Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Simple folks, without temptation

A few electoral thoughts, a year out --

The Democrats are a lock to win the 2008 Presidential elections, and, probably, to increase their majorities in both houses. Two different ways to look at this --

--There will never be a better time to try to elect America's first woman and/or person of color to the Presidency.

-- There will never be a worse time to try to elect America's first woman and/or person of color to the Presidency.

If your primary motivation is to shake stuff up, live in science fiction land, push the social envelope forward, get a non-white or non-male into the nation's highest office, put a non-white or non-male face on America's government -- this is the best shot you've ever had. The Republicans can't even pick up a paper clip without somehow shooting themselves in the foot; the Dems should absolutely be able to put ANY nominee into office in '08... so, you know, let's swing for the bleachers, absolutely. Once we have a non-male or non-white in the Presidency, the precedent is set for all time, that barrier is broken, and we should see more qualified candidates running from this point forward.

If, on the other hand, your primary motivation is to beat the horror that is the Republican Party to death with a voting machine, then you should, for the love of God, not want to see either Obama or Hillary as the Democratic nominee. The Dems have this election sewn up... unless they run a black man or a woman for President.

So, of course, they're going to run a black man or a woman for President.

You know all those decent hard working church going conservative voters that the Dems are counting on to stay home next election day out of disgust for Republican shenanigans...? Running a black man or a woman for President (much less, as I suspect will happen, running a woman AND a black man for President/Vice President) will guarantee that those decent hard working church going conservatives march right out to their local polling places and pull a lever for ANY Republican running against the Evil Clinton Cunt and her uppity nigger houseboy. I guarantee you, a Hillary/Obama ticket will absolutely galvanize the deep red base. The evangelicals will not break off and vote for a third party candidate as they've been blustering about; they will suck it up and get behind Rudy, no matter how many pictures of him in a dress the Dems post on the Internet.

Which voting segment will the Hillary/Obama combo drive away from the polls? Dumb ass white guys who would otherwise have voted Democrat, if, say, Edwards were the nominee. (Dumb ass white guys who vote Republican will, of course, turn out to the polls in droves, and they'll bring all their dumb ass Republican white guy buddies who otherwise might not have voted, too. At least, as many as they can fit into their pick up trucks.)

We can always hope there aren't too many dumb ass white guys who vote Democrat out there, but my own observations lead me to think that this is a vain hope indeed.

Mind you, I'm half a dumb ass white guy myself. Should Obama get the nod (which he won't, but, you know, speculatin' on a hypothesis, here) I would grit my teeth mightily, swallow hard as I try to ignore how appallingly he has pandered to nutball black evangelicals and how little respect I have for anyone who had done that, and pull the lever next to his name. Anything to keep Rudy out of the White House.

If it's Hillary, though... I don't know if I can grit my teeth that hard. She won't close Gitmo, won't stop illegal domestic spying, has no problem with torturing 'terrorists', won't revoke the PATRIOT Act... I don't know. Maybe we'd get some universal health care... but nothing in Hillary's resume indicates to me that she's got the guns to go up against the insurance lobby and win.

Still... yeah... yeah, okay... anything to keep Rudy out of the White House.

But... Jesus Christ, why can't I have a Presidential candidate I really want to vote for?

Because those people can't possibly win.

To be fair -- what makes Hillary so unpalatable to me is how craftily she triangulates her positions. Every move she makes is calculated -- if she votes that way, or announces this policy, or states something else in the debates, well, she'll piss off THIS 33% segment of the electorate, but she'll appease or even please the other 66%. Every time, every breath she takes, every move she makes, it's been polled to a fare thee well and worked out on eighteen different political slide rules to seventeen decimal places before she twitches a finger. I fucking HATE candidates that do shit like that... but the fact of the matter is, candidates that DON'T do shit like that are fringe candidates who cannot be elected to national office.

Maybe, if Hillary wins, she'll just say "fuck it" and do some good stuff. Maybe she feels she CAN'T come right out and say "I'll repeal the PATRIOT Act, I'll shut down Gitmo, I'll tear up all of Bush's signing statements, I'll personally sue the telecom companies, and I'll absolutely declassify every government file that exists as to exactly what really happened with 9/11, the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections, Katrina, Iraq, Plamegate, the politicization of the Justice Department, and I'll even let you all know what really happened that time Cheney shot the other guy in the face." Maybe she'll just do all that stuff anyway, once she gets into office. And pull our troops back home. And invest billions in finding an alternative to petroleum.

Yeah. Heh. Suuuuuuuuuuure she will.

Adding on to this -- I've had an idea, formin' in my brain, for some time now. It's a wildly paranoid concept, but, still, it just won't go away, and yesterday's little stunt involving a bill to impeach Cheney only reinforces this bizarre hypothesis' internal logic.

What if the Clintons have essentially told the Democratic Party to do absolutely nothing that might even slightly rock the national political boat until Hillary wins the Presidency? What if, in other words, Hillary Clinton has decided that the Democratic Party is going to horde all of its political capital like a miser, only to be expended in efforts that help her get into the White House?

What if Hillary and Bill have basically said to the Dems in Congress, look, you do ANYthing that might in any way blow back on Hillary's Presidential bid, or in any way make her look bad, and you can forget about us giving you any fund raising help at all, ever again?

Fund raising is a big club in the Clintons' political golf bag; their Democratic fund raising machine is one of the most efficient and productive ever put together. If the Clintons get behind a political candidate, they can pour millions into the election coffers. If the Clintons refuse to support a candidate, or, worse, decide to support someone else in the primaries... well, you're pretty much dead.

So it seems to me (largely a complete ignoramus as to how politics really works, mind you) that this is, from a practical stand point, a very feasible scenario. But would Hillary and/or Bill really bring the entire political process to a virtual stand still, simply to enhance the chances that the Ultimate Power Couple can make their way back into the White House?

It would certainly explain why the Dems have been so utterly paralytic at, well, EVERYthing, ever since they regained Congressional majorities in 2006. And it would certainly put the utterly baffling and infuriating charade we saw enacted yesterday in reference to Dennis Kucinich's bill to impeach Dick Cheney in some kind of logical context.

(In a nutshell, Kucinich used a Congressional privilege to bring his impeachment bill straight to the floor of the House, after a similar bill had been bottled up by Repubs AND his fellow Democrats in committee for months. The Democratic leadership immediately tried to kill the bill by voting to table it. The Republicans decided to rub Nancy Pelosi's face in it, and under orders from their own leadership, voted against tabling the bill. A few progressive Democrats defied their own leadership to vote with the Republicans, and the motion to table the bill lost handily. So the Democratic leadership immediately then voted to send the bill to committee, where, we presume, it will continue to be sat on. Cindy Sheehan has more on it, if you really want more... I'm so disgusted right now I can barely muster the energy to finish typing this sentence.)

If indeed the Clintons have put their collective foot on the Congressional Democrats' neck, it's a move that may well pay off for them with another Clinton Presidency... but it's also one that brings with it a very high moral price tag. Every day that goes by where Congress could have shut down the Iraq War but didn't, that's another several thousand unnecessary deaths, another few million lives ruined... and that gets added to the already sizable tab Hillary has already run up, simply by voting for the original Authorization of Military Force that unleashed Cheney, Bush, and all the other puppies of war way back in 2002.

You would think that, at some point, Hillary would at the very least want to stop running that tab up, if not start doing something to pay it down. But apparently, human lives, both American and otherwise, have very little value when measured in the Big Scales of national politics.

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