Monday, February 08, 2016

SANDERS INSPIRES BOTH PARTIES' FRONT-RUNNERS TO SOUND LIKE HIM

We know that Hillary Clinton has moved to the left on a number of issues to try to ward off a challenge from Bernie Sanders. But Byron York tells us that Donald Trump was talking like Sanders, too, in a campaign appearance yesterday in Plymouth, New Hampshire:
In a nearly one-hour speech, Trump railed against pharmaceutical companies. He railed against oil companies. And insurance companies. And defense contractors. And he set himself against a political system that he said allows big-money corporate "bloodsuckers" to control the government with campaign contributions....

Trump promised to allow the government to negotiate drug prices.... He said he would not raise military spending, arguing that the nation's defenses can be improved without increasing its already huge Pentagon budget. He promised tough sanctions on American companies that move jobs overseas....

"We're not allowed to negotiate drug prices, can you believe it?" Trump said. Noting that Woody Johnson, of the Johnson & Johnson family, is a big Jeb Bush fundraiser, Trump asked, "Do you think Jeb Bush is going to make drug prices competitive?" Everyone knew the answer. Trump went on to accuse the insurance industry of buying laws that suppress competition and keep prices high, and the oil companies of doing something similar.

On defense ... Trump promised instead to go after waste and profiteering in the defense industry. "I hear stories, like they're ordering missiles they don't want because of politics, because of special interests," Trump said. "Because the company that makes the missiles is a contributor."
Is Trump going to keep talking like this after New Hampshire, where many Republicans are moderate and independent voters can choose which primary they vote in? I don't know. I also wonder whether the voters who like Trump would rather hear him bring the hate against the usual enemies -- Muslims, Mexicans, Hillary Clinton, Establishment Republicans. But for now, this is what he's saying. And he's still leading in the polls. Is it possible that the Sanders message is having an impact that will still be felt in American politics even if his campaign ultimately fails?

One nagging thought: If Trump and Clinton are the nominees, and if Trump is still (selectively) populist, will there be issues on which Clinton attacks Trump from the right? She does favor allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, but she's been vague on military spending; on that subject, the most I can find is this:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called on Thursday for the creation of a high-level commission to examine U.S. defense spending.

Speaking at a town hall-style campaign appearance in New Hampshire, Clinton said: "I think we are overdue for a very thorough debate in our country about what we need, and how we are going to pay for it."

She added: "Very often, leadership of the Defense Department wants to eliminate certain spending, or wants to change it, and they're stopped by the Congress."
We know that Trump's insistence that we can have a strong, bomb-the-shit-out-of-them military at a lower cost is typical Trump magical thinking. But would Clinton get to the right of him, mired as she is in 1990s thinking, which still makes her think that the most important thing for a Democrat is not to sound like McGovern or Mondale or Dukakis? Who knows -- we might find out.

10 comments:

Victor said...

It's this 'wild-card' part of Trump, that the GOP establishment fears.

The MIC and Pharmaceutical lobbies are bound to be beyond pissed! And so, the other candidates can look forward to their PAC's getting some YUUUUUUUUUGE contributions!

And this is why I've been saying for a while, that if I had to have a Republican President, I'd take Trump.
He wants to be liked/loved.
Cruz-ader coukd are less.
He would feed off of the hate of those who dare oppose him.

flipyrwhig said...

How is your Clinton example "from the right" of anything? The desire to cut military overspending is "from the right"?

Ten Bears said...

We've been hearing about hundred dollar hammers since Nixion. Nothing has changed. The Military Industrial Complex is the government.

There's a word for that. And Fourteen Defining Characteristics.

Steve M. said...

How is your Clinton example "from the right" of anything? The desire to cut military overspending is "from the right"?

I guess I didn't make it clear: She might decide to attack him for promising to cut military spending, saying "It's a dangerous world" and all that. I do think she's terrified of looking "weak," because she's a woman and because that's how you defeated Democrats in the '80s and '90s.

Victor said...

Steve,
That's also the reason that our first black President keeps droning folks.
He can't afford to look like a pacifist.

Unknown said...

HRC: "Very often, leadership of the Defense Department wants to eliminate certain spending, or wants to change it, and they're stopped by the Congress."

That's born out by literally hundreds of media reports, we learn about a number of the many Congressional abuses of the Pentagon budget request process every time the administration publishes its budget plans, I know of a number of people directly and/or indirectly involved in the Pentagon's procurement process that have told me multiple individual cases of Congressional, lobbyist, and contrator abuses in relation to particular items which our military has determined cannot work, it cannot use and provides no military or strategic benefits (and indeed in some cases significant deficits, including in otherwise avoidable deaths of military personnel).

Moreover, tho this wasn't noted, there are ASPECTS of the U.S. military budget that contribute positively to some badly needed economic stimulus. Such spending isn't nearly so effective or efficient as, say, food stamps or school lunches, it doesn't have the same level of return on investment of those in terms of stimulating the economy, but that's mostly beside the point given the Congress, not just these last few disordered one but going back to WWII at least, doesn't teat the two types of budgetary commitments as complementary.

Steve, for people who don't already know better, your post might leave that Donald Trump actually thinks out what he says based on evidence, investigation, research, and a thru-considered process of budget policy considerations. It's not necessarily the case that blowhard egotistical know-it-all lying pandering narcissists forswear any and all such process tools, but AFAIK there's never been any evidence that anything Donald Trump says on the presidential campaign trail at least derives from any of that.

I put these sorts of comments by candidate Trump into the same general category as his claim he could shoot someone on a street in NYC in full public view and the support for his candidacy would remain not be adversely affected.

Yastreblyansky said...

What Unk said. As for Trump, you can find him calling for more military spending as easily as calling for less.

flipyrwhig said...

She might decide to attack him for promising to cut military spending

But, Steve, the quote you highlight is specifically the opposite: she says that all too often Congress wants to spend money on things that even the military doesn't want.

Steve M. said...

Right, but it's very limited -- let's study the issue, sometimes the Pentagon wants to cut some programs and Congress resists -- rather than a call for an overall reduction in defense spending. She never says she wants the overall amount spent on defense to go down, and I bet she won't.

max said...

But would Clinton get to the right of him, mired as she is in 1990s thinking, which still makes her think that the most important thing for a Democrat is not to sound like McGovern or Mondale or Dukakis? Who knows -- we might find out.

Based on the noises emanating from her shadow cabinet, her affiliation with Bibi, her previous track record, the difference between her track record and Kerry's track record as SoS and her concern about looking weak, I'm going to say of course she's going to run right. She's going to run as Scoop Jackson I think - full-tilt Cold War liberal.

Given that they're floating Larry Fink of Blackrock as Treasury Secretary (no conflicts of interest there!), you have pretty much got her economic program - late 1990's on steroids. Lots of 'structural reform' and such. Pretty much the same as any of the Southern European technocratic governments installed to do the ECB's wishes. (Think of it this way: she gets oodles of cash to become President, they get an establishment R economic program, plus Third way liberal goodies as trinkets for the Dems in Congress.) The exact same scheme that has destroyed all the center-left parties in Europe.

The only problem is that after she would have gotten the nom, her move to the right would put her in perfect position for Trump to go to her left and attack her left flank (from the left). She'd get rattled and try and cope with it and do what the campaign doing right now - go all czarina on the voter's peasant asses.

Hijinks and Beltway panic ensues.

Got a strong clue about this about the middle of November and Trump clearly tipped his hand some weeks ago. Works better for him with the R nom, but works pretty good with the third party trick as well. And he's got her beat all hollow as a campaigner. Not seeing the win here.

max
['Nice that someone has finally noticed.']