Young voters, please read this article in @HuffingtonPost: you won’t remember the shit that went down in the 90’s, but Bernie Sanders is free of all that baggage.
President Sanders? President Bernie? It seems unlikely, but is it really? The Goodman article makes the case that Bernie Sanders’ support is broad and far-reaching, his fundraising is good, and he’s gotten a lot more individual donors than even Obama’s record-breaking totals. That means that Bernie’s appeal is unexpectedly big, and the political media don’t cover the unexpected very well. So if he does well in his first 2 or 3 primaries, Hilary Clinton is not the inevitabilty of 2016, but more like the Inevitability of 2008. Which is kind of a sad thing because I think she would be a good leader, but her political baggage is always going to be there, standing at her elbow. Bill Clinton’s presence both helps and hinders her, and as much as I liked him and prospered during his presidency, I really don’t want a repeat of those 8 years of bullshit, craptastic “investigations” from the Right. I just want the country to get on with pressing matters, like global warming, repairing our crumbling infrastructure, and making our technology and manufacturing the best in the world again, instead of a hollow lie built by Chinese slave labor.
The Hufffpost piece by H.A. Goodman covers a lot of the essential background on the current crop of Presidential candidates and serves as a good primer for those of us whose memories of recent events aren’t as clear as they should be. It’s also worth printing out to give those of our acquaintance who just plain can’t be bothered to pay attention to politics until there’s a rah-rah-sis-boom-bahfest to get them out to vote for their team’s tribal totem-bearer. For those deliberately uninformed types, I suggest you roll up your printout and whack them gently about the noggin and suggest that they need to smarten up and vote right.
Gore’s loss in 2000 is also correlated directly to America’s fatigue with the Lewinsky scandal, even though Starr’s investigation was politically motivated and Gingrich also had an extramarital affair during the investigation. For Democrats, a Hillary Clinton presidency filled with future scandal could easily lead to a Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio ticket in 2020.
FATIGUE with the LEWINSKY SCANDAL. If you’re younger than about 25 years old, but will be old enough to vote in November 2016, you probably won’t remember HOW EXHAUSTING the political witchhunts were. And the Lewinsky scandal was just one little part of it, but the investigation, impeachment hearings, and breathlessly reported developments were never-ending.
I’d just like to unpack this one paragraph from the article, because it reminded me of what it was like to live through the 90’s, when President (William) Clinton was in office and the GOP Right Wing were constantly investigating every little conspiracy theory they could dig up out of the muck on Clinton. They hated him, and no rumor was too unsubstantiated for them to follow to ridiculous lengths in their desire to find something, anything, on Clinton that they could use to bring him down.
The 90’s were good to me personally, in the main; in the middle of the decade I finally met the love of my life, and moved to the Chicago suburbs to get married and get on with my suburban life. Some of my favorite television shows and movies (the ones that are part of my inner life, that I always return to for context and emotional reference) were on the air in the 90’s, and one of them led directly to my meeting my husband David.
And yes, the Clinton scandal-hunters even touched that show, and one of its spinoffs. One of the recurring stars of “Highlander: The Series,” Elizabeth Gracen, who later went on to be the star of her own (brief) spinoff had to be careful about appearing at fan conventions in the US because she was under subpoena by Kenneth Starr, who was leading the investigations of Clinton. Gracen denied it at first, but she had an affair with Clinton when he was governor of Arkansas back in the early 80’s. That was potientially a bombshell, but it it was a minor blip on the “Investigate and Impeach Bill Clinton For Something, Anything” narrative that the GOP Congress pushed at the time.
Gracen actually had to pass on appearing in person at the last big HL convention I attended, which was “Celebration” in April 1998 in Anaheim (which was a shame, because she deserved one last hurrah with people who enjoyed her character). She settled for appearing via satellite link as she was filming her show in Europe (which was a great way to avoid the investigation). An old post at alt.tv.highlander gives a good impression of what great fun that was, and how friends from all over the WORLD met each other (sometimes for the first time, sometimes as a reunion) to bond over a (stupid) television show. I was sorry and angry that she had to miss it.
Anyway, Elizabeth Gracen had to miss out on all of that; in fact, not long after her spinoff show was cancelled, she ended up declaring bankruptcy, which was probably related to her former association with Bill Clinton, and the anti-Clinton backlash that still festered in the US as the Bush administration began. You have no idea how tiresome and boring it all was, and maybe that’s the point: make politics so boring that people no longer pay attention to it. Until their votes are needed to elect assclowns, that is. Just add water, stir and shake well, and you have Instant Angry Pitchforks!
If Hilary Clinton is the nominee, she will probably be elected with a hard-right GOP Congress mostly in place (given the political realities of demographics, gerrymandering, and turnout), which means that we will all get to enjoy ALL THAT NONSENSE again. And you will get to experience it as an adult for the first time, but for me it will be like that long-awaited sequel of a beloved movie that turns out to kind of suck.
At least, if Hilary Clinton becomes President Hilary Clinton, Peter Segal will be able to reuse a throwaway joke from one of the earliest episodes of WBEZ’s “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me” radio quiz show. I’ve never forgotten that joke, because it was both funny and true. It may have been on an episode from November 1998 that featured the impeachment proceedings as part of the “Not My Job” segment, and I wish I could have found a clip but maybe someday… the gist of it was as one of the end-of-show “player predictions” for the next week’s news; either Peter Segal or Adam Felber quipped “And next week, Kenneth Starr will investigate ME for making THIS JOKE.”
Why do I remember a joke that is nearly 20 years old? Because it was funny, and it was true; we can all expect incessant Congressional hearings, investigations, RWNJ rumors, and endless roiling of HRC’s handling of Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. And many, many people will find themselves under subpeona who might shed “light” on her email server scandal, the suspiciously masculine cut of her pantsuits, and her subversively anti-family cookie recipes if necessary.
Out of self defense, we will have to laugh. Thank God John Oliver will be there for us, along with the WW!DTM! panelists. I only wish Jon Stewart will issue occasional biting commentary from his farm/animal refuge.
For what it’s worth, I really do not give a damn that Clinton (Bill) messed around on Clinton (Hillary). It’s none of my business as long as it didn’t prevent him from doing his job or open him up to blackmail by a foreign power. The Right’s obsession with morality, when they themselves have always been the least moral people in government, is one of their (many) failings. I don’t understand why people forget this, as it keeps happening and will go on happening as long as people are silly enough to vote these clowns into office.
Please, potential voters younger than me, you will need to know (since you probably don’t remember) that George W. Bush was more or less appointed by the Supreme Court in 2000, as the election in Florida was so messed up that the recounts had to be set aside by their fiat. Along with the infamous “chads” on their poorly designed ballots, Florida had screwed up on purging (mostly Democratic-leaning brown and black) voters, which a certain GOP governor didn’t start but certainly finished, and they also messed with polling times and places that affected black churchgoers the most. Ultimately, that meant that Al Gore was probably our elected President, but the election was ruined by Florida’s electoral incompetence, and who was governor of Florida then? No one other than Brother Jeb! who was aided and abetted by Katherine Harris, who was discarded after she was no longer hot, useful, and marketable.
President Obama has been something of a disappointment to me personally – I had great hope for him but his Hawaiian-style compulsion to seek “kokua,” or cooperation on matters of mutual interest meant that the GOP opposition could stop everything he wanted to get done except for the ACA in his first 2 years. I thought that a community organizer would, you know, encourage people to ORGANIZE to better themselves and their communities and Lord knows, he’s tried. Unfortunately, the Tea Party’s stranglehold on the alleged hearts and minds of a small but passionate subset of Cryptofascist-Americans means that the GOP is being led around by the trunk (or some fleshly appendage located farther South on the Republican Elephant in the room). Unless and until “low-information” voters get whacked with the facts by concerned friends and relatives, the Tea Party will continue to embarrass the nation in the eyes of the world (not that they care about the opinions of people who are NOT Cryptofascist-Americans).
So: Bernie Sanders. He has no Clinton I-era baggage, he won’t have any Clinton-II era baggage. He will Get Things Done, or Shake Things Up when he’s inevitably blocked by what I expect will be a GOP Congress full of foam-at-the-mouth religious nutjobs, thanks again to the stupid gerrymandering of Congressional districts. Please try to remember also to organize, organize, organize at the local level to get those state legislature ninnyhammers out of office. I know it’s not sexy or hip (currently) but please try to make it so.
Politically, he’s to the left of just about everybody in the Senate, and is rated about the middle of the pack in terms of “leadership” by GovTrack, meaning he’s co-sponsored a middling number of bills. Note that he bills he chooses to sponsor and the committee memberships he holds means that he’s doing a lot of thinking about issues that affect a lot of us “ordinary Americans.”
Bernard “Bernie” Sanders sits on the following committees:
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Budget
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Member, Subcommittee on Energy
Member, Subcommittee on National Parks
Member, Subcommittee on Water and Power
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Member, Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety
Member, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife
Member, Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security
Member, Subcommittee on Children and Families
Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Sanders sponsors bills primarily in these issue areas:
Armed Forces and National Security (27%) Health (18%) Labor and Employment (11%) Energy (10%) Education (9%) Government Operations and Politics (9%) Taxation (8%) Finance and Financial Sector (7%)
Some of Sanders’s most recently sponsored bills include…
S. 2399: Climate Protection and Justice Act of 2015
S. 2391: American Clean Energy Investment Act of 2015
S. 2398: Clean Energy Worker Just Transition Act
S. 2242: Save Oak Flat Act
S. 2237: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015
S. 2142: Workplace Democracy Act
S. 2054: Justice is Not For Sale Act of 2015
That’s like a progressives’ wish list, right there. I wish all of those bills would get enacted but it’s doubtful that they will. Thanks, GOP. About 97% of his contributions in this cycle come from individual donors, which speaks to his appeal to ordinary people, and not corporate interests that want to buy the election while evading taxes by offshoring themselves.
Sanders expresses himself clearly on the issues, and is refreshingly free of the political doublespeak that turns so many of us off:
It is beyond my comprehension how we can have a major party who deny the reality of what the entire world's scientific community is saying.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 4, 2016
Republicans win elections when people don’t vote, when they turn off from politics. Progressives win when people know what’s going on.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 28, 2015
Many young people are leaving school deeply in debt for what? For the crime of trying to get an education and make it to the middle class.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 30, 2015
So young people, take a good look at the old guy. He’s probably your best bet for the future, he’s someone we could trust to work for the common good, and he’s free of political and corporate baggage.
Although, if he’s elected, you can probably count on his being impeached for being a democratic (small-d) socialist (small-s), but that’s just Bernie being Bernie. The GOP would make complete fools of themselves denouncing him, and then how will they look if his policies benefit the country and the world? Pretty stupid, actually, and that’s something I’d love to see.