Me and Bernie

Bernie Sanders (I, but really, DS, just like me, VT), is running for president, as you may have heard. He’s an interesting guy, and has many stances I agree with wholeheartedly.


In many ways, he’s the idea candidate, and would make a fantastic president! Seriously, it would be amazing to see him in the White House, with a solid Democratic majority in the House and Senate. The kind of lasting, positive change that could be created boggles the mind.

Here’s the problem: Bernie Sanders is almost 100% un-electable outside of Vermont. Having him as the Democratic party nomination would almost guarantee that we’d lose the general election. That’s assuming he can even get the nomination, which he can’t.

See, much as I like Sanders, I know he’d almost certain fail in the general election. Americans have a history of electing moderates. Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush (the first), Clinton, Obama, and many others were fairly middle of the road. The only times they’ve elected people who were to the extreme right (Reagan, Bush II), were when they thought they were electing moderates and got something very different. The only times they’ve elected someone on the extreme left…well, really, it’s only happened with Franklin Roosevelt, and then the country had about 33% unemployment and we were on the brink of an armed revolution.

Bernie Sanders is a proud socialist (which makes me wonder why he isn’t running for the Socialist party nomination, but never mind). Americans have no interest in electing a socialist, which says nothing good about our country, but that’s a different discussion. The public, who in general favor most of his position, would never vote for him because they think he’s too far to the left.

Now we do have to take a moment to explore that bizarre phenomenon. Most Americans are likely in favor of pretty much everything on that list up there. Most Americans agree that those are good things and should be done. Most Americans would also say that they’re centrists and wouldn’t vote for someone like Sanders. It’s a strange and unhealthy disconnect that we have.

But that’s even assuming Bernie could get to the general election as a Democrat. He can’t. He doesn’t have any of the money or endorsements that Clinton (who has earned all of her current status), has. That might sound like a minor thing, but it isn’t. It gives her a huge advantage heading into the primaries. It’s one of the major reasons that Joe Biden likely won’t run.

The poll numbers really tell the story. Much as the Sanders crowd likes to crow about how well Bernie is doing in the polls, the fact is that he’s severely behind Clinton at the national level. Just look at these numbers here. Polling not too far behind him is Biden.

So let’s consider. At the moment, Clinton has roughly 40% of the voters to Sanders’ 25.8%, with Biden at 20%. Once BIden officially says he isn’t running, which I believe will happen in the next few days, where do you think his supporters, who are establishment Democrats, are going to go? Will they throw their support in with Sanders? No. They’ll go to Hillary, and she’ll poll up around 55% with Sanders gaining maybe slightly to get to 30%. That does not a nomination get. That’s not even going to into things like his problems with any voters who aren’t white and middle class.

Now it’s not impossible that Sanders could get the nomination. If Biden announces that he’s not going to run and Clinton gets indicted for the email scandal (not gonna happen), then yes, Bernie might get the nomination. Maybe. More likely we’d see a surge in support for Webb or O’Malley. Sorry, Chaffee, but people raise an eyebrow at your Republican past.

It’s also not impossible that he could win the general election. If the Republicans somehow nominated Trump, or some right-wing lunatic like Cruz, then, yes, he’d likely stand a very good chance of winning. But that wouldn’t be because people support him; it would be because they’d be voting against the others.

Can you imagine, too, what a Sanders presidency would be like? You think it’s been bad with Obama, just wait until someone who actually is a socialist gets into office. The Tea Party would go insane, and the Republican-controlled Congress would stymie every single thing he tries to pass. Maybe he could get lucky with a Democrat sweep in the 2018 mid-terms, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Lastly, let’s take a moment to remember Howard Dean, and others like him who seemed like great candidates and appeared to be doing very well. These darlings of the left were fun and entertaining and utterly failed in the primaries. History is not on Sanders’ side.

Now all this said…I’m happy he’s running. He’s getting people interested in the election, and that’s good. He’s also forcing Hillary to track to the left, at least a bit. That’s also good! Further, it’s helping Hillary to be more prepared for the general election, and that’s no bad thing.

So support Sanders if you must. Be happy that he’s running. But make no mistake: it’s not going to happen, and hopefully he’ll be smart enough to drop out of the primaries early, support Clinton, and get her into the White House. If he then were to become Secretary of Labor, I’d be one happy camper indeed.

She Has, in Fact, Earned It

Our next president? Yes, please.

Our next president? Yes, please.

If you’re one of those whining Democrats who want to complain about Hillary Clinton and what a sub-par candidate she is, and, “Can’t we do any better? Like Elizabeth Warren! Or Bernie Sanders!” then fuck you, get a clue, and tune into Sanity FM.

There’s this odd perception going around that Hillary is somehow a terrible candidate, and she’s only getting supported, and not really very challenged, because it’s “her turn”. That she’s somehow just awful, and we could do so much better than her!

Really? Better than someone who was twice elected to the Senate, served one full term and part of another, before then becoming Secretary of State and serving in that position for several years? Better than someone who is connected to a former President who’s time in office was one of great prosperity and success for our country? Better than someone who really knows the political system, understands how it works, and can make it work for the benefit of the American people? Better than all that?

Hillary has earned every vote she’s going to be getting during primary season and if, when we get to the convention in 2016, her nomination feels more like a coronation, then that’s fine. She is, on paper, the best candidate the Democrats have fielded in decades. Better than Obama, Clinton, Carter and pretty much everyone after Johnson.

But being good on paper isn’t everything, it’s true. So we’re lucky that she’s also good in reality. She turned out to be one of the better Secretaries of State that we’ve had, and did a good job as a senator. Really, while Elizabeth Warren is an interesting choice, she isn’t as good on paper and lacks the experience that Hillary has. Also, she’s said repeatedly that she isn’t running, and frankly she’s excellent in the Senate, so let’s leave her there. As for Sanders, he isn’t even a Democrat.

None of this is to say that I’m keen on Hillary running unchallenged. I’d be quite happy to see someone on the left pop up and obligate her to moderate her hawkish tendencies a bit. She is also more conservative than I’d like, but frankly, so is Obama, and so were Clinton, Johnson, Carter, Kennedy, Truman and Roosevelt. In fact, we’ve never had a president as liberal as I want, and I’m ok with that.

Because, you see, we don’t tend to elect people who lean strongly to the left or the right. In this country, when it comes to our president, we generally prefer moderates. There have been outliers, like Reagan and George W, but for the most part, we choose fairly middle-of-the-road presidents, and when either party nominates someone who is obviously outside that, it tends to go badly for them (though usually more so for the Democrats).

Lastly, let me point out that Hillary is, hands down, the best, most likely person to win in 2016. Any Republican who comes up against her does not fare well, with the possible exception of Jeb Bush, and even he likely wouldn’t win against her. Also, let’s be honest, the woman thing doesn’t hurt. Much as Obama helped get black people out to the polls to vote for him, so Hillary will help with the female vote.

And it’s very important that we get a Democrat in office in 2016. Why? If for not other reason than the fact that Scalia, Ginsberg, Thomas and Breyer are all in their seventies or eighties. These are not young people. The next president will almost certainly pick anywhere from two to four SCOTUS justices, and I want that president to be a Democrat. Even if that Democrat is someone I disagree with sometimes, they’re still likely to be better than any Republican president.

So stop viewing Hillary with a vague sense of, “Fine, I guess I’ll vote for her if I have to, whatever, she’s no Elizabeth Warren, etc”, and start embracing her. She’s a strong, excellent candidate. The party has done, can do, and will do in the future, much worse than her.

And with that, my coverage of Campaign 2016 begins…

Gays and Foreign Aid

President Obama, who continues to enshrine himself as the greatest friend in the White House that gays have had since the days of James Buchanan, and Clinton (Hillary), have decided to tie certain kinds of foreign aid into certain gay rights issues.

In a memorandum issued by President Obama in Washington and in a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton here, the administration vowed to actively combat efforts by other nations that criminalize homosexual conduct, abuse gay men, lesbians, bisexuals or transgendered people, or ignore abuse against them.

“Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct,” Mrs. Clinton said at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, “but in fact they are one and the same.”

Well, this is great! I have absolutely no problem with this, aside from the faint whiff of hypocrisy that I always smell when something like this comes along. After all, until 2003, gay sex was illegal in many, many states in the USA. Gays still aren’t allowed to marry in most states, and there’s several states where gay adoption isn’t allowed.

Like with so many civil rights issues, it might take the USA a while to get on board, but once we are, we are fully. Consider that segregation was the law of the land in many places when my mom was a child. By the time I was in my teens, we were calling for sanctions against South Africa for the way blacks were treated there.

Of course, some people just can’t be happy about these things.

One Republican candidate, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, said: “President Obama has again mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles. I will not make that mistake.”

Only a moron would say that us telling other nations they can’t kill people for being gay and expect foreign aid is the same as our “endorsing” gay lifestyles. Then again, Rick Perry is a moron, as I think we’ve all come to learn over the last few months. I also laugh at this comment from him, given that I’m sure he was all in favor of our threats to cut off foreign aid for family planning if abortion was so much as mentioned.

The interesting thing is what this is going to do for some of our long-term allies, like Saudi Arabia, who certainly aren’t keen on the gays. While I think this is mostly targeted at nations like Uganda, I do look forward to seeing what other countries do in response.

Bye-Bye Biden?

We’re about a year away from the 2012 Presidential Election, and talk has come up lately about the idea of replacing Biden as vice-president, usually with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton being mentioned as the main choice for the new VP. I don’t know that this is likely to happen, as I know that Obama apparently quite likes Biden, but should it happen?

I’m inclined to say yes. I have no problem with Joe Biden; I think he’s done as good of a job as any VP can do. I think that if the unfortunate happened, he’d be a good president. But I don’t think he’s likely to run for president on his own in 2016, and if he does, I don’t know that he could win.

Hillary, on the other hand, strikes me as someone who is still interested in running in 2016. I also think she’s someone who could win, though it’s worth noting that she’d be 70 when inaugurated, the same age as Reagan.

Also, I think replacing Biden would be wise because, frankly, there hasn’t been a lot of turnover in this administration, and I think that it would help send a message of change were they to replace the vice-president. There’s ample precedent for doing so (think of FDR, who went through a different VP each term), and I think Hillary as the VP candidate would help bring out more voters, in addition to shaking things up within the Cabinet.

Of course, I don’t think this is actually going to happen, and if it doesn’t, that’s fine. Hillary has been an excellent Secretary of State, and were she to continue in that office for the foreseeable future, that would be. Plus, hey, historically that office has been a good springboard to the Presidency, so maybe in 2016, it could be a good one for her.

Clinton in the Congo

Hillary Clinton apparently lost her temper and flew into a violent rage the other day when someone dared to ask her about her husband! It was a horrible, aggressive scene leaving no survivors, rather like if Chuck Norris had a press conference!

You can find all sorts of news stories about this with titles like “Clinton Loses It”, “Clinton’s Temper Tantrum” and the like. But none of that will prepare you for the shockingness of seeing it yourself! Behold!

Oh. Hmmm. That actually seemed to me like a firm, but reasonable, reply from someone who is probably long sense fed up with people comparing her to her husband. I don’t see any rage, temper or even real anger, just her making no question about where things stand. How odd. From the way the media was reacting, one would’ve thought she murdered a man. Whatever could have lead to this kind of distortion by the media?

Oh, wait. It’s August.

Question for the Hillary Fans

So there’s a cynical bunch of people out there (not naming any names), who believe McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate partly, or entirely, due to the fact that she is, as you may have noticed, a woman. Can’t imagine why anyone would think that. This move would, in theory, help McCain to woo some of the former Hillary supporters who are disatisfied with her not being the nominee.

That in mind, I have a question for those of you who are or were Hillary supporters, especially women. The question is: does McCain picking a woman as his running mate matter to you? Will it influence your vote one way or another?

I’d love to hear some opinions! Well, read some, anyhow.

Unity At Last!

Will Rogers once said, “I belong to no organized party. I’m a Democrat.” He was pretty right about that. Getting Democrats together has occasionally been compared to hearding cats, though I think that might be somewhat easier.

Nevertheless, today we had a nice, warm moment for the party and the nation when Barack Obama and the Big Hill appeared together in the aptly-named Unity, New Hampshire.

They made all the little comments you’d expect, and generally passed out a bunch of warm fuzzies. There wasn’t a lot of substance to this particular appearance, but there was a lot of style, and a great chance to present a unified front. This is the sort of thing that, come November, will hopefully help us to get back into the White House.


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