Tag Archives: change

Robo-Rubio repeats nauseating, vastly overrated talking point ad nauseam

Rubio comes under withering criticism in Republican debate

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made mincemeat of Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio during last night’s Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate, which is ironic, given that Christie very most likely won’t be the party’s nominee but that thus far Rubio, whose retrograde rhetoric greatly appeals to the party’s adherents, has been polling the best against both Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in general-election match-up polls. 

General-election polls this far out from a presidential election can be only so accurate (that is, probably not all that much), but nonetheless the Repugnican Tea Party traitors probably should be shaken, not stirred, that Chris Christie last night did to Marco Rubio what the Hulk did to Loki in “The Avengers” and what Joe Biden did to Paul Ryan in the 2012 vice-presidential debate.

Rubio, for all of his flaws (such as his complete lack of real substance and his apparently just having stepped out from a time machine from at least as far back as the 1950s), was doing better in the polls against both Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders than was any other Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe.

Real Clear Politics’ average of general-election match-up polls (polls conducted before last night’s debacle) right now puts Rubio at 5 full percentage points above Billary and even 1.5 percentage points above Bernie.

Rubio is the only top-three (Rubio, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz) Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate whose RCP averages show beating Bernie, in fact; Bernie beats Cruz by 1.5 percent and he beats Trump by a whopping 7.7 percent.

(Billary, on the other hand, not only does worse against Rubio than does Bernie, but she also doesn’t do as well against Trump or Cruz as does Bernie; Cruz beats her by 1 percentage point in RCP’s current average of match-up polls, and she beats Trump by 4 percent to Bernie’s 7.7 percent. Take a look yourself.)

Before Chris Christie, who won’t win his party’s presidential nomination, last night went Hulk on Loki Rubio, Rubio’s shtick of being the next (albeit Latino and Repugnican Tea Party) Barack Obama apparently had been working, given the fact that he had been doing better in the presidential match-up polls than anyone else in his party.

I’m not sure what happened to Rubio last night, and I didn’t watch the debate (having watched all five Democratic debates has been torturous enough, mainly because of the repetition and because of Billary Clinton’s plethora of lies, deflections and triangulations, made with her voice that is like fingernails dragging along a chalkboard), but Rubio widely has been described as having been in last night’s debate like an animatronic feature at Disneyland that, because of a glitch, kept repeating the same line.

The first time he said it, per TIME.com’s transcript of last night’s debate, Rubio said this:

“And let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.”

He immediately added:

“That’s why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America. When I’m president of the United States, we are going to re-embrace all the things that made America the greatest nation in the world and we are going to leave our children with what they deserve: the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”

Then Christie spoke, and among the things he said was this:

“I like Marco Rubio, and he’s a smart person and a good guy, but he simply does not have the experience to be president of the United States and make these decisions. We’ve watched it happen [with Obama], everybody. For the last seven years, the people of New Hampshire are smart. Do not make the same mistake again.”

In his response to that, Rubio bizarrely repetitively stated (in part):

“But I would add this. Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is trying to change this country. He wants America to become more like the rest of the world. We don’t want to be like the rest of the world, we want to be the United States of America.

“And when I’m elected president, this will become once again the single greatest nation in the history of the world, not the disaster Barack Obama has imposed upon us.”

Christie devastatingly responds (in part): “You see, everybody, I want the people at home to think about this. That’s what Washington, D.C., does: The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him.

“See, Marco — Marco, the thing is this: When you’re president of the United States, when you’re a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn’t solve one problem for one person.

“They expect you to plow the snow. They expect you to get the schools open. And when the worst natural disaster in your state’s history hits you, they expect you to rebuild their state, which is what I’ve done.

“None of that stuff happens on the floor of the United States Senate. It’s a fine job, I’m glad you ran for it, but it does not prepare you for president of the United States.”

Quite bizarrely, Rubio responds to Christie a third time with the Obama thing; he says, in part, “Here’s the bottom line: This notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Christie immediately responds, “There it is. There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody.”

Unfazed and undeterred, Robo-Rubio goes on for a fourth iteration of the same point: “Well, that’s the — that’s the reason why this campaign is so important. Because I think this notion — I think this is an important point. We have to understand what we’re going through here. We are not facing a president that doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows what he is doing. That’s why he’s done the things he’s done.

“That’s why we have a president that passed Obamacare and the stimulus. All this damage that he’s done to America is deliberate. This is a president that’s trying to redefine this country. That’s why this election is truly a referendum on our identity as a nation, as a people. Our future is at stake. …”

Just: Wow.

Donald Trump later in the debate took issue with Robo-Rubio’s repetitive asssertion that the evil Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing by stating, “I think we have a president who, as a president, is totally incompetent, and he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Two very different views from two individuals who claim the same party.

I agree that Barack Obama didn’t have enough experience to be president. He’d only been a U.S. senator for four years before he ascended to the White House and had never been a governor or even a mayor, of course.

That he spent — squandered — his first two years in the nation’s highest elected office acting as though he were so special (a second coming of Abraham Lincoln or something) that he could unite the two parties in a rousing rendition of “Kumbaya” demonstrated his utter lack of experience in D.C. (and his hubris).

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. never were going to cooperate with Obama, not only because he uses the label of Democrat but also because he’s half-black. In fact, it’s anachronistic of me to write that the “Repugnican Tea Party traitors” in D.C. never were going to cooperate with him, because the “tea party’s” creation, circa 2009, was a reaction to the election of another Democratic and our first non-all-white president.

The “tea party” surge of 2009 and 2010 lost the Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2010, and therefore any progressive agenda that Obama might have tried to push through for the next six years was pretty much dead on arrival.

And I blame Obama’s lack of political experience and his pride for that, for his apparent belief that he’s so great that his merely being president would solve all of the nation’s problems (and its wounds, such as its long-standing problems with racism) to the point that he didn’t need to even try to push through a progressive agenda in 2009 and 2010, when he still had a shitload of political capital, including both houses of Congress in his party’s control.

But I voted for Obama in November 2008, so I have to own that. It was a shot in the dark, I knew, to put this relative neophyte into the White House, but he ubiquitously and relentlessly was promising “hope” and “change,” and sometimes these things work out well. It was, I’d figured, worth a shot.

I digress, as I so often do, but I will note that while the Repugnican Tea Party’s complaint against Obama is that he has gone too far to the left, my chief complaint against Obama is that he hasn’t gone nearly enough to the left.

But the larger point that I want to make is that so often the style and not the substance (such as it is) of Marco Rubio’s nationally televised appearances is analyzed.

For instance, there was some criticism that the substance of Rubio’s nationally televised response to Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address was overlooked because on live TV he’d grabbed a water bottle and taken a swig from it — as though we couldn’t see him do that on live national television. It was a rather bizarre moment.

“Yes, let’s look at the content of Marco Rubio’s speech,” I blogged then, and I concluded that Rubio’s central shtick is to pretend that we’re still living at least as far back in the 1950s, when, as least the mythos goes, anyone could make it in the capitalist United States of America if he or she only tried — so if you’re struggling right now, it’s entirely your own fucking fault as a patently defective individual, because the American socioeconomic system is perfect, is a perfect meritocracy.

This was the origin of my nickname of “Bootstraps” for Rubio, although that might have been supplanted now by “Robo-Rubio.”

Rubio, like his fellow Cuban-American fascist Ted Cruz, mindlessly spouts the antiquated, bullshit rhetoric of the Cuban fascists whom the much more egalitarian Fidel Castro decades ago induced to flee to the United States, where their treasonous, right-wing, fascist, pro-capitalist/pro-exploitation/pro-plutocratic/anti-populist philosophy could thrive.

(I concluded my blog post on Rubio’s response to the 2013 State of the Union address:

And I agree wholeheartedly: It’s not about the little water bottle that Marco Rubio grabbed during a live national television address.

It’s about the fact that no one who asserts that we still live in a time that, if it ever existed at all, ceased to exist decades ago, is fit to lead.

You can lead only if you are planted firmly in the present and in the problems of the presentnot if you’re still stuck in an episode of “Leave It to Beaver” or “The Andy Griffith Show.”

I stand by every word of that.)

If the “substance” of Rubio’s response to the State of the Union address was lost amid the shallow discussion of his on-air parchedness, I’m also not seeing a discussion of the “substance” of the “point” that Rubio thought was so damned clever and so fucking insightful that he kept repeating it over and over and over and over and over again last night, even after Chris Christie had just slammed him for only standing up there and repeating it mindlessly.

So let’s examine Rubio’s first iteration of it:

“… And let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.

“That’s why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America. When I’m president of the United States, we are going to re-embrace all the things that made America the greatest nation in the world and we are going to leave our children with what they deserve: the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”

First and foremost, I see in Rubio’s words his constant hearkening at least as far back to the 1950s; anything that Obama or any other president might do that doesn’t keep the United States of America firmly trapped in amber for eternity is bad. It threatens “the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”

And those words evoke Robo-Rubio’s second theme, which is that of American “supremacy,” which to me is way too aligned with white American supremacy, but you can get away with alleging American supremacy because that can be cast as patriotism rather than as racism and bigotry.

But Robo-Rubio’s words are awfully loaded: “Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.”

What Rubio very apparently is evoking, especially within his older, whiter and richer voters, is the specter that their exploitative, exclusive, Elysium-like existence has been threatened!

Americans’ quality of life, in which even most poorer Americans still have it better off than do billions of other human beings around the globe, and which comes at the expense of those billions of other human beings around the globe, might be threatened — by global equality! Global equality! Did you hear me? I said: GLOBAL EQUALITY! HORRORS!

What if our wholly unsustainable, materialistic, overly consumeristic lifestyles were threatened? What if we actually had to live like responsible citizens of the planet? What if we actually had to scale it back so that other human beings and, indeed, the planet itself, could survive?

One shudders to contemplate the consequences of us Americans surrendering even a modicum of our abject selfishness — even when our abject selfishness is to the point that it is threatening even our own continued survival, such as with extreme weather events and the spread of diseases to warming environments, such as the Zika virus.

Rubio’s “vision” for the Unites States of America is fairly clear: “Obamacare” bad. Not because it doesn’t go far enough, not because “Obamacare” contains in it nothing that the wealth-care — er, health-care industry didn’t want in it — which is my criticism of it — but because to help anyone with health care at all is bad.

The stimulus — bad, because, as we have just established, helping anyone out (except, of course, the weasels of Wall Street and other corporate weasels) is bad. (Bootstraps! Pick yourself up by them! Oh, you don’t have any boots? That’s because you’re lazy!)

Dodd-Frank, which was just a Band-Aid on the dam that is Wall Street, the dam that regularly bursts, is bad, because the Wall Street weasels should be allowed to do whatever they please. (Why do you hate freedom?)

The deal with Iran — bad, because, a la George Orwell’s 1984, we must always have an enemy. The treasonous rich (the true enemy, within) can continue to rape, pillage and plunder us commoners much more easily if we commoners always have an enemy from without to focus upon.

So, as president, Robo-Rubio would make sure that we commoners don’t get adequate health care — or any assistance at all, because, you know, bootstraps — and he would return Wall Street to the freedom-loving weasels who keep ruining our nation’s economy but whom we keep bailing out nonetheless (bootstraps don’t apply to the Wall Street weasels, you see; I mean, when have you ever seen a weasel wearing boots?). And for our diversion, a President Bootstraps would ensure that we were at war with some other nation at all times.

And the last thing that a President Bootstraps would allow is global equality, a grave evil that only Satan himself could have conjured.

Because Robo-Rubio has vision!

If you think that I’ve misrepresented Robo-Rubio’s “vision,” here is another of his many iterations of the same point last night:

“… I think anyone who believes that Barack Obama isn’t doing what he’s doing on purpose doesn’t understand what we’re dealing with here, OK? This is a president — this is a president who is trying to change this country. When he talked about change, he wasn’t talking about dealing with our problems.

“Obamacare was not an accident. The undermining of the Second Amendment is not an accident. The gutting of our military is not an accident. The undermining of America on the global stage is not an accident. Barack Obama is, indeed, trying to redefine this country. We better understand what we’re dealing with here, because that’s what Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders want to double down on if they are elected.”

Well, yes, Obama has tried to change the nation, very incrementally, too incrementally (as Billary now proposes to do), but with change you have to ask who benefits from it and who doesn’t. Of course Robo-Rubio’s target audience — the mostly older, richer, whiter set — benefits the most from the status quo. The majority of the rest of us Americans, and the rest of the world, do not.

Again, Obamacare was but a Band-Aid on the severe problem that the United States spends more per capita on health care than does any other nation yet has worse health-care outcomes than do many other nations that spend much less on health care — and this is because health care is so widely for-profit here in the U.S.

Yes, we need to change our health-care system. Obamacare didn’t go nearly far enough, but Bootstraps and his treasonous ilk claim that it went way too far.

The Second Amendment is not endangered. Most Americans still may quite easily purchase a weapon that is far more lethal than anyone thought weapons ever would be when the Second Amendment was adopted.

Our military has not been “gutted.” This graph, titled “Top five countries by military expenditure in 2014. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies,” is from Wikipedia’s article on global military spending:

If the United States of America halved its military spending, it still would exceed No.-2 China’s by a significant amount.

So when Robo-Rubio claims that “When [Obama] talked about change, he wasn’t talking about dealing with our problems,” who, exactly, is “our”? Because the things that Bootstraps wants to reverse and/or to continue — such as maintaining a bloated-beyond-belief military budget and perpetrating perpetual warfare; refusing to help Americans with health care, even in a token way, such as via Obamacare (while bailing out the Wall Street weasels who should receive prison sentences instead of welfare); and ensuring that gun massacres continue to happen on a regular basis (because Second Amendment!) are things that are harmful to us commoners.

I will, however, agree with one statement that Robo-Rubio made last night: Bernie Sanders, if elected as president, probably would “double down” on trying to create the change that Barack Obama promised but very mostly has not delivered, the kind of change that Bootstraps Rubio and his fascist ilk absolutely abhor: the kind of change that benefits not only the most Americans as possible, but the most human beings on the planet as possible — instead of keeping the relatively tiny few safely atop their treasonous, oligarchic perches of stolen wealth and power and privilege, from where they shit and piss upon the rest of us, the masses, and from where they conspire even to destroy the entire planet itself, because their short-sightedness, selfishness and greed know no bounds.

P.S. I just found this news photo via Yahoo! News:

MR12. Londonderry (Usa), 07/02/2016.- People depicting robots mock Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio's performance at the 06 February Republican debate; outside a Rubio campaign event at Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire, USA, 07 February 2016. The New Hampshire primary will be held on 09 February 2016. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

EFE (Spain) photo

Its caption states: “People depicting robots mock Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s performance at the February 6 Republican debate, outside a Rubio campaign event at Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire, [today]. The New Hampshire primary will be held on [Tuesday].”

Yup. Methinks that his debate performance last night is going to harm Robo-Rubio on Tuesday. Right now he’s polling at a distant second to Donald Trump in New Hampshire, but now, I’m thinking, he’ll come in no more than at third place.

Rubio’s chance of winning the nomination suffered a serious blow last night, and he probably was the best presidential candidate his party had in these shallow times, where legions of low-information voters decide so many elections.

Thank you, Chris Christie!

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The Obama years 7/8 the way through: He’s been our caretaker in chief

Note: I’ll probably be tinkering with this post over the next several days (mostly, adding new thoughts and new points and details). After all, it’s difficult to include everything significant that transpired (or didn’t transpire) in seven years of a presidency.

Obama's executive actions could open a door for successors

Associated Press photo

President Barack Obama is shown above in Washington, D.C., on December 10. Salon.com writer Walker Bragman has deemed Obama “the first liberal (not progressive) Democrat to be president in years,” and that’s probably an apt short summary of the Obama years, if by that Bragman means that Obama has espoused liberal ideals but has done little to nothing to move the nation forward to ensure greater socioeconomic equity and greater opportunity for all (which is progressivism).

In November 2008, when I went to my polling place, it was going to be Barack Obama or independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader* whose oval I would blacken with my ballpoint pen on my paper ballot to be scanned.

In the end, I voted for Barack Obama. He would win my state of California and all of its electoral votes anyway, and I was happy to be one of the millions of American voters who had the opportunity, for the first time in the nation’s history, to vote for a presidential candidate who is not a (full) white man. That was long past due.

I strongly had supported Obama over Billary Clinton in the primary. I’d donated hundreds of dollars to his campaign to help him knock Billary out of the primary, which he did.

But I didn’t support Obama over Billary because he’s half-white and half-black. I supported him over her because I’d believed his ubiquitous presidential campaign promises of “hope” and “change.” I viewed him as the most progressive yet still viable presidential candidate (as I view Bernie Sanders now). That is why I supported him in the 2008 Democratic primary and why I voted for him in November 2008.

I believe in actually holding an elected official to his or her campaign promises, and so when Obama spectacularly squandered his huge amount of political capital in 2009 and 2010 by trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress who never were going to cooperate with him in the first place because he’s a Democrat and because he’s half-black, I was incredibly disappointed.

In 2009 and 2010, when both houses of Congress were in the Democrats’ control, Obama could have accomplished a lot more than he actually did. He pushed “bipartisanship,” which always had been a non-starter, instead of pushing a progressive agenda.

And in 2009 and 2010 getting “Obamacare” pushed through Congress took all of the oxygen in the room, and, in the end, “Obamacare,” supposedly Obama’s “signature” “achievement,” apparently contained nothing that the lobbyists for the wealth-care industry didn’t want it to contain. (Indeed, “Obamacare’s” individual mandate requires everyone to have health insurance; what mostly-for-profit industry wouldn’t love such a requirement?**)

Then, in November 2010, the Dems lost control of the House of Representatives, and then, in November 2014, they lost control of the Senate (and lost even more seats in the House).

There are at least a few reasons for those losses, including the incredibly shitty “leadership” of Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but I still believe that had Obama pushed the progressive agenda that he at least indirectly had promised with his “hope” and “change” slogans, the Democrats would have kept the House and the Senate.

Indeed, it primarily was Obama’s dithering in 2009 and 2010 that lost the Dems the House in 2010, I believe, thus crippling any progressive agenda for the remainder of Obama’s two terms, since the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress have held on to the House since January 2011.

Since January 2011, with the House controlled by the Repugnican Tea Party traitors and the White House controlled by Obama, we’ve had nothing but even more gridlock, and since both houses of Congress fell to Repugnican Tea Party control after the election of November 2014, Obama was guaranteed a final two years of more whimper than bang.

I give Obama faint praise for being the first U.S. president to jump on board with same-sex marriage in 2012, although that was overdue and was coming sooner or later anyway. And as with Billary Clinton, it did take Obama a long time to “evolve” on the issue, even though the U.S. Supreme Court this past June finally ruled that same-sex marriage is a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Something is a constitutional right or it is not; the recognition of a constitutional right might be denied and delayed for even generations, but nonetheless it remains a constitutional right, and further, constitutional rights are not up for a vote or even for a public-opinion poll. Again, same-sex marriage inherently was a constitutional right long before the foot-dragging U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled that it is, so yes, Obama fairly led from behind on that issue; history led Obama more than Obama led history.

(That said, I can’t imagine that Obama’s having been the first president to voice his support for same-sex marriage wasn’t a significant factor in the U.S. Supreme Court finally following suit three years later. Wikipedia notes that Obama’s second inaugural address in January 2013 marked “the first time that a president mentioned gay rights or the word ‘gay’ in an inaugural address.”)

I applaud Obama for his work in opening up Cuba after decades. It’s beyond ridiculous that a Latin American nation 90 miles away from the United States should remain locked in a perpetual cold war with the U.S., which is what the right-wing traitors have wanted.

However, as I wrote a year ago, Cubans have much more to lose in closer ties with the United States than vice-versa. (As I wrote, “would it benefit most Cubans for American corporations to muscle back into the nation and turn most Cubans into wage slaves, like most Americans are? … Are Cubans really just itching for such wonderful imported American ‘freedoms’ as crushing student-loan debt, wage slavery and bankruptcy from insane health-care costs?”)

Obama’s other notable accomplishments include seating our first Latina or Latino U.S. Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor, in 2009, and, with the seating of Elena Kagan in 2010, Obama gave us the first Supreme Court with three female justices (we need at least one or two more of them).

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 also was an accomplishment, even if it again seems that history led and that our politicians finally caught up. Ditto for the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010. (And it’s hard to say that the abolishment of something hateful and unconstitutional that never should have been instituted in the first place is an “accomplishment,” but we’ll call it one, I suppose.)

Obama hasn’t been able to accomplish enough on climate change, in no small part because his dithering in 2009 and 2010 lost the Democrats control of Congress. And with “Democrats” like the former Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, Big Oil, with its Big Money to politicians who sell us out to them, combatting climate change remains a political mountain to overcome.

But/and on that note, Obama was stunningly ineffectual in confronting British Petroleum when its underwater oil well belched an estimated 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over almost three months in 2010. It was his first huge test of his campaign promises of environmental protection, and he failed miserably.

Perhaps at least in part because of his failure to deal with the BP oil disaster effectively, Obama did veto the Keystone XL oil pipeline earlier this year, in what Wikipedia calls “his first major veto.” That would be in the “plus” column of Obama’s environmental record, but overall, has Obama done enough in combatting climate change and otherwise protecting the environment? Of course not.

Profound income inequality persists under Obama. It’s yet another critical national problem that became fairly insoluble after the Dems lost control of Congress in the election of 2010, and it’s ironic that the nation’s first (half-)black president has done so little to improve the lot of black Americans (who, for the most part, support him steadfastly nonetheless, apparently more out of identity politics than for his actual accomplishments for them).

Obama hasn’t done a lot more for black Americans for many reasons, that I can tell. One, he’s never wanted to come off as an “angry” black man, knowing that he couldn’t have won the presidency had he done so. (I can’t say that that has been his fault, but that that has been the cards that he has been dealt in this still-racist nation.) Two, Obama was raised by his white mother and her side of the family, so his experience growing up was different than has been the experience of most black Americans. (That’s not some sort of a slam; it’s just the truth as far as I can discern it.) And three, again, after the Dems lost the House in the election of 2010, Obama’s ability to do much for black Americans and other Americans in need was seriously weakened anyway.

On foreign policy, which could be its own blog post — and I think that a heavy focus on foreign policy too often is just a distraction from our disastrous domestic policies — I need only point out, I think (aside from my earlier remarks on Cuba), that while 9/11 happened on the unelected “President” George W. Bush’s watch, the United States has not sustained a large terrorist attack from abroad under Obama’s watch.

So desperate have been the uber-hypocritical Repugnican Tea Party traitors to try to claim that Obama hasn’t kept us safe from the Big Bad Terrorists that they have focused on the four Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012, while they wholly ignore the fact that almost 3,000 Americans died on 9/11 and that more than 4,000 of our troops died pointlessly in the unelected, treasonous Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust, unprovoked and wholly bogus Vietraq War.

Those 7,000 or so deaths on George W. Bush’s watch are nothing, you see, but those four deaths in Benghazi on Obama’s watch are everything. (Indeed, racism is behind this; a white, right-wing president is responsible for thousands of preventable deaths of Americans — almost 2,000 Americans, disproportionately black Americans, died in Hurricane Katrina in 2005, so we can add them also to the body count under George W. Bush — and he is excused, yet four deaths under a black president is an inexcusable travesty!)

Obama also received less public praise than George W. Bush would have received had 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden been exterminated by Bush when he still occupied the White House instead of by Obama in 2011. Don’t get me wrong; the whole bin Laden extermination affair remains fishy (pun intended), as bin Laden would have been more valuable alive than dead, and the supposed disposal of his body in the ocean was unnecessary and, dare I say, weird and therefore suspect.

The Middle East remains a mess, of course, and while I always have opposed Obama’s use of killer drones, and the use of killer drones in general (and the United States’ over-militarization in general), the bloodshed in the Middle East on Obama’s watch has been much, much less than it was on George W. Bush’s.

(If you say that Well, 9/11!, then I say that On August 6, 2001, while he was on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Bush had been given a presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” Um, yeah. [Similarly, there had been plenty of warning that Hurricane Katrina might hit land and kill scores of people. Bush in effect had been issued a presidential daily briefing titled “Katrina Determined to Strike in US,” but he ignored that warning, too. After all, on the day that Katrina made landfall, he was too busy celebrating John McCainosaurus’ 69th birthday in Arizona.)

I acknowledge, of course, that the president of the United States of America can do only so much, that much is beyond his (or her) control, such as congressional gridlock and the separation of powers (which would include a center-right U.S. Supreme Court that has done such things as pick George W. Bush as president even though Al Gore had won the presidential election of 2000 and proclaim that corporations have the First Amendment right to make unlimited monetary contributions to political campaigns [corporations are not people and therefore don’t have First Amendment rights that even actual people don’t even have].)

But given Obama’s limitations of the presidency, I still don’t see that he much tried to deliver very substantially upon his promises of “hope” and “change,” and that would be his fault. He has had some restrictions, we must acknowledge, but has he maximized what he has been able to do around those restrictions? Methinks not.

And yes, of course Obama has been head and shoulders (and torso and legs) above the unelected George W. Bush, but I refuse to allow Bush II to have set the bar for the presidency that low; besides, he never legitimately was elected anyway, so, although death and destruction (including the collapse of the nation’s economy) were the result of his having stolen the 2000 presidential election, I don’t really even count Bush. He never should have happened in the first fucking place.

An aggregate of historians’ (and political scientists’ and political pundits’) rankings of the U.S. presidents puts President Obama at No. 17 out of 43. (Obama is called No. 44, but Grover Cleveland had two non-consecutive terms as president, and thus is called our 22nd and our 24th president, so we’ve actually had only 43 presidents.) Obama ranks in the top half, but for “hope” and “change” I expected much better. (George W. Bush, if you were wondering, ranks at No. 34, in the bottom 10, where he belongs, although I’d put him lower. Ronald Reagan ranks two notches above Obama, with which I disagree, and Bill Clinton ranks three notches below Obama.)

Obama’s race has never mattered to me. While history probably will most remark that he was our first non-all-white president, to me his presidency mostly has represented squandered opportunity; to me he mostly has been, at best, a caretaker in chief. I came to that conclusion no later than the close of 2010, when the Democrats lost the House.

And that is why I could not bring myself to vote for Obama again in November 2012. (I voted instead for the Green Party presidential candidate, which is something that I’d done before and something that I would do again; I owe the Democratic Party nothing.) I’d felt quite punk’d by those ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change,” and to continue to vote for politicians who don’t follow through on their campaign promises is only to contribute to even more such broken campaign promises. If there is no penalty, how will it stop?

That and I knew that in November 2012 Obama was going to win California and all of its electoral votes anyway. (Yes, many Americans, ignorant of how their own nation and government function, don’t understand the Electoral College, under which if you live in a solidly blue or red state, as I do, your vote for president pretty much doesn’t count; we need a popular vote for the presidency, just as we have for the governorships, for the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate and for every other elected office in the nation.)

I still believe that Obama, although overall he has been a rather disappointing, rather lackluster president, more of a caretaking president than a groundbreaking president, has made a better president than Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton would have, and because my principles haven’t changed — among which, I don’t support Democrats in name only, as that doesn’t solve the persistent problem of Democrats in name only — I cannot and will not support DINO Billary Clinton in any way.

(Again, if she wins the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, she’ll win all of California’s electoral votes in November 2016 anyway, regardless of whether I vote for her or not, so save your misinformed, dead-wrong assertion that if I don’t vote for DINO Billary I have helped whomever the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate will be.)

So Barack Obama goes out in his final year not with a bang, but with a whimper. Already we’re looking ahead of him, with incessant media coverage of Donald Trump and to a lesser degree Billary Clinton.

I began with words from Salon.com’s Walker Bragman and I’ll end with more of his wise words:

… If Hillary gets the nomination, and is elected, she will inadequately address the problems this country faces, [problems] that are angering people, by negotiating from the center/right and then moving right as a compromise, to give us mere half-measures or quarter measures. I fear, given her New Democrat background, that she will likely use social programs and financial reform as bargaining chips.

I strongly believe that Hillary will kill the momentum that has been generated over the last eight years by Barack Obama, the first liberal (not progressive) Democrat to be president in years – and that will do more damage to the Democratic brand than four years of a Republican president would do to the country.

I am not saying that four years of a Republican would not be worse for the country than four years of Hillary in the immediate; I am saying that four years of Hillary will do more long-term damage by prolonging the Democratic realignment. [Absolutely agreed.]

Americans want real change – and they’re looking to the Democrats to provide it. But if we only put a Band-Aid on issues like the wealth gap and financial reform, which is essentially Hillary’s plan, Americans will not be satisfied. As much as politically minded people remind us that change is slow, what Hillary offers is too slow. Her kind of change is weakness.

If the New Deal taught us anything, it’s that unprecedented sweeping government action can happen quickly. FDR achieved significant reforms within the first hundred days of his presidency. Hillary’s supporters have not learned from Obama’s biggest blunder: negotiating from the middle with opponents on the far right. These people insist that we have to just keep making slow progress because all we can hope for are small gains.

They point to the weakness of the Democratic Party since the 1970s as evidence of their position. However, this is a common misunderstanding of history and the lesson of the Democrats’ decline from the 1970s to the 2000s. …

Yup.

FDR is listed as the second-best president on that aggregate of presidential rankings that I mentioned (he’s just behind Abraham Lincoln). Again, Bill Clinton is ranked at No. 20. We don’t need another President Clinton.

We need another FDR, and the closest that we have to that is Bernie Sanders.

*I had voted for Nader when he ran as the Green Party presidential candidate in November 2000, something that I’ve never regretted, and it’s not my fault that Americans just allowed BushCheneyCorp to steal the 2000 presidential election. They should have been rioting in the streets over that treasonously, blatantly stolen election, but they did not. And, of course, Team Gore should have fought much, much harder than it did instead of wanting to appear to be above the fray.

**My general stance on health care is that it is a human right and that no one should have to pay for it (or, minimally, that it should be free of cost to those whose annual income falls below a certain amount) and that health care never should be allowed to be delivered on a for-profit basis. “Obamacare” did nothing, to my knowledge, to solve the overarching problem of health care having fallen victim to profiteering, to greed — and thus having become wealth care.

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Ted Rall is no racist; the Obamabots, on the other hand…

Updated below

Progressive writer and editorial cartoonist Ted Rall has been labeled — and libeled — as a “racist” over at Obamabot Central — er, at the Daily Kos.

It’s sad and pathetic.

I don’t know Rall personally, but I’ve been following his work for more than a decade now, and I can say that he’s no racist.* I have most of his books (I’ve read at least a few of them from cover to cover) and have read many if not most of his columns and editorial cartoons over the past decade-plus, and if I’d ever had a whiff of a hint that he harbors racist beliefs/views, I would have stopped reading his work a long time ago.

The “evidence” of Rall’s “racism”? He draws Barack Obama — poorly! (Um, he draws everyone poorly — I like Rall’s writing more than I like his cartoons, the concepts of which I like better than their artistic execution.) And Rall colors Obama a shade of tan or brown! 

Horrors!

“President” George W. Bush got no better treatment from Rall, who often if not usually portrayed Bush unshaven and in a military dictator’s outfit and with snot (the result of cocaine use, I presume) coming out of his nose:

Rall often drew Bush in what one might deem to be a simian fashion, as Rall has been accused of depicting Obama. (Since we’re all primates, since we all resemble our simian cousins to some degree, charges of the intentional simian-ization of another really need to be grounded. [Depicting one with a tail or with a banana or swinging from a tree, for instance, would be such grounds…])

Anyway, the way that Rall has depicted both George W. Bush and Barack Obama has not been exactly flattering. But Rall is an editorial cartoonist. It’s not his job to flatter, perhaps especially not his job to flatter the most powerful politician in the world, the president of the United States, whoever it is at the time.

I could argue, easily, that President Barack Obama has been even worse than “President” Bush was. I mean, at least with Bush, we knew what we were getting; we knew what to expect. Bush started off by stealing the presidential election of 2000. How, exactly, was it going to get better from there?

President Hopey-Changey, however, started off by winning a presidential election, fairly and squarely — through his ubiquitous, relentless promises of “hope” and “change.”

We progressives weren’t sure what to expect. Might this new political rock star actually deliver?

We took the chance on Obama, and alas, he has not delivered — he hasn’t even substantially tried to deliver — on his campaign promises, and who knows how many young Americans Obama fired up over the political process in 2008 but turned off from politics after his incredibly unremarkable, lackluster-at-best presidency? (The Occupy movement certainly wasn’t about what Obama was doing, but was about what he’d promised to do if he were sent to the White House but once actually was in the White House refused to do.)

How do you gain back that trust? Can you? Ever?

That might be, in the end, Obama’s largest sin: causing the political disengagement of an entire generation of Americans to whom he very apparently fucking lied, repeatedly and over a long time, in order to gain the highest elected office of the land.

Is anyone, perhaps especially if he or she is white — like I am — who actually holds an elected official accountable to his or her own fucking campaign promises — who actually does that before-and-after comparison — a “racist” if he or she points out that the elected official has not fulfilled his or her own campaign promises if that elected official is not white? Is that it?

What is the difference between hating everything that emanates from Obama largely or even primarily because he’s part African and loving everything that emanates from Obama (or, at the very least, excusing everything that emanates from Obama, including not only his inexcusable, utter inaction on such progressive priorities as fighting poverty, reducing the bloated-beyond-belief military-corporate complex and its colossal budget, and stopping environmental degradation, but also even illegal and unconstitutional secret governmental spying upon the masses and slaughter by killer drones) largely or even primarily because he’s part African?

Aren’t both stances steeped in racism? Don’t both stances make Obama’s racial composition the thing about him that matters the most?

Wouldn’t it be racist to expect less of Obama than we would expect of a white president who had campaigned as a progressive? (On that note, as I have rhetorically asked before, wouldn’t an actually progressive white president, perversely ironically, have been much better for black Americans, as a whole, than the do-nothing, center-right Obama has been?)

Ted Rall has been critical of Obama because of Obama’s wrongdoings and Obama’s refusal to be the progressive president that he relentlessly promised the nation he would be — and that he could have been, the Obamabots’ myriad of poor excuses and pathetic apologies notwithstanding.

Rall has not been critical of Obama because of Obama’s race.

Those so-called Democrats or liberals who pillory actual progressives like Ted Rall don’t do themselves or their “cause” any favors.

Obama lost votes from 2008 to 2012, not only in terms of the percentage of the popular vote, but in terms of actual number of votes.** His approval ratings right now hover only in the upper 30s to low 40s.

Had Obama been the president he had promised he would be, he could have, I think, done even better in 2012 than he did in 2008, and his approval ratings would be much better than they are.

Where does the Democratic Party stand right now?

Well, let’s just say that I can see the faux centrist Chris Christie, if he can make it out of the Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary season alive, fairly easily beating Billary Clinton’s uncharismatic, centrist, pro-corporate ass in November 2016, given how much Obama — and (ironically) Bill Clinton before him — have damaged the Democratic Party by alienating the party’s traditionally progressive base (let me repeat: the party’s base) by dragging the party further and further to the right.

The Democratic Party hacks are fools if (well, they are fools, no ifs, ands or buts) they believe that they can put the wooden, boring Billary in the White House without the support of the party’s traditionally progressive base — and we, the base, aren’t remotely fired up over the center-right Billary Clinton.

The Democratic Party establishment could use all of the support that it can get right now, and calling everyone who dares to criticize President Hopey-Changey (especially while white) a “racist” not only is slimily defamatory, but alienates the support of white progressives that the Democratic Party cannot afford to lose if it wants to remain viable.

*My definition of “racism” — and I think it’s important that we define our terms in our discussions of race and racism — is something like this: the ingrained belief that any one race (usually one’s own) is superior to another race, and the practice of judging others (and perhaps also behaving toward others) based upon this belief.

Some (perhaps especially academics) have posited that it’s impossible for a member of a historically racially discriminated-against minority group to be racist toward a member of a historically oppressive, politically stronger racial group, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

To me, the heart and soul of the definition of “racism” isn’t the race of the individual we are talking about (duh), but is about the individual’s beliefs regarding others of another race (and sometimes the individual’s resultant behaviors toward others of another race).

We cannot maintain both that race shouldn’t matter, but that only principles should matter, and that only white people can be racist because the definition of a racist depends upon the individual’s race.

In a nutshell, if you see an individual’s race before you see another individual, another human being, then you are, in my book, probably racist to at least some degree.

**Obama won more than 3.5 million fewer votes in 2012 than he did in 2008, and while he won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in 2008, he was down to 51.1 percent in 2012.

As I have noted here before, while I voted for Obama in 2008 (when I walked into my polling place, I had it down to Obama or Ralph Nader, and blackened in the oval next to Obama’s name at rather the last second), I could not, in good conscience, vote for Obama again in 2012; in 2012 I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

The question for Billary should she run for the White House in 2016, I think, is whether or not she can stem the hemorrhaging of the progressive support of the Democratic Party. I can’t see how she can, given that she and Obama are two center-right peas in a pod (indeed, they’re both pod people…).

Update: Lest you believe that Barack Obama’s lackluster-at-best presidency hasn’t harmed his party, you should read this Reuters news article that I just read. An excerpt:

Young Americans are unhappy with virtually every major thing President Barack Obama has done since he was re-elected, but they would still vote for him today, according to the results of a Harvard University survey released [today].

The national poll by Harvard’s Institute of Politics of more than 2,000 people aged 18 through 29 is intended to provide insight into the political views of the youngest U.S. voters. This increasingly influential demographic known as the “millennial generation” has been a traditional base of Obama’s support.

More than 50 percent of respondents in the survey, taken between October 30 and November 11, said they disapproved of how the Democratic president handled key issues in his second term, including Syria, Iran, the economy, healthcare and the federal budget deficit.

Most cited the economy as their top concern.

Still, disapproval ratings were higher for both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. And a plurality of respondents, 46 percent, said they would still vote for Obama for president if they could recast their 2012 ballots, compared with 35 percent who said they would vote for the then-Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.

Some 55 percent of the survey respondents who reported casting ballots in the 2012 presidential election said they had voted for Obama, compared with 33 percent for Romney.

Institute of Politics Director Trey Grayson said the poll revealed cracks forming in Obama’s base.

“This isn’t a problem for Obama because he’s not coming up for election again,” Grayson said in a conference call with reporters. “But it is a potential problem for any Democratic candidate seeking to mobilize young Americans.” …

I recommend the entire article, which is here.

Note that apparently the youthful poll respondents were asked only whether they would vote for Obama or for Mittens Romney if they could vote again. They apparently were not asked whether they would vote for Obama or for an actually progressive candidate (instead of a center-right sellout) if they had that choice.

It’s telling that almost 10 percent of the respondents indicated that just a year after his re-election, they already regret having voted for Obama last year.

Can the Democrats really afford to lose almost 10 percent of the youthful vote? Or a similarly large chunk of the white progressive vote by calling Obama’s detractors who happen to be white “racist”?

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You SLAY me, Barack!

At a time when the “Democratic” White House administration and the “Democratic” Party believe that the Bill of Rights are negotiable, the Million Mask March comes not a day too late.

So it can come as no surprise to learn that President Barack Obama — winner of the Nobel Peace Prize — reportedly bragged that with the use of killer drones, he has become “really good at killing people.”

This news comes after I just watched Jeremy Scahill’s important documentary “Dirty Wars” on Netflix.

In the documentary, Scahill (among many other things) points out how far the United States of America has fallen that its president can act as judge, jury and executioner and order the assassination of even American citizens. Indeed, the killer drones that Obama brags so much about have snuffed out at least two U.S. citizens.*

This is, to put it mildly, not the “hope” and “change” that I voted for in November 2008.

Once we make it acceptable for the president of the United States of America to target certain U.S. citizens as “terrorists” ripe for unilateral, extrajudicial assassination, what’s to stop a president’s mere political opponents from being branded as “terrorists,” as “enemies of the state” who “must” be eliminated?

Americans’ collective deafening silence on the blatantly illegal, immoral, unethical and unconstitutional presidential (or other governmental) use of killer drones only pushes us further toward that scenario.

For his cowardly, illegal, and yes, evil, use of killer drones alone I could not cast a second vote for Barack Hussein Obama in November 2012.

Americans also haven’t made nearly enough noise about the mind-blowing abuses of the National Security Agency and other eavesdropping branches of government, who shit and piss all over the U.S. Constitution and its guarantees, especially the Fourth Amendment’s establishment of “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” which “shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Fourth Amendment’s guarantees are not negotiable, yet both parties of our broken, insanely unrepresentative, pro-corporate duopolistic system say that the law of the land is whatever they say it is — just as they say that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee that a U.S. citizen will not be executed without first having had a fair trial is negotiable.

(The Sixth Amendment reads: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”)

The U.S. Constitution doesn’t belong just to the “tea-party” fucktards. It belongs to all of us Americans, and its protections stem from historical gross abuses of power by those who hold such power — abuses of power that always have been foreseeable, and that thus have been proscribed in the document that is the supreme law of the land, of which no person is above.

Therefore, to point out that something or someone blatantly and unacceptably violates the U.S. Constitution doesn’t make one a crackpot. It makes one a patriot.

And one who calls him- or herself a “Democrat” yet makes excuses for such unconstitutional — and thus treasonous — actions by Barack Obama is not a patriot, but is a worthless fucking party hack, no better than the party hacks on the right who have made all kinds of excuses for the treasonous, anti-constitutional actions by the unelected Bush-Cheney regime.

Barack Obama not only is good at killing people, but he’s been great at killing his party.

After having watched Obama follow up his ubiquitous, relentless promises of “hope” and “change” only by using the U.S. Constitution as his own personal toilet paper — and after having watched the likes of right-wing millionaire “Democratic” U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein call brave, patriotic whistle-blower Edward Snowden a “traitor” when she, in fact, is the fucking Constitution-trampling traitor — I am done with the “Democratic” Party. And I’m not alone.

I hope that tomorrow’s Million Mask March goes well, and that it spawns many more public demonstrations against the treasonous elite in D.C. who long ago forgot who serves whom.

I have the feeling that it won’t be long before I am donning a mask of my own and taking it to the streets.

It’s long past time to burn it all down and start over again.

*Don’t get me wrong. It’s not only a crime only when it’s committed against a U.S. citizen. The U.S. government, as Scahill and others have pointed out, is perpetrating war crimes against people abroad on pretty much a daily basis — war crimes that guarantee that we’ll always have a fresh supply of “terrorists” so that those who treasonously profiteer from keeping us “safe” from the “terrorists” that they treasonously create will have a steady income of our tax dollars.

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It’s (probably) Billary’s if she wants it

FILE - In this April 2, 2013, file photo Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are seen in Washington. Clinton, whose popularity is high when out of public office and who carries the scars of being seen as inevitable in 2008, is trying to strike the right careful balance between staying out of the daily political maelstrom and setting herself up for a possible second presidential run. Her fans and foes are making that difficult. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Associated Press photo

Recent polls put Billary Clinton (photographed above with Vice President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., in April) at 50 (yes, fifty) or more percentage points ahead of Biden for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, and show her beating her toughest potential Repugnican Tea Party challenger, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, an average of 6 percentage points in the November 2016 presidential election. If Billary runs for president in 2016, she most likely will be our nation’s first female president, so it’s too fucking bad that her record indicates that as president she’d be little to no more progressive than the dismally disappointing Barack Obama has been…

Admittedly, I have wondered if Billary Clinton would have been a better president that President Hopey Changey has turned out to be. In 2017 and the following years, most likely, we’ll find out.

Smug individuals point out that Barack Obama for 2008 campaigned as a moderate and that thus the way that his presidency has unfolded could have come as a surprise to no one. My response to that, in a word, is: bullshit.

It’s true that Obama did not campaign as a radical. Crucial to his 2008 victory, I think, was the fact that he didn’t come off as “threatening” to too many white voters, as though once in the Oval Office he’d orchestrate the violent overthrow of the white ruling class by blacks, a revolution that many whiteys, at least in the back of their minds, still fear even today (they’re still talking about the New Black Panthers non-scandal, for fuck’s sake), a revolution that never could be successful any year soon, given the fact that the 2010 U.S. Census put whites at 72.4 percent of the American population and blacks at only 12.6 percent (not to mention the giant gap in wealth and power between white Americans and black Americans as groups).

It’s true that in his first presidential campaign Obama’s mantra was so-called “bipartisanship,” and that his stated goal was that he basically wanted to induce all of us to hold hands around the national campfire and sing rounds of “Kumbaya” until we all dropped of exhaustion.

It’s true that I cringed when Obama repeatedly publicly evoked the name of Ronald Fucking Reagan as A Model President, as though a Repugnican president would publicly praise Bill Clinton or even Jimmy Carter. (The last Democratic president that any of the Repugnican Party set have viewed as remotely OK to praise publicly is John F. Kennedy, probably because he’s dead and because the way that he died made him a bit of a martyr.)

But Obama in his first campaign for the White House also promised “hope” and “change” — ubiquitously and relentlessly — and promised to turn the nation around, promised to undo the damage of the eight long years of the unelected Bush regime.

The word “change” means something, and it does not mean “status quo.” Obama had talked and written about the “audacity of hope.” We were to bravely dare to hope. Just like he claimed he did.

And while Obama never promised to be a left-wing radical, we progressives understood that, politically, he probably couldn’t afford to do so, not if he wanted to actually win the White House, but while Obama was campaigning at least as a progressive lite, Billary Clinton, as her quest for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination became more and more desperate, acted as though she weren’t a limousine liberal.

After Obama had taken some heat for having stated during a private fundraiser in San Francisco (!) in April 2008 that some Americans “cling” to their “guns or religion” (which is, um, true*) — audio of which was leaked to the public (probably by the Clintonistas)  the desperate Billary saw an opportunity and so she took some shots: an actual shot of whiskey to show what a bad-ass redneck she actually is, and a shot at Obama, calling him “elitist and out of touch” and remarking, “I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Senator Obama made about people in small-town America.”

Jesus fuck, I thought at the time (and still think). Which party’s presidential nomination is it that she wants?

Seriously: Billary was using the same rhetoric that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors were using against her own party. (Well, OK, this was in 2008, before the rise and fall of the so-called “tea party,” but still…) Billary painted Obama as an “out-of-touch” “elitist,” as though she weren’t a carpetbagging Beltway hack herself, and as though the state she had dragged her carpetbag to, New York, were a red state (indeed, New York is bluer than is Obama’s Illinois).

Given Billary’s mad dash to the right as she became more and more desperate in her losing quest for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, given her vote for the unelected Bush regime’s obviously bogus Vietraq War in October 2002, and given her husband’s destruction of the Democratic Party through the now-thank-Goddess-defunct “Democratic Leadership Council,” which dragged the party to the right to the point that the Democratic Party and the Repugnican Tea Party now pretty much are the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party — two plutocrat-and-corporation-loving parties that, like Coke and Pepsi, are hard for many if not most of us to differentiate — Barack Obama to me was the obvious choice in 2008.

But now, five years later, admittedly, I have to wonder if Billary would have been a better president than Obama has been.

It wouldn’t have taken much for Billary to have done a better job as president than Obama has, given that as president Obama has done little, that he squandered his best opportunity to push through an actually progressive agenda (which was in 2009 and 2010), that instead of tackling the nation’s in-its-death-throes economy head on, he spent all of his initial political capital on “Obamacare” (I have to wonder if he had wanted to accomplish what Billary had tried but failed to accomplish when she was first lady — to reform health care), and that because Obama squandered his initial wealth of political capital, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors regained the House of Representatives in late 2010 and probably will retain it after the November 2014 election, thus ensuring that Obama will have no legacy other than the dubious “legacy” of “Obamacare.”

Would Billary Clinton as president have spectacularly squandered the political opportunity of 2009 and 2010 like Obama, with both houses of Congress controlled by his own party, did?

Sure, you might say, she would have tried again with health-care reform, and perhaps she would have, but at the same time, her husband’s mantra for his 1992 presidential run was the James-Carville-credited “It’s the economy, stupid!”

My guess — and, admittedly, it’s just a guess, just a hunch — is that as president, Billary would have worked to fix the economy first, and then focused on health-care reform later (if she ever took it up at all).

Consequently, my further guess is that had Billary been elected as president in 2008, the Democrats would have kept the House of Representatives after the November 2010 elections, allowing Billary to continue pushing for an actually progressive agenda beyond her first two years in office.

Barack Obama has been such a fucking failure and such a dismal disappointment, and already is a lame duck so early into his second term that already the 2016 presidential speculation has heated up; all of us already are looking to what comes after him, knowing that the rest of his second term will be, at best, a wash.

I mean, Billary Clinton is getting her own fucking miniseries on NBC, for fuck’s sake.

Yes, today.com reports:

Betting on Hillary Clinton’s second candidacy for president, NBC has ordered a four-hour miniseries based on the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state’s life.

“Hillary,” starring Diane Lane [as Billary], will recount Clinton’s life from 1998 to the present and will be written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Courtney Hunt (“Frozen River”). NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt announced the miniseries [yesterday] at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

“I think she’s one of the most fascinating women of our time and this world,” Greenblatt [said]. “And on the precipice of what we all assume will be her running for president, we think it’s an interesting story to tell with classy producers and a great star.”

The script, which has not been written, will begin with Clinton living in the White House during her husband’s second term and will likely include her second run at becoming the nation’s first female president. It is not based on a book and Clinton is not involved with the project, Greenblatt said. Lane was already attached to the mini-series when NBC bought it, Greenblatt said. …

The miniseries would likely air before Clinton would announce her candidacy if she decides to pursue the nation’s highest office. …

Since Bill Clinton was impeached by the Repugnican-controlled House of Representatives over the (literally…) messy Monica Lewinsky scandal in December 1998 (and was acquitted in February 1999 by the Repugnican-controlled Senate, which could not muster the 67 votes necessary to remove a president from office), presumably the miniseries will begin with the bullshit, uber-partisan Lewinsky affair, but I expect the miniseries to get it over with fairly quickly.

Anyway, I get it that the NBC bigwig is shilling the show, but how, exactly, is Billary Clinton “one of the most fascinating women of our time and this world”?

What, exactly, has this whiskey-guzzling, supposedly “elitist”-hating, carpetbagging, Vietraq-War-rubber-stamping woman accomplished? Does not pretty much everything that she has “accomplished” stem from the fact that she has been married to William Jefferson Clinton?

Would the voters of New York have elected her as their U.S. senator in 2000 had she not first been first lady? Or, like almost anyone else would have been, would she have been rejected by New York’s voters as the shameless carpetbagger that she was?

How is gaining success via your spouse “fascinating”? Or inspiring? And what, exactly, does it do for feminism?

I’m more than ready for our First Female President, but I can’t say that I’m ready for President Billary Clinton.

I’m much more impressed by a woman who made it without having ridden her husband’s coattails. How about my own Sen. Barbara Boxer for president?

I have much more respect for her than I do for Billary. Not only did Boxer have the brains and the balls to vote against the Vietraq War in October 2002, but in January 2005 she had the balls to be the only U.S. senator to stand with U.S. representatives in their objection to the certification of Ohio’s Electoral College votes in light of the serious problems at Ohio’s polls. (Like Florida was crucial to George W. Bush’s “win” in 2000, Ohio was crucial to Bush’s “re”-election in 2004, and like Florida’s chief elections officer in 2000 [Katherine Harris] was openly supporting Bush’s campaign [no conflict of interest there!], so was Ohio’s chief elections officer in 2004 [Kenneth Blackwell].)

Boxer also in early 2005 famously took on then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza “You Know She’s Lying When Her Lips Are Moving” Rice during a hearing in D.C., stating, “I personally believe – this is my personal view – that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell the war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth.” Hell yeah!

When did Billary Clinton ever do anything as courageous as these things?

Much like Barack Obama used to be, Billary to a large degree still is a political rock star, even though, like Obama, she has accomplished little to nothing in D.C. and thus doesn’t deserve the status.

But, just like in a high-school student-council election, it’s popularity, not accomplishment, that gets you into the White House. (Well, unless you’re George W. Bush; when, like Gee Dubya, you don’t have enough popularity, you have swing states’ chief elections officials who are of your party and the right-wing members of the U.S. Supreme Court and your governor brother help you out…)

And while Billary Clinton has little to no actual accomplishment, she does have popularity aplenty.

Billary shows a whopping 50 (yes, a five-oh)-point lead above Vice President Joe Biden in recent polls of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate preference. Biden consistently comes in at second place in only the low double digits. Yes, Billary consistently is hitting more than 60 percent in these polls.

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors, on the hand, have no clear front runner for the White House for 2016, with not one member of the possible field of Chris Christie, Pretty Boy Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Prick Perry, Prick Santorum and yes, Jeb Bush, able to reach even 20 percent in recent partisan 2016 presidential-preference polls.

And in recent hypothetical matches against Repugnican Tea Party traitors for the 2016 presidential election, Billary handily beats them all. She beats even her thus-far most formidable opponent, Chris Christie, by an average of 6 points. (Recent polls, by contrast, have Biden losing not only to Christie but even to the likes of Jeb Bush…)

In a Bloomberg poll taken not too terribly long ago (May 31-June 3), 40 percent of those polled said they “probably” or “definitely” would vote for Billary if she were the Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, while only 34 percent said they “definitely” would not vote for her. Twenty-three percent said they “might” vote for her and 3 percent said that they were “unsure,” so if you give her the support of only half of those individuals (which is 13 percent), that’s 53 percent before she’s even declared her candidacy.

Fifty-three percent is not bad. (And it’s what Obama got in 2008 — 52.9 percent of the popular vote.)

So, while I never have been and never will be enthusiastic about Billary Clinton, whom I consider to be just another Democrat in name only, just another Repugnican Lite, the numbers very apparently are behind her.

Add to this the probability that Billary’s mere official announcement of her candidacy probably would effectively or perhaps even literally, totally clear the Democratic field, saving her a primary fight and thus allowing her to focus her time, energy and money on the November 2016 election, while we’ll probably see another crowded Repugnican Tea Party primary field, as we did in 2012.

Not only will these Repugnican Tea Party candidates have to focus on the presidential primary elections (and caucuses) and the presidential general election, but if they have a particularly nasty primary season, the eventual winner could come out of the process fairly bruised, battered and tarnished.

And my guess is that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ “Benghazigate” bullshit** has been helping Billary more than it has been hurting her, in that those (34 percent or so) who already solidly hate her already solidly hate her, and in that if the Repugnican Tea Party traitors attack Billary viciously and frequently enough, they could induce even unenthusiastic-about-Billary people like me to support her.***

And that’s a feat that only morons of the magnitude of those who comprise the Repugnican Tea Party could accomplish.

*The fuller quote is:

“… You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are [going to] regenerate, and they have not.

“So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations. …”

Again, there is a word for these remarks: the truth.

Indeed, the “tea party’s” best accomplishment is blaming the wrong people for the nation’s problems (feminists, immigrants, non-heterosexuals, progressives [a.k.a. “socialists” or “Commies”], labor unionists [also a.k.a. “socialists” or “Commies”], Muslims, et. al.) while those who actually are responsible for the nation’s problems (the plutocrats, corporatocrats [Wall Street weasels and many, many others] and militarists, mostly) get off scot-fucking-free.

**Statistician god Nate Silver, who I hope writes about the 2016 presidential election despite the fact that he soon is leaving the New York Times for ESPN, wrote this about “Benghazigate” and Billary’s popularity back on May 31:

… So, are Americans carefully parsing through the details of the Benghazi attack — and finding Mrs. Clinton more culpable than Mr. Obama?

Probably not. Instead, the decline in her ratings was likely just a matter of time — and if the Benghazi hearings had not triggered it, something else would have.

… It’s easy to be popular when nobody is criticizing you — and there was a long period, from the closing stages of the 2008 campaign through most of her tenure as secretary of state, when Republicans had little interest in attacking Mrs. Clinton directly. Now that Republicans have chosen to engage her again, her numbers are coming down. … This is what happens when a politician returns to being in the partisan fray after having drifted above it for some time.

But if Mrs. Clinton were to run for president in 2016, Republicans would undoubtedly have found any number of other ways to criticize her — from her policy proposals, to concerns about her age or health, to gaffes that she might make on the campaign trail, to controversies recycled from her tenure as secretary of state.

Mrs. Clinton, if she runs in 2016, is highly unlikely to win by the double-digit margins that some polls have given her over prospective Republican opponents. But the same would have been true regardless of Benghazi. The main circumstances in which a presidential candidate wins by double digits are when that candidate is an incumbent running in a time of exceptional economic growth, or when the other party’s incumbent is viewed as having performed terribly. Or, every now and then, the opposing candidate might be viewed as extreme or incompetent, and swing voters will feel as though they have no real choice. …

I expect Billary, if she runs for president in 2016 (and I put it at more than a 75-percent chance that she will), to do about as well as Obama did in 2008 and in 2012 (Obama in 2008 beat John McCainosaurus 52.9 percent to 45.7 percent and in 2012 beat Mittens Romney 51.1 percent to 47.2 percent).

In fact, again, Billary’s polling against the most-popular-thus-far potential 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate, Chris Christie, has her, on average, 6 percentage points ahead of him, and Obama’s average popular-vote victory over his Repugnican opponents in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections was 5.55 percent, which to me suggests that we’re seeing about a 6-percent gap between those Americans who prefer a Democratic president and those who prefer a Repugnican Tea Party president.

This to me appears to be a demographic (and not a situational) gap that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors cannot close, which would explain why they want to further rig our future elections, such as through even further voter suppression (especially in the name of preventing “voter fraud”) to the greatest extent that they humanly possibly can.

***That said, about the only way that I could see myself casting a vote for Billary for president in November 2016 would be if her Repugnican Tea Party opponent, whoever it is, actually were close to winning California and its huge chunk of electoral votes, which is quite unlikely, given that Billary beat even Barack Obama in California’s 2008 Democratic presidential primary election, 51.5 percent to 43.2 percent. She’s quite popular here in California.

However, were Billary’s campaign actually struggling nationally and her Repugnican Tea Party opponent actually within range of winning the White House in November 2016, I cannot, as I type this sentence, rule out holding my nose and giving her campaign some money…

As much as I’m not a fan of Billary, of course, when push comes to shove, I’d prefer her in the White House over any Repugnican Tea Party traitor.

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George McGovern’s death makes me yearn for real Democrats

George McGovern, War Critic Routed by Nixon in 1972

Getty Images

The death today of George McGovern, a progressive who ran unsuccessfully against incumbent President Richard M. Nixon in 1972 (and who is shown above right campaigning in 1972 with his first running mate, Thomas Eagleton), only reminds me, shortly before another presidential election, how far the Democratic Party has fallen.

It’s a perverse fact of politics that the possession of intelligence and compassion (concomitantly known as wisdom) often, if not usually, dooms an individual who is running for high public office.

I write that with the death of real Democrat George McGovern* in mind.

I was only four years old when in 1972 Democrat McGovern lost to incumbent Repugnican President Richard M. Nixon in a landslide. A landslide — and look how wonderful Nixon’s second term turned out to be: It was the Democratic Party’s operations that Nixon’s operatives were snooping into in June 1972 in the Watergate scandal, which ultimately led to Tricky Dick Nixon’s resignation in disgrace in 1974. (Nixon’s remains the only presidential resignation in U.S. history.)

The masses often get it wrong.

I don’t remember McGovern’s presidential campaign, of course. The first sitting president I remember seeing on television was Gerald Ford, who followed the disgraced-by-Watergate Nixon, and I seem to remember seeing a perpetually stumbling and falling Ford parodied by Chevy Chase on “Saturday Night Live” more than seeing the actual Ford himself on TV.

I remember seeing also Jimmy Carter on TV, and of course I remember Ronald Reagan and all of those who have followed him. But during Carter’s first and only term, I was an elementary school student who was interested in “Star Wars,” not in politics, and it wasn’t until Reagan’s eight-year reign during most of the 1980s that my political identity started to form.

My father always has been apolitical, not giving a rat’s ass about anything outside of his immediate personal universe, and my mother is one of those “swing voters” who seem to make their presidential picks based upon the logic of a Magic 8 Ball. (My parents reside in Arizona, where they belong, and I in California, where I belong.)

My point in bringing up my parents — which makes me feel like Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka when the topic of his parents is brought up — is to illustrate that neither of them even attempted to influence my own political views, with one of them being apolitical and the other being politically muddled at best, so the fact that I grew into a left-winger in the red state of Arizona, which is not conducive to the development of little “socialists,” suggests to me that a progressive political viewpoint is the natural path of human development, unless that path is obstructed (such as by committed right-wing parents who probably should be committed, a “Christo”fascist social environment, etc.) and the journeyer cannot overcome those obstructions, as I was able to do.

The first presidential race that I remember caring about was the 1984 race. I was in high school at the time, and I supported Democrat Walter Mondale over the re-election of Reagan, and I don’t know if I even could have articulated very well why I preferred Mondale over Reagan, since it certainly wasn’t my parents who influenced my preference for Mondale. If memory serves it was a visceral thing, my visceral, intuitive identification of Mondale as the truly wise (again, the compassionate and intelligent) candidate and Reagan as the poser, the phony.

Of course, in 1984 the very first presidential candidate whom I supported (not with money, because as a minor I didn’t have any [and are minors allowed to contributed to presidential campaigns anyway?], and not with my vote, because I wasn’t yet 18), very much like McGovern had done in 1972, lost to the Repugnican incumbent in a landslide.

Four years later, in 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, whom I supported and voted for as a college student (I remember having to sell my plasma as a starving college student, so I’m pretty certain that I wasn’t able to give Dukakis any money), performed barely better against George H. W. Bush than Mondale had performed against Reagan four years earlier.

Um, yeah, so I wasn’t off to a great start in life in my presidential picks, and for 12 long years as I was politically budding, I suffered through first Ronald Reagan and then George Bush I. (I never will forget graduating from college with a worthless degree but with plenty of student-loan debt during The First George Bush Recession of the late 1980s-early 1990s. These early socioeconomic experiences tend to color your political outlook for life, as the Great Depression very apparently colored my Scrooge-like maternal grandmother’s outlook for the rest of her life.)

Then in the 1990s came pseudo-Democrat Bill Clinton, who, although he benefitted from a rebounding economy (how much of the 1990s’ economic rebound was from his policies and how much of it was from the natural course of economic events I’m not certain), gave us such gems as NAFTA, welfare “reform” and DOMA — oh, yeah, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal, because having an intern blow you in the Oval Office never can blow up in your face.

So the first Democratic presidential candidate whom I supported — I rooted for and voted for Clinton in 1992 and in 1996 — and who actually won the presidential election was the so-called Democrat who destroyed the Democratic Party by dragging it so far to the right that the Democratic Party today looks like Repugnican Lite. Yay!

Bill Clinton benefitted from a three-way race in 1992, and won with a plurality, not a majority, of the popular vote, which today’s Democratic hacks forget or ignore. (Dems deny that third-party candidate Ross Perot, who garnered a-very-impressive-for-a-third-party-candidate 19 percent of the popular vote in 1992, harmed George H. W. Bush’s re-election bid, but it seems to me that the majority of Perot’s supporters were right of center and that most of them would have voted for Bush over Clinton. [If memory serves, my Magic-8-Ball-wielding mother voted for Perot, and my guess is that had Perot not been a choice, she would have voted for Bush or would not have voted at all.])

I get it that after a string of Democratic presidential defeats — George McGovern, Jimmy Carter (denied a second term), Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis — and after long time in the political wilderness during the Nixon/Ford, Reagan and Bush I years — the Democratic Party apparently wanted to pull away, far away, from the egghead image.

Democrat Adlai Stevenson, who lost to Repugnican Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and again in 1956 yet sought (but did not get) the Democratic Party’s nomination yet again in 1960, seems to have been the eggheaded Democrats’ founding father, at least of our modern era, and indeed, Stevenson was the last presidential candidate from either of the two major parties who, despite having lost a presidential election, was nominated by his party to run in the very next presidential election. (These days, losing a presidential election very apparently means that you’ll never get another shot at your party’s presidential nomination again.)

The last Democratic egghead who lost — but who, surreally, actually won — a presidential election was, of course, Al Gore, who in 2000 won 48.4 percent of the popular vote to George W. Bush’s 47.9 percent, for a difference of more than 500,000 votes.** Only in the United States of America could the candidate who won fewer votes be made — crowned — president by the U.S. Supreme Court and his cronies (such as his brother, who was governor of the pivotal state that he “won,” and the chief elections official of that state who made damn sure that he “won” it), and this is yet another of those wonderful, deeply anti-democratic events during my lifetime that has shaped my current outlook.

So Al Gore’s win/loss in 2000 might have been the death knell for the eggheaded Democratic presidential candidate, but isn’t there some middle ground between a Bill Clinton and an Adlai Stevenson?

You might argue that President Barack Obama more or less fills that middle ground, since he’s known as both intelligent and non-nerdy (and, importantly, highly unlikely to be blown by an intern), but today we have Obama in a race for re-election that shouldn’t be nearly as close as it is, and probably wouldn’t be as close as it is had Obama spent his first two years in office actually delivering upon his ubiquitous 2008 promises of hope and change while both houses of Congress were controlled by his own party, a rare alignment of the stars that never should be squandered, and that even George W. Bush, dipshit that he is, did not squander. (Nor did Bush II, dipshit that he is, shit and piss all over his own fucking base, which seems to be the Obama administration’s and the Obamabots’ favorite fucking pastime.)

In Barack Obama, other than in empty rhetoric and false promises, we see precious little of the spirit of George McGovern that used to infuse the Democratic Party. In Obama we see instead the cynical, opportunistic, center-right spirit of Bill Clinton, an approach that the modern Democratic Party argues is the only approach that works, yet in actuality has no track record of effectiveness.

Again, in my book, Bill Clinton won in 1992 in no small part because of “spoiler” Ross Perot, and again, in 1992 Clinton garnered a plurality (43 percent of the popular vote), not a majority. (The only other president during my lifetime who garnered not even a full 44 percent of the popular vote was Richard Nixon in 1968, the year of my birth.)

Clinton again failed to get a full majority even in 1996 (he got 49 percent of the popular vote), and in his 1996 (and pre-Lewinsky) re-election bid he benefitted from having an incredibly wooden Repugnican opponent in Bob Dull — er, Dole — and he benefitted from a strong economy, which, again, I am not certain how much resulted from his economic policies and how much resulted from the natual ebb and flow of the nation’s economy.

Let’s reflect upon the fact that Barack Obama garnered 53 percent of the popular vote in 2008, which was better that Bill Clinton or George W. Bush ever did in the elections from 1992 through 2004. Obama’s 53 percent in 2008 bested Jimmy Carter’s and John F. Kennedy’s take of the popular vote, too.

How did Obama do it?

Again, he ran on a progressive (if too-vague) platform of hope and change. That was the bait.

Obviously, if Obama hadn’t perceived that that was what the majority of Americans wanted, that wouldn’t have been what he promised.

That progressivism is what the majority of Americans wanted, and that progressivism is what Obama Version 2008 promised (even if gauzily), even though his hacks (the Obamabots) love to engage in historical revision and deny that fact, but what Obama has delivered as president is just more Clintonesque, center-right, “bipartisan,” Repugnican-ass-licking bullshit, replete with Billary Clinton as his secretary of state and Bill Clinton as his current campaign surrogate.

So the news of George McGovern’s death early this morning at a hospice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at age 90 only underscores for me, with another presidential election only a little more than two weeks away, the fact that the Democratic Party of today is only a shadow of what it used to be.

I lament that the only presidents named George whom I got during my lifetime are surnamed Bush, and I have to wonder how George McGovern felt about the likes of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who turned the Democratic Party into the center-right, corporate-ass-licking, lesser-of-two-evils monstrosity of a fundraising machine that it is today.

And I can’t see how I can honor the memory of George McGovern by blackening the oval next to the name of Barack Obama on the mail-in ballot that sits just yards from me right now as I type this sentence, yet unmarked.

*Wikipedia’s entry on George McGovern reports, in part:

George Stanley McGovern (July 19, 1922-October 21, 2012) was a historian, author and U.S. representative, U.S. senator and the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1972 presidential election.

McGovern grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota…. [After he fought in World War II] he gained degrees from Dakota Wesleyan University and Northwestern University, culminating in a Ph.D., and was a history professor. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956 and re-elected in 1958. After a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 1960, he was elected there in 1962.

As a senator, McGovern was an exemplar of modern American liberalism. He became most known for his outspoken opposition to the growing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. He staged a brief nomination run in the 1968 presidential election as a stand-in for the assassinated Robert F. Kennedy.

The subsequent McGovern-Fraser Commission fundamentally altered the Democratic presidential nominating process, by greatly increasing the number of caucuses and primaries and reducing the influence of party insiders.

The McGovern-Hatfield Amendment sought to end the Vietnam War by legislative means but was defeated in 1970 and 1971.

McGovern’s long-shot, grassroots-based 1972 presidential campaign found triumph in gaining the Democratic nomination but left the party badly split ideologically, and the failed vice-presidential pick of Thomas Eagleton undermined McGovern’s credibility. In the general election McGovern lost to incumbent Richard Nixon in one of the biggest landslides in American history. Re-elected senator in 1968 and 1974, McGovern was defeated in a bid for a fourth term in 1980.

Throughout his career, McGovern was involved in issues related to agriculture, food, nutrition, and hunger….

Wikipedia also notes that anyone running against the incumbent Nixon would have had an uphill battle anyway, but after high-profile Democrats such as Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale and Hubert Humphrey and other Democrats declined to be McGovern’s running mate, McGovern picked U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton, whom McGovern later replaced with Kennedy clan in-law Sargent Shriver after Eagleton’s history of treatment for mental illness came to light, casting doubt on his fitness to handle the presidency if it came to that, and raising doubts about McGovern’s judgment.

Wikipedia notes that Team McGovern didn’t vet Eagleton thoroughly and that Eagleton and his wife intentionally kept Eagleton’s hospitalizations for mental illness from McGovern. Bloomberg notes that less than a week after McGovern had proclaimed that he supported Eagleton “1,000 percent,” he replaced Eagleton with Shriver.

Bloomberg notes that McGovern later wrote in his autobiography, “I did what I had to, but the Eagleton matter ended whatever chance there was to defeat Richard Nixon in 1972. In the minds of many Americans the Eagleton episode convicted me of incompetence, vacillation, dishonesty and cold calculation, all at the same time.”

Bloomberg notes that “The Eagleton misstep ushered in today’s rigorous vetting of potential vice presidential candidates,” which doesn’t really explain what happened with Dan Quayle or Sarah Palin, but whatever…

**You might argue that the last Democratic egghead who ran for president actually was John Kerry in 2004, and while he does hail from Massachusetts, a la egghead Michael Dukakis (indeed, Kerry was Dukakis’ lieutenant governor), Vietnam vet Kerry ran such a war-hero campaign (the “swiftboaters'” defamation of him notwithstanding) that, in my estimation, anyway, he fairly escaped being branded as an egghead.

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When it rains, it pours: NAACP now is on board with same-sex marriage

I still believe that President Barack Obama, for his ubiquitous campaign promises of “hope” and “change,” publicly came out for same-sex marriage too late in his presidency — the time to do the right thing is (almost) always right now — and I still believe that Obama publicly came out for same-sex marriage only after he’d calculated that it was politically safe to do so (and maybe even only after he’d calculated that it was politically harmful to continue not to do so).

And I certainly don’t want to be told that I should be thankful that Obama politically went out on a limb for my fellow non-heterosexuals and otherwise non-gender-conforming individuals when, in fact, we helped put him in the Oval Office, and when, in fact, our equal human and civil rights always have been and always will be far more important than is one politician.

All of that said, Obama’s belated pro-same-sex-marriage proclamation seems to be having benefits that perhaps even he didn’t foresee.

Not only have leaders within the black community such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton proclaimed that they support same-sex marriage — Jackson not long ago enough was adamant that same-sex marriage is not about civil rights — but the NAACP yesterday announced its support of same-sex marriage, calling same-sex marriage a civil right.

The Associated Press quotes NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous as having proclaimed: “Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people.”

Wow.

True, Jealous is a young black leader — he’s 39, the youngest president that the NAACP has ever had — and it’s true that younger people are much more accepting of same-sex marriage and other equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals than are older people. And it’s true that there are many, many older people (and yes, plenty of younger people), of all races, who are going to take their homophobia with them to their graves, regardless of what Barack Obama or Benjamin Todd Jealous or Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or you or I have to say about same-sex marriage and equal human and civil rights for all.

But the good news is that old bigots do die, that they have fewer days ahead of them than they have behind them. And as today’s younger bigots grow older and their bigotry becomes less and less acceptable, at least they increasingly will keep their stupid fucking mouths shut and keep their ignorance and hatred to their miserable selves.

Given that blacks have been the one racial group in the United States most opposed to equality for non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, having the likes of Obama and Jealous and Jackson and Sharpton now proclaiming that the black community should share the civil rights pie already with non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals should, within a few years, I surmise, put a fairly solid majority of Americans (say, at least 55 percent of them) in favor of equality for all.

There is a pretty good article on the topic of black homophobia that Slate writer William Saletan posted in November 2008, shortly after the nation elected its first black president — and after black voters were the largest racial group of voters in California who voted down same-sex marriage by voting yes on Proposition 8. Saletan begins:

[November 4, 2008] was a good day to be black. It was not a good day to be gay.

Arkansas voters approved a ballot measure to prohibit gay couples from adopting kids. Florida and Arizona voters approved measures to ban gay marriage. But the heaviest blow came in California, where a gay-marriage ban, Proposition 8, overrode a state Supreme Court ruling that had legalized same-sex marriage.

A surge of black turnout, inspired by Barack Obama, didn’t help liberals in the Proposition 8 fight. In fact, it was a big reason why they lost. The gay marriage problem is becoming a black problem.

The National Election Pool exit poll tells the story. Whites and Asian Americans, comprising 69 percent of California’s electorate, opposed Proposition 8 by a margin of 51 percent to 49 percent. Latinos favored it, 53-47. But blacks turned out in historically high numbers — 10 percent of the electorate — and 70 percent of them voted for Proposition 8. …

I remember that Election Day well. I had cast my vote for Barack Obama, only to learn within the following days that while I had supported the black community, the black community had coldly turned its back on me.

Saletan’s article even indicates that perhaps black homophobia helped get George W. Bush a second term in 2004:

A report from the pro-gay National Black Justice Coalition attributes President Bush’s 2004 re-election in part to the near-doubling of his percentage of the black vote in Ohio, which he achieved “by appealing to black churchgoers on the issue of marriage equality.” This year, blacks in California were targeted the same way.

The NBJC report paints a stark picture of the resistance. It cites surveys showing that “65 percent of African Americans are opposed to marriage equality compared to 53 percent of whites” and that blacks are “less than half as likely to support marriage equality and legal recognition of same-sex civil unions as whites.”

It concludes: “African Americans are virtually the only constituency in the country that has not become more supportive over the last dozen years, falling from a high of 65 percent support for gay rights in 1996 to only 40 percent in 2004.” Nor is the problem dying out: “Among African-American youth, 55 percent believed that homosexuality is always wrong, compared to 36 percent of Latino youth and 35 percent of white youth.”

Saletan then goes, at some length, into the black homophobes’ “mutability”/“immutability” “argument,” which I just don’t fucking buy. (Who chooses to be a member of an historically reviled and oppressed minority group? Fucking duh.) I still surmise, as I wrote recently, that most homophobic blacks remain homophobic primarily because (1) they want to remain, in the national story, the only victims of prejudice and discrimination and oppression, because their identity is wrapped up in race-based victimhood, real or imagined/fabricated, and (2) because they want there to be one minority group that even they still can shit and piss upon, because it’s better to be near the bottom of the sociological dog-pile that is the United States of America than it is to be at the very bottom, isn’t it?

This is cruelty and hypocrisy, of course, to demand equality for one’s own minority group but to continue to shit and piss upon the members of another historically oppressed minority group. When the historically hated and oppressed become the haters and oppressors of others, it’s pretty fucking ugly. (Are you listening, Palestinian-oppressing Israelis?)

And, of course, homophobia within the black community doesn’t just hurt gay whites like me. It hurts blacks in many ways. Being rejected by your own family for not being heterosexual and/or gender-conforming contributes to such problems as drug and alcohol addiction, emotional and psychological disorders, suicide attempts, and the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, because individuals who have come to believe that they are shit for not being heterosexual and/or gender-conforming often don’t worry too much about protecting themselves because they probably want to die anyway, their self-esteem is that low.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in fact, reports:

African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Despite representing only 14 percent of the US population in 2009, African Americans accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections in that year. Compared with members of other races and ethnicities, African Americans account for a higher proportion of HIV infections at all stages of disease — from new infections to deaths.

Black homophobia — and its attendant ignorance and fear and stunning lack of education and enlightenment — probably is the No. 1 reason for those grim statistics, and, of course, heterosexual black women are less likely to contract HIV and other STDs if their black male sexual partners who actually are homosexual or bisexual don’t feel pressured to lead double lives in order to give the appearance of heterosexuality in order to please the homophobic bigots in their lives. (The CDC reports than for 2009, “Most [85 percent of] black women with HIV acquired HIV through heterosexual sex. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for black women was more than 15 times as high as the rate for white women, and more than three times as high as that of Latina women.”)

And, of course, it’s much easier for me and other non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals to be supportive of the members of the black community if we have the same love and respect from them that they want from us.

With equal human and civil rights for everyone, everyone wins.

Except, perhaps, for the members of the right wing, who have opposed equal human and civil rights, who have opposed liberty and justice for all, forever.

That so many blacks have shared that trait with the white wingnuts is nothing short of tragic.

P.S. Here is the text of the NAACP’s decision to support same-sex marriage, from the organization’s website:

The NAACP Constitution affirmatively states our objective to ensure the “political, educational, social and economic equality” of all people. Therefore, the NAACP has opposed and will continue to oppose any national, state, local policy or legislative initiative that seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the constitutional rights of LGBT citizens. We support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Further, we strongly affirm the religious freedoms of all people as protected by the First Amendment.

Of course, that last sentence, an apparent afterthought, apparently had to be thrown in there in order to appease the churchgoing set. Of course, one’s religious freedoms do not include the “right” to impose his or her own religious beliefs upon everyone else, which the churchgoing set has a problem understanding, thus their incredibly insane claim that they are victimized if they are not allowed to victimize others, because their religious beliefs include the supposedly Bible-based victimization of others.

Not being a member of the black community, I don’t know how much sway the NAACP has within the black community. The organization’s website proclaims:

The NAACP has addressed civil rights with regard to marriage since Loving vs. Virginia declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional in 1967. In recent years the NAACP has taken public positions against state and federal efforts to ban the rights and privileges for LGBT citizens, including strong opposition to Proposition 8 in California, the Defense of Marriage Act, and most recently, North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which changed the state constitution’s to prohibit same-sex marriage.

While I am happy to see the NAACP’s comparison of same-sex marriage rights to mixed-race (heterosexual) marriage rights, if it is true that the NAACP showed “strong opposition to Proposition 8 in California,” the fact that 70 percent of the state’s black voters voted down same-sex marriage nontheless indicates, unfortunately, that the NAACP doesn’t have an awful lot of sway within the black community, at least not here in California or in North Carolina or in the other states where black voters have shot down same-sex marriage in much higher percentages than have their white, Latino and Asian counterparts.

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