The day in Hillary: Nodding aggressively, addressing reporters without taking questions

We shouldn’t let Hillary Clinton’s shenanigans go without commentary today, overshadowed though they will necessarily be by Sen. Ted Cruz’s big announcement. Today, the Empress of Inaccessibility made an appearance at liberal think tank Center for American Progress, and tonight presents the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting to a room of reporters…without answering any questions from reporters.

But first up, an erudite policy panel at CAP. Hillary is very interested in such things, you see, and this is how she communicates it, as amusingly captured by Melinda Henneberger:

Mostly, what Hillary Clinton did on Monday morning, as part of a panel discussion on urban issues held at the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress, was nod vigorously and take copious notes. She did this with great enthusiasm, as if the ideas being presented were all thrilling and new. And in a way, the message her body language sent was perfect: I’m here. I’m listening more than I’m talking. And I am even willing to go to school.

For the many progressives who wonder where exactly Clinton stands on a number of issues, including trade, Wall Street reform and how she’d address income inequality, inspiring the feeling that they are being heard as she’s still sketching out the policy particulars of her expected presidential run is no small thing.

Now is the time for all good progressives to decide whether they will embody the fightin’ liberal ethos of the out-of-power days, grudgingly support an establishment, Wall-Street-aligned candidate with the charisma of a banana peel in the interest of consolidating power, or push for a freshman senator and ideologue to bring an upset win to the progressive wing and maybe 4-8 more years of demagoguery and stagnation to America! What to do? What to do?

The big-money progressives, on whom Lachlan Markay has done priceless reporting, are preemptively pushing leftward with their financial quid pro quo investments.

An influential coalition of the biggest liberal donors is quietly distancing itself from the national Democratic Party and planning to push its leaders — including Hillary Clinton — to the left.

The Democracy Alliance funders club at a private April gathering in San Francisco is set to unveil a five-year plan to boost causes on which some of its members contend leading Democrats like Clinton have been insufficiently aggressive.

Some within the club’s ranks had felt that it aligned too closely to the Democratic Party during President Barack Obama’s campaigns and administration. And the plan, called 2020 Vision, represents a more assertively liberal direction for Democracy Alliance — one that could pose problems for Clinton in her expected presidential campaign and beyond, if she wins the White House.

It aims to steer more than $30 million a year toward groups committed to fighting income inequality, climate change and the influence of political money. A particular focus is on groups fighting those issues at the state level, reflecting a sense among donors that national political gridlock limits chances for progress on their issues, regardless of the specific candidates.

That last paragraph represents what President Obama would call the dark cynicism of not believing hard enough in him despite all the evidence he’s offered that he should not be believed. Perhaps he should direct his next pep talk to Americans who disappoint him at progressives, not us. To me, the fact that even progressives, the country’s most dedicated devotees of centralized power, are abandoning the decrepit and dysfunctional and corrupt machine that is federal government in favor of local remedies is perhaps the greatest indication of the loss of faith in public institutions over which Obama has presided. These are the apostles of the federal faith and they’re all, “Hm, maybe there are better solutions to be found on a local and state level.”

Now, the policy solutions they seek will be terrible and counterproductive, but it’s somehow satisfying to see liberals and conservatives alike embrace the idea of looking elsewhere to solve societal problems. There are so many places and ways that are better at tackling them than just throwing obscene amounts of money at federal politics. Creative Americans prove it every day.

But back to Hillary, who is seemingly without irony doing this tonight, as originally reported by Mediaite:

Hillary Clinton, known for giant paydays in exchange for speeches, will take no money for her remarks before the 2015 Toner Prize Celebration later this month. She’s also not taking any questions.

The March 23 ceremony will celebrate the winner of the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting. Clinton, a longtime friend of the award’s sponsors, is keynoting the event for free.

Tickets to the ceremony run $250, but the event is open to the press. “It’s going to stop being an awards ceremony if she makes any news — everyone will exit the room and start writing,” said Peter Gosselin, husband to the late reporter Robin Toner, for whom the award is named. “Journalists will be journalists.”

Dan Balz of the Washington Post was honored for the second year in a row, according to tweets from the event. Reporters are very excited for him. Less excited about asking the keynote speaker any questions. We can’t even get a “what about your gaaaaaffes?” from the gallery? Here’s Balz on Hillary’s e-mails. Apparently, it’s a tradition for the Toner folks to invite a 17-foot marlin to present the prize for Excellence in Deep-Sea Fishing while prohibiting poles in the room.

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