WaPo’s Dana Milbank wrote a column praising Hillary Clinton’s debate performance. Here’s how he summed up her success:
Sweet babby Jeebus, I just cannot…
This post is in: Election 2016, Open Threads, DC Press Corpse, Our Failed Media Experiment, WTF?
WaPo’s Dana Milbank wrote a column praising Hillary Clinton’s debate performance. Here’s how he summed up her success:
Sweet babby Jeebus, I just cannot…
Comments are closed.
West of the Cascades
Maybe when Jeff Bezos is tired of playing with the Washington Post, he’ll get a drone to pick up the whole damn thing and deliver it about 1500 miles off the coast of Africa. Wasn’t Dana Milbank the one who called Secretary Clinton a “Mad Bitch”? What a piece of refuse.
Wingnut family member is raving about Clinton ‘dodging gunfire’ in Serbia. Can anyone provide Palinfan to English translation?
At least he didn’t call her a mad bitch.
Dóh, read the comments first.
Would “an adult among children” not have occurred? It wouldn’t have been accurate either. HRC won, IMO, but Sanders did well and O’Malley raised his profile.
ETA: Milbank. Fuck him.
so, soon we can expect his bff, mark hackprin, to call her a dick on live teevee?
I can’t tell if this is a sexist comment, a dumb comment, or both.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@gussie: I can, but I don’t want to, so just a link
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Ah. Thanks. Well, apparently that’s the new Whitey Tape. Once Trump gets that out there, it’s all over for Clinton. Just you wait.
“A man among boys!” Imagine that. Let’s all show some faux outrage.
I hate to bring up the specter of Margaret Thatcher, but it reminds me of the story that an opposition MP came up to her after a debate and congratulated her for being “the only man on your team.”
Her reply was, “That’s one more than you’ve got on yours!”
Milbank just cannot see the world through any other lens than his own insecure masculinity.
Of course, this is also the favorite analytical frame for Maureen Dowd, who thinks that it is the height of wit and analytic insight to portray Democratic men as effeminate and Democratic women as emasculating.
The Villagers. They have so many gender issues. They cannot die soon enough for my taste (though alas, actuarial tables say that I will get there before those two).
I just can’t believe he
said that out loudwrote that for publication.
It’s one thing to text that shit to your BFFs, it’s another to let everyone know just what kind of moron you grew up to be.
When a trite hack tries to praise someone outside his social club unexpected results may occur.
Besides the, probably unconscious, sexism in that attempt at a compliment to HRC, beltway savvy biases and editorializing masquerading as analysis running through the whole piece.
Maybe he is overcompensating for the ‘mad bitch’ tape? Anyway, was mostly a waste of time to read it. But it was short, and I was curious about what other BS nuggets were hidden in there.
@priscianus jr: That wasn’t sexist? Come the fuck on. Also, based on his past, why should anyone give Milbank the benefit of a doubt on this?
@priscianus jr: I didn’t think I showed outrage faux or not, I thought it was amusing.
Aside from the sexism, which some may find major, others minor, I think it didn’t fit the debate at all.
Millbank needed to come up with something that seemed like a real statement, and he dribbled out that nonsense.
Sanders had some problems, particularly in the beginning, but Clintion totally overshadowing him like she was a man to his boy was not one of them.
Millbank thinks HRC as fluid and smooth and calm all the way through (Edit: Really?). Millbank is part of the smooth savvy tribe, so he can’t see that HRC maybe came off a little too smooth and savvy.
Maybe he wrote this stuff because he saw chance to be first after the debate debunking the nonsense that the HRC campaign is in serious trouble, but this was a poor and lazy effort in many ways.
Apologies if you’re snarking, but this has been “out there”, and exhaustively hashed over since the 2008 campaign.
More like, Dude, you’re a professional writer and that’s all you’ve got?
West of the Cascades
@Omnes Omnibus: Did Milbank (or anyone) refer to Fiorina’s performance as “a woman among girls” in the last GOP debate? If not, why not, priscianus jr?
Since I’m already bored with Milbank, here’s a little YouTube something I found last night — the cast of “Hamilton” paying tribute to “A Chorus Line” for that show’s 40th anniversary.
Note that it’s the chorus members who get the solos, not the leads. Because Lin-Manuel Miranda just seems to be fucking cool like that.
Me: Watch out, there’s cheese on the bed.
G: Uh, okay.
Me: What? It’s in the wrapper.
Still not sold on Sanders. I would be more comfortable with Hillary if she would give exanples of people she would turn to for advice on foreign hotspots that would counterbalance her interventionist impulses. at least some better debate inside her administration would be better. I still think she’s reflexively hawkish. Her supporters can prove me wrong.
But for Sanders, I still don’t know what he’s going to do. Or better, what he would do if, say, through luck, he had a favorable Congress to work with. I don’t want him to make empty promises that he knows he could never keep given the GOP will still control the other branches. But as a supposed socialist or at least a social democrat, I’m still not certain what he would do about the imbalance of power between labor and capital. Would he do things like appoint someone from the UAW to the department of labor? Or Commerce? Try to fund programs to help workers organize? I don’t think it’s enough to just try to get money out of politics or overturn CU.
@Peale: I’m not comfortable with Clinton at all. Her response to dope smoking was a pure slice of Variety Loaf that could have been written by the ONDCP. Just like her hubby, if you remember.
Most folk don’t know that digital cameras will capture non-visible light. Most have a piece of colored glass in them to filter out infrared light. I got a cheap webcam a few years ago and disassembled it and removed the filter and tested it by pointing it at the heater and saw a blue glow. Today I attached it to my windows tablet and installed the drivers, put a blue filter over the lens and got this. The webcam is only 640×480 so it’s not the best but way cool. I’d like to get a cheap point and shoot camera and modify it.
@Oatler.: Pot is the most important thing for you?
Black-and-white infrared photography is cool. Had a friend who did a lot of that back in the days of actual film. Luminous and trippy.
@Omnes Omnibus: It’s not as important to me as it is to the police, and a vast profitable prison industry.
I don’t trust Hillary, particularly on foreign policy. But I gotta believe anyone who is sentient and remotely persuadable noticed that the Dems had a bunch of grown-ups on the stage having an adult discussion, and not the kind of name-calling clown show that the Republicans have been offering. The contrast is so stark, it’s breathtaking.
@Oatler.: How many prisoners are in there for marijuana offenses, and that alone? I’ll give you a head start – only 20% of the combined federal-state population has been convicted of a drug offense of any kind or substance.
I favor legalization as well – because it’s the right thing to do, not because I’ve fooled myself into thinking it will have much effect on policing and incarceration.
@Steeplejack (phone): I prefer color, love the dark blue sky.
The Politico headline: Insiders: A runaway victory for Clinton
Start of article: “Hillary Clinton won — by a landslide. Clinton was the clear winner of the first Democratic presidential debate…”.
Sample quotes from the article:
“Not even close…Hillary crushed it tonight.”
“She stood out as a leader, charismatic and personal…It may have been an out-of-body experience.”
“she killed it tonight…She was in a league of her own”
And fancy graphics showing 79% of respondents thought Clinton won the debate.
Except that not a single quote was sourced; they were all “granted anonymity in order to speak freely”. And it’s odd that one person in NH said “she killed it”, and another in SC said “”she crushed it”. And there was nothing about the size of the polling data, nor the sampling method.
The entire article could have been fabricated in a hotel bedroom, and it probably was. Drivel with an agenda.
Possibly the worst political swill ever written.
Milbank’s often an ass, it’s actually part of his schtick.
Did anyone else think Anderson Cooper was an ass?
@West of the Cascades:
Dana Milbank clearly has a better opinion of Hillary now; so much better, in fact, that he thinks her too good to be a woman.
His choice of words was clumsy, though. He could easily have made that point without denying her femininity: for example, by calling her the outstanding candidate of the night.
But more damning for him is that, as usual for the pundit class, he has judged the debate solely as theatre. He has a lot to say about the zingers the candidates throw at one another; but zip, nada, about the substance of their policy proposals. I’ve seen that better examined in the threads here.
Villago Delenda Est
Since Millbank is stuck in that permanent high school called “The Village”, I’m not surprised that he was so amazed by Hillary acting all adult. It’s not like a Villager to see much adult behavior, as they prefer to hang with Rethugs.
@Mandalay: First, I don’t click on Politico, especially when it’s 3am anyd I cannot sleep. That said, was that a poll, or a Luntzian focus group?
My short take on this is, If it’s anything but a bunch of Politico staffer’s pals and think alike peers, that is some sort of weird progress, a kind of expanding of the gene pool of ideas and attitudes that Politico is infamous for.
“… Except that not a single quote was sourced…”
That’s Politico’s schtick: Pushing a narrative, not reporting on facts, and finding anonymous sources that push their preferred narrative.
Extra surreal: Politico couldn’t find anyone willing to openly support Hillary?
Yup. Nota bene.
No president decides foreign policy all on their own. They do put their own stamp on its general strategy and approach, true. But on a day-to-day basis, and when there is a situation to be handled, they work with a team. President Hillary, an Obama-administration veteran herself, will have quite a few Obama people still on board, and she’s not very likely to appoint people who think all that differently from her. I’m not so inclined to fear that she’s going to be a more belligerent foreign-policy POTUS than Obama.
J R in WV
The issue of legalization or decriminalization of drugs isn’t just so the hippies can get high.
It’s so we can stop using drugs arrests to create an underclass of people who are effectively unemployable.
It’s so we can end the imprisonment of people who used a basically harmless weed because they prefer that high to being drunk, or because they can’t handle alcohol the drug as well as they can pot, the herb.
Out in Arizona we see buses filled with people being moved around the desert from the criminal justice system to the private prisons for profit system, many because of drug charges.
My Dad was a conservative Republican all his life. He thought gambling and drugs should be legalized, but that advertising for both addictions should be banned. I think that’s now pretty obviously the best solution, along with better free mental health counseling for all.
Portugal – not a third world country – decriminalized all drugs years ago. It worked. They no longer have gangsters running illegal substances around their country. They don’t have crime as addicts steal and mug people to raise funds for their particular addiction.
We could learn from their experience, or even from our experience in our little experiment with Prohibition, and stop trying the same failed policy over and over again.
How much money could be diverted to health care if the DEA was defunded at the end of next fiscal year? Those guys could get degrees in counseling and go into a better line of work, keeping people on track instead of putting them into jails and prisons.
There are people serving life sentences for pot, for pasta’s sake!
So, yes, pot is important. Even more, drug policy is important. It has great impact in international relations, in Afganistan, in Columbia, in Mexico. We could fix the drug lord problem by making all drugs available at the cost of production.
The Coast Guard could guard the coasts without looking for cocaine submarines… what a concept !!
“I’m not so inclined to fear that she’s [Hillary Clinton’s] going to be a more belligerent foreign-policy POTUS than Obama. “
Hillary’s support of a no-fly zone in Syria is a much more belligerent foreign-policy than Barack’s.
Hillary’s support of the disastrous Iraq War was a much more belligerent foreign-policy decision than that of Barack’s.
Bernie’s positions mirrored Barack’s: Rejection of a no-fly zone in Syria and voting no on the Iraq War.
In any event, it won’t be Hillary who decides on a no-fly zone in Syria. That will have been resolved before she takes office. (Or Bernie, if you will.) I expect the matter to be decided, or not, at the UN Security Council level, as it involves the airspace of a sovereign nation.
My first thought of Putin wading into the quagmire inside a quagmire of Syria was, “have at it Hoss.”
I look at our wasted blood and treasure in Iraq and can’t imagine Syria going the way Putin thinks it will.
My second thought was that I’d probably want to sit down and have a very, very long discussion with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to explain to me what I might be missing.
@Thoughtful Today: Vlad is down with the idea of killing his way out of it.
Everyone is tired of those conservative damned opinions in the media!
I think this is Hillary’s to loose, and always has been. Like she said, she’s still standing. Using the boxing analogy, you can’t fight the champion to a draw, you have to win, and only in that sense did she win.
What I did notice was the marginalization of Lessig, Webb and Chafee which I don’t think it was CNN’s job to do, especially given the number of grifters and bamboozlers in the GOP debates. That being said, it was the appearance of those two that reminded me of what the GOP used to be before they started smoking spice laced jimson weed, or whatever it is that has sent them off the beam. :-o
I think we’ll see a better performance by Sanders and O’Malley in the future debates as Clinton was by and large better prepared for the exercise. I think Sanders is much more focused and articulate in what he wishes to accomplish in domestic policy and needs to bone up on his foreign policy, at least as far as debates go. Republicans are still capable of taking notes for the general election.
In the end I’m more inclined towards Sanders’ policy positions, but then he can afford to take stands that Clinton and O’Malley can’t, given their insider status, and the rednecked DNC’s continuing efforts to join the GOP in smoking in the boys room. Sanders is unafraid of taking what are mainstream American opinions, hereafter referred to as Democratic socialism for the dymo labels everywhere on everything anal retent crowd, hereafter referred to as pundits and media.
It’s still Clinton’s to loose, but I don’t see Sanders throwing his unity theme under the bus to win the nomination either, (and that may be exactly what he’s up to in this campaign,) which I think in the long run makes the activist community the winner of the debate.
Bernie’s foreign policy positions are superior to Hillary’s.
Hillary’s judgement on Iraq was … horrible.
Bernie’s judgement on Iraq was … absolutely correct.
Hillary’s judgement on Syria … makes me deeply uneasy. Her proposal of a no-fly zone would put us in direct military contact with Russian military forces. She doesn’t seem to have really thought that through.
Bernie’s rejection of a no-fly zone mirrors Barack’s position.
I missed the debate, but it looks like my team done good. :)
I will still be looking for ways to work for Bernie, and if I can swing it, donating more to him. Specifically him, not ‘democrats’ and not Hillary. Why? She doesn’t need my help.
Hil is a WAY better politician than Bernie. It’s pretty likely that she’s going to win the nomination and she will have my enthusiastic vote if things keep going the way they are. Why?
Bernie IS steering Hillary.
His campaign is setting the tone, naming the issues, setting the standard right down to his having Hil’s back over the dumb emails. That was a win/win: Bernie was perfectly sincere (and correct, because it’s been a Republican scheme from the start) and Hillary was graceful in accepting his support on the matter. They were united in repudiating the bullshit. We need that.
We saw exactly what we’ve got: a team, a very effective one. My job as a person/progressive/moonbat/what have you, is to keep the pressure on Hillary. She’ll handle it, I’m not one bit worried about that. It doesn’t scare her, and Bernie doesn’t scare her.
She’s very smart, paying close attention, and freakin’ working her butt off to lead the country, which apparently includes learning WHAT the country actually wants.
The country wants Bernie, but effective and ‘electable’. Hillary Clinton will become that, to win.
The important thing to recognize about that is, you gotta keep the pressure on, but she’s an honest pol: she’ll reflect what’s really out there. When she was Senator of New York, Wall Street was making all the effort hence her representation of them. She wasn’t wrong, at the time they represented (and still do!) a BIG chunk of the USA, and they speak for many people most of whom are diehard republicans. They looked like the zeitgeist, the true picture of America, and she’s a natural pol and ran with that prevailing wind.
Capitalism is dying (at least the kind we’ve seen). it’s turning very ugly, and Bernie represents the correction for that. I’m going to do everything I can to support specifically Bernie in front of Hillary, knowing that she’s by far the better pol and is probably going to clinch the nomination and the Presidency. I’ll do that if possible without hurting Hillary in the process, just like Bernie.
Because here’s the thing: they used to call it triangulation. Hillary is comparatively soulless. I do not have to WORRY about Hil faithfully representing Wall Street or whatever, just because she did in the past when that was obviously the smart move. Sure, that would be troubling if there was no Bernie, just OWS and a bunch of shit-flinging hippies being mocked by the media. Hil would crap all over that, not take it seriously at all.
Bernie is so strong that Hillary is BECOMING Bernie to win. If we do this properly, a vote for Hillary will be a vote for the Bernie platform. Bernie is not steerable: he’s been the same guy all along. Hillary IS totally steerable and that’s exactly what Bernie has intended all this time. He never expected to win, his goal has been to do so well that Hillary has to run on his platform.
Mission freaking accomplished. Now let’s push it even harder, go for broke. Why stop now? Who seriously believes Hillary’s going to crumble at this point? She too is the same as she’s been all along: the total politician, keeping track of her constituency and serving them. If we don’t like her being cozy with Wall Street, it’s our job to telegraph that we will vote against Wall Street and that she’d better side with us. Running for President isn’t the same as representing just New York State, and Hillary can be expected to change, and is.
And: I think Bernie is just fucking with us here at Balloon Juice. Now we’ll be talking about [email protected]$1n0 capitalism for weeks. Thanks Bernie! ;)
While direct confrontation between the US and Russian military forces over Syria shouldn’t be lightly contemplated, it shouldn’t be avoided at all events either. The no-fly zone option needs to stay on the table, as Obama himself would tell you, even if you don’t actually go to war with Russia. Hillary might not agree with Obama on whether to have one right now, but I reckon they agree on that point.
As Obama’s first Secretary of State, Hillary is quite aware of hard it is to deal with Putin, who in this matter is defending his only mid-east ally. Putin has an arguable strategic concern here. One could say that he’s not addressing it wisely, but this is the course he has chosen and he’s not easily talked out of anything.
One of our military planes trying to enforce a no-fly zone being shot down over Syria by Russian forces would escalate into something profoundly dangerous.
Hillary hasn’t thought this through any better than she thought through her support for the war with Iraq.
It comes off as knee-jerk militarism.
Of course the majority of the Republican Party would happily arm you and parachute you into Syria, Amir. Are you ready to go?
I’m more offended that Cillizza referred to Sanders, O’Malley, Webb as “boys” than his telling us again that he’s a sexist.
I just saw the chat backlog of basically a bunch of kids watching the Democratic debate. Fairly liberal crowd but with some conservatives (or John Cole types: would be conservatives except the party went insane). Very interesting.
They were unanimously certain Bernie won the debate so hard they expect a ten point polling jump for him tomorrow. Pretty much because he came off like the one non-politician in the group. They seemed to not give a shit that he was cranky and unsmiley.
Interestingly, I saw grudging respect for Hillary. There was no sign of her being WORST CANDIDATE EVAR or any of the anti-Hil talking points, they just had her pegged as a total politican which she is. The impression that I got was that the kids considered her the best of the politicians but not in Bernie’s league. They liked that she and Bernie were comfortable with and supporting each other. They didn’t want ’em fighting, they wanted ’em acting like human beings.
Every one, however, thought Anderson Cooper was the best thing ever, and every one loved how he was zinging them with questions. It seemed to be an ‘all’s fair in questioning politicians’ thing, like you’re supposed to ask the politicians the gotcha questions and that’s fair, the point is in how they answer. These kids like challenging politicians, they don’t think the pols should be handled with kid gloves.
Not everybody agreed with #blacklivesmatter issues. One guy was adamant that Bernie should’ve shut down his ‘disruptive moment’ immediately, had the activists kicked out. The others argued that it’s important to let people blargh on stage because then you get to see what they’re like, and if they suck they turn people off which is what should happen. But in practical terms they mostly thought Bernie did what he had to do, allowing himself to be ‘disrupted’ by #BLM. These kids are predominantly white and sort of insulated from #BLM but inclined to agree with the movement’s goals, they’re just all over the map as far as how they think it should be done. It seemed like they thought Bernie ceding the stage was a necessary evil, politically necessary and kinda-sorta justified but also an overreach that isn’t good PR.
A lot to mull over, there. I wonder if they’re right and Bernie will get a post-debate poll bump. If so, Hillary will have to swing left even harder. Again the important thing is that Hil is not trying to set herself up as President to serve Wall Street, Hil is trying to set herself up as President to serve her own legacy. If she really is smart she’ll double down on the Bernie platform or try to out-left him, and then stick to it when elected. It does look a lot like Bernie’s representing the American people in a way that was NOT true when Bill was globalizing everything. Times change.
Question for balloon-juicers:
I recently found a nice vet for our cat. They sent me a form to fill out. No problem. Name, address, cat’s name, etc.
But at the bottom of the form they ask for my driver’s license number. Why?
Nowadays I’m careful about the info I share (I’m old enough to remember when people put their social security numbers on their resumes). Should a driver’s license number be carefully guarded, or am I worrying too much?
Blowback. That’s basically what we did in Afghanistan with the Russians invaded (actually we did more than that because we were covertly arming the opposition, but we’re arming rebels in Syria too so…). Eventually that blew up in our faces.
Syria’s not Afghanistan, of course, but I expect that no matter what we do there will be some kind of blowback hitting us for the next few generations from it.
@Applejinx: Really like your comment 46. And interesting about the debate viewers’ perspective.
“… I expect that no matter what we do there [in Syria there] will be some kind of blowback hitting us for the next few generations…”
That’s probably the best prediction I’ve read.
@Thoughtful Today: Yes. Yes I do.
@Elizabelle: Maybe they can run it as a blogpost :D I have always contented myself with posting in the comments, but it’s nice to see my analysis appreciated!
While I don’t think the D/L# has to be “overly guarded” I think I’d just leave it out. Then if they mention it’s blank that’s an excellent time to ask them why they need it.
It’s amazing how many Dr’s still want SSN’s on their new patient paperwork.
I’m just enormously relieved Democrats are actually discussing work and wages instead of “ladders of opportunity”, because “ladders of opportunity” is a loser. Clinton used the word early on and I thought “oh, no, here we go, a round table discussion” but it was just the one word before she got down to bidness :)
@Davebo: Sounds reasonable to me. My kid’s dentist asked for her SSN, and I grilled them about why they needed it and what sort of protections they had in place to safeguard it. They suddenly found they didn’t need it after all.
@David Koch: Semantic question: isn’t saying “We’ve apologized,” in itself, an apology (albeit an unsatisfying one)? An apology is an admission of guilt or wrongdoing…wouldn’t saying that constitute such an admission?
While sexist, it is incredible compliment from within his vocabulary and suggests to me that the “Hillary is falling” stories will lack merit and weight. I would not have allowed it were I his editor because of the sexist connotations, but from a political discourse perspective, I think it is a fairly amazing thing.
Easy for you to say.
I promise you, I don’t say it lightly.
@Suzanne: It can be two things.
I dunno, I think maybe it should be avoided at all events.
I think we’re currently much, much closer to a thousand-warhead US v. Russia global nuclear Armageddon than most people realize. Anything in the direct chain to triggering such a thing is extremely dangerous.
I was also confused by Clinton’s answer on the trade deal. Even if I accept that she didn’t know what the final deal would look like how does she know what the final deal looks like now? It hasn’t been released.
Her specific answer (not at the debate) is she fears the parts that business don’t like won’t be enforced and she bases that on prior deals that were negotiated by the Obama Administration. You can go to the US Trade Rep site and see “enforcement”- it’s a joke. It’s years of stern letters and pleas for voluntary compliance and arbitration panels that take years and there’s never any sanctions. That’s true, there isn’t real enforcement, but why did she ever believe they would all of a sudden start enforcing?
Digby has interesting post today about how badly Hilary is polling among men, white men in particular, but also minority men. Sexism and misogyny are running pretty rampant right now, and is being encouraged by media magnates who see it as means to the end of abolishing the estate tax and the capital gains tax.
I’m not sure how honest that answer was. She claimed last night to have said earlier that she hoped it would be a “gold standard” for trade agreements — whereas if you go back to look at what she actually said about it in real time, it was all assertion of fact, nothing to do with hopes and dreams.
Granted, she can always say now that whatever she voiced back then was merely the President’s opinion, not her own personal view — but this she did not deign to say last night, either.
Paul in KY
@J R in WV: I’m for legalization too, but Portugal doesn’t have the type & amount of RWNJs we have here. Harder to get done here & politicians over here that lobby for legalization face more challenges (IMO) than those in Portugal.
Paul in KY
@Germy Shoemangler: I’d be interested in why they needed it. Probably has something to do with tracking you down if you skip payment on a bill.
@Matt McIrvin: Agreed. The idiocy of Kroft’s hectoring the POTUS over leadership is that he seemed to encourage nuclear war because Putin was dissing Obama in his Syrian gambit.
It would be almost impossible to think of another way to say that. I mean, you couldn’t just say she was an adult among children. That seems too easy.
@gussie: This refers to an event in the 2008 campaign. The Wikipedia article on Hillary Clinton states “Clinton’s admission in late March, that her repeated campaign statements about having been under hostile fire from snipers during a March 1996 visit to U.S. troops at Tuzla Air Base in Bosnia and Herzegovina were not true, attracted considerable media attention.” From my untrustworthy memory, basically she exaggerated warnings about possible sniper fire in Bosnia and turned it into a memory of actual sniper fire.
@David Koch: One of the great failings of many conservatives: they cannot distinguish satire from mere abuse.
@Germy Shoemangler: The reason doctors, dentists, vets, etc. ask for social security numbers, where your spouse works, and the like is to make it easier for the collection agency to track you down if you skip out on the bill.
That I know. The next is a guess. Their contract with the collection agency probably stipulates exactly what personal identifying information they collect.