Sanders

Sanders “judgment” challenge on Clinton should be center of debate strategy.
screen capture via MSNBC, “Morning Joe”

“Dr. Song’s comment was inappropriate and insensitive. There’s no room for language like that in our political discourse,” Sanders tweeted later Thursday morning. [Politico]

IT’S THE battle in Brooklyn on CNN tonight.

Well, almost.

The truth is that since Senator Bernie Sanders couldn’t bring himself to go at Secretary Hillary Clinton from the start on her biggest weakness, her judgment, he’s headed for a double-digit loss in New York next Tuesday, according to all the polling.

The case on “judgment” Sanders is making begins with Iraq and continues to Libya, her speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as her coziness with Wall Street though now that she’s up against it with Sanders even she is making the fat cats nervous.

Considering President Obama recently admitted on “Fox News Sunday” that his greatest mistake was not planning for the “day after” in Libya, the wider repercussions of this admission should give everyone pause.

The news that Dodd-Frank has failed to make the big banks bend to transparency and congressional law landed on Wednesday (minus Citibank, who passed the test), as everyone skirmished over what surrogate had the worst day on the campaign trail.

Substance is a lot harder to digest.

From Bloomberg‘s Jennifer Epstein

The two candidates have plenty of fodder for debate in a state where the finance and insurance industries represent 16 percent of the $1.3 trillion economy. The issue gained new currency on Wednesday when federal regulators said five major U.S. banks don’t have adequate contingency plans for how they could go bankrupt without disrupting the U.S. financial system, as required under the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul enacted after the 2008 financial crisis.

Bernie Sanders knows the big banks aren’t going to plan for their own deaths, so against Hillary Clinton’s comments that give Wall Street more and more room through Dodd-Frank thinking, it’s a difference with meaning for many.

“If we are serious about preventing another major financial crisis and ending the enormous concentration of ownership within the financial sector, we have got to stand up to Wall Street and break these banks up.” – Bernie Sanders

This from Clinton

“For the banks that didn’t pass muster and are unable to resubmit credible plans, regulators need to protect the American public and follow Dodd-Frank by taking actions like imposing higher capital requirements and restricting their activities. And if these banks don’t fix their problems over time, then regulators need to break them apart.” – Hillary Clinton

“Over time…” yada-yada-yada.

The back and forth on big banks and “living wills” requires a tutorial for most people. From Bloomberg

The living wills — they are technically called “resolution plans” — are the most straightforward manifestation of the regulators’ post-crisis efforts to make sure that no bank is too big to fail any more. Each bank has to file a resolution plan explaining how it could be resolved in bankruptcy with a minimum of disruption to the financial system. […]

[…] The living wills, like the stress tests, are complicated stylized exercises that make assumptions that are unlikely to be true in any real crisis. So why do them?

Because they are exercises. The point of the living wills, like the stress tests, is to sit banks down and make them comb through their businesses in excruciating detail, with a focus on grim aspects like liquidity crunches and operational risks in bankruptcy. A useful result of the living wills is that, if they’re done correctly, they give regulators a good overall picture of how a bank works, how money flows between its parts, what its pressure points are, and how it responds to crisis. But a much more important result is that, if they’re done correctly, they give bankers themselves that same overall picture: They force a bank’s executives and directors to understand the workings of the bank in a detailed and comprehensive way. And if they’re done incorrectly, that’s useful too: They let the regulators and bankers know what they don’t know. […]

On another subject Sanders hits regularly, Secretary Clinton’s speeches for big bucks, there has been a continual question in the media about why she’d accept a speaking engagement for people like Goldman Sachs and others if she knew she was running for president.

The intrepid Michael Isikoff has done some new reporting on the subject.

Since then, the reports show, Clinton has kicked another $282,162 into her campaign, with payments to her campaign committee, Hillary for America, averaging about $90,000 a month. Most of that revenue ($228,837) has gone to the Clinton Executive Services Corp., a Clinton family payroll operation that is compensating staffers engaged in campaign-related work for her chief surrogate, her husband and former president Bill Clinton, according to campaign reports and a Clinton campaign official.

The degree to which Clinton is seeking to self-fund her campaign has so far gotten virtually no attention from the media and pales in comparison to the $25 million Donald Trump has loaned his campaign.

Still, “the amount of money is striking,” said Lawrence Jacobs, the director of the Center for the Study of Politics at the Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. “It seems to be an important piece of the puzzle. One question [about Clinton’s speeches] is why she would take the risk of taking so much money from Wall Street and other interest groups. Now we see the full picture. It appears she needed some of the cash to finance her campaign.”

The dirtiest little secret is that if the New York primary were open to independents and had easier or same-day registration, Clinton would very likely be headed for a squeaker and maybe a loss.

Tonight in the debate Senator Sanders needs to leave it all on the stage.

Hillary Clinton won’t make a mistake.

New York has provided firmer footing for the former senator in her “home” state. The Secretary has had some very good moments amid a whopper on Vermont and guns, her husband going wild-eyed while trying to defend his legacy, and a “colored-people” skit with Bill de Blasio that once again showed that Clinton’s judgment on what’s stupid is awful too.

The only thing that will help Hillary Clinton through how embattled her candidacy has become is if Donald Trump is the nominee, which I think he will be before Cleveland or between the final primary in June and the convention in July.