The Race To Make Hillary Clinton More Liberal Is On

The 2016 Democratic presidential campaign is beginning to take shape. It’s a highly unusual campaign. Hillary Clinton commands the massive party loyalty of an incumbent, except she’s not an incumbent, so it is possible for another Democrat to challenge her without the campaign necessarily signalling the all-out, you-have-failed opposition of a Gene McCarthy in 1968, Ted Kennedy in 1980, Pat Buchanan in 1992, and so on. The campaign, instead, is likely to center on organized liberals using a candidacy to pressure Clinton not to move too far toward the center.

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Some Southern Members of Congress Apparently Haven’t Gotten Over the Civil War

Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing will be awarded a Medal of Honor today for his heroism at the Battle of Gettysburg. Why did it take so long? Well, there are several reasons, most of them prosaic. (Initially, the rules did not allow posthumous awards, and Cushing was killed in the battle; there was bureaucratic inertia.) There’s also the fact that the white South still hasn’t come to grips with the Civil War:

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Obama’s Climate Deal Doesn’t Need the Senate

The Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan is designed to enable the United States to negotiate an international agreement. But wait, treaties have to be ratified by the Senate — with 67 votes, no less — and you couldn’t find 67 Senators to ratify a climate treaty even if it imposed zero burden on America and required all the other countries to deliver tons of gold tribute for us to build a gigantic statue of Ronald Reagan.

It turns out the anti-climate-change community has already thought of this. Coral Davenport has a good report on how the Obama administration, in conjunction with leaders of other countries, plans to craft an accord that does not require Senate confirmation. Cue the Drudge freakout:

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The Dreamers Have Destroyed the Republican Immigration Strategy

After the 2012 election, Marco Rubio tried to craft himself as the leader of a pro-immigration-reform Republican Party. That effort has capsized, pulling Rubio’s standing with conservatives down along with it. Now Rubio is refashioning himself as the leader of a restrictionist Republican Party. The new Rubio can be seen talking tough with conservative publications like the Washington Examiner and Breitbart, and wooing right-wing audiences in South Carolina. The newest iteration of Rubio is the opposite of the figure he and party leaders envisioned last year. The transformation ought to terrify them.

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Cornel West and the Insular World of the Obama-Hating Left

The political subculture of anti-Obama leftists has entered a phase by this point in the Obama presidency where the truth of its worldview is so well-established to its own adherents that it requires no exposition. Tom Frank, an anti-Obama leftist, interviews Cornel West, another anti-Obama leftist, in a conversation so deeply marinated in shared assumptions that, at one point, both interviewer and interviewee agree that nobody disagrees with them. Frank asks West, “Is there anybody who thinks he’s progressive enough today? West replies, “Nobody I know. Not even among the progressive liberals.” What about maybe the 61 million people who voted for Mitt Romney? Some of them may even think Obama is too progressive.

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Senate Candidate’s Campaign Ad Features Shot of James Foley Execution Video

New Mexico's underdog Republican Senate nominee, Allen Weh, released a campaign ad titled "Restore Leadership" on Monday night that juxtaposes footage showing what a scary place the world has become with images of President Obama golfing, cracking jokes, and clearing brush on his ranch in Texas (or something like that). But a dubious complaint about Obama's vacation time isn't the issue. CNN quickly noticed that right after the shot of Weh's opponent, Democratic Senator Tom Udall, a still image of journalist James Foley's masked, knife-wielding executioner flashes on the screen for several seconds.

"I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it," says Weh. »

Paul Ryan’s List of 6 Favorite Books Has One Huge Omission

Paul Ryan was asked by the Week to list his six favorite books about economics and democracy. The request was a bit mischievous, as Ryan has tried (since his ascension from backbencher to his current role as chief ideologist of the Republican party) to downplay his love of Ayn Rand and her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged. And now, the volume that Ryan once handed out to all his staffers, listed as one of his three most frequently reread books of any kind and cited as the entire reason he got into public service, no longer makes the top six list of books on politics and economics. (Follow-up question for Representative Ryan: Are there any books that you considered, sir, but that did not make the list?)

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Zephyr Teachout on Reddit, Wanting to Be Governor, and Her Running Mate, Tim Wu

Really, they’re not hippies,” says Zephyr Teachout, who is riding in a yellow cab over the Manhattan Bridge. She is talking about her parents, the ones who named her Zephyr Teachout. “That’s the truth—they just liked the name! I joke about it being a millstone, but it never hurts to have a name that sticks out.”

Especially if you’re running what’s widely perceived as a novelty campaign. Teachout, a 42-year-old constitutional-law professor at Fordham University, is taking on New York governor Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary on September 9, from far to his left, in what started as a third-party bid. (Cuomo, despite his liberal blasphemies, won the Working Families Party nomination after all.) Like Bill de Blasio, only without the decades of insider political experience, Teachout is a vocal warrior against income inequality.

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Obamans, Selling Out, and the Proxy Fight for the Democratic Party’s Future

Barack Obama has always had a slightly uneasy relationship with what one of his aides, very early, called “the professional left.” Actual liberal voters like Obama a lot. For that matter, they like Hillary Clinton, too. And yet serious doctrinal disputes between the administration and the cadres of full-time (i.e. “professional”) activists have always simmered just below the surface. This is the true significance of stories in Buzzfeed and MSNBC about former Obama staffers allegedly betraying the president’s liberal values.

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Video of the day

Charlie Rangel Opens Debate With Fake Phone Call

Congressman Joe Garcia Picks Ear, Eats It on Live TV

Sarah Palin Thinks Chelsea’s Baby May Make Hillary ‘Open Her Eyes’ About Abortion

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In The Mag

Back on the Trail

When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.

By Jason Zengerle

Reading List

Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013

The Case for Deficit Optimism

For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.

By Ezra Klein
Salon Jan. 15, 2012

The NRA's Democratic Helpers

Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.

By Steve Kornacki

From the Archives

New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010

Boehner's Army

After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009

With Friends Like These

Obama drew progressive ire from day one.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008

Hiding In Plain Sight

How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.

By Jeff Coplon