Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Madam Presidents

Hillary Clinton and Hugo Chavez, January, 2011
Hillary Clinton is being encouraged by some Democrats and Progressives, who are tired of having their interests sold out to the Republican handmaidens of the rich, to run in the presidential primaries against Barak Obama.

I voted for Hillary in the 2008 New Mexico Democratic primary. Barak Obama was obviously a corporate-owned hypocrite, and used too many cliches in his speeches. Many Democrats were impressed by what was called his "soaring rhetoric," and he does have a nice delivery, but of what? Not only did he use cliches and worn out phrases but he used them over and over. I heard him say "timeless creed" in at least two different speeches. Do we need a president, I asked myself, who will do that? Does he think we're that stupid, that we never heard that phrase before? Does he think we forgot it from the other time he used it? Did he ever read a damn book? Or does he just listen to old Ronald Reagan speeches on his Blackberry?

With Hillary you knew what you were getting, and I felt sorry for her for the way Republicans had attacked her all during her husband's presidency. I always thought it was she they hated, not him. That uppity woman. A threat to their already slender manhood. I was thrilled when she was elected New York senator. It was the one bright spot that night, when John Kerry acceded without one whimper to the massive vote rigging by Ohio's Republican secretary of state that swung the election in Bush's favor.

Hillary is an Imperialist, for sure, and a Neoliberal, economically. Recall her role, one of her first jobs as foreign secretary under Obama, in the coup that ousted Manuel Zalaya from the Honduran presidency. She would have continued Reaganomics. Her husband did more to push through Reaganomics that any Republican has. NAFTA, GATT, the end of welfare as we know it, etc.. There was no reason to think Hillary would be any different. But at least you knew what you were getting. With Obama, unfortunately, many people didn't. In the general election I voted for him, so I have nothing to say to anyone else who did, but I will not vote for him again. Will not. In the next fifteen months he could not make up for the betrayals he has committed so far, which would be my first condition, and I don't think he would crawl here from Washington and beg me for my vote, my second. The same conditions also apply to my congressman, who now wants me to vote for him for senator.

It's unlikely Hillary would run against Obama, and if she did it is unlikely she would beat him, and even if she did, it's unlikely she would win the presidency, recent history tends to say, as Jean-Sebastien Stehli points out in the French paper Le Figaro. Ronald Reagan tried it against Gerald Ford, the sitting president, and the result was that Jimmy Carter was elected. Teddy Kennedy tried it against Jimmy Carter, the sitting president, and Ronald Reagan was elected.

I saw this online during the 2008 campaign and it still makes me laugh

A better idea, says Alexander Cockburn, long-time The Nation columnist and co-editor with Jeffery St Clair of the influential Leftist newsletter Counterpunch, is to support whoever wins the Republican nomination. The problem with Democratic presidents, Cockburn points out, is that they buy off the Left, marginalize the Left, silence the Left. In fact there is a full time position in the White House just for that purpose, run by the man now running Obama's re-election campaign, Jim Messina.

Obama, like Clinton before him, was able to get more of the Reaganomics/Neoliberal agenda passed than Reagan or the Bushes could, Cockburn points out. From Obamacare, that big gift to the insurance giant, when he invited top industry executives into the Oval Office for private strategy sessions while freezing out any Progressive ideas like the public option or single payer, to the extension of the Bush era massive cuts for the already filthy rich in exchange for almost nothing, to the sly maneuvering by which he keeps putting Social Security and Medicare back on the chopping block, to this recent debacle which assures the continuation of the manufactured recession intended to drive down wages and living standards in America so the filthy rich can pocket even more than the record profits they are enjoying now. This was always the end game of Reaganomics -- the lowering of the American standard of living.The privatization, outsourcing, union busting, offshoring, contract employees, the attacks on the shared public sphere via attacks on public education and all other areas of government while the rich back out of paying their share for them, that is, the dissolution of a sense of community, of nationhood, and its replacement with the brutal every one for themselves/I've got mine to hell with you ethic, all were a part of it.

Cockburn, in arguing that we'd be better off with a Republican president, points to things like the fact that George W Bush's scheme to privatize Social Security was quickly defeated when a coalition of interest groups came together to stand up against it. That doesn't happen when a Democrat is in office.

But Cockburn fails to mention that Bush got us into two wars and packed the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary with right wing whack job judges who had to pass the right wing fascist Christianity test before being nominated, who as we speak are rewriting the law to give control of America to the corporations.

Cockburn was a good investigative reporter at The Village Voice and in his original The Nation columns until Katrina Vandenhueval came in and cut his column from two pages to one. Now he just writes opinion columns, and he has a schtick, which is to be the contrarian, and part of that spiel is to cozy up to Republicans now and then. He regularly comes up with some very good observations, things no one else notices, and he is very humorous. People love him but he often outrages people, and so his readership remains high, and he lives a comfortable life in a small town on the northern California coast.

But what about Hillary? Do we need to see her crash and burn? Would it guarantee a Republican president? And what would be so bad about that?

My hope is that Michelle Bachmann becomes president. The entertainment value of her relentless stream of outrageous, other-worldly, factually inaccurate statements aside, she would probably be chewed up by the media. She gets little respect from them now, and they would savage her so badly she could never get her message out. And this is besides all the mobilization that would take place among the Left, and the rapid disillusionment among her supporters. She would end up getting none of her extreme right wing agenda passed, so in those terms a president Bachmann would be much better than an Obama II.

But then again, there are those Republican Supreme Court judges she would appoint, who would gleefully join the current gang in rewriting campaign finance law and anything else that was meant to promote fairness and democracy, and all those right-wing Christian federal judges she would appoint, who, as we are seeing now, have been lining up for their chance to shoot Obamacare down.


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