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The New York Times Dual Endorsement of Klobuchar and Warren: This Ain’t It, Chief

Summary:
By Lambert Strether of Corrente. To govern is to choose. –Pierre Mendès-France In this morning’s Links, I promised I would put on my yellow waders and go through the New York Time’s dual endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren for President. Unfortunately for us all, the endorsement weighs in at smidgeon under a turgid 3500 words, so there’s not going to be a lot of room for me to do anything other than a close reading and annotation. (Hot takes from Variety, The New Republic, and Newsweek. I’m sure others will appear to throughout the day.) I do, however, want to give a shout-out to the much-maligned Nate Silver: NYT endorsement odds: 3:4 Warren 5:1 Biden8:1 Bernie10:1 they endorse no one or multiple candidates or something dumb like that12:1 Klobuchar12:1 Buttigieg20:1

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

To govern is to choose. –Pierre Mendès-France

In this morning’s Links, I promised I would put on my yellow waders and go through the New York Time’s dual endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren for President. Unfortunately for us all, the endorsement weighs in at smidgeon under a turgid 3500 words, so there’s not going to be a lot of room for me to do anything other than a close reading and annotation. (Hot takes from Variety, The New Republic, and Newsweek. I’m sure others will appear to throughout the day.) I do, however, want to give a shout-out to the much-maligned Nate Silver:

Narrator: “They did something dumb like that.” Kudos to Silver for raising the possibility.

With that, let’s dive — or rather slosh — into the Times editorial itself; I don’t have the strength to do color coding; instead I will annotate, paragraph by paragraph. The Times paragraphs begin with NYT; the notes are indented. Particularly juicy passages are underlined. There are no section breaks in the original, but I bold-faced the candidates. There won’t be much linky goodness; I will be relying on the general knowledge of our very aware commentariat (which will, of course, correct me, make additions, etc.).

* * *

NYT: American voters must choose between three sharply divergent visions of the future.[1]

[1] “To govern is to choose. To appear to be unable to choose is to appear to be unable to govern.” We might call that Lawson’s Corollary to the maxim from Mendès-France quoted in the epigraph. One vision is Republican; the other two are Democrat. The Times cannot resolve the “divergent” visions in the Democrat party, and cannot even begin to suggest a way to do so. (“A house divided against itself cannot stand….I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”) The Times fails to perform its elite, opinion-shaping function; it is choosing not to govern. Later on, the Times will lament the weakness of our institutions. The Times does not appear to understand that it is, itself, weak.

NYT: The incumbent president, Donald Trump, is clear about where he is guiding the Republican Party — white nativism at home and America First unilateralism abroad[1], brazen corruption[2], escalating culture wars, a judiciary stacked with ideologues[3] and the veneration of a mythological past where the hierarchy in American society was defined and unchallenged[4].

[1] Curiously, the Times doesn’t mention actual war. Nothing Trump has done approaches Bush’s Iraq, or Obama’s Libya.

[2] It’s the brazen part that’s problematic, I’m guessing.

[3] All of whom were voted up through the ranks with Democrat backing (as opposed to being massively opposed at their first run on the ladder, on ideological grounds).

[4] For the hierarchy in which the Times Editorial Board believes, see Thomas Frank, Listen, Liberal!, or this by Adolph Reed.

NYT: On the Democratic side, an essential debate is underway between two visions that may define the future of the party and perhaps the nation. Some in the party view President Trump as an aberration and believe that a return to a more sensible America is possible. Then there are those who believe that President Trump was the product of political and economic systems so rotten that they must be replaced.[1]

[1] Two not entirely unfair buckets. More important than the buckets, however, are which buckets you throw the candidates into. I am and have been a proponent of Nathan J. Robinson’s Explanatory Diagram C, in “Thinking About The Democratic Primary“:

The New York Times Dual Endorsement of Klobuchar and Warren: This Ain’t It, Chief

The left (Sanders) is the “so rotten” bucket (later labeled “radical”). The center-right (Warren, Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar — and when the Times did the interviews, Booker) is the “return to sensible America (“ater labeled “realist”). Ironically, some of the left’s programs are a return to “sensible America.” College was once free in many places, and very low cost in many more. The Times, oddly, puts Warren (“capitalist to my bones”) in the left (“so rotten”) bucket, treating her occasional tactical affinity with her “friend” Sanders as ideological and committed.

NYT: The Democratic primary contest is often portrayed as a tussle between moderates and progressives. To some extent that’s true. But when we spent significant time with the leading candidates, the similarity of their platforms on fundamental issues became striking.[1]

[1] Nonsense. There is exactly one candidate who supports #MedicareForAll with no mealy-mouthed equivocations or Rube Goldberg bait-and-switch “transition” plans designed to stall out at the public option.

NYT: Nearly any of them would be the most progressive president in decades[1] on issues like health care, the economy and government’s allocations of resources. Where they differ most significantly is not the what but the how, in whether they believe the country’s institutions and norms are up to the challenge of the moment[2].

[1] Well, it’s been decades since we’ve had a progressive president: (2020 – 1945) / 10 = 7 (rounding down).

[2] It’s not a “moment.” The current legitimacy crisis has been building since the beginning of the neoliberal dispensation in the mid-70s, when real wages went flat.

NYT: Many Democratic voters are concerned first and foremost about who can beat Mr. Trump. But with a crowded field and with traditional polling in tatters, that calculation calls for a hefty dose of humility about anyone’s ability to foretell what voters want.[1]

[1] 2016, 2016, 2016….

NYT: Choosing who should face off against Mr. Trump also means acknowledging that Americans are being confronted with three models for how to govern this country, not two. Democrats must decide[1] which of their two models would be most compelling for the American people and best suited for repairing the Republic[2].

[1] Once again, the Times refuses to choose.

[2] Repairing the Republic could be good. Reversing declining life expectancy would certainly be better. If you want to keep your Republic, you had better do that.

NYT: The party’s large and raucous field has made having that clean debate more difficult. With all the focus on personal characteristics — age and race and experience[1] — and a handful of the most contentious issues, voters haven’t benefited from a clarifying choice[2] about the party’s message in the election and the approach to governing beyond it[3].

[1] The Times piously disclaims any interest in identity politics.

[2] You’d think our famously free press would have helped them with that, even in the most degraded state of manufacturing consent.

[3] Sanders presented that clarifying choice. The Times did not or could not hear it.

NYT: It was a privilege for us on the editorial board to spend more than a dozen hours talking to candidates, asking them any question that came to mind[1]. Yet that exercise is impossible for most Americans, and we were left wanting for a more focused conversation for the public. Now is the time to narrow the race[2]

[1] That seems a little lazy. Surely the Times is not suggesting no serious preparation was done?

[2] In order of national polling: Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Bloomberg coming up on the outside and then the small fry like Klobuchar. How is that not narrow?

NYT: The history of the editorial board would suggest that we would side squarely with the candidate with a more traditional approach to pushing the nation forward, within the realities of a constitutional framework and a multiparty country. But the events of the past few years have shaken the confidence of even the most committed institutionalists. We are not veering away from the values we espouse, but we are rattled[1] by the weakness of the institutions that we trusted to undergird those values.

[1] As you should be. You being one such institution.

NYT: There are legitimate questions about whether our democratic system is fundamentally broken. Our elections are getting less free and fair, Congress and the courts are increasingly partisan, foreign nations are flooding society with misinformation[1], a deluge of money flows through our politics[2]. And the economic mobility that made the American dream possible is vanishing.

[1] Not to mention our own home-grown billionaires, as well as party strategists and operatives, the intelligence community, and the press itself. For pity’s sake.

[2] Note lack of agency. The Times is happy to pin misinformation on outside agitators, but mention that money flows from our own donor class? Impossible!

NYT: Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it.[1]

[1] I had thought that the parallel and inverted “it is now”/”now is it” is an example of syncresis –“comparison and contrast in parallel clauses”– but in fact no theses are being compared; this is simple word-play.

NYT: That’s why we’re endorsing the most effective advocates for each approach. They are Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.[1]

[1] Presuming that Sanders is to be put with Warren in the same “radical” bucket, the Times adheres to Robinson’s Explanatory Diagram A:

The New York Times Dual Endorsement of Klobuchar and Warren: This Ain’t It, Chief

But it’s sloppy and dumb to throw a candidate who’s “capitalist to my bones” (Warren) and a candidate who’s a democratic socialist (Sanders) into the same “radical” bucket.

NYT: AT THE DAWN OF 2020, some of the most compelling ideas are not emerging from the center, but from the left wing of the Democratic Party. That’s a testament to the effectiveness of the case that Bernie Sanders and Senator Warren[1] have made about what ails the country. We worry about ideological rigidity and overreach, and we’d certainly push back on specific policy proposals, like nationalizing health insurance[2] or decriminalizing the border. But we are also struck by how much more effectively[2] their messages have matched the moment.

[1] “Bernie Sanders and Senator Warren, lol.

[2] Don’t worry. Warren already made her radical bones by caving on it. She didn’t mention #MedicareForAll once in her last debate.

[3] “More effectively” than what?

NYT: Senator Sanders has spent nearly four decades advocating revolutionary change for a nation whose politics often move with glacial slowness. A career spent adjacent to the Democratic Party but not a part of it has allowed him to level trenchant criticism of a political party that often caters more to rich donors than to the middle class[1]. Many of his ideas that were once labeled radical — like paid family leave, a higher minimum wage, universal health care[2] and limits on military intervention — are now mainstream, and may attract voters who helped elect Mr. Trump in 2016[3].

[1] I can’t believe anybody who thinks about politics uses the phrase “middle class” seriously. The Democrat Party caters brilliantly to the professional-managerial class; in the aggregate, they sailed through the Great Recession. It’s the working class the Democrats are screwing over; see, again, Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal!. Oddly, the Times does not mention Sanders’ remarkably fundraising, exclusively from small donors, which is unique to him as a candidate.

[2] Reproducing the standard liberal brand confusion between single payer and universal health care, which will always have a place for multiple payers, including the private sector (this after saying Sanders would “nationaliz[e] health insurance” in the previous paragraph! Do these goony birds follow policy debates at all?)

[3] So they did hear Sanders when he explained that to them — think of it as flipping back the voters who flipped from Obama to Trump — even if they did look at him like he was something they’d scraped off their shoes when they walked in.

NYT: Mr. Sanders would be 79 when he assumed office, and after an October heart attack, his health is a serious concern[1]. Then, there’s how Mr. Sanders approaches politics. He boasts that compromise is anathema to him. Only his prescriptions can be the right ones, even though most are overly rigid, untested[2] and divisive[3]. He promises that once in office, a groundswell of support will emerge to push through his agenda. Three years into the Trump administration, we see little advantage to exchanging one over-promising, divisive figure in Washington for another[4].

[1] We’ve gone through all this before. Biden, Warren, and Sanders are all of a certain age. Cheney might as well have been walking around with a blood-bag. Eisenhower governed after a stroke. FDR governed from a wheelchair. This is not an argument that can be made in good faith. And you can bet if Warren’s policies were swapped into Sander’s body (and vice versa), the Times wouldn’t even raise this concern.

[2] Single payer was tested in Canada, which, like us, is a multilingual, multicultural country, of continental scale, from the common law tradition, and with a Federal system and a mixed economy. It’s the largest natural experiment in the history of the world, and #MedicareForAll passed with flying colors. Again, “free college” was once the norm, at least at state colleges.

[3] This weird, West Wing concept that politics needs to be conflict-free drives me bananas, especially when “divisive” is constantly used by thuggish liberal enforcers everywhere.

[4] The Times deploys the ol’ “Sanders = Trump” ploy. What they erase — I say erase because Sanders explained it to them, it’s all on the video — is Sanders’ theory of change. Sanders wants to expand the Democrat base so that the working class once again dominates policy, and plans to bring the movement he created against the weak institutions the Times is so concerned about, to repair or remove them. This is in great contrast to Warren’s theory of change, which is to get everybody around the table (and to leave the Democrat base where it is). Sanders is a materialist: Bring force and mass to bear on the status quo’s schwerpunkt (the hated health care industry first). Warren is an idealist: Smart good people with smart good ideas will make the change that is needed. If they’re told the right stories. Since the Times Editorial Board is those smart good people, this prospect naturally appeals to them.

NYT: Good news, then, that Elizabeth Warren has emerged as a standard-bearer for the Democratic left.[1]

[1] A “standard bearer” that is number two in the national polls and raised four million dollars in two days after Sanders stabbed her in the back and accused her of sexism. Oh, wait…

NYT: Senator Warren is a gifted storyteller[1]. She speaks elegantly of how the economic system is rigged against all but the wealthiest Americans, and of “our chance to rewrite the rules of power in our country,” as she put it in a speech last month. In her hands, that story has the passion of a convert, a longtime Republican from Oklahoma and a middle-class family, whose work studying economic realities left her increasingly worried about the future of the country. The word “rigged” feels less bombastic than rooted in an informed assessment of what the nation needs to do to reassert its historic ideals like fairness, generosity and equality.

[1] No kidding. I’ve linked to this Michael Moore podcast before, but it’s really worth a listen: “The Sad Downfall of Elizabeth Warren.”

NYT: She is also committed to reforming the fundamental structures of government and the economy — her first commitment is to anti-corruption legislation, which is not only urgently needed but also has the potential to find bipartisan support. She speaks fluently[1] about foreign policy, including how to improve NATO relations, something that will be badly needed after Mr. Trump leaves office.

[1] Nothing on a par with Sanders’ bipartisan Yemen resolution, however, which passed both houses.

NYT: Her campaign’s plans, in general, demonstrate a serious approach to policymaking that some of the other candidates lack[1]. Ms. Warren accurately describes a lack of housing construction as the primary driver of the nation’s housing crisis, and she has proposed both increases in government funding for housing construction, and changes in regulatory policy to encourage local governments to allow more construction.

[1] Nonsense. Both Warren’s “pay for” and “transition” plans for #MedicareForAll are travesties, overly complex and designed to fail. In general, Warren’s probem statements are broad-guage, and her policy proposals narrow-guage. (For example, Sanders eliminates 100% of student debt; Warren’s means-tested and tiered proposal 75% of it.)

NYT: She has plans to sharply increase federal investment in clean energy research and to wean the American economy from fossil fuels. She has described how she would reduce the economic and political power of large corporations and give workers more ability to bargain collectively. And she has proposed a sweeping expansion of government support for Americans at every stage of life, from universal child care to free public college to expanded Social Security.

NYT: At the same time, a conservative federal judiciary will be almost as significant a roadblock for progressive change. For Ms. Warren, that leaves open questions — ones she was unwilling to wrestle with in our interview. Ms. Warren has proposed to pay for an expanded social safety net by imposing a new tax on wealth. But even if she could push such a bill through the Senate, the idea is constitutionally suspect and would inevitably be bogged down for years in the courts. A conservative judiciary also could constrain a President Warren’s regulatory powers, and roll back access to health care.[1]

[1] Shorter: Warren has no theory of change. Unlike Sanders, whose theory the Times refuses to accept. Again, the Times refuses to change.

NYT: Carrying out a progressive agenda through new laws will also be very hard for any Democratic president. In that light, voters could consider what a Democratic president might accomplish without new legislation and, in particular, they could focus on the presidency’s wide-ranging powers to shape American society through the creation and enforcement of regulations.[1]

[1] Here, then, there is no difference in capability between the candidates.

NYT: As an adviser to President Barack Obama, Ms. Warren was the person most responsible for the creation of a new regulatory agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In her interview with the editorial board, she demonstrated her sophisticated understanding of the different levers of power in an administration, particularly in the use of regulation in areas such as trade, antitrust and environmental policy.[1]

[1] Correct on the CFPB, but the Times seems not to understand that a “sophisticated understanding of the different levers of power” in a system whose institutions are “rotten” — as they must be in a Warren Presidency, if we accept the Times’ characterization of Warren as “radical” — is somewhere on the scale from neutral to bad. A “sophisticated understanding of the different levers of power,” and a theory of change that focuses on pulling those levers, is consummately “realist,” which the Times appears not to understand. It’s their version of “If only the Czar knew!” If Warren were Czar, all would be well! (This is a fantasy of professional-managerial classes all over the world, IMNSHO.)

NYT: When she first arrived in Washington, amid the Great Recession, Senator Warren distinguished herself as a citizen-politician. She showed an admirable desire to shake off the entrapments of many Washington interests in favor of pragmatic problem-solving on behalf of regular people[1]. In her primary campaign, however, she has shown some questionable political instincts[2]. She sometimes sounds like a candidate who sees a universe of us-versus-thems, who, in the general election, would be going up against a president who has already divided America into his own version of them and us.

[1] Whatever “regular people” means. Everyday people?

[2] No kidding. Here’s a video of Warren showing her political instincts and Native American roots by having a Lakota protesting Standing Rock arrested on the Senate floor:

NYT: This has been most obvious in her case for “Medicare for all,” where she has already had to soften her message, as voters have expressed their lack of support for her plan[1]. There are good, sound reasons for a public health care option — countries all over the world have demonstrated that.[2] But Ms. Warren’s version would require winning over a skeptical public, legislative trench warfare to pass bills in Congress[3], the dismantling of a private health care system. That system, through existing public-private programs like Medicare Advantage, has shown it is not nearly as flawed as she insists, and it is even lauded by health economists who now advocate a single-payer system[4].

[1] If this were true, Sanders would have taken a hit too. In fact, Warren’s plan was obviously too complicated and unworkable, and all the many, many single payer activists in the Democrtat Party recognized that at once. They are why she took a hit.

[2] As they have with single payer!

[3] ZOMG!!! It would require leadership! Poltics! Holy moly:

The New York Times Dual Endorsement of Klobuchar and Warren: This Ain’t It, Chief

[4] Now they’re just trolling us.

NYT: American capitalism is responsible for its share of sins[1]. But Ms. Warren often casts the net far too wide, placing the blame for a host of maladies from climate change to gun violence at the feet of the business community when the onus is on society as a whole[2]. The country needs a more unifying path.[3] The senator talks more about bringing together Democrats, Republicans and independents behind her proposals, often leaning on anecdotes about her conservative brothers[4] to do so. Ms. Warren has the power and conviction and credibility to make the case — especially given her past as a Republican[5] — but she needs to draw on practicality and patience as much as her down-and-dirty critique of the system.

[1] “Capitalist to my bones.”

[2] I can’t even.

[3] Which the Times would suggest, if it had any idea what that path was.

[4] Warren is a gifted story teller.

[5] This is delusional. Warren’s going to play clips from her Federalist Society speeches to win Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio? Really?

NYT: Ms. Warren’s path to the nomination is challenging, but not hard to envision. The four front-runners are bunched together both in national polls and surveys in states holding the first votes, so small shifts in voter sentiment can have an outsize influence this early in the campaign. There are plenty of progressives who are hungry for major change but may harbor lingering concerns about a messenger as divisive as Mr. Sanders. At the same time, some moderate Democratic primary voters see Ms. Warren as someone who speaks to their concerns about inequality and corruption. Her earlier leaps in the polls suggest she can attract more of both[1].

[1] Not leaps, plural. Rise, then following October, steady decline.

The New York Times Dual Endorsement of Klobuchar and Warren: This Ain’t It, Chief

NYT: THE LACK OF A SINGLE, powerful moderate voice in this Democratic race is the strongest evidence of a divided party.[1] Never mind the talented, honorable politicians who chose to sit this fight out; just stop and consider the talents who did throw their hat into the ring and never got more than a passing glance from voters — Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Steve Bullock, Michael Bennet, Deval Patrick, Jay Inslee, among others.

[1] Which an institution that knew how to govern would have some idea how to fix.

NYT: Those candidates who remain all have a mix of strengths and weaknesses.

NYT: Pete Buttigieg, who is 38 and who was elected mayor of South Bend, Ind., in 2011, has an all-star résumé[1] — Harvard graduate, Rhodes scholar, Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, the first serious openly gay presidential candidate. His showing in the lead-up to the primaries predicts a bright political future; we look forward to him working his way up.[2]

[1] Certainly a plus at the Times.

[2] Remarkably, no mention of Buttigieg’s issue with his racist police department in South Bend, or his problems with black voters generally. Aren’t black voters supposed to be an important constituency in the Democrat Party?

NYT: Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, is an engaging and enthusiastic candidate whose diagnoses are often thought-provoking. He points to new solutions to 21st-century challenges rather than retrofitting old ideas. Yet he has virtually no experience in government. We hope he decides to get involved in New York politics[1].

[1] They can’t even mention Yang’s advocacy of UBI?!

NYT: Michael Bloomberg served three terms as New York’s mayor (and was endorsed twice by this page). A multibillionaire who built his namesake company from scratch, he is many of the things Mr. Trump pretends to be[1] and would be an effective contrast to the president in a campaign[2[. Mr. Bloomberg is the candidate in the race with the clearest track record of governing, even if that record has its blemishes, beginning with his belated and convenient apology for stop-and-frisk policing.

[1] A good oligarch.

[2] Dubious. “Little Mike.”

NYT: Still, Mr. Bloomberg’s current campaign approach reveals more about America’s broken system than his likelihood of fixing it. Rather than build support through his ideas and experience, Mr. Bloomberg has spent at least $217 million to date to circumvent the hard, uncomfortable work of actual campaigning. He’s also avoided difficult questions — going so far as to bar his own news organization from investigating him, and declining to meet with The Times’s editorial board under the pretext that he didn’t yet have positions on enough issues. What’s worse, Mr. Bloomberg refuses to allow several women with whom he has nondisclosure settlements to speak freely[1].

[1] Imagine the hysteria if this were Sanders.

NYT: Few men have given more of their time and experience to the conduct of the public’s business than Joe Biden. The former vice president commands the greatest fluency[1] on foreign policy and is a figure of great warmth and empathy. He’s prone to verbal stumbles, yes, but social media has also made every gaffe a crisis when it clearly is not.[2]

[1] Biden, “fluent”? Really? No mention of Biden’s Iraq vote? Really?

[2] Fair, but odd that the Times only recognizes this for Biden, and erases its own role in amplifying social media.

NYT: Mr. Biden maintains a lead in national polls, but that may be a measure of familiarity as much as voter intention. His central pitch to voters is that he can beat Donald Trump. His agenda tinkers at the edges of issues like health care and climate[1], and he emphasizes returning the country to where things were before the Trump era. But merely restoring the status quo will not get America where it needs to go as a society. What’s more, Mr. Biden is 77. It is time for him to pass the torch to a new generation of political leaders.

[1] Oddly, no mention of Biden’s bankruptcy bill, crime bill, or support for cutting Social Security, which anybody who’s been paying attention knows.

NYT: Good news, then, that Amy Klobuchar has emerged as a standard-bearer for the Democratic center. Her vision goes beyond the incremental. Given the polarization in Washington and beyond, the best chance to enact many progressive plans could be under a Klobuchar administration[1].

[1] Klobuchar’s theory of change is no different and no better from Warren’s.

NYT: The senator from Minnesota is the very definition of Midwestern charisma[1], grit and sticktoitiveness. Her lengthy tenure in the Senate and bipartisan credentials would make her a deal maker (a real one) and uniter for the wings of the party — and perhaps the nation.

[1] I’ve got to admit I find Klobuchar’s verbal affect familiar and comforting; I grew up in the Midwest. Her appearance on TV is another matter. Sorry, Klobuchar stans!

NYT: She promises[1] to put the country on the path — through huge investments in green infrastructure and legislation to lower emissions — to achieve 100 percent net-zero emissions no later than 2050. She pledges to cut childhood poverty in half in a decade by expanding the earned-income and child care tax credits. She also wants to expand food stamps and overhaul housing policy and has developed the field’s most detailed plan for treating addiction and mental illness. And this is all in addition to pushing[2] for a robust[3] public option in health care, free community college and a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.

[1] I am aware of no major issue on which Klobuchar has put skin in the game by leading. I think the Times is projecting its West Wing fantasy of a female Jed Bartlet onto her.

[2] All the underlined material is one or another version of the liberal Democrat “fighting for” (and never winning). Show me Klobuchar’s theory of change.

[3] “Robust” is a bullshit tell. To a Beltway consultant, “robust” means “takes more than one three-ring binder.”

NYT: Ms. Klobuchar speaks about issues like climate change, the narrowing middle class, gun safety and trade with an empathy[1] that connects to voters’ lived experiences, especially in the middle of the country. The senator talks, often with self-deprecating humor, about growing up the daughter of two union workers, her Uncle Dick’s deer stand[2, her father’s struggles with alcoholism and her Christian faith.

[1] Holy Lord. Has anybody seen Sanders calling people up to the mike to talk about health care? That’s empathy.

[2] “Uncle Dick’s deer stand” [sobs openly] is apparently more heartwarming than Warren’s “Aunt Bee,” and both get points over losing your family in the Holocaust.

NYT: Ms. Klobuchar promises a foreign policy based on leading by example, instead of by threat-via-tweet. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she serves on the subcommittees responsible for oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the nation’s borders and its immigration, citizenship and refugee laws. In 13 years as a senator, she has sponsored and voted on dozens of national defense measures, including military action in Libya and Syria[1]. Her record shows that she is confident and thoughtful, and she reacts to data[2] — what you’d want in a crisis.

[1] Klobuchar supported the Libyan intervention (the debacle that rebooted the slave markets and turned Libya into a failed state. She also supports keeping troops in Syria. No wonder the Times loves her; all is now explained.

[2] Whatever that means.

NYT: All have helped Ms. Klobuchar to be the most productive senator among the Democratic field in terms of bills passed with bipartisan support, according to a recent study for the Center for Effective Lawmaking. When she arrived in the Senate in 2007, Ms. Klobuchar was part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers that proposed comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for 12 million undocumented immigrants, before conservative pundits made it political poison. Her more recent legislative accomplishments are narrower but meaningful to those affected, especially the legislation aimed at helping crime victims. This is not surprising given her background as the chief prosecutor in Minnesota’s most populous county[1]. For example, one measure she wrote helped provide funds to reduce a nationwide backlog of rape kits for investigating sexual assaults.

[1] I would be very surprised if oppo researchers weren’t crawling over her record at this moment. Being a prosecutor didn’t sit well with Black voters when Harris was still in the race.

NYT: Reports of how Senator Klobuchar treats her staff give us pause[1]. They raise serious questions about her ability to attract and hire talented people. Surrounding the president with a team of seasoned, reasoned leaders is critical to the success of an administration, not doing so is often the downfall of presidencies. Ms. Klobuchar has acknowledged she’s a tough boss and pledged to do better. (To be fair, Bill Clinton and Mr. Trump — not to mention former Vice President Biden — also have reputations for sometimes berating their staffs, and it is rarely mentioned as a political liability.)

[1] It’s not that Klobuchar threw binders at her staff; it’s that she pursued them vindictively when they left her employ (from the Times, of all places: “She and her top confidantes could complicate the future job opportunities of some staff members who sought to leave, former aides said, sometimes speaking to their would-be employers to register her displeasure”). Of course, they’re workers, therefore, to the Times, disposable. I would regard this as potentially disqualifying. “Gives us pause” is way too mild.

NYT: Ms. Klobuchar doesn’t have the polished veneer and smooth delivery[1] that comes from a lifetime spent in the national spotlight, and she has struggled to gain traction on the campaign trail. In Minnesota, however, she is enormously popular. She has won all three of her Senate elections by double digits. In 2016, Hillary Clinton carried nine of Minnesota’s 87 counties. Ms. Klobuchar carried 51 in 2018. And it’s far too early to count Ms. Klobuchar out — Senator John Kerry, the eventual Democratic nominee in 2004, was also polling in the single digits at this point in the race.[2]

[1] Very much unlike the famously mellow Bernie Sanders.

[2] It is possible that voters who dislike conflict may move to her, taking a “plague on both your houses” approach to Warren and Sanders. That would be deeply ironic, given Klobuchar’s abusive treatment of her staff.

NYT: THERE HAS BEEN A WILDFIRE BURNING in Australia larger than Switzerland. The Middle East is more unstable at this moment than at any other time in the past decade, with a nuclear arms race looking more when than if. Basket-case governments[1] in several nations south of the Rio Grande have sent a historic flood of migrants to our southern border[2]. Global technology companies exert more political influence than some national governments. White nationalists from Norway to New Zealand to El Paso use the internet to share ideas about racial superiority and which caliber of rifle works best for the next mass killing.[3]

[1] Yes, we should really stop sponsoring coups, and torturers, and so forth.

[2] Brown people comin’! (And IIRC, immigration has been steadily dropping, and before Trump.)

[3] Life expectancy is falling. Oh, wait. They didn’t mention that, even though Sanders mentioned it. I guess that’s OK with them, then. Not an issue.

NYT: The next president will shape the direction of America’s prosperity and the future of the planet, perhaps irrevocably. The current president, meanwhile, is a threat to democracy. He was impeached for strong-arming Ukraine into tampering with the 2020 election[1]. There is no reason patriotic Americans should not be open to every chance to replace him at the ballot box[2].

[1] Oh?

[2] “Patriotic Americans” is an appeal I don’t think the Times can make.

NYT: Yet, Mr. Trump maintains near-universal approval from his party and will nearly certainly coast to the nomination. Democrats would be smart to recognize that Mr. Trump’s vision for America’s future is shared by many millions of Americans.

NYT: Any hope of restoring unity[1] in the country will require modesty, a willingness to compromise and the support of the many demographics that make up the Democratic coalition — young and old, in red states and blue, black and brown and white. For Senator Klobuchar, that’s acknowledging the depth of the nation’s dysfunction[2] For Senator Warren, it’s understanding that the country is more diverse than her base.[3]

[1] What is this unity? Can somebody point to it? Did President Bartlet create it? What is it good for? Does the norms fairy like it?

[2] So the ideal candidate must both be modest and recognize the depth of the nation’s dysfunction. I think the author is weakening at the end. I know I am.

[3] It certainly is odd that the Times can’t bring itself to mention the candidate whose base is more diverse than any other (because the working class is diverse).

NYT: There will be those dissatisfied that this page is not throwing its weight behind a single candidate, favoring centrists or progressives. But it’s a fight the party itself has been itching to have since Mrs. Clinton’s defeat in 2016, and one that should be played out in the public arena and in the privacy of the voting booth[1]. That’s the very purpose of primaries[2], to test-market strategies and ideas that can galvanize and inspire the country.

[1] “Here, have an apple. Or an orange!”

[2] What then, is the purpose of elite institutions like the Times? Not, apparently, to choose. Or even to appear to choose.

NYT: Ms. Klobuchar and Ms. Warren right now are the Democrats best equipped to lead that debate.

NYT: May the best woman win[1].

[1] There you have it.

* * *

I should really wrap this up with some sort of conclusion, but Holy Moly! I’m going through and tweaking and correcting, and there’s still acres of hollow verbiage left untouched. However, I hope the general themes emerge from the notes. And possibly readers can add more!

APPENDIX The Presence of Cory Booker in the Vote Tallies

Although the decision to endorse is taken by one person, and the editorial written by that person, the Times did ask every Board Member to vote for their top two choices. These votes were broadcast:

This gives me the opportunity to present the following table:

Table I: New York Times Identity Politics Power Ranking

The New York Times Dual Endorsement of Klobuchar and Warren: This Ain’t It, Chief

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