- We’ve all seen all the “worst year ever” tweets and Facebook posts, and have maybe written more than a few ourselves. Know who really had one of the worst 2016’s? Huma Abedin. Just think. She started off the year as the next president’s right-hand woman, soon to have more influence than even Valerie Jarrett, and ended the year out of office, with no influence, no job other than with the withering, obsolescent Clinton Foundation; a laughingstock of an estranged husband that many believe gave Comey the ammunition to throw the election to Trump; a host of Dem insiders eager to blame her for the loss, rather than the idiotic campaign chairman John Podesta who allowed his email account to be phished, thus proving the maxim of men getting the credit and women getting the blame; the taint of being the female Sid Blumenthal only without Blumenthal’s vast resources to fall back on. I used to think of her as one of David Icke’s lizard people, but now it’s clear she may have been the only non-lizard-person in Hillary’s inner circle.
- Trump gets a headstart to forming his expected autocratic kleptocracy via a compliant GOP Congress who will accede to his every whim. Sure, there are a few upstarts like Justin Amash who will protest, but they will soon find themselves outcasts in their own party. Other former #NeverTrumpers such as Ben Sasse quickly and quietly fell back into formation. And these fine Senators will rubber-stamp whichever obedient lapdog Trump will pick for the Supreme Court. And finally, the 2018 election map looks even more grim for the Democrats — and that’s even before the expected Putin- and Chavez-esque coopting of the election process that will be in place by then. America has finally established one of the necessary conditions for its destruction: one-party rule.
- I expect the final dissolution of the United States to come via an Article V Convention. Basically, once convened, this national convention, backed by mirror state conventions in all 50 states, can alter the Constitution any way it pleases — or tear it up entirely. Putin, whose ultimate goal is revenge on the country he saw triumph over his beloved Soviet Union in 1991, is currently betting on a series of state secessions. He is funding both #CalExit and #Texit, but he’ll soon find these sputtering out with nowhere to go. The Article V Convention, however, has long been the goal of the far right to remake (i.e., destroy) the United States and purging it of dissident voices. Trump, of course, will need little urging to sign on to this. Conventional conservatives will help boost the process in Congress and state legislators, thinking they can control and guide the populist Trumpists who will really be in change. The Left, which has been pro-Russia and anti-America since the 1960s, will gladly sign on regardless; they mirror the strategy of German Communists circa 1932. It’s easy to see why Putin is currently thinking in terms of breakaway states: that is precisely what happened to the USSR in 1991. But once someone briefs him on the American Constitution and the Article V convention, he’ll shift strategies. Trumpists, of course, actually boast of taking orders from Moscow these days and will gladly accept the help. I talk more about that sort of convention here.
- We’re seeing a similar thing happen to the EU, only with them, the secessionist strategy will be their undoing, beginning with Britain. Far-right, populist parties that now openly side with Trump surge in most countries. They are also fueled by the massive Islamic immigration crisis — and they are correct when they accuse the Establishment of encouraging ever-more Islamic immigration at the expense of secular-Western civilization. People like Le Pen are not lying about their enemies. The Establishment really is degenerate and failing, which is why our politics are so revolutionary all over these days. I’ve said it before: it’s best to think of political revolutions less as the radicals overpowering the Establishment and more of the Establishment being too weak, incompetent, selfish, and/or short-sighted to survive. Suicide, not homicide. After all, there are always people ready to light the torches and march on the palace. They can only succeed when the palace is too weak to fight back. The Russian Revolution, the French, the Iranian, the Chinese, the National Socialist — all took over from decrepit, incompetent Establishments that really did deserve to go, even if what came immediately after was worse. The same may be said of the West.
- And the alt.right is not entirely wrong when they accuse our doomed Establishment of actively wanting to phase out white populations. I do see it all the time with coastal liberals, such as with the tweets of Buzzfeed writers. I don’t want to say much more about this because I don’t want to actually throw in with the Nazis, and to be honest, I personally have serious problems with white people because they have problems with me. I’ve never really been accepted by any white person, ever — starting with my own father. Black, Hispanic, and Persian people, however, never really had a problem with me or my eccentric mannerisms. One Dominican girl described me as “crazy enough that nobody will mess with you” on the streets of the Bronx, which was a hell of a compliment. White people, meanwhile, place enormous stock on the power and the joys of social exclusion. My white program director in residency was obsessed with destroying my career because I acted different. I never had white friends in grade school, only people of color. So much of white society is about expelling those who are different, mocking them, making them feel different, which is simply an alien concept for, say, black culture. (Would a complete weirdo like Kanye West have had even an ounce of his success if he were white?) But anyway. Rossalyn Warren, a more pure Establishment avatar than the combined boardrooms of Goldman Sachs and the New York Times Company, would love to see a brown America — just as long as they don’t live in her neighborhood. The alt.right is correct in this. As for me, unlike your typical Buzzfeed writer, I most definitely want people of color in my neighborhood. Have I mentioned that I live in Washington Heights?
- Whatever the mess, we will survive. There will be the war, yes, but there will also be the post-war period. Never forget this, no matter how bad it gets.
After Nov. 8, there have been a lot, and I mean a LOT of hot takes on which to blame for that election outcome: what some see as the virulent racism of virtually all white people, just looking for an excuse to keep women and minorities down; or the sneering, woker-than-thou political correctness of people who say “all whites are racist” triggering a backlash?
Bernie Sanders even went on record leaning towards the latter. This is actually no surprise — we all know which way he goes on the social justice vs. socialism spectrum. But is he right?
Michelle Goldberg put up some closing arguments that, I think, represent the last, best answers we’ll get to this debate. Yes, the social justice warriors have much to answer for; on the other hand, there really are plenty of racial, gender, LGBT issues that need addressing, issues that Trump voters might be less than entirely understanding of, even if they aren’t burning crosses in their spare time.
Here’s one great paragraph out of many:
“Campus leftists who formerly disdained free speech will learn its absolute importance when faced with a regime that attacks protesters, the media, and dissenting artists. [Something I’ve ranted about plenty of times — they never stop to think what happens if it’s a conservative defining “hate speech.” -FC] Perhaps progressive activists, newly aware of how many Americans reject their intellectual priors, will stop responding to clumsy questions with a sneering, “It’s not my job to educate you.” I’d like to see the language of privilege jettisoned altogether in favor of civil rights or equal justice, since the number of people who want to see their own privilege dismantled is vanishingly small. Maybe Everyday Feminism, the website that encompasses everything insufferable about social justice culture, will finally be revealed as an elaborate right-wing psy-ops campaign.”
It is the job of the Democrats to look after the disadvantaged, and boy have they royally screwed the pooch. With their preening and strutting about oh, look how inclusive I am, they arrogantly assumed that flyover-country whites would be shamed into voting for their candidates — never even entertaining the notion that such voters would rather tell our professional tut-tutters to go screw themselves.
But at the same time, as Goldberg notes, many Trump voters go further than understandable contempt of SJWs. They do not see any point to racial, gender or LGBT rights whatsoever. Old-fashioned, FDR-style politics simply assume the white male is the center of the universe, and many working class whites mourn its passing. Trump, along with the GOP Congress, will only be looking after the interests of the rich while the lives of these workers will get only more miserable over the next four years, but they just don’t care — they voted Trump specifically because they do not want to throw in with black people, feminists, gay people, or them thar’ city folks who don’t share their values.
If the Democrats want to see any point to their continued existence, they cannot surrender on the minority rights that really are so important for so many people. I do not foresee too many challenges to racist voter suppression laws coming from Trump, the Ryan/McConnell congress, or our next Supreme Court nominee, after all. Yet, they must also turn their backs on the SJWs with their odious moral hectoring and thought policing that’s worse than anything the religious right ever came up with. Maybe the 2020 candidate can speak plainly: I’m fighting for people of color, women, and LGBT people not in order to tell you how great and pure of a person I am, or because diverse city life is somehow better than rural Iowa life, or to pour Syrian refugees into your small town while at the same time calling you racist for resenting it. I’m fighting for the underprivileged because it’s simply the right thing to do.
In which I engage my mental superpowers to predict precisely what happens from here on out!
IOWA: Clinton holds out for a convincing, if unspectacular, win. Trump mops the floor with Cruz, whose second-place finish is universally described as “bitterly disappointing.” Rubio puts in a surprisingly strong third-place showing.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Sanders dominates, as expected. However, the media will then rush to instruct on how New Hampshire never picks winners anyway, and besides, Bernie’s from right next door. Nothing to see here folks, move along, Vox will solemnly declare. Trump wins again, as expected; Rubio, Bush, and Kasich roughly split second-place; Christie gets a devastatingly poor 5th and is forced to fold.
NEVADA DEM / SC GOP: The underreported NV caucus shapes the coming campaign for both sides; the media won’t ignore it in the future. Hillary rolls Sanders by roughly 15 points in NV. Bush rallies in SC for his strongest showing to-date, roughly splitting 2nd place with Rubio. The other “Establishment lane” candidates poll in the single digits.
SOUTH CAROLINA DEM / NV GOP: A lot of second-tier and lower candidates are history at this point. Dem side is now just Clinton and Sanders, the latter of whom gets trounced in SC. GOP side is Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Bush, and either Kasich or (less likely) Christie. A few deluded has-beens like Santorum and Carson may still be technically in the race, but will not factor in any significant way. Cruz’s and Kasich/Christie’s bad showings has everyone calling for their dropping out, although they probably won’t until after Super Tuesday. Most importantly of all, this is the first time Rubio tops Trump. Rubio has been trending upward in NV since October, and assuming Cruz implodes like Carson before him, Rubio has no reason why he can’t do well in this (relatively, anyway) Trump-skeptic state. The general consensus among media personalities is that the Dem race is finished. They will not be wrong.
SUPER TUESDAY: Or what is now called the “SEC primary” in more fashionable circles. Sanders is put out to pasture, winning only his home state of Vermont and perhaps one other. On the other side… I just can’t make any predictions. My hunch says that Trump will carry a plurality of the states, but not enough to decisively put away the competition. Rubio’s now emerging as the consensus anti-Trump, but he’s still getting dragged down by his competition, Bush foremost among them. Ironic enough that Jeb wound up being Donald Trump’s most reliable ally!
AFTER THAT: Clinton will be the Dem nominee. You didn’t really expect anything different, did you? On the other side, there are two likely scenarios: Either Trump wins, and someone like Jeb launches a third-party candidacy; or else someone else wins, and Trump launches the third-party candidacy.
Therefore, at the moment, for the reasons outlined above, combined with the heavy Democratic advantage in guaranteed blue states vs. guaranteed red states… the GOP committed electoral suicide when it gave up on California and New York, incidentally… anyway, I currently see no outcome other than Hillary Clinton taking the oath of office in less than a year.
Now, things do change in a hurry. If Trump were taken out early for whatever reason, and a GOP consensus could build behind someone else well in advance of Super Tuesday, I would be less sanguine about the chances of us Dems. And if Sanders were somehow able to pull off the upset of a lifetime, Michael Bloomberg would then jump in, and God knows what happens then. But at this point, with the disclaimer that we’ll be absent any major surprises or scandals, and with the disclaimer that I’m a confessed Bernie-bro, I’m (with those very important disclaimers!) calling it for Clinton in 2016.
Say what you will about the insanity of the Summer of Trump, but only the most stoic of political pundits can deny just how hilarious it was.
Presidential campaigns are usually focus-grouped to within an inch of their life. The biggest rule, even for the most wild-eyed extremist, is the same as it is with any big advertising campaign: don’t offend anyone. Present as gentle and cuddling of an image as possible, even if you’re a fire-and-brimstone social con like Huckabee or Santorum. Be as uncontroversial as a McDonald’s ad, lest the Washington media declare that you are melting down like Howard Dean.
Campaign rallies wind up being equal parts slick and utterly bland.
Not with Trump, though, oh no. He violated just about every political rule in the book, and each time defied all the usual hacks tut-tutting that this time he’s crossed the line.
Calling Jeb “low energy.” Sending Rubio a box of Trump-labeled bottled water. Reading out Lindsay Graham’s real phone number, causing the latter to publicly destroy his phone. (A flip phone! A sitting U.S. Senator in 2015 had a flip phone! The jokes write themselves!)
Making outrageous statements about immigrants and never backing down. Repeated feuds with conservative FoxNews and Megyn Kelly, often leaving Roger Ailes grovelling for Trump to come back. Trolling Kelly, Chris Christie, and the GOP itself in that first debate. And this line: “We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning.”
For sheer entertainment value, Trump delivered the gold, fascist or not.
And more importantly, his blowing up the primary process was ultimately healthy for the country and the GOP. Bush was exposed as the weakling and the fraud that he is, for if it weren’t for The Donald, Bush would probably have been installed as the nominee. The chaos ensured that candidates sticking by the usual boring rules would end in failure, like Scott Walker, and the strongest remaining candidates are the ones able to think on their feet. The weak have been culled from the field, no matter how much they spent on consultants and trainers. All because of that evilly joyous and uncontrollable drive of Trump’s.
But that manic energy is gone. Confident, Bush-skewering, laughing Trump is gone. And like the Joker, he is simply a shitty villain if he isn’t making us laugh, either with him or at him. He’s gone from trollface to rageface.
The turn came with the Paris attacks. Trump had to one-up the other GOP candidates calling for an end to accepting Syrian refugees, so what did he do? Start in with that insane lie about “thousands” of Muslims in Jersey cheering 9/11. And when called out on that, in typical Trumpian fashion, he doubled, tripled, quadrupled down, calling his detractors liars, not ruling out registering Muslim citizens X-Men style, closing down mosques.
Picking on Jebbie is funny. Bullying regular people is not.
Neither is listening him going on and on about petty, personal grievances like Sarah Palin always did at the tail end of her career. Does the Joker ever go on boring, whining tirades about how mistreated he’s been by Batman? No! He’s too busy devising his latest zany scheme to escape Arkham Asylum and wreck hilarious havoc once again!
The Joker works as a villain because there’s never a point in a good Joker story where you look up and say, “You know, this guy is just an asshole.” For a while, Trump had that same magic no matter how awful he was being. Now? He’s just another asshole.
I’m not going to predict the demise of his campaign, because that is a mug’s game as countless pundits have proven over the past few months. I have no doubt he’ll still be frontrunner for the next few weeks at least. But I will say that a boring Donald is a pointless Donald. Even the best sitcoms eventually become unfunny and need to be given the hook. Perhaps even some of his supporters should realize that Trump has served his purpose.
It’s slowly dawning to political writers that Trump represents nothing less than the rise of fascism, intentionally or not. For instance, here is digby writing for Salon:
“But ask yourself when was the last time you heard Republicans using the “F” word against someone running in their own party? I can’t remember it happening in decades… The CNN story goes on to interview various scholars who all say that to one degree or another Trump is, indeed, fascistic if not what we used to call “a total fascist.” Historian Rick Perlstein was the first to venture there when he wrote this piece some months back.” (The Perlstein piece is dated Sept. 30, 2015.)
Well, not to toot my own horn… well ok, I’m tooting that bitch for all it’s got, but anyway, here is my post comparing Trump to fascists from August 22, over a month before Perlstein. I was specifically comparing The Donald to the fascist or fascist-leaning parties in Europe such as France’s National Front or the Sweden Democrats, as well as the vaguely proto-fascist Know Nothings from our own history. My key point was this:
It is impossible to resist immigration in Western cultures without being labeled a racist, bigoted fascist. Therefore, in order to oppose immigration, even regular people must throw in with the real fascists.
Because just as Europe’s far-right parties have unsavory origins, the meteoric rise of Trump really began when he attracted the attention of America’s white-nationalist alt.Right, as I noted clear back in July. (Where’s that horn of mine again?)
It goes like this. Non-fascist people who are otherwise ordinary citizens are concerned about immigration. They correctly observe that the mainstream parties of their country are all pro-immigration, even the conservative ones. The mainstream conservative party might mouth some platitudes in their direction, but at the end of the day, they are just as committed to high levels of immigration from Third World countries as their liberal counterparts, if perhaps for different reasons. Such ordinary people try not to protest too loudly, lest they be smacked down with the charge of racism.
But then, something happens to bring the immigration issue to a head. Perhaps a terrorist attack. Or a particularly charismatic anti-immigration leader emerges. Or perhaps they are simply sick of their government appearing to care more about immigrants than about native-born working poor like themselves. Whatever the case, they finally make the break, stop fearing the dreaded R-word, and start voting for the local fascist party.
This changes things on both ends. For one, the fascist party learns to stop being scary and start acting more like a regular party, as National Front, Sweden Democrats and their ilk have slowly learned to do. But far more worrying is how it cuts the other way: as regular folk mingle with the white supremacists, it becomes more likely that they fall in with the latter, and the alt.Right’s ranks swell.
This has been how extremist political movements have grown throughout history. If the mainstream parties ignore voters’ concerns, then eventually they will give up and turn to the fringes.
There remains the question of whether Donald Trump the man has always been a secret fascist, or whether he just happened to stumble upon this role and is opportunistically running with it. But that’s really just an academic question. What matters is Trump is threatening to turn one of our two political parties into Jobbik, and politicians and writers should be asking themselves why this was possible.
Over at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum picks up on the symbiotic relationship between Donald Trump and the media. It extends beyond the debates, where his mere presence guarantees record ratings, especially for the offshoot channels like CNBC and Fox Business. It also goes to his frequent interviews, taking on all comers to get as much free exposure as possible. This goes to how Trump is managing to maintain his lead in this extremely crowded field.
You see, his poll numbers are directly related to how much free press he’s getting, and the more outrageous he’s being, the more free press he gets.
For the latest example, Drum notes that Trump’s offensive comments about Muslims — how he literally contemplates a national registry of Muslims, as if they are X-Men mutants — are not as stupid as they first appear. Whenever he pulls a stunt like this, he always enjoys a resulting bump in the polls from the frantic media coverage and tut-tutting of opinion writers on both sides of the aisle. I believe this is because Trump’s circus act appeals to two of his core constituencies — the alt.Right, and morons. (As an aside, people should not fool themselves into thinking these two terms are synonymous. Many alt.Right thought leaders are highly intelligent, from some writers at VDARE to Heartiste to Vox Day. They will all gladly tell you that all they care about is immigration, and couldn’t care less about Trump’s unconservative stances elsewhere.)
And the media benefits from the ratings and exposure. If Trump spouts off to Yahoo, for instance, the resulting coverage from all outlets will have to note this fact. “… Trump said in an interview with Yahoo News,” for instance. It’s free advertising for both Trump and the media outlet. Symbiosis at its finest. (Or foulest, depending on your point of view.)
Drum says that the media should stop doing this with “Republicans,” but really, there’s only one Republican candidate who’s the master of this. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio apparently are starting to catch on to this strategy of calculated provocation, but they will never be a natural the way The Donald is, with his decades of experience in the media spotlight. He knew instinctively from day 1 that outrage from liberals and mainstream conservatives alike is the rocket fuel for his campaign. The strategy is artificial and unnatural for Cruz and especially Rubio, however — and arguably blew up in Jeb Bush’s face when he gave it a try.
So, to answer Drum’s thesis: should the media really stop playing into Trump’s strategy? From a moral perspective, sure. But from a business perspective, absolutely not. If I were a producer for a show on FoxNews or CNN or Yahoo News, you better believe I would pursue Trump interviews with gusto, with calls to his media people daily if not hourly, and would take his calls and visits as often as he pleased. After all, my bosses at the network wouldn’t give two hoots if Trump were endangering minorities or the Constitution or what have you. All they would care about are the numbers, and Trump sure keeps his end of the bargain there.
Earlier, I celebrated the likely doom of donor-class poster-boy Jeb Bush by declaring how great it was to be wrong (for once in my life). I was earlier so convinced of his (and Clinton’s) win that I literally declared, “Jeb Bush will absolutely be the GOP nominee in 2016.” This was back in December 2014 but there was no reason to believe anything different. After all, I have never seen anyone but the Establishment pick for either party win the nomination. The Dems in 2004 and the Repubs in 2012 served as case studies.
Now don’t get me wrong — the eventual donor-class pick will still likely win. It’s just looking more like Rubio as big-time bundlers are fleeing the sinking Bush ship in favor of the new kid in town.
For a sobering counterpoint, here is this piece from Hotair reminding us to never, ever discount someone with the last name Bush, no matter how hopeless he looks right now:
“The best I can come up with for a victory scenario is that the modern Republican donor class always gets who it wants as nominee. The day will come when that’s no longer true, but until Jeb is officially out of this race, you bet against the favored son at your peril.”
The scenario he and fellow conservative Byron York lay out is essentially a retread of Romney 2012: The other candidates tear each other apart or self-destruct, and Bush is the last reasonable option by the time New Hampshire rolls around. Even Tea Partiers would conclude by then he’s their best shot against Clinton as opposed to either by-then badly damaged properties like Carson or also-rans like Rand Paul. After all, Jeb! is still sitting on that massive SuperPAC which can still carry along the lifeless corpse of his campaign, Weekend at Bernie’s style, in the mid-low singles until then.
That Bush is both a terrible politician and would be a terrible president is besides the point. The donor class is not used to not getting their first choice, and many will never desert Bush until his concession speech, no matter how much Rubio may surge.
Granted, he’s still a long shot. But the last time the Establishment didn’t get their first choice was freaking 1980. (Was Rubio even born then?) On the Democratic side, the voters got over their Sanders boomlet and are now toeing the line. There still remains a nonzero chance their Republican counterparts will do the same.
Quick hit: The media is characterizing Trey Gowdy’s obsession with Sid Blumenthal during his hearings as bizarre. I think he was cleverly making the most of a mediocre hand.
The supposed Benghazi non-scandal has always been a nothingburger, and repetition does not equate truth. Even the denser members of the GOP caucus are beginning to realize this. Also, Hillary has had many months of practice answering questions about the email servers. The damage has already been done at this point — unless the FBI is able to cough up an indictment, that issue is basically settled as well.
But the moral nature of the sort of people she chooses to surround herself with… oh no. That is much different. Gowdy is correct in his instincts that this is a more viable indictment of Clinton.
Anyone can and will be judged by the nature of the people they choose to surround themselves with. If a man’s four closest friends are all gangbangers, then it is not completely unreasonable to conclude that he is more likely than not to also be a gangbanger. If another man’s most frequent contacts are all pedophiles, then it should not shock an investigator if he too is found to have more kiddie porn stashed than Jared Fogle.
Similarly, if a politician’s top lieutenants are all invidious, odious bootlicks, chosen only for their loyalty at the expense of competence, it makes one question if the politician is anything better than a gang kingpin.
Granted, all political operations need hatchet men. I allow her (and Bill) a free pass on James Carville and John Podesta, as they are their versions of David Axelrod, Karl Rove or Lee Atwater. You just can’t win the presidency without a fixer (or three) willing to get his hands dirty. It’s not a pleasant fact of life, but it’s a true one all the same.
But that does not explain the other parasites she chooses to surround herself with. Blumenthal, eel-like and obsequious to the point of making Paul Wolfowitz seem warm and human by comparison. David Brock, a bizarre, misshapen little turncoat who triggers one’s uncanny valley phobic response. Huma Abedin, so reptilian it makes one wonder if David Icke was on to something. What do these individuals say about the person employing them?
UPDATE: I’m not alone. Here’s Rachel Maddow broaching the same subject. Hillary fobs her off with non-answers, but Maddow is absolutely right to be worried.
Someone asked if I was being just a bit mean to the presumptive Democratic nominee yesterday. After all, she was the clear victor in the Las Vegas debate last night. It showcased her warmth and humanity. Am I being too cynical? Or perhaps sexist?
First off, as I already confessed, I would vote for her in the general election if I lived in a battleground state. It would be about as pleasant of an experience as a root canal, but I would do it, if only because what her opponent will look like. And, whatever else I may think about Hillary, it would be a thrill to finally see a female commander in chief. I’m also the type of person who longs for a majority-female Congress and SCOTUS because matriarchy. So there’s that.
And, there is no question that Clinton benefited hugely from her chief opponent’s unwillingness to go after her. It’s just not in Sanders’ nature to attack members of his own side, not even in a primary debate. He even let her off the hook on the email servers in the biggest moment of the night, leading to the two smiling and hugging.
But all that says something about Sanders, not Clinton. He is not going to be the nominee and he knows it. This campaign is his swan song before he retires, the culmination of his career of economic liberalism, of speaking up for the little guy against the vested interests represented by people like, um, Hillary Clinton.
And the Republicans’ main Clinton Derangement Syndrome symptoms, the email servers and Benghazi, are the least relevant things about her. The Benghazi attacks are just moronic and in a saner world, would have been dismissed as such. (But the GOP clearly does not live in a sane world.) And the email servers do give us a hint about her Nixonian paranoia, yes; but on the other hand, as conservatives prove daily, her paranoia is at least partly justified. There really has been a witch hunt against the Clintons from 1993 on, despite the fact that Bill was the most conservative Democratic president since Grover Cleveland. Conservatives’ CDS dwarfs even their ODS, and that is saying a lot. Perhaps her bunker mentality is understandable.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem. Kick a dog around enough times, and it becomes vicious against everyone, and not just the abuser. Remember the time she corraled off the media like cattle? All of those reporters were her enemies, and not just the ones from FoxNews. How about when an average, random Iowan wants to meet her on the trail? He or she should prepare to be vetted more harshly than a Supreme Court nominee. Do you think it’s like that with Sanders? Would you rather be on his Secret Service detail, or hers?
And most importantly: would anyone care to disagree that she will make our endless wars worse, and not better? Tell me which presidential candidate from either side would be most likely to put boots on the ground in Syria. Tell me which candidate would most likely get us into a shooting war with Russia. Tell me which candidate would be most likely to occupy Iraq once again. She’s neck-and-neck on all these with the brother of the asshole who got us in this mess to begin with! And those will be our choices in November 2016!
So, I’m really not trying to sound like Sean Hannity around here with my tirades. And I really wish I were wrong about all this. But I don’t think I am. I fear we are in for a rather grim four years starting in 2017.
After the August GOP debate, I took a stab at describing that certain leadership quality variously termed gravitas, stage presence, “alpha-ness,” force of personality, or command aura. This is a quality that has nothing to do with a person’s politics, or intelligence, or their chances of winning the primary, or even whether they would be a good president. (LBJ was a disaster, but his arm-twisting dominance over others was legendary.) I listed off some names that have this presence, whether you like them or not, or whether or not they have any chance whatsoever: Trump. Christie. Fiorina. Carson and Walker, to some extent. Even Perry, if you squint as hard as he does.
And then we get to the servile non-entity who utterly lacks this quality, despite being guaranteed the nomination by the GOP’s ruling class.
I recommend this enjoyable hatchet job on Jeb Bush by the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, which asks the essential question: Why? Why on earth is this man, who wouldn’t earn enough respect to be an effective shift manager at Wendy’s if it weren’t for his last name, the presumptive nominee for the Republican party? Or more accurately, why has the GOP donor class, that oligarchy which picks the primary winner every election cycle, settled on this submissive little turd as their champion?
Because they really don’t have to. After all, look at what’s happening to Bush’s counterpart on the other side. At long last, and against my expectations, the Democratic establishment is finally figuring out that their selected candidate has all the charisma and the appeal and the welcoming demeanor of a trapdoor spider, and is considering subbing in Joe Biden. It is hardly a foregone deal yet, and Clinton’s flying monkeys are out raging in force as we speak; but at least the Dem powers-that-be are willing to consider that they were wrong in their first pick. Why can’t the GOP plutocrats do the same?
They already have Bush’s understudies, Walker and Rubio, fueled up and ready to launch. Biden would have to bootstrap a rushed campaign out of thin air; Walker and Rubio already have staff and ground operations in all the early states, have turned in decent debate performaces, and haven’t gotten obliterated by Trump yet. It wouldn’t take much effort to pivot to one of them. One mass email from Charles Schwab or George Schultz to the rest of the cabal is really all it would take.
But like Tomasky, I don’t see any evidence this will happen. Bush remains the presumptive choice of the plutocrats, and barring any massive change, he will accept the nomination at the convention. The mechanism is simple: as each lower-tier candidate folds, Bush will gain most of their voters. Each failed candidate will overtly or subtly nudge his flock to Bush in order to remain in the good graces of the party’s overlords, and by Super Tuesday (and likely before), his lead will be insurmountable. Trump will hang tenaciously on to his 25%, making him the unlikely Ron Paul of this go-around, and that will be that.
But why, exactly, the donor class remains so fixated on Jeb Bush remains a mystery to anyone but themselves. Of course, his last name certainly has something to do with it. And I can’t think of any other GOP candidate who would be as slavishly loyal to these people as Bush. His brother certainly was their faithful servant, after all, and Jeb appears far more submissive and pliant than even Dubya. Perhaps the oligarchs feel that they just need to send in a strong Cheney-like figure to be the real alpha dog of the operation, and to ensure Bush remains on point as the “front.” Perhaps they feel such kinship with the Bush clan that backing anyone else would be viewed as a kind of betrayal. Perhaps these old white men are just so set in their ways that they really can’t change their minds once they’ve made a decision. I don’t know.
But I do know that being an utterly subservient beta-male is no barrier to entry to an executive mansion. After all, Bush was installed as governor of a major state without too much effort. And while the White House has not hosted such a weak person as Jeb in recent memory, such luminaries as James Buchanan, Herbert Hoover and Warren Harding do serve as precedent. Perhaps Bush can feature them in his campaign literature.