Monday, February 29, 2016

I'm With Her

In 2008, I supported Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. I would have backed Hillary in the general, happily. But I saw Obama as somewhat to Hillary's left, and I saw him as a superior campaigner who would make a stronger candidate.

This year, I am voting for Hillary Clinton. She is strongest general election candidate the Democrats have this year, she will make a more effective president than any other Democrat in the field, and she is far better qualified than any other candidate in either party. My decision could not be simpler.

I am to Hillary Clinton's left myself, just as I was and am to Barack Obama's left. (Nor have I ever been surprised to find myself on Obama's left. I knew who I was voting for in 2008, and Obama has proved to be pretty much who I thought he was.) I accept that I am much more liberal than the median American voter. If I want to see a president of the United States as liberal as I am, the whole country has to move left first. That movement will never happen during a presidential election; the presidential election will ratify a movement that has already happened.

Do Hillary's centrist instincts sometimes frustrate me? Yup. Absolutely. But the way to move her left is to shift the terms of debate left. And Hillary's long political track record demonstrates, without question, that she moves to the left as the progressive policy consensus moves left. She has done it repeatedly, on issues across the spectrum. Some of Hillary's critics point to positions she once took, often twenty years ago, that contradict her positions today. But that is one of the reasons I'm voting for her. She has moved left. And she does not cling to her former positions out of any rigidity or misguided pride. She will continue to move left as our policy debates evolve. America has real problems that need solving, and almost all the best solutions lie in the left side of the spectrum (simply because almost every workable conservative idea, and more than one unworkable conservative idea, has already been tried). The center is going to move to the left because of reality's liberal bias. Hillary Clinton's realism will move her further to the left over time.

Bernie Sanders is much closer to me ideologically. I agree with him about where we ought to go as a country, and where we should end up. But he is not great about explaining the details off how we get there, and I am not persuaded that Bernie would get us there. He is no Barack Obama. He has virtues that Obama doesn't, and Obama has strengths that Bernie doesn't. Bernie is not nearly the same campaigner. And Bernie's policy proposals are not built around what he can actually achieve in the near or intermediate future. Bernie's campaign is great about what we ought to do, but much fuzzier about the means. I have more faith in Hillary to get me as much progress as the next four years allow.
What about the scandals? What about them? I'm old enough at this point to remember twenty-four years of persistent talk about Hillary scandals, scandals that never quite turn into anything solid.

Some people say that Hillary isn't trustworthy, that where there is so much smoke there must be some fire. But it's been a quarter century of smoke without fire, so it's fair to ask if the endless smoke isn't something else entirely. It's not that "people" don't trust Hillary. It's that people, specific individuals, work very hard to paint Hillary as untrustworthy. That isn't a reason for me not to trust her. It's a reason for me to rally around her. I'm tired of her being attacked. And after years of all-out, scorched-earth political warfare, I am not about to abandon a seasoned warrior. We're going to fight for everything we get, no matter how big we win in November. And Hillary is the best fighter. She's the best choice, and I'm with her.

cross-posted from, and all comments welcome at, Dagblog

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Republicans' Choice: It's Trump or the Convention

Donald Trump is now, after South Carolina, clearly leading the Republican primaries. Donald Trump has also been unable to get much beyond 35% of the vote in any primary or caucus. He has the largest share of support, but that share is only about a third of the Republican vote, and sometimes less. None of the other candidates can beat Trump, but that doesn't mean he's going to win.

There are four scenarios left for the Republican nomination, two likely and two not. The unlikely scenarios are the ones getting the most attention, because they resemble the normal election cycle. What most people would expect, because it's what usually happens, is that the front-runner (Trump) would expand and consolidate his support to 50%+ (or at least 45%+), or else that the rest of the field will consolidate around a single opponent who will go on to beat him (most people suggest Marquito Rubio). Those events would represent a reversion to the usual pattern, but I suspect they're not going to happen. They should be happening already, and they haven't been.

Trump is winning, but his support is not expanding. And he's not modulating the key; getting into a public beef with the Pope is not how you expand beyond your base, and the fight with the Pope was only one strange-but-typical day in that campaign, which traffics in that level of vitriol and weirdness all the time. And even with Jeb (;) Bush gone, the field isn't consolidating around Marco Rubio much. If Trump can't get to 40%, Marquito hasn't even gotten to 25% so far. Chris Christie dropping out didn't move Rubio past his previous ceiling. He's not suddenly going to get 40% of the vote because Bush is gone. And some other people, including Cruz, aren't going anywhere for a while.

The two most likely scenarios are a minority victory for Trump, where he gets more than 50% of the delegates and the nomination with only a smallish plurality of the actual votes, and a brokered convention in Cleveland, where Trump falls short of 50% of the delegates, while Rubio, Cruz, et al each net some smaller number, and the convention becomes about, ah, the art of the deal.

How could Trump win with only one-third of the actual votes? A lot comes down to delegate math. Each state doles out delegates by its own rules: some split them up proportionately between a number of vote-getters, while others give most or all of their delegates to whoever's first past the post. As we get further into spring, more and more states will be winner-takes-all or winner-takes-most. In a typical primary year, this works out pretty much right: the early, proportional states divide the delegates between a number of candidates, and later the winner-take-all states help decide between the top two. But this year, the Republican field won't be narrowed to two leaders by the time the winner-take-alls begin on March 15; the field may not be down to two by the convention. So those states, some of them big states, may end up giving all of their delegates to a candidates who only gets 30-something-percent of the vote. If the field stays broken, Trump may never need to get to forty percent. Remember, he just got ALL of South Carolina's delegates with less than one-third of the votes.

The other scenario also involves a broken field, with three different candidates, and maybe a fourth, getting significant shares of the delegates, so that no Republican has the required 1237 delegates before the convention. For this to work, though, it's not enough for Cruz and Marquito to keep showing "strong seconds" and "strong thirds." They have to win states. And in the later proportional states (because even late in the game a few are proportional), they have to put up strong numbers, at least a third of the total vote in that state, or else to run very strongly in particular sections of the state (because lots of state allocate by Congressional district). If that happens, there is going to be some back-room dealing in Cleveland that would make Marcus Hanna proud.

There are two things to keep in mind as things go forward. First, there is the twenty-percent rule. A candidate has to get at least twenty percent of the vote in a state (or sometimes in a Congressional district) to get ANY delegates. A beats-expectations 17% may get pundits chattering about your momentum, but it nets you exactly bupkis. I would point out that both Rubio and Cruz only polled in the low twenties in South Carolina, nearly tied between 22% and 23%, and (because of South Carolina's delegate rules) neither of them got any delegates at all. And Rubio hasn't gotten out of the twenties in any race so far. Rubio and Cruz are just above the cut-off point where they get nothing. They have to make stronger showings even to play spoiler.

This rule means that a candidate like Ben Carson may not get even one more delegate, not even if he stays in the campaign until June. If he picks up a dozen more, he will have done fairly well. But that doesn't mean that Carson doesn't have an effect on the race. A vote for Carson is a vote that the front-runner in that particular state doesn't need to get to win. It reduces the percentage of votes needed to carry the state. And it's a vote none of the challengers get; it may help keep the other candidates from hitting the number they need to get a delegate. A vote for Carson isn't a wasted vote; starting next week, it's effectively a vote for Trump.

The second thing to remember is the effect of favorite sons on state-wide races. Candidates carrying their home states can pick up big stashes of delegates. John Kasich is clearly banking on winning Ohio's winner-take-all primary on March 15. Marquito Rubio is planning to win Florida's winner-take-all primary the same day. Cruz hopes to rack up a large number of the delegates at play in Texas. If Rubio, Cruz, and maybe Kasich put together decent overall showings (with Kasich as essentially a regional candidate in the Northeast and industrial Midwest) added to some of this home cooking, we're moving closer to a scenario where Trump misses clinching the nomination and the others go to Cleveland with delegates to trade. On the other hand, if these guys lose their home states to Trump, we're not going to be in suspense very long.

The brokered-convention probably requires Little Marco to win a few states by the end of March, and for Cruz to roll up good numbers of delegates in the proportional states (because Cruz's best states turn out to be proportional and not winner-take-all). If Kasich wins Ohio and another state or two (Michigan, say, or Connecticut), then the game gets harder for any one candidate to win before the convention. If, on the other hand, you see Trump roll up everything on Super Tuesday, or if you see Trump starting to win states with a 45% share, then you can start forgetting who Kasich and Rubio are early.

cross-posted from, and all comments welcome at, Dagblog

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Praying for Nino, and Planning for What's Next

This morning in church I prayed for the soul of Antonin Scalia, and asked for him to receive God's mercy. I disagreed with him sharply during his lifetime, and sometimes judged him harshly, which made prayer all the more incumbent on me. Some of my friends have argued with me about this on social media, taking it as some sign of approval or absolution. Let me be very clear: I believe that Scalia is very much in need of mercy. (I have a beloved aunt, a former Sister of St. Joseph, who passed away a few years ago, and I almost never pray for her, because I strongly doubt God needs me to vouch for her.) I believe, I fear, that Scalia has done things that require God's forgiveness.

But on the other hand, Scalia was a human being with a moral self, capable of both good and evil, and I need to recognize his humanity. Nor is it for me to judge his soul. Scalia was subject to some of the temptations -- a sharp tongue, a weakness for partisan conflict, pride in his intellectual abilities -- that I have wrestled with for many years. And my chief grievance against Justice Scalia in the exercise of his office was that he sometimes failed to respect others' humanity as fully as he ought, that he did not render the compassion or mercy that others were owed. But if those were his failings, they will not be mended by aping him. Dehumanizing Nino Scalia and hardening our hearts against him would mean taking on the worst of his failings and perpetuating them.

I was appalled to see people cheering Scalia's death on the internet. I was never going to be sorry the day he left the Court, but I can't rejoice in the way he left it. I was ashamed of many of my fellow liberals. But I was just as appalled to see conservatives playing partisan games within an hour of the sad news.

I can't imagine a sorrier monument to Scalia's "originalist" approach than to openly defy the plain reading of the Constitution. A President of the United States with 11 months left in his term is President of the United States. Apparently, even those basic facts are unacceptable to the current Republican Party, so we're going to spend the rest of the election year in the Thunderdome.

But I think the Republicans, in their current disarray, just Thunderdomed themselves. One result of McConnell and Cruz's open obstructionism is that the Senate elections just got nationalized. Every Republican senator running for election in a swing state can now be painted as an obstructionist for not giving the President's nominee an up-or-down vote. Just choosing to find fault with a particular nominee, the safe and obvious strategy, has been taken off the table because McConnell gave the game away by announcing that Obama had no right to nominate anyone.

(There's a special circle of political hell for Republican senators who are running for re-election in swing states but who haven't had their primary yet, which is to say all of the swing-state Republicans but Kelly Ayotte. Those senators can be attacked on the right unless they commit to NOT approving ANY nominee, and then attacked in the general for being partisan hacks. Mitch McConnell, political genius, just threw his own senators into that circle of hell.)

Meanwhile, Obama is free to nominate a potential justice he genuinely wants to see on the court. If his pick gets nominated, he wins. If the Republicans block his nominee (or a series of his nominees; he has time to nominate at least three), he can make the Republicans look like the hacks they are. Meanwhile, the stalemated Court won't be able to make any precedent without at least one of the liberal judges agreeing. (The sole exception is the odious Fisher v. Texas case, where the conservatives might overturn affirmative action in college admissions of a 4-3 vote because Justice Kagan has recused herself. Chief Justice Roberts has to ask himself if he's willing to do that, and possibly damage the Court's reputation, with only four votes.)

The biggest surprise in this political chaos is that we're surprised. It's been a long time since a Supreme Court Justice passed away in office. And in many ways, our political elite has begun to presume upon modern medicine and extreme longevity. Antonin Scalia was clearly planning to hang on into his eighties. We now expect Supreme Court Justices to hang on into their eighties if they choose, as if it were simply a matter of choice. When the death of a 79-year-old comes as such a drastic surprise, we all need to recalibrate our response to mortality.

cross-posted from, and all comments welcome at, Dagblog

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

New Hampshire Primaries: Slouching Toward the Brokered Convention

It's still early, with only two-fifths of the returns in from New Hampshire tonight. But Sanders is comfortably ahead of Clinton and, on the Republican side, chaos is comfortably ahead of consensus.
Recently, on one of Mike W's threads, I argued that:
The most chaos-inducing result for the Republicans in New Hampshire probably goes 1. Trump 2. Kasich 3. Bush 4. Rubio 5. Cruz. In that situation, and in a few other permutations close to that, all five of them have enough reason not to drop out of the race.
Currently, with 40% of the vote in, it's: 1. Trump 2. Kasich 3. Cruz 4. Bush 5. Rubio. (Cruz and Bush are less than half a percentage point apart, and have already flipped places once; they may flip again. Pretty close to the nightmare result, if you're looking for closure, or the dream result, if you're a civics geek/media nerd yearning for a brokered convention.

Basically, what this means for the GOP is that only Chris Christie is dropping out tomorrow. (Maybe Carson and Fiorina, maybe not; they're so far behind it doesn't matter.)

Rubio is very unlikely to drop out before South Carolina. Bush, with his deep warchest and stubborn pride, is going to call a third- or nearly-third place showing good enough to stay in. Kasich's second place is exactly what he hoped for to keep him in the race. So all three of the Bush/Kasich/Rubio troika are staying in; even if one dropped out, the party would not immediately coalesce behind one of the other two.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side it's simpler: Hillary will fight a pitched battle to defeat Bernie in Nevada and South Carolina, and hope to finish him off on Super Tuesday.

The day to look for is the Ides of March, March 15th, when Florida, Ohio, and Illinois vote. Any primary that isn't essentially wrapped up by that point is probably going the whole distance.

cross-posted from, and all comments welcome at, Dagblog

A New Hampshire Primary Memory

It's the New Hampshire primary today. I grew up in New Hampshire, and I remember those elections fondly.
One of my my favorite memories, which I've blogged about a few years back, involves my Mom getting into it with Al Haig on the campaign trail back in the 80s. Haig was, of course, a retired general, former Supreme NATO commander, Nixon's last Chief of Staff and Reagan's first Secretary of State. Mom was a police lieutenant.
So, Mom, who was interested in the question, asked Haig a question about women playing combat roles in the military.
Haig responds with a story about a female war correspondent who was covering Vietnam (an irrelevant story, to Mom's mind, because it involves an unarmed woman with no military training). And Haig wound up his story with his big clincher: "As soon as the shooting started, my instinct was to throw that girl over my shoulder and run for the nearest helicopter."

Mom said, "I carry a weapon every day. Don't you call me girl."

And that's how they were quoted in the newspaper.
Sorry to repeat that story. I do love it.

cross-posted from, and all comments welcome at,  Dagblog

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

After Iowa: Republicans Still in Trouble

The day after the Iowa Caucus, the conventional pundit wisdom is that the Republican position improved and that the Democrats are somehow (and here things get a little cloudy and ill-defined) in trouble. This is because the conventional wisdom is 1) relative, 2) obsessed with direction, and 3) amnesiac. So the Republican result gets spun as positive, because things are relatively better for the GOP and moving in the right direction, so that's "good." We forget all about the fact that last week -- just last week! -- various Republican heavyweights were actively trying to prevent the very result that is now being hailed as Good News for the GOP. And we measure everything by expectations, rather than by objective standards.

But even if the Republicans have taken a step toward climbing out of their hole, they are still in a deep hole, with a lot of climbing yet to do. They don't have a front-runner. They don't have a clear primary field. The Republican presidential campaign has gone from Completely Doomed to merely Basically Doomed. It could be even worse for them, and sometimes has been, but don't be fooled. "Could be worse" does not mean "good."

The big success story is that Trump came in second, so the Republicans can start the parade. Maybe this is better than Trump coming in first, unless of course you remember that last week the Grand Old Party was trying to throw Ted Cruz under the bus and openly rooting for Trump to beat him in Iowa. So Cruz beating Trump is a victory condition, and Trump beating Cruz is a victory condition, which must be convenient. Unless, of course, we remember that both Trump and Cruz are horrible general-election candidates and more than half of the Iowa Republicans voted for one of them.

Part of today's thinking is that Trump, having had a setback and badly underperformed his polls, will now collapse like a cheap tent. To this I say, maybe. It's certainly true that Der Trump has not behaved like a traditional candidate, proving immune to things that would end most campaigns. On the other hand, this scenario counts on Trump behaving unlike a traditional candidate. The conventional wisdom has never been that someone who comes in second in Iowa by a few percentage points and holds a hefty in lead in New Hampshire is no longer anyone to worry about. The idea that Trump is done because he came in second in Iowa, where several polls were showing him in second place over the last month, strikes me as wishful thinking.

The Republicans can be pleased and relieved that Trump didn't roll up 35% of the vote. On the other hand, when you step way from the endlessly-adjusted expectations, you find yourself facing the fact that a psychologically troubled amateur with no ground game still got 24% of the vote. That is not good at all. And that psychologically troubled amateur, who is still leading in New Hampshire, has enough money to stay in the race all the way until the convention if he's feeling stubborn, especially because he doesn't have to pay for a ground game or even much advertising, and still take a significant slice of the vote. Trump can certainly keep someone else from building a majority. And if he actually starts paying for commercials, who knows.

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio's 23% of the vote is allegedly cause for triumphant rejoicing, because he did better than expected and because one of the "electable" candidates got into the top three. So now the whole party can coalesce around Marco, right? Well, slow down. He managed to come in third. And he only got 23% of the vote. So his ability to expand to 50+% percent is still, ah, untested. So is Rubio's alleged ability to consolidate the "mainstream" or establishment vote, since most of his mainstream-y rivals basically abandoned Iowa and are waiting in New Hampshire, where three of them are polling at 10% or better. You can't say Rubio took the crown from Bush, Christie, or Kasich, since Bush, Christie, and Kasich conceded the round and are positioning themselves for the next one. Is Rubio the mainstream boy to beat? Maybe. But he still has to do it.

And then if Rubio emerged as the Sanest Remaining GOP Candidate, there's no evidence that he could beat Trump or Cruz. Rubio got 23% of the Iowa vote. Bush, Christie, and Kasich split less than 7% between them. That's barely 30% of the Iowa Republican electorate voting for sanity or electability. Meanwhile, if you add up the vote shares for Cruz, Trump, Carson, Rand Paul, Huckabee, and Santorum, you're seeing a very solid two-thirds preference, a supermajority, for a candidate who is bananapants crazy. Even if everybody gets behind Rubio, it's not clear that "everybody" is a majority of the party any more. The Bananapants Caucus is large and it's energized and it wants what it wants.

And while we're talking about the 30% threshold, how is it that none of the Republican candidates got to 30% of their own party's vote? Even the "winner," Cruz, did not get to 28%. You can say that this is because the vote is split so many ways. But actually, the vote is split so many ways because none of the candidates are very popular. None of them can even get one third of the vote. By contrast, in 2008 all three of the leading Democrats got a larger vote share than Cruz did this time. Part of that is because the Iowa Democrats shunt caucusers to second choices, but the third-place Democratic finisher in 2008, one Senator Hillary Clinton, got 29% of her party's vote, while 2016's glorious victor Ted Cruz doesn't quite have 28% of his party backing him.

(Oh, yes and because of expectations, Hillary's whisper-thin victory, or statistical tie, is supposed to be a huge comedown. On the other hand, she got nearly 50% of the vote in a state where last time she got 29%. Disaster!)

And while we're comparing Democratic and Republican vote tallies, we can ask ourselves how many people voted for the top two Democrats. We can't say in detail, because the Democratic Caucus only releases state-delegate counts, but we can use registration data, turnout history, and the published results to estimate a ballpark figure. If it were a close comparison we wouldn't have enough data, but in this case the ballpark estimate will do because Ted Cruz is not actually in Sanders's or Clinton's ballpark. Even using the most conservative estimates, both Sanders and Clinton each collected at least 10,000 more individual votes last night than Ted Cruz did.

Just under 187,000 Iowa Republicans caucused last night, out of 650,000 registered Republicans: better GOP turnout than the last two presidential cycles, where Iowa turnout was around 20%. (Here I'm using Dennis J. Goldford's turnout date from The Iowa Caucus Project, which is very much worth a look.) Of those 187,000, Cruz garnered just over 51,000 votes.

Now, there are 700,000 registered Democrats in Iowa (and 750,000 registered independents). Goldford's data shows that the last two contested Democratic caucuses, 2004 and 2008, had a turnout of more than 23% in 2004 and just under 40%, a whopping amount by caucus standards, during the Obama/Clinton/Edwards showdown of 2008. We don't know this year's turnout, except for meaningless media anecdotes, so lets err on the small-c conservative side and say that the minimum Democratic turnout is 20%, lower than in 2004. (We could get super-conservative and set it to 18% and it wouldn't matter much.) That would mean 140,000 Democratic caucusgoers, with much lower turnout than the Republicans this year, and that sounds very low, but let's stick with it.

If 140,000 people caucused for the Democrats and split nearly in half, that's just shy of 70,000 votes for the winner AND 70,000 for the runner-up. That means the second-place Democrat had to pull at least 18,000 or 19,000 votes more than the Republican winner.

(Don't like that number? Let's set Democratic turnout to a bottom-falling-out 18%, much worse than 2004. Now we have a mere 126,000 Dem voters, giving Clinton and Sanders a mere 62,000 votes and change. Still a five-figure advantage over Cruz.)

And of course, if the Democratic turnout was actually higher than that 20% (or 18%) minimum, the difference between Sanders's vote and Cruz's vote only expands. If we find that 25% of Democrats turned out, a fairly middling number by recent standards, that would mean that Sanders and Clinton each had around 35,000 more supporters than Cruz did last night. And if the Democratic turnout was even 30% (on the high side, but far below 2008's high water mark of 39-40%), then both Clinton and Sanders collected one hundred thousand votes apiece, basically doubling Ted Cruz's total.

These aren't exact figures, because we don't have the exact figures. They are only estimates of general scale. But the difference between Cruz's support (or Trump's or Rubio's) on one hand and Sanders's or Clinton's on the other, is not a matter of exact figures. You don't need most of the decimal places. It is a comparison of scale. Even if you low-ball Clinton and Sanders, they had to swamp Cruz in the raw vote count.

So obviously, as everyone on TV concludes, things are looking pretty tough for the Democrats.

cross-posted from, and all comments welcome at, Dagblog

Monday, February 01, 2016

I Was Wrong About Hillary

Back in 2000, when Hillary Clinton was still First Lady and running for the US Senate, I thought she would be a bad fit for the job. Clinton was clearly very smart and talented, but I believed that her particular gifts made her a natural Cabinet Secretary: the very job that she couldn't hold as the sitting President's spouse.

I thought Hillary would be better running a department, which would allow her to draw upon her deep mastery of policy detail, than she would be as a legislator and campaigner. She wasn't the natural stump politician that Bill was, and I didn't think she would do well in the deal-making, back-slapping world of the Senate. I was wrong.

Clinton was an extremely effective Senator, and got re-elected without breaking a sweat. She not only adapted to the Senate, but she mastered it, becoming a powerful and influential member. So I was wrong, because I had underestimated Hillary Clinton.

Then, when she had lost her closely-fought nomination contest with Barack Obama and President-Elect Obama asked her to be Secretary of State, I thought that it was a mistake. Yes, of course, I thought she would make a great Cabinet Secretary, that it was a natural position for her gifts. But now that she was being offered state, I thought that she would be great leading any department but State.

I thought Clinton would be undermined by being the emissary for another powerful male politician, especially by one who had beaten her. She had been Bill's surrogate, and now she would be Barack's. The Secretary of State needs to a solid relationship with the President, or (more accurately) needs other foreign leaders to see her relationship with the President as solid. I disliked seeing Clinton in a job which made her so visibly dependent upon a male patron.

I was wrong. Again. Because I had underestimated Hillary. Again.

Clinton was a powerful and effective Secretary of State, who obviously had Barack Obama's ear and who was clearly respected by foreign governments as a heavyweight in her own right. Being Obama's deputy did not diminish Clinton; it elevated Obama. Clinton's gravitas underscored Obama's seriousness, and sending Clinton always signaled that Obama was taking someone seriously.

I was proud of Clinton's service. My favorite moment was during a meeting with various Arab leaders shortly before the Arab Spring, in which Clinton tried to persuade them to loosen up and reform their systems before they had problems. (Yes, she told them this before the Arab Spring. When you're right, you're right.) They threw back their reflexive deflection, "Why don't you get Israel to reform its behavior?" to which Clinton answered, without missing a beat, "We can't get a lot of our allies to do what we'd like them to do." Boom! There it is.

So I've been wrong about Hillary Clinton, on a consistent and semi-regular basis, for a decade and a half. I've given her my mealy-mouthed doubts, always saying that of course she's very qualified, but not for whatever particular job she was up for. I didn't think of it as a sexist objection, but let's be frank: I discounted her qualifications in every actual case, so that I would speak of her as gifted in the abstract but unqualified whenever she was up for an actual job.

Well, I'm done making that mistake. I've been wrong about Hillary Clinton a number of times. But I'm not going to underestimate her again. She has always surprised me, always exceeded my expectations, and I am never going to discount her again.

I'm ready for Hillary. But even if I weren't, Hillary is ready.

cross-posted from, and all comments welcome at, Dagblog