Tag Archives: 2016 Presidential Election

Outsiders

The Hillary Hate Machine has been with us for over 20 years now.

As has been well-documented (here at my place and elsewhere), it has become a cottage industry for the right-wing media machine. The professional right has found it quite profitable to peddle Hillary Hate through a string of “documentaries” and book titles, and it’s natural that after decades of this bullshit, a good bit of it has filtered into the American consciousness.

Few political figures have been served up as a national punching bag so religiously and relentlessly as Hillary Clinton. That she hasn’t retired from public life but instead continued to push forward in the political arena, finally making history as America’s first female presidential nominee of a major political party, is a testament to her strength and resolve. This in itself is impressive.

I’ve heard every horrible thing one can say about Hillary Clinton: corporate whore, warmonger, cravenly ambitious, manipulative, crooked, incompetent — and that’s the nice stuff. Let’s ignore the lesbian, murderer, cat-killer stuff. I am really going to enjoy hearing what those folks have to say when Madame President serves out her two terms and ends up not be any of the things the far-left and far-right have said about her.

Yes, Hillary Hate is a real thing, has always been a real thing, and has now been turned into an actual profit center by the right-wing establishment (the Kochs, the DeVoses, the Vigueries, the Adelsons, the Perries …). We’ve got D’Nesh D’Souza’s “Hillary’s America” playing at the local multiplex in my neighborhood, despite the fact that his predictions in “2016: Obama’s America” were hilariously off-base. It seems there’s no shortage of financing for a right-wing smear campaign, no matter how outrageous.

It’s a technique rarely employed by the Left, perhaps because there is no “professional Left” of the same institutional vigor as exists on the right. Regardless, now that this strategy has been institutionalized and monetized, it will be used to attack every subsequent Democratic leader — indeed, it already has. God forbid any member of the Obama family should aspire to anything in public life after January 2017; if they do, expect the Wingnut Wurlitzer to be cranked up to full speed.

But where did the Hillary Hate start? It’s a question many have pondered lately. We’re a nation of short memories, after all. So, thank you, internet, for bringing us this old piece from 1996, which is now making the rounds. (Hat tip: I saw it over at DailyKos, a place I rarely visit anymore. Might have to change that…)

So let’s jump into our time machine and go back to 1996, a year many of today’s young voters don’t even remember. But I remember it well, and this article brings it all back. Remember the time when the right feared Hillary was a far-left Socialist? Remember the establishment’s disdain for her as a feminist, at a time when feminism was under attack? Of “Backlash” and the kewl kids saying, “I’m not a feminist but …”?

The fact that Hillary was a working woman reshaping the more traditional “wifely” role of First Lady, the fact that she had an office in the Old Executive Office Building and was concerned more about policy than china patterns, was enough to set the Sally Quinns and other Washington social elites off their rockers. And it’s tempting to say that Hillary Hate was just another piece of the anti-woman/anti-feminist “backlash” making its way through the culture at the time. I think there’s some truth to this.

But I’m also reminded that Hillary Hate really started as Clinton hate: Hill and Bill were the “white trash” outsiders, who thoroughly pissed off the Washington establishment with their brashness. The Beltway media hated them from day one, and wasn’t even self-aware enough to question why.

From 1996:

Speaking more generally, a close friend of the Clintons’ brings up yet another theory: “The President thinks that they are treated so harshly because he is ‘white trash,’ as he puts it. The way somebody put it is, Imagine Washington as a country club, and Clinton as the golf pro. They think he’s perfectly competent at what he does, they think he is a good guy. You want him to have a drink at your table with you and your friends, and maybe even come to dinner. But the golf pro is never ‘one of us,’ never a real “member.”

The Clintons were never one of the Beltway establishment, and yet they had the nerve to crash the country club. I vividly remember the tsk-tsking about Bill Clinton’s McDonald’s runs. Quelle horreur! For the record, we saw the same reaction when the Obamas came to power in 2008. They were outsiders, they weren’t part of the establishment, they were different. It’s really funny to see how the outsider Clintons became the establishment — even criticized for it in 2016 — but 20 years of public service allows one to build a network. The Clintons reshaped the Democratic Party in the ’90s, and it’s the party we have today: one of inclusion, one which brought us our first African American president and, God-willing, our first female president. This is something to be proud of. The outsiders are now the insiders and yes, it took 20 years, but this is how it’s done. Meanwhile, the Republican Party is imploding into a festering cesspool of rage and hate.

So the next time I hear someone tell me any of the dozens of awful things about Hillary Clinton that I’ve been hearing for the bulk of my adult life, it bears remembering where this vitriol comes from. The Clintons were originally outsiders, who came in and reshaped the political establishment. Upsetting the tea tray at a time when America was undergoing a cultural shift of its own sparked a good bit of backlash. That the right was able to sprinkle all of that with for-profit fairy dust and political opportunism only cemented the deal.

18 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton

Just Another Contractor Stiffed By Trump

I last mocked the USA Freedom Kids back in January, when I called them a “Hitler Youth/Bob Roberts mash-up.” Now Donald Trump is the one having the last laugh, as it appears they’re just another Trump vendor to get stiffed by the man himself:

The founder of viral pro-Trump tween singing group “USA Freedom Kids” now plans to sue the Republican presidential campaign for violating various unwritten agreements. The tween cheerleaders first achieved national fame after performing their song “Freedom’s Call”—with lyrics like “Deal from strength or get crushed!”—at Trump’s January rally in Pensacola, Florida. The group’s founder, Jeff Popick, father to the youngest member, claims it was at that rally that the campaign broke its promise for compensation; only to once again break financial and logistic promises at another rally at which they were scheduled to appear.

Honestly, you’d think Donald Trump would at least be trying to put to rest all of these allegations that he stiffs his contractors. But, no. It appears it’s business as usual at Camp Trump.

3 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, Music & politics

Modern-Day Watergate Break-In

[UPDATE] 2:

And now the FBI is investigating.

What the hell took so long? As I make clear in this post, it was revealed six weeks that Russian intelligence hacked not just the DNC but other political groups. Why are they only investigating now?

——————————————

[UPDATE] 1:

And then there’s this. I don’t agree that the emails show any corruption or even illegal activity. But again, it’s far more worrisome that Putin is trying to help get Donald Trump elected than that Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to help elect Hillary Clinton.

——————————————

Why is nobody concerned that the Russians are trying to influence the U.S. presidential election? Isn’t that the actual story here?

It’s been well-known for over a month that Russian hackers gained access to the DNC servers at some point and possibly had access for as much as a year. It’s been widely reported, everywhere from the Washington Post to tech blogs, that Russian intelligence was behind the hack. Indeed, the Washington Post reported that the Russians had access not just to the DNC system but all of the political campaigns, plus some Republican PACs.

At the time it was believed that:

The intrusions are an example of Russia’s interest in the U.S. political system and its desire to understand the policies, strengths and weaknesses of a potential future president — much as American spies gather similar information on foreign candidates and leaders.

So, just a little information-gathering exercise. You know, nothing to worry about.

But it appears to have been much more than that. With this strategically-timed “leak” just before the Democratic National Convention, it seems obvious that the Russians are trying to influence the U.S. presidential election. Trying to create chaos and divide Democratic voters by creating a wedge within the party and exploiting an already perpetually-aggrieved constituency known as the Bernie Sanders delegates.

To me, the fact that a foreign government is trying to influence our election with dirty tricks is far more worrisome than whatever mean things DNC staffers said to each other about Bernie Sanders in their emails.

I haven’t read all 20,000 emails but from what I have read, what we have are people pissed off at the guy who had just sued the party and set his social media attack dogs on Nevada delegates. Of course they were pissed. There’s no evidence of fraud that I’ve seen, just people tired of Bernie still going on TV and telling people he still had a chance to secure the nomination, in defiance of all logic and math. This kind of stuff is red meat to some Berners but it’s not the evidence that anything was rigged that they were hoping for.

What is worrisome is that this discord is being ginned up by a foreign government. There have also been revelations of Donald’s Trump’s deep financial ties to Russian investors and Trump’s top advisors “having spent years working in Putin’s orbit,” as Josh Marshall wrote. And I wonder how many RNC emails there are begging for anyone but Trump? Where are those emails? I’m sure it’s all a big coincidence, right?

Look, I’m sorry some Berners got their feelings hurt but grow up, people. The Russian government is trying to put their man in the White House and frankly, someone’s hurt fee-fees is the least of my worries right now.

13 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election

Be Afraid, America

Are you scared, America? I mean, really, really pants-shitting terrified? Donald Trump thinks you are, and if you’re not, well, you should be! You should be in fear for your lives, America. Scared of immigrants, and black people and Muslims and ISIS and crime and all that stuff.

It’s like Trump is stuck in the ’70s. And even David Brooks isn’t buying it:

[…] A law-and-order campaign doesn’t ask voters to like Trump and the Republicans any more than they liked Richard Nixon in 1968.

On the other hand, there are good reasons to think that this law-and-order focus is a significant mistake, that it over-reads the current moment of Baton Rouge, Dallas and Nice and will not be the right focus for the fall.

In the first place, it’s based on a falsehood. Crime rates have been falling almost without fail for 25 years. Murder rates have been rising just recently among gangs in certain cities, but America is much safer than it was a decade ago. In the first half of 2015, for example, the number of shootings in New York and Washington hit historic lows.

Trump dwells on illegal aliens killing our children. Between 2010 and 2014, only 121 people released from immigration custody later committed murder; that’s about 25 a year. Every death is a horror, but the number of police officers killed each year as a result of a crime is about 55, in a nation of over 320 million people. The number of police deaths decreased by 24 percent between 2005 and 2015.

The main anxieties in this country are economic and social, not about crime. Trump surged to the nomination on the back of his supposed business acumen, not because he’s a sheriff. By focusing so much on law and order, he leaves a hole a mile wide for Hillary Clinton. She’ll undoubtedly fixate at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia on economic pain. Trump could end up seeming strangely detached.

David Brooks is someone I’ve spent most of my life mocking but even he gets the problem here. I mean gosh, I’m so old, I remember when fear and negativity were considered bad things in a presidential campaign. Specifically, I remember being lectured about that back in 2004: Democrats were “too angry, too bitter,” also “angry,” especially Howard Dean, whose “angry veneer” damaged him. And yes, I get that anger and fear aren’t exactly the same thing, but they fall under the same umbrella: pessimism. John Kerry was too pessimistic, “a little rain-cloud follows John Kerry wherever he goes,” editorialized one outfit.

Remember “Pessimism never created a job”?

Conventional wisdom has always been that optimism beats pessimism, even Rush Limbaugh said it back at a time when people actually gave a shit about what he had to say.

So who is buying this “be afraid, America” message Trump is sending, especially in light of the cooked -up, cherry-picked factoids?

I honestly cannot wait for the Democratic convention and I sure as hell hope that it paints a vivid contrast to Trump’s doom-and-gloom picture of a scared America.

13 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election

The Gentleman From Indiana Has Me LMAO

[UPDATE]:

LOL. Guessing this marriage, like so many of Trump’s others, won’t last:

bash

It appears Indiana Gov. Mike Pence drew the short straw and is Donald Trump’s choice for VP. The irony that a fundie-gelical, “born again Catholic” is taking the second chair to thrice-married, “Two Corinthians” Trump is hysterical.

The idea that the “pro-gay” Trump would pick a guy who signed the country’s most anti-gay “religious freedom” bill, launching damaging and expensive corporate boycotts, is hilarious.

That Donald Trump, who claims he’d be terrific for women, would tap the governor who just signed a spate of anti-choice, anti-woman bills into law (including one requiring funerals for miscarried or aborted fetuses), is comical.

Honestly, I don’t see what Mike Pence brings to the ticket except to take a controversial, divisive figure off Indiana Republicans’ hands.

Anyone who likes Gov. Pence was already on board with Trump, no? Indiana is reliably red, no?

I don’t get it.

7 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Mike Pence

Problems With Symbols

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that a party which has turned dog-whistle politics into an art form has run into trouble with its use of a controversial symbol. But c’mon, guys. Just ‘fess up, apologize, say you screwed up, and get on with your lives.

I mean, really: a “Sheriff’s star”? That’s as hilarious as when Sarah Palin claimed those crosshairs on her ad targeting Democrats were “surveyor’s marks” after Gabby Giffords was shot.

Or that time the Republican Party claimed the Confederate Flag wasn’t racist, just “misunderstood.”

I think it’s pretty funny when the Republican Party uses these images and symbols and then tries to tell everyone that you didn’t really see what you know damn well they wanted you to see.

2 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Republican Party

Why The Berners Are Wrong

There’s been a long discussion about Bernie v Hillary in the “This Is Just Sad” comment thread, and while I’m sure everyone is sick of the conversation, this is my blog, so I get to have the last word. Tee hee.

Bernie has obviously lost the nomination, but there are still some true believers out there, the folks I call the Stalwarts. Most of those, I maintain, are people who never intended to vote for Hillary anyway and probably never will. They call themselves #NeverHillary for a reason. Alrighty, then. I really don’t see the need to play nice and give Bernie all sorts of concessions and basically coax and coddle the Stalwarts along. They call themselves #BernieorBust for a reason, too.

But here’s where I get to tell those folks why they’re wrong.

I’ve seen the Berner arguments against Hillary here, there, and everywhere. It’s all the same exact stuff, verbatim, whether it’s on my blog, on Bernie Twitter or in Facebook groups. So, let’s unpack this, shall we?

The Stalwarts’ main arguments come down to three basic things:

1) Hillary is corrupt/a corporate puppet/Wall Street whore;
2) The system is corrupt and only a “non-establishment” person can overhaul it;
3) I live in a Red State so my vote doesn’t matter anyway, so I’ll lodge a protest vote.

These are the most common arguments; I know there are others. Some Stalwarts may have a pet issue they deeply care about — Keystone XL, pensions, Wall Street reform, Israel, etc. If you are one of those people, then you do not want to vote for Bernie. You want Bernie in the Senate where that stuff actually gets addressed. I would maintain that Bernie has a very poor record of accomplishment during his tenure in Congress, but YMMV. The point is, Congress makes the laws and holds the purse strings. Not the White House.

Let’s look at the other arguments.

• Hillary the corrupt/puppet/whore. Facts not in evidence. And can we please stop calling powerful women “whores”? That is some sexist shit, and it needs to stop. Now.

These are the same Republican arguments I’ve been hearing for decades. I find it really amusing that people who call themselves left-wingers are so eager to parrot Breitbart/Broadside Books when it suits their needs. But I’m not surprised. The right-wing has turned hating the Clintons into a cottage industry for over 20 years. Remember “what will we tell the children?” This is what they told the children: the Clintons are sleazy, corrupt, whores, thieves, yada yada. This is how the conservative machine delegitimizes successful Democrats. I eagerly anticipate the coming smear campaign against Barack and Michelle Obama. God forbid either of them should aspire to achieve anything beyond the White House, right? Gotta poison that legacy.

Many of the Stalwarts were in grade school during the Clinton impeachment hearings. They internalized this messaging without even realizing it; it was fed to them with their morning Fruit Loops. So they drank the right-wing Kool-aid without even being aware of it. No wonder.

(Let me say: I am relishing how all of the main players from the impeachment days have finally gotten their come-uppances. The Clintons, however, have done just fine. Interesting, that.)

• The system is corrupt and we need a “non-establishment” person to overhaul it. Ah yes, this is a very popular talking point among the Stalwarts. After all, “I voted for hope and change and all I got was the same old stuff.”

Well, that’s not EXACTLY true, we did get the biggest advance on healthcare coverage in my lifetime. Obamacare has actually saved lives. We also got marriage equality for my gay and lesbian friends. We got pulled out of the worst economic depression in my lifetime. We got a lot of stuff: a changed relationship with Cuba, a deal with Iran, etc.

But if you’re one of these purity trolls who thinks that wasn’t good enough, that it was only half an enchilada not the whole enchilada, then pay attention: Obama ran for president because he wanted to change the way business was done in Washington. That was the big theme of the 2008 campaign. And he failed. He concedes that he failed. He promised what he could not deliver. And Bernie, too, will fail at this.

A big reason why is because the damn young people failed to show up to vote in 2010. Until the whiners and complainers remember that change happens when people show up to vote IN EVERY ELECTION, not just every 4 years, they will always be disappointed and change will always be a pipe dream.

The other reason is that these are deeply entrenched, long-established systems and institutions. Changing them will take a long, long, long time. No one candidate, no one president, no one election will do that. Change happens slowly and incrementally. That is reality on earth. Your not liking it doesn’t make it any less true. Take it from an old person who knows.

But the main point is, if you were disillusioned by Obama because reality didn’t match up to the campaign promises, then you would be extremely disappointed in Bernie. He cannot deliver on his promises. Obama couldn’t, and he can’t, either.

• I can lodge a protest vote because I live in a Red State. Just, no. Oh, how tired I am tired of hearing that. Yes, my state is deep red, but every vote still matters. Excuse me for pointing this out, but Donald fucking Trump is the Republican candidate, in case you hadn’t noticed. The Republican Party’s weakest, most divisive candidate in a generation. Republicans are fleeing the “look at my African American over there!” guy like rats off a sinking ship (a tired metaphor but unfortunately apt).

Trump is poised to give the Republican Party its final shiv, something which has been coming since the disastrous W presidency. This is an electoral game-changer, and there’s no doubt that some Red States could turn Blue this time around. Et tu, Utah?

This is truly unprecedented. The fractured Republican party has handed Democrats a big opportunity. Anyone who thinks they have the luxury of a protest vote at a time when any state could flip is a selfish idiot that I have no time for. Also, too, those “Clinton is the same as Trump” people. That is too stupid for words. If that is what you think, then crack a book sometime. Maybe read up on what happened in 2000 when 500 Stalwarts could have kept George W. Bush out of the White House.

So yes, I am right and you’re wrong. It’s my blog after all. 🙂 Also, I’m going to be super busy the next week or two so this may be my last post for a while. Thought I’d make it a meaty one.

13 Comments

Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton

This Is Just Sad

[UPDATE]:

He’s gone from sad to sadder:

Sanders could skydive into Calif. rally

Bernie Sanders could make quite the entrance at his rally Friday in Cloverdale, Calif.

Jimmy Halliday, the president at NorCal Skydiving, said he was told by Sanders staffers Thursday that they would offer the Democratic presidential candidate the option of parachuting into his rally, according to The Press Democrat.

“I’ve been told they will run the idea by Bernie,” Halliday said. “I can’t confirm that’s the plan. I know that’s a possibility.”

Halliday said a staffer for Sanders on Wednesday asked about the use of his facility. On Thursday, Halliday did a tandem jump with a Sanders campaign team member.

What the actual fuck? Your campaign donations at work.

————————————————————

Watching the steady decline of Bernie Sanders has perhaps been the most disappointing political drama of the 2016 presidential campaign. This is what happens when you stay at the dance too long: your makeup starts to run, you get holes in your stockings, the corsage wilts.

Bernie started out with a tremendous amount of good will on the part of pretty much everyone, myself included. We all respected him, admired his stance on issues of income inequality and reigning in Wall Street and the big banks. But man, shit got ugly, fast.

It started with the attacks on the presumptive nominee, and his ludicrous claim that he was only losing because the primary was rigged. Now he’s just outright lying.

I just can’t respect anyone willing to squander their reputation, their career in public service, and their supposed belief system on what has clearly become an exercise in ego-gratification. And it makes me really sad, because six months ago I really liked Bernie Sanders. I respected him. Now, I’m ready to donate to his Democratic opponent for the Vermont Senate.

I went from “I like Bernie Sanders, I really do,” back in January to advising Bernie supporters to

…stop looking for a silver lining if the worst President in American history took office…

and instead

…get busy and start working to elect like-minded people to Congress and state legislatures. Take over the Democratic Party, if you think you can. If that sounds too boring and establishment for you, well, sorry. That’s how change happens. Not by hoping things get so bad for so many that they finally “wake up.”

But that was back in March. By May I was saying that Bernie’s campaign is “increasingly resembling a cult, a dangerous and creepy one.”

Six months in I’ve gone from calling myself a proud progressive to saying I want nothing to do with progressives, who by all appearances are thin-skinned, reality-challenged denizens of a cult of personality.

Stephen Stromberg nailed it when he observed,

But the truth is that Sanders does not deserve a movement, and his losing campaign does not deserve unusual deference and concessions. His tale about American oligarchy is simplistic, his policy proposals are shallow, his rejection of political reality is absurd, his self-righteousness and stubbornness are unbecoming. And, yes, he has lost.

You’ve lost, Bernie. And the longer you and your supporters stay in denial about this, and try to eke out concessions over some non-existent leverage you think you have, the more of a national joke you become. That doesn’t just affect you. It affects your supposed “movement,” the left-wing of America’s liberal party. You’re doing real damage with this nonsense, the kind of damage that sets back the progressive agenda for years. I predicted this back in March and it appears to be happening.

Stop it.

45 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Bernie Sanders

Choose Your Enemies Wisely….

… for you shall become just like them:

Boehlert

Gee, whatever happened to single payer healthcare and free college tuition? Now it’s Fox News “scandals” and regurgitated conspiracy theories. Nice revolution you have there.

8 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Bernie Sanders

Berning Down The House

What to do with a problem like Bernie? He has no chance of winning the nomination and yet he keeps telling his supporters otherwise. There is no “Bernie Sanders movement,” just the same wealthy, white liberal arts college elites and Hollywood lefties who have always represented the ideological far-left.

He and his surrogates are ginning up resentment and discord on the left, stoking those ideological fires that have unfortunately refused to spark a revolution. But still they won’t quit. They are increasingly resembling a cult, a dangerous and creepy one.

Why? Because the purpose of Bernie Sanders’ campaign is not to elect Bernie president. The purpose is to tear the Democratic Party down to its studs so it can be rebuilt in their Socialist image.

Jamelle Bouie nailed it months ago when he astutely observed that Hillary Clinton is running to lead the Democratic Party while Bernie Sanders is running to remake it.

And I hate to break to the DNC but no, “seats on a key convention platform committee” are not going to make these people happy. Nothing short of a complete overhaul of the Democratic Party back to what they see as its “New Deal ideals” will suffice. Bernie doesn’t want to be president so much as he wants to burn down the house.

I’m not sure this is the way to do that. I’m not sure death threats and lost elections are going to accomplish that goal. But keep dreaming, Berners.

14 Comments

Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, Democratic Party