Back in the day, we didn't (yet) have to worry about real horrors like Cruz and Trump. Instead, we had (let's see) McCarthy and the A-bomb. Our reaction wasn't to duck and cover as much as to switch over to Bob and Ray. Ray died sometime back; Bob left us the other day.
The New York Times , a digital mess of flashing, color (violet! pink! baby blue!), seems to celebrate the Cruz numbers and to declare Hillary, its chosen candidate, the credible winner with her point dot-dot-dot superiority. Trump took a well-deserved beating in Iowa, that's for sure. But the more interesting results come from the Washington Post/AP where in plain, humble, black print the Clinton/Sanders race gets a harder look in terms of what could actually propel a mere candidate into office: delegates. Sanders is not -- not yet, anyway -- an "also-ran":
Simon Head is an Oxford scholar whose interests lie in the area of money and politics in the US. About the Clintons? Read on.
Bernie Sanders has been giving Hillary some grief about her financial support and, as columnists point out regularly, Sanders' pot of gold --like that of the most recent winner over Clinton -- comes in large part from individual, small donors.
Sanders’s criticisms coincided with recent reports that the FBI might be expanding its inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails to include her ties to big donors while serving as secretary of state. But a larger question concerns how Hillary and Bill Clinton have built their powerful donor machine, and what its existence might mean for Hillary Clinton’s future conduct as American president. ...SimonHead,NYRB
Reading this pushes one immediately back into all the sticky moments the Clinton's have been giving us lefties from the questions about the financing of their first campaign right on through the funding of the Clinton presidential library.
What stands out about what I will call the Clinton System is the scale and complexity of the connections involved, the length of time they have been in operation, the presence of former president Bill Clinton alongside Hillary as an equal partner in the enterprise, and the sheer magnitude of the funds involved. ...SimonHead,NYRB
Part of the problem, of course, is the use of the word "enterprise" for the Clinton treasury. It just smacks of "corporation-driven interests" The magnitude of the corporate/Wall Street banks' share in the Clintons' campaigning really does need to be examined -- though, of course, it's not just about money flowing directly from the tills (ka-ching) but from "folks" who are former tillers of the American corporate world -- people like Bill Gates.
Still, Simon Head adds a reminder that should give us all pause when we come to weighing the pressures on a President Clinton (deux). He writes: "According to a February 2015 analysis of Clinton Foundation funding by The Washington Post, the financial services industry has accounted for the largest single share of the foundation’s corporate donors. Other major donors to the foundation have included US defense and energy corporations and their overseas government clients."
That's where many of us decide we can't support Clinton. We have that "been there, done that" feeling we experienced during the Reagan both Bush administrations. Simon Head goes on to hang out all the Clintons' benefactors in a row, in some detail. The list is pretty horrendous -- particularly for those of us who don't want more wars of choice. I'd like Glass-Steagall back, please. Ditto a polite distance of government from large private financial interests as well as from any others who profit from military action.
I don't think it makes any sense to plead that "Hillary wouldn't play those games." I haven't seen a clear sign of good judgment when the conversation turns to campaign funding. Hillary wants what she wants and will justify what she does to get what she wants.
About one half of one per cent of all registered voters in the United States—ninety-six per cent of them likely to be white, a hundred per cent certain to live in Iowa or New Hampshire—will now exercise their inalienable, God-given, legally mandated right to choose the Presidential nominees of the two parties. ...GeorgePacker,NewYorker
Grumble, grumble! It could be Idaho and -- say -- Texas...
We like partisanship. We roll around in its delicious glories. Me vs. you is so much more -- well, yeah -- sexy than me 'n' you! Packer goes on to remind us that at least one New York pol would disagree.
These disruptions have troubled the former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg enough to make him consider an independent candidacy. He disapproves of partisan primaries. An aide told the Times that Bloomberg thinks that Americans are seeking “a non-ideological, bipartisan, results-oriented vision.” He would spend at least a billion of his own dollars to find out. Nothing about the campaign so far suggests that he would get much of a return on the investment. ...GeorgePacker,NewYorker
No way. Fuck that! We like the spectacle of football players getting their brains fatally scrambled. We pay hard cash to get into movies where whole populations are annihilated by evil strains of flu. We carry guns and we use them by god to get our way. Or to bolster our conviction that we're "patriots."
Actually getting up earlier one morning to make sure we have time to vote? Are you kidding? You some kind of deviant? Or what?
"For the past painful year," the Times editorial board writes, "the Republican presidential contenders have been bombarding Americans with empty propaganda slogans and competing, bizarrely, to present themselves as the least experienced person for the most important elected job in the world."
Can't argue with that. The Republican party has gotten itself into a mess. Republicans have been unable to govern themselves -- much less, during their domination first in the House and now also the Senate -- to govern the country.
Democratic primary voters, on the other hand, after a substantive debate over real issues, have the chance to nominate one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history.
Hillary Clinton would be the first woman nominated by a major party. She served as a senator from a major state (New York) and as secretary of state — not to mention her experience on the national stage as first lady with her brilliant and flawed husband, President Bill Clinton. The Times editorial board has endorsed her three times for federal office — twice forSenate and once in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary — and is doing so again with confidence and enthusiasm. ...NYT
Don't get me wrong -- I think it's about time we cleansed ourselves of mean and silly qualifiers like race and gender for government offices (or just about anything else for that matter ). But character and experience are most important. In that respect I have a problem with Hil. The Times editors dismiss her connection with big money. But I can't. And even the Times comes down on her for that her cavalier decision to do some of the country's business from a private, penetrable email account. On the other hand, online snoops tend to get what they want -- thanks in part to the government's antediluvian relationship with technology that other grandmothers (other than Hillary, I mean) have mastered.
Probably the main reason so many of us are enthusiastic about Sanders is that he is unburdened by the sense of "I'm special" that emanates from all three Clintons in slightly different forms. The "steeliness" the Times attributes to Hillary Clinton is just what troubles me most. True -- it may be just what we want. After all, Obama was capable of steeliness in dealing with the opposition right through nearly two terms in office. In the end, his presidency has marked real progress in most areas.
So why has the Times made this declaration of support when the campaign is still in its early days? One commenter reflects the reaction I think many progressives are having to this early endorsement:
This endorsement reads like a joke. And an insult to progressives. Saying that Sanders supporters are the young and alienated middle class voters is, well, pathetic. Her experience on the national stage as first lady? Her brilliant and flawed husband? What kind of language is that? This is not 1993, it is 2016. A secretary of state who was unable to keep classified information safe is suddenly the best option to keep the country safe? A person who served on the board of Walmart for years, undermining unions and female workers is the choice candidate of the Democratic party? Someone who used her position in government to rake in millions in paid speeches for her husband? Really, who wrote this? It's a travesty of an endorsement.
The Washington Post has this:
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are locked in a statistical tie in the hard-fought and unexpectedly close Iowa Democratic presidential contest, a new Des Moines Register-Bloomberg poll found Saturday.
The respected survey found Clinton commands 45 percent of Democratic support and Sanders 42 percent. The poll of 602 likely Democratic caucus-goers has a margin of error of 4 percentage points, meaning Clinton's lead is within the margin of error. The survey comes three days before the first presidential voting of 2016 and reflects a late surge by Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont who was once considered a long shot here. ...WaPo
I'm willing to bet that the word "independent" is what gives the NYTimes a nasty itch.
... Nothing prepared me to live in a world where adult human beings would pay fifteen bucks to see Batman vs Superman and think it was a meaningful topic of conversation afterwards. Nothing ever prepared me for that, and I really don’t know what to say about it ...O'Hollern,Bad Attitudes