an American think tank (aka conservative propaganda machine) masquerading in the public space as a “centrist think tank”. The problem is that this particular ‘think tank’ does not seem to do much fresh thinking, if thinking at all. According to the Politico article (January 17, 2017) – Democratic Party rethink gets $20 million injection – largely aimed to reestablish the narrative that allowed Bill Clinton and then Barack Obama to be elected as President. In part, this initiative is to head off the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren (neither who are mounting what I call a fully progressive agenda anyway) and claw back the voters who abandoned the unelectable (my judgement) Hillary Clinton in favour of the (shouldn’t have ever been elected) Donald Trump. The narrative that the Third Way organisation has been engaged in for years is hardly fresh. They attack fiscal deficits and call for retrenchments of pension entitlements and public health care funding, they oppose single payer health care and, thus, favour pumping billions of public funds into private insurance companies who offer inferior services, and are strong advocates of the deeply flawed Trans-Pacific Partnership. There is nothing progressive about this group nor fresh. They are mainstream central and the fact they are spearheading a Democratic Party initiative to win back political support tells me that the Party has learned next to nothing from last November’s Presidential election.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The (neo-liberal) Third Way infestation continues
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia


Penguin pop said...

If it were against any other run of the mill GOP idiot, Hillary probably would have won. 2.8 million more votes than the other guy isn't bad.

Salsabob said...

Shhh, Penguin, not too loud now. Professor Bill has just discovered Trump got elected and the GOP is in full control of the government - remember your own shock on November 8. Too soon to let him know Hillary won more votes than any other Presidential candidate, including Trump, in history; well, with the one exception of Obama in '08. Barrack and Hillary taking 1st and 2nd place in history for the largest voter support doesn't jibe too well with his thesis that they're unsupportable neoliberal devils. While nearly all on the Right have problems with letting facts into their personal realities, that trait isn't necessarily exclusive to just them.

Penguin pop said...


I think a lot of people knew there were many aspects to Hillary they did not like or that she wasn't that much of a progressive, but in their eyes, they knew Cheeto would be worse and more blatant about his bullshit so they bit the bullet and went for the lesser evil in that case. I have a friend of mine who was huge on Bernie and understood this, but told me about how Hillary fought for healthcare in the 90s and thought she would be better than the guy who he called the King of Telling Lie after Lie.

The guy's conflict of interests and frequent putting his own foot in his mouth for the sake of counterpunching woulda have made him quite an easy opponent to beat. The one card that he had in his favor was hammering on the TPP and appealing to independent voters in the swing states. If it weren't for that, he would have been crushed even more to be honest.

Personally, if I lived in a swing state, it's pretty likely I would have voted for her as well. Living in a Southern state, I knew Trump would win here no matter what and that only the Electoral College matters in these elections unfortunately.

Penguin pop said...

But I digress. This whole 2016 election was an absolute mess and a farce which has had people more polarized than ever. And my above comment is not to say that Hillary would have been a blessing in her own right. As many people have pointed out, she has her own issues that people would need to hold her accountable to just like every other politician. The main difference is she's not the one whining on Twitter about the ratings on the Celebrity Apprentice or getting triggered by jokes on SNL. That's my take on this.

Penguin pop said...

I also remember how many people did early voting and it was enormous, so I think Hillary also had that in her favor long before any of the Wikileaks stuff or the Comey thing came out.

Tom Hickey said...

The US is a democratic republic and not a democracy, where it's one person, one vote and the majority rules. The US is set up so as to give different regions and different cohorts representation in order to avoid the tyranny of the majority.

The Clinton campaign knew this. All campaign strategists realize that the polling of who has the plurality of vote is meaningless in the final analysis, where the electoral college is determinative.

Especially since Karl Rove, campaign strategists have realized that general elections are fought county by county, and a few swing counties determine the outcome.

For some reason, HRC's strategists, or the candidate herself, decided not to campaign in some key areas that they apparently assumed were safe.

Well, they weren't.

End of story.

Penguin pop said...

100% true Tom. That's also what I meant by my comment. The other GOP candidates wouldn't have even tried to campaign in those swing states that much. It would have been a walk in the park for her at that point given her brand name recognition and all of that and mass support she has from the celebrities in this country. It's also ironic because I read that HRC wanted the Electoral College ended back in 2000, so at least back then, she had the awareness that the Electoral College would be the most crucial factor in winning a presidential election.

Penguin pop said...

From the same article:

"We are a very different country than we were 200 years ago," Clinton said. "I believe strongly that in a democracy, we should respect the will of the people and to me, that means it's time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president."

"Clinton ran unusually well in traditionally more conservative upstate New York, where she captured 47 percent of the vote to Lazio's 50 percent."

franco said...

Tom: "For some reason, HRC's strategists, or the candidate herself, decided not to campaign in some key areas that they apparently assumed were safe."

Penguin: "It's also ironic because I read that HRC wanted the Electoral College ended back in 2000, so at least back then, she had the awareness that the Electoral College would be the most crucial factor in winning a presidential election."


"For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin."

Democrats in charge knew how the electoral system worked...

They just wrongly assumed that the electorate would reason about Trump like they did. Unfortunately for them 8 years of Obama didn't fix many of their problems, why would the trust Democrats again, they were given enough chances.

I think I understand what Matt means now by material vs non-material systems.

Materially, Obama did little where it mattered most. Trump promises to material gains where it matters, and aims it to places that are worried about it:

"Trump flipped a full third of the counties that voted for Obama twice. Clinton flipped 6 of the 2200 counties that didn’t vote for Obama."

For instance:

"Or take Mahoning [Ohio]... The county is economically poor (median household income of $23,000) and culturally as working class... Obama won the county decisively (+26 in 2008, +28 in 2012)... Clinton won Mahoning by three points."

Also Ashabula county, Ohio:

"...more affluent than Mahoning, but with average household incomes considerably lower than the national average ($40,000 median family income)... People there once worked in auto plants and now work in hospitals. It has been solidly Democratic in presidential contests since 1988. Ashtabula decisively supported Obama in 2012 (+13) and decisively supported Trump in 2016 (+19)."

Doesn't matter whether or not it's rhetoric, because rhetoric is a better bet than nothing at all (which in this case would be more of the same).

These sort of changes in voters don't happen overnight, or on their own, but admitting that would have to mean that Democrats did something wrong by giving voters more of the same...

Not possible, since they are the "Fact People", purveyors of wisdom. It's just those dirty uneducated hicks being fooled!

Take these think-tank booklets, they will solve all your problems. You can use them as blinkers...

Noah Way said...

More proof that the the GOP and DEMs are one and the same.

As to the election, Hillary was unelectable. Her campaign was 'vote for me, I'm not Trump'. The DNC/HRC election machine pumped Cruz, Carson and Trump in the early campaign and sabatoged Bernie though via their corporate media lackeys. They believed their own disinformation and rigged polls and failed to take a position on anything except the glass ceiling.

Trump didn't win despite Hillary, he won because of Hillary. Bernie would have buried them both in a fair contest.