Hillary and Bill and Paul Krugman Race to the Right to Stop the Bern

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 0:54 AM

In the latest week, Hillary and her surrogates have pivoted tough right and retreated to their long-held positions on the major issues. Indeed, in several cases they've gone even farther to the right than the policies they pushed over a decade ago - even though those policies proved disastrous.

Hillary and Bill and Paul Krugman Race to the Right to Stop the Bern

Recollect several weeks ago when Hillary Clinton was complaining that Democrats didn't consider her a "progressive?" Bernie Sanders' huge win in WI ended that tactic and propelled Paul Krugman and Hillary and Bill Clinton to race to the right, inadvertently proving Bernie'south point that they're not progressives on the key issues.

In the latest week, Hillary and her surrogates have pivoted tough right and retreated to their long-held positions on the major issues. Indeed, in several cases they've gone even farther to the right than the policies they pushed over a decade ago - even though those policies proved disastrous. They also inadvertently demonstrated the terrible policies that were produced by the Clinton'south vaunted "pragmatism" and compromising with the most extreme Republican demands. That was the legend of Clinton'south notorious welfare "reform" - a policy both Clintons championed. Tom Frank details in his new book entitled Listen, Liberal how the Clintons' "pragmatism" and zeal to work with the worst elements of the Republican Party led to the welfare "reform" bill. Zach Carter has just written the article I was planning to write about that travesty. He entitled it "Nothing Bill Clinton Said To Defend His Welfare Reform Is True." I encourage you to read it.

As a criminologist (I'm also an adviser to Bernie on economics), I'll start my two-part series on Hillary'south race to the right with Bill Clinton'south effort to defend his drug law policies and Hillary'south denunciation of black drug users as "super predators." The second column explains Krugman'south race to the right on banking in his effort maintain Hillary'south harp pivot to right.

Bill'south defense of his policies that helped feed the mass incarceration of blacks and Latinos for drug offense came in the same April seven, two thousand sixteen campaign speech in Philadelphia that led to Zach Carter skewering his defense of welfare "reform." Bill'south speech was strongly protested by Black Lives Matter members, which led to unscripted, mad attacks by Bill on some of the protesters and prompted his defense of his crime bill and Hillary'south attack on "superpredators."

Bill made four key points about crime in his attempted defense and attacks on the protesters. First he claimed that his one thousand nine hundred ninety-three crime bill led to a enormous reduce in crime. The reality is that Str crimes were declining before his bill and the trend continued after the bill passed. (Elite financial crimes were surging due to the Clinton'south championing of the three "de's" - deregulation, desupervision and de facto decriminalization of finance - but the Clintons and the authors creating and spreading the myth of the black and Latino "superpredators" ignored them.)

Second, Bill claimed that the horrible parts of his crime bill were caused by Republican demands. Tom Frank'south book shows how the Clintons' "pragmatism" and promises to work with the tough right led to him crafting a bill that produced the mass incarceration of Americans. This problem was compounded by his sentencing provision that punished crack cocaine users one hundred times more severely (by weight) than powder cocaine users. When the bill was drafted it seems likely that the drafters didn't know that crack cocaine was used overwhelmingly by blacks and Latinos and powder cocaine overwhelmingly by whites. A wide range of people eagerly created what social scientists call a "ethical panic" about crack cocaine even though its effects were the same of powder. Bill'south crime bill achieved bipartisan support, including Bernie.

What Bill didn't discuss, but what Tom Frank'south book emphasizes, is that the huge racial disparity in sentencing - and the lack of any basis for it given the chemical equivalency of crack and powder - became clear within a year after passage of the act. By one thousand nine hundred ninety-five, the U. S. Sentencing Commission had gathered the data, conducted the analysis, and done all the drafting to repeal the disparity - and Bill and the Republican Congress promptly worked pragmatically and in a bipartisan manner to obstruct the repeal of the racist sentencing disparity. After he left office, Bill repeatedly apologized for his Crime Act, but a few days ago in Philadelphia he reverted to praising his disastrous law. He's emotional exceptionally tough right back to his natural instincts when he gets off script.

Third, Bill moved so distant right that he resurrected a racist position Hillary had enunciated (and later repudiated). Hillary attacked blacks who used crack as "super predators." That phrase was crafted as portion of the effort to generate a ethical panic in order to produce the mass incarceration of blacks. CNN reported on Hillary'south utilize of the term.

"They're frequently the kinds of kids that are called 'super predators,'" Clinton said in a one thousand nine hundred ninety-six speech, when crime was a major public concern, according to polls at the time. "Number conscience, number empathy, we can speak about why they ended up that way, but first we've to bring them to heel."

Hillary was quoting phrases from three ultra-right authors that were Reagan officials. None of them was a criminologist, yet they claimed that overwhelmingly black "super predators" were growing at such epic rates that we should be so terrified by them that we'd support a full scale "war" against black and Latino drug users. They didn't simply coin the duration "super predator" and stress that they were primarily black - they called them "feral." That's the word used for a once tame animal that reverts to a wild animal. Black crack users were demonized as subhuman - wild animals whose ancestors had once been tame (as slaves) and who, as Hillary demanded, should be brought "to heel" love trained dogs. None of this was true, but the racist lies succeeded in creating the ethical panic that caused enormous damage to our Nation. Michelle Alexander'south book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is an outstanding treatment of the shameful result.

Hillary eventually (in two thousand-sixteenth) recanted her adoption of the racist "super predator" phrase and meme. Bill is disinterring it presently because he got flustered and angered by the Black Lives Matter protesters and reverted in an unscripted fit to what came reflexively.

Fourth, Bill attacked the Black Lives Matter protesters in a way that was unworthy of him. Indeed, his attack on them came directly from his bizarre effort maintain Hillary'south utilize of the duration "super predator" months after she'd repudiated that term. Bill invoked the same racist myths, using the same racist speech that was employed over a decade ago even though they've been totally discredited by criminologists. CNN's report of his Philadelphia speech notes:

He also defended Hillary Clinton'south utilize of the phrase "super predators."

"I don't know how you'd characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-elderly kids hopped up on crack, and sent them out in the streets to murder other African-American children," the former president said. "Maybe you thought they were excellent citizens -- she didn't."

(Bill also seems to be channeling the interrogation scene from the film LA Confidential "Were you hopped up, Ray?)

Plainly, Black Lives Matter protesters never suggested that "excellent citizens" "murder" "children." Bill'south claim that they did so shows how panicked he was by Bernie'south large win in Wisconsin. Bill'south legend that "gang leaders ... got 13-year old kids hopped up on crack, and sent them ... to murder other African-American children" is a racist myth. Even the ultra-hard right authors that invented the duration "super predator" and described black crack users as related to animals abandoned the duration and their claims over five years ago. Bill has gone distant to the right of the ultra-right wing by disinterring these racist myths, claiming that they were and are accurate, and making the preposterous claim that Black Lives Matter protesters support those who murder black children.

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