Tag Archives: Joe Biden

Nate Silver, Matthew Yglesias: 2020 Dem front-runner is Bernie Sanders

I wholeheartedly agree with Salon.com writer D. Watkins that the United States of America “is on pause.” 

He wrote recently:

Donald Trump supporters made their big cultural statement in 2016 by electing to the presidency a white-collar executive who’s never seen a day of hard work yet presents himself as the champion of blue-collar people. Now, as a result, America is on pause.

We have now been under the rule of Donald Trump for more than 170 days and nothing of substance has happened — other than multiple attempts to undo everything that had been accomplished by the previous administration, like Barack Obama’s special immigration program for foreign entrepreneurs, providing heating aid for some of our most vulnerable citizens, the defrosting of relations with Cuba and, of course, the GOP’s constant obsession — Obamacare.

Anything Obama touched in his eight years in office, from Planned Parenthood to climate change, has to go, apparently. What’s worse, many of these Obama undos are being under-reported overall, because Trump’s crass tweets and his campaign’s collection of Russia scandals makes for better TV. …

Agreed that while we’re all focused on Russia and “President” Pussygrabber’s latest outrageous tweet, the unelected Pussygrabber regime is dismantling everything good and, like a virus, is altering the main function of the federal government to that of making the rich even richer and the poor even poorer.

But it’s not like Obama was a progressive champion; he was not. He was a moderate, a centrist who far preferred working with the status quo than trying anything even remotely approaching radically progressive. Even his “signature” “achievement,” Obamacare, kept health care a for-profit enterprise (indeed, if you didn’t buy health insurance, you were — well, are — penalized).

As I have noted many times, Obama had an opportunity, in 2009 and 2010, when he still had a shitload of political capital behind him and before the House of Representatives reverted to the Repugnicans in November 2010, to push through a boldly progressive agenda. But he spectacularly squandered that one and only opportunity during his eight years in the White House.

I am happy that toward the end of his time in office Obama moved to open relations between the United States and Cuba — with the caveat that I really, really hope that Cuba doesn’t become the capitalist playground that capitalist exploiters had made it before the Castro revolution — but all in all, the Obama years were eight years that were mostly squandered, and after the eight disastrous years under “President” George W. Bush (and the many disastrous years before his, going back at least to Ronald Reagan), we couldn’t afford to squander yet another eight years.

And we can’t afford to squander these years that we are squandering under Pussygrabber (and under Mike Pence, if he ends up completing Pussygrabber’s term) — and it’s much worse than squandering, actually. To squander something is to fail to take good advantage of it; again, what Pussygrabber & Co. are doing now is dismantling everything that doesn’t immediately profit themselves and their super-rich cronies and converting it into a profiteering machine for themselves.

Enter, methinks, Bernie Sanders.

The Democratic Party establishment has shown little leadership during the Pussygrabber regime thus far because the establishment Democrats are funded by many if not most of the very same corporations that fund the Repugnicans. And these corporate funders are paying for an extension of the sociopoliticoeconomic status quo (which is the most that they will allow).

The Democratic establishment will try to front an Obama-esque fresh face for 2020, will try to punk us again. It could be corporate whore Cory Booker or it could be newbie Kamala Harris, who has been in the U.S. Senate for such a short period of time that I have to wonder if she has had time to discover where the women’s restroom is yet.

I voted for Harris, both for California’s U.S. senator to replace the retiring Barbara Boxer and when she was California’s attorney general, but it’s way too soon to be talking about President Harris. Let’s let her accomplish something before we give her that huge promotion.

True, Obama was in the U.S. Senate for only four years — not even for one full (six-year) term — before he ran for president, but that’s my point; we don’t need, in Kamala Harris, a female Barack Obama (who hadn’t accomplished anything in the Senate before he became president).

We need a bold progressive.

Thus far, for 2020 I’m staunchly supporting Bernie Sanders. Vox.com’s Matthew Yglesias wrote earlier this month (emphasis in bold is mine):

Amid a swirl of speculation about Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and practically everyone else under the sun as potential Democratic presidential contenders, most of the political class is ignoring the elephant in the room.

Bernie Sanders is, by some measures the most popular politician in America, by far Democrats’ most in-demand public speaker, and the most prolific grassroots fundraiser in American history.

If he were 10 or 20 years younger, his absence from a 2020 cattle call held by the Center for American Progress back in May would have been glaring. As things stood, the whisper among everyone in the halls was simply that he’s too old and obviously won’t run.

But make no mistake: Sanders is the real 2020 Democratic front-runner.

He’s doing exactly what a candidate who fell short needs to do to run a second time. He’s established a national political organization, he’s improved his ties with colleagues on Capitol Hill, he’s maintained a heavy presence in national media, and he’s traveling the country talking about issues.

In subtle ways he’s shifted his policy commitments to the center, making himself a more broadly acceptable figure in the party. At the same time, he’s held on to a couple of signature issues — Medicare-for-all and tuition-free public college — that give him exactly the kind of clear-cut and broadly accessible agenda that mainstream Democrats lack.

Of course, if he were to run and win, he’d be 78 years old, the oldest president on record by some margin. And maybe he won’t run. But his recent moves suggest that he is both interested in the nomination and very much the candidate to beat for it. …

Yup. It’s fine if the Democratic establishment wishes to ignore Bernie (who, I surmise, hasn’t moved to the center nearly as much as he has moved the center point further to his side). We, the people, are the ones who will participate in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary elections and caucuses. And it will be significantly harder for the Democratic National Committee to fuck over Bernie this time because we’re all well aware of how the Billarybots of the DNC fucked Bernie over last time.

Will the voters who were stoked over Bernie in 2016 — he won 46 percent of the pledged delegates (the delegates that actually had to be democratically won in the primary elections and the caucuses) to Billary’s paltry-for-her 54 percent — accept an Obama-esque empty shell like Cory Booker, all lame political platitudes but nothing to back them up?

I don’t think that they’ll be punk’d like that again.

Yes, it’s possible that Bernie won’t run in 2020, but he has been pretty active for someone who has ruled out a 2020 run. As I noted in April:

Bernie Sanders is, I think, going to run for the presidency again in 2020.

He hasn’t ruled it out, and he has remained in the public eye since the preventably disastrous November 2016 presidential election.

He put a book out in November (and his progressive comrade Elizabeth Warren has another book due out later this month), and while the establishment Democrats’ “plan” remains to just sit back and watch the Repugnican Tea Party, under the “leadership” of “President” Pussygrabber, implode (or explode, I suppose), Bernie is out there advocating for a progressive agenda that would improve millions of lives (as is Elizabeth).

Bernie will introduce legislation for single-payer health care, totally bypassing the bogus argument of corporate-friendly Obamacare vs. corporate-friendly Trumpcare (and necessarily so), and he and Warren have introduced legislation for free in-state community college and public four-year college tuition. …

Matthew Yglesias’ piece inspired Nate Silver and crew over at fivethirtyeight.com to weigh in on whether or not Bernie is actually the 2020 Democratic Party presidential front-runner.

In the rather meandering discussion, Silver (whose opinion at fivethirtyeight.com that I value the most) proclaims, “I say YES.”

Silver qualifies: “A ‘front-runner’ is the horse that jumps out to the front of the pack and dictates the action behind him.” He adds: “Bernie got 13 million votes in 2016. Isn’t he next in line for the Democratic nomination?”

Um, yes, he garnered 13.2 million popular votes to Billary’s 16.9 million, and he won 22 states, plus the Democrats abroad.

That would, if the Democratic Party establishment still weren’t anti-democratic, pro-corporate and anti-populist and corrupt, of course mean that he’s next in line.

As I’ve noted before, I can support Elizabeth Warren if Bernie doesn’t run again, but I prefer Bernie to her for 2020 for several reasons.

Not only are his favorability numbers among all American voters significantly higher than are hers, so it would be much less of an uphill battle for him than it would be for her, but he has run a presidential campaign already and thus has a lot of infrastructure and supporters already in place. Warren, of course, does not.

And on that note, while Warren declined to run in 2016 — I still surmise that she was too cowardly to step on Queen Billary’s royal cape — Bernie went ahead and ran against Billary instead of allowing her to coast to a coronation, as did all of the cowards who comprise the Democratic Party establishment.

I admire that Bernie fucking did that. It showed leadership and it showed gigantic balls. He knew what he was up against — the corrupt, anti-democratic and anti-Democratic Billary juggernaut — but he did it anyway.

And in the admittedly very early polls of 2020 Democratic Party presidential preference, Bernie is leading, inspiring Nate Silver to proclaim, “Sanders is really well liked among Democrats. He was second last time. He’s leading in the polls now. Isn’t it obvious that he’s the front-runner?”

To me it is. And I’m in good company with Silver and Yglesias.

Will his age (75) harm Bernie? I don’t think so. As long as he remains active and alert on the campaign trail, as he did in 2015 and 2016, he should be fine. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is 84 years old and is expected to run for re-election in 2018 — and is expected win handily (unfortunately; she really needs to go). And to me she has shown a lot more signs of advanced age than has Bernie, including mental fogginess.

Feinstein is the oldest member of the U.S. Senate, followed by six other current senators who are at least 80 years old, including the fossil John McCainosaurus.

So no, age isn’t necessarily a campaign killer.

Will the drummed-up “scandal” regarding Bernie’s wife and the funding of Burlington College — a “scandal” drummed up by “President” Pussygrabber’s campaign chairman for Vermont — be a problem for Bernie?

No.

Only those who never would have supported democratic socialist Bernie anyway will give the “scandal” any credence, and at any rate, the “scandal” doesn’t involve Bernie (he hasn’t been shown to have done anything illegal or even unethical), and anyone with two brain cells to rub together will consider the source: “President” Pussygrabber’s campaign chairman for Vermont.

Um, yeah. It’s an obvious smear campaign, and I might argue that the smear campaign is a good sign, because you don’t smear those who are weak, but those who pose a threat.

The 2020 cycle is better for Bernie than was 2016 in many ways. Queen Billary is out of the picture (finally), and in the wake of Billary’s loss in November 2016, the brand of “Democratic” Party that the center-right, sellout Clintons started and that Obama perpetuated is weakened.

As I’ve noted before, not only did Bernie win 46 percent of the pledged delegates to Billary’s 54 percent, but in February we saw that familiar 46-54 split in the election of the new chair of the Democratic National Committee, with Clinton-Obama establishmentarian Democrat (“Democrat”?) Tom Perez garnering 54 percent of the vote to Bernie-backed progressive Keith Ellison’s 46 percent.

We progressives — we true Democrats — are within striking distance of taking over the party. It’s clear that the “Democratic” Party establishment under Perez, et. al. still doesn’t have a clue or a plan (other than, as I noted in April, watching the “Pussygrabber” regime destroy itself).

Not being Pussygrabber won’t be enough for the Dems in 2018 or in 2020.

And had Bernie become president in November 2016, he probably would have faced a Repugnican-controlled Senate and a Repugnican-controlled House in January 2017. He would have been able to get nothing done, very most likely, and this Repugnican obstructionism unfairly and untruthfully would have been attributed to the inherent failure of his brand of politics.

Bernie’s chance of having at least one of the two houses of Congress controlled by the Democrats in January 2021 is pretty good, given that colossal failure “President” Pussygrabber in most polls can’t maintain an approval rating of even 40 percent, and if both houses were controlled by the Dems in 2021 under a President Sanders, you can be sure that President Sanders wouldn’t waste his political capital trying to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” with the treasonous Repugnicans in Congress, as President Obama incredibly stupidly did in 2009 and 2010, when both houses of Congress last were held by the Dems.

We indeed are a nation on pause — at best — and to make up for that lost precious time, we need someone who is boldly progressive, someone who very actively will make up for that lost time by pushing through a sane, unabashedly progressive agenda — someone who will do what Obama failed to do in 2009 and in 2010 — and that someone is Bernie Sanders.

P.S. Matthew Yglesias mentioned Joe Biden and Kirsten Gillibrand as potential 2020 presidential candidates.

Yeah, um, no way in hell can I support has-been Joe Biden, who is too aligned with the Clinton-Obama brand of the party. Plus, if he were so fucking popular, why didn’t Biden become president by now? (Or at least the Democratic Party presidential candidate in a general presidential election by now?)

And Gillibrand — what is her appeal, other than her XX chromosomes? I have nothing particularly against her, as for the most part I know very little about her, but what’s so special about her, other than that she was elected to Billary’s U.S. Senate seat for New York after Billary became Obama’s secretary of state? Is she supposed to be Billary’s mini-me? (That was rhetorical, but the answer is yes.)

Biden, Gillibrand, Booker, Harris — all are candidates for those who have no vision and no imagination, but who think that the bullshit of the past is going to work in the future. They have learned nothing from Billary’s failure in November.

P.P.S. I just saw this on Slate.com:

A Bloomberg poll released [today] shows that eight months after November’s election and nearly half a year into the new administration, Hillary Clinton is a touch less popular than Donald Trump. From Bloomberg:

Trump’s 2016 Democratic rival is viewed favorably by just 39 percent of Americans in the latest Bloomberg National Poll, two points lower than the president. It’s the second-lowest score for Clinton since the poll started tracking her in September 2009.

The former secretary of state has always been a polarizing figure, but this survey shows she’s even lost popularity among those who voted for her in November.

According to Bloomberg, more than a fifth of Clinton voters now say they view her unfavorably compared with only 8 percent of likely Clinton voters saying the same in Bloomberg’s last poll before the election.

Bloomberg’s John McCormick writes that interviews with some of those polled suggest that the decline has less to do with Clinton losing than it does with the Democratic Party’s identity crisis.

“Many said they wished Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont had won the Democratic nomination,” he writes, “or that they never liked Clinton and only voted for her because she was the lesser of two bad choices.” [Emphasis mine.]

This is (more) vindication, not only of the fact that even those who voted for Billary in November didn’t like her, but also of the fact that it was a colossal fuck-up for the Dems to have allowed Billary & Co. to steal the nomination from the much more popular and much more liked Bernie.

It is also more evidence of the fact that Clintonism is done and that we can stick a big ol’ fork in it.

(Lest you think that the Bloomberg poll is wrong, know that the Huffington Post’s Pollster [a poll aggregator] right now has Billary’s favorability rating at only 40.3 percent — which is very close to the 40.1 percent approval rating that HuffPo Pollster now gives Pussygrabber.

Pussygrabber and Billary both are despised now just like they were on Election Day in November, while HuffPo Pollster puts Bernie Sanders’ favorability rating at 57 percent.

Hindsight indeed is 2020.)

 

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Familiar 54-46 intraparty split should humble new DNC chair Tom Perez

Image result for tom perez keith ellison

Reuters photo

Tom Perez, right, and Keith Ellison, left, speak yesterday after members of the Democratic National Committee fairly narrowly picked Perez as the party’s new chair. Perez immediately asked Ellison to be his deputy, and Ellison accepted.

My pick for the new head of the Democratic National Committee was progressive U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, but I probably more or less can live with Tom Perez, who won the contest yesterday — depending upon in which direction he goes (namely, right or left).

Ellison was endorsed by Bernie Sanders and by Elizabeth Warren, and so of course the Ellison-Perez race became a proxy for the Sanders-Warren/actually Democratic wing of the Democratic Party and the Obama-Clinton/center-right sellout wing.

The vote yesterday was close — 235 votes for Perez to 200 votes for Ellison, or 54 percent to 46 percent — so no, the election of Perez, who was President Barack Obama’s labor secretary in his second term and considered to be the more establishmentarian Democrat of the two front-runners for DNC chair, was not a resounding endorsement of the outdated, corporate brand of the Democratic Party that brought us “President” Pussygrabber.

I find yesterday’s vote percentages for DNC chair interesting, because in the 2016 Democratic Party presidential race, actual Democrat Bernie Sanders garnered 46 percent of the pledged delegates (delegates earned in the primary elections and caucuses) to DINO Billary Clinton’s 54 percent.

That’s actually rather stunning, given that Billary already had run for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2008 and that few even knew who democratic socialist Bernie was before he ran for president. (Actually, that Billary lost to Obama in 2008 when Obama had been on the national stage for only four years demonstrated how widely disliked she is even within her own party.)

With Perez’s win yesterday, the establishmentarian, Repugnican-Lite “Democrats” apparently retain their small majority of power over the party.

The question, however, is whether they can have lasting success without the strong support of the other 46 percent of the party. Billary’s loss/“loss” in November certainly suggests that they no, they can’t.

That said, it’s also possible — no, probable — that given the historical unpopularity of “President” Pussygrabber — he is the first president in modern history to begin his term with a net negative favorability rating* — the corporate Democrats, under Perez’s lead, will claim that because Democrats picked up a bunch of seats in Congress in November 2018 (as the opposition party almost always does anyway), this is evidence that their brand of “Democratic” politics actually works when, in fact, they’re just the political beneficiary of the fact that now we have the most-hated new president/“president” of modernity and of the fact that the opposition party almost always picks up seats in Congress in the midterm after a new president/“president” is elected/“elected.”

But let me find some silver lining here: Perez, who had been considered for Billary’s running mate last year and who had the backing of Team Obama, including Joe Biden, is the first Latino head of the DNC.

It’s a victory for Latinos, who increasingly are a vital part of the Democratic coalition and who deserve the increased political representation, perhaps especially now, while they are under attack by the fascist, unelected, illegitimate, treasonous Pussygrabber regime.

But let me find the dark cloud in the silver lining: Unfortunately, even as labor secretary and even after Billary Clinton flip-flopped on it, Perez still dutifully supported the now-dead Trans-Pacific Partnership, which suggests that he’s not as far to the left and as much on the side of the poor and the working class as he should be.

But another silver lining: Before he became Obama’s secretary of labor, Perez was, during Obama’s first term, the assistant U.S. attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

That’s a plus, as while the Democratic Party must focus more on the working class and the poor and the insane income inequality that has plagued the nation for decades — Billary’s unpardonable loss of the once-reliably-Democratic Rust-Belt states makes that crystal clear — and must disentangle itself from its and our corporate overlords, it must also keep a strong focus on defending the civil rights of everyone, especially now that our civil rights are under siege by the Pussygrabber regime.

Hopefully, Tom Perez is humbled by the fact that 46 percent of the members of the DNC voted for Keith Ellison** and the politics that he represents. We haven’t seen much humility in the members of the Obama-Clinton coalition thus far — even after Billary’s defeat in November.

Hopefully, Perez’s immediately having made Ellison his deputy chair was more than just political optics; hopefully, it means that Perez knows fully well that the Democratic Party can’t keep ignoring the 46 percent who want it to go in a different direction than it has been for several decades now.

P.S. “President” Pussygrabber characteristically tweeted:

The race for DNC Chairman was, of course, totally “rigged.” Bernie’s guy, like Bernie himself, never had a chance. Clinton demanded Perez!

Why Pussygrabber used quotation marks around “rigged” I’m not sure; I suspect that like much, much, much else that he doesn’t understand, he doesn’t understand the correct usage of quotation marks.

It hasn’t been in dispute that the Clinton camp backed Perez, but there is to my knowledge no evidence of the vote for DNC chair having been “rigged.” I have read and I surmise that plenty of political pressure was applied on the voting members of the DNC to support Perez or Ellison, but “rigged”? I’d have to see evidence of that to give it any credence.

What’s the closest to the truth, methinks, is that the establishmentarians die hard. They hold onto their power for as long as they humanly possibly can. Unseating them takes a concerted, sustained effort — and it takes time.

But it’s hilarious when Pussygrabber pretends to care about Bernie Sanders being mistreated by the Democratic Party establishment, as though corrupt billionaire Pussygrabber truly cares about a democratic socialist.

And, of course, when he isn’t claiming to care about Bernie’s treatment by the Democratic Party establishment, Pussygrabber is referring to him as “crazy Bernie.”

Yeah.

Pussygrabber apparently still thinks that he’s actually going to pick up the support of the Berners. He’s not. Anyone who remotely understands what Bernie Sanders stands for never could give the likes of Pussygrabber a shred of support.

*”President” Pussygrabber’s favorability rating has been stuck around only 40 percent — with more than 50 percent of Americans disfavoring him — for some time now. See here and here.

**To be fair and balanced, Ellison’s only potential weakness for DNC chair, that I can think of, is that he is a sitting U.S. representative. The last chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was and still is a sitting U.S. representative, and as chair of the DNC she did a shit job (her resignation in disgrace in July was overdue and was a relief).

Not to say that Ellison couldn’t have handled the two jobs at the same time, but at least Perez will be able to focus solely on being DNC chair and not have to run for re-election every two years.

Some would say that Ellison’s having been the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House of Representatives is a mark against him, especially in the current political climate of bullshit hysteria that the unelected Pussygrabber regime is trying to stoke in typical fascist style, but even as an atheist I have no problem with Ellison being a Muslim. He has shown no indication of trying to shove his own religious beliefs down others’ throats, and so he’s fine by me.

P.S. Since I wrote the above paragraphs, I have read that Ellison had pledged to resign his seat from the House had he won the DNC chairmanship. (This indeed quelled the criticism from the Clinton-Obama camp that he wouldn’t be able to do both jobs, even though they never made that criticism of Wasserman Schultz, of course.)

I have not read that Ellison plans to resign his House seat to be the deputy chair, and I doubt that he will.

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Billary’s health is a non-issue now in this hyper-polarized presidential race

Updated below (on Thursday, September 15, 2016)

Image result for Hillary falls van

Billary Clinton collapsing into a waiting van in New York City on Sunday, two days after a pneumonia diagnosis, and then taking a few days off from campaigning in order to rest, very probably won’t be anything remotely like a game changer, much to the disappointment of the political vultures circling the chronically coughing Clinton’s carcass.

First: As much as I have criticized Billary Clinton — whom I still don’t want to see as president and for whom I still am not going to vote and to whom I still am not going to give a penny — I would rather have Billary on her fucking death bed in the Oval Office than Der Fuhrer Donald Trump in the Oval Office for even one day, even on the most healthy day of his life.

So no, Billary’s current bout with pneumonia changes nothing for me, and I agree with the Politico writer who noted:

… There are the people who hate Clinton, hate the changes they see in the country which they think Clinton would only accelerate. They’re voting for Trump. Then there are the people who hate Trump, are disgusted by his race-baiting and terrified about him actually being president. They’re voting for Clinton.

The slice of people in between is and remains very, very thin, and includes all those Republicans queasy about having Clinton and her way of doing things in the White House but who are so opposed to Trump that they’re not even going to cast protest votes for Gary Johnson (at least not if they live in swing states).

“The idea that there is a huge chunk of independent voters out trying to make up their minds is a myth,” said Jim Hodges, a former governor of South Carolina and a Clinton supporter.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll out Sunday showed 7 in 10 voters have “definitely” chosen their candidate already. That’s in line with the number of undecideds in 2008 around this point in the race. Notably, 60 percent of voters said Clinton is qualified to serve as president, while only 36 percent said the same about Trump — a big hurdle for the Republican to overcome in persuading them to vote for him.

“It’s people who are uncomfortable with both candidates, and it’s more about making someone so uncomfortable with one of those candidates that they have to vote for the other,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, about the few undecided voters left in America. “But it’s just playing on the edges at this point.” …

Absolutely. At this point, with less than two months to go before the election, it would take a lot more than Billary’s bout with pneumonia to move the needle significantly in Trump’s favor.

As unenthusiastic as I am defending Billary, it is understandable, I think, that Billary’s campaign didn’t tell us earlier that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday: with the right-wing rumor mill and smear machine at full tilt regarding Billary’s supposed poor health, of course the news that she’d been diagnosed with pneumonia would have been only even more grist for that rumor mill and smear machine. (But, of course, not releasing the information in a timely manner only fueled more charges of even more classic Clintonian slipperiness.)

And politically speaking, Billary pretty much had to make that ill-fated public appearance in New York City on Sunday, the 15th anniversary of the perversely sacred cow that is 9/11. The choice was to appear or to have to explain the non-appearance (see the immediate paragraph above).

If a candidate for office has a chronic or even terminal illness that could hinder his or her ability to finish out the term in office that she or he is seeking (and to do a decent job in that office), then he or she ethically should disclose that so that the voters can make an informed choice, but a bout with curable pneumonia (assuming that Team Billary isn’t hiding anything about Billary’s long-term health) doesn’t make one unfit for office.

There are many things that make Billary unfit for the presidency, but her health status probably isn’t one of them.

On that note, Politico also ran a piece on how the Democratic Party, in the view of one former head of the Democratic National Committee (not Debbie Wasserman Schultz), does not have a fleshed-out-enough plan as to what to do should, heaven forfend, Billary Clinton die or otherwise be incapacitated between now and Election Day.

It’s a no-brainer to me: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders won 45 percent of the pledged delegates in the Democratic Party presidential primary elections and caucuses, so the nomination should go to him should Billary die or otherwise become incapacitated. Cheating by the Billarybots (including the Billarybots within the DNC, some of whom [including Wasserman Schultz] resigned after their anti-Bernie e-mails were leaked by WikiLeaks) aside, Bernie Sanders was, after all, the Democratic voters’ second choice.*

Of course, the Democratic Party stopped being democratic long, long ago, and the corrupt DNC would pick Billary’s replacement, so don’t get too excited over the prospect of a house being dropped on Billary and Bernie Sanders being on the ticket in November after all.

P.S. Fivethirtyeight.com right now (as I type this sentence) puts Trump’s chances of winning the White House at 31.2 percent, which is exactly where it was when I last posted.

Again, I don’t expect the needle to move much, if any, really, between now and Election Day. Billary and Trump are known, having been in the public spotlight since the 1980s and the 1990s, and the nation is polarized.

Update (Thursday, September 15, 2016): Yikes. Fivethirtyeight.com right now puts Trump’s chances of winning at 37.4 percent. He’s been higher than that before — fivethirtyeight.com put him at a 50.1 percent chance on July 30 (soon after the Repugnican National Convention) — but the election isn’t that far away.

We’ll see if Pneumoniagate subsides; I think that it will, even though the larger issue, politically, I suspect, is the Clintonesque lack of transparency about the illness rather than the illness itself.

I also don’t see Basketofdeplorablesgate as a big deal. Again, this is a highly polarized electorate already. (Mittens Romney’s remark about the “47 percent” probably didn’t contribute much to his loss in 2012; probably the biggest factor in Romney’s loss, besides the fact that he’s an unlikeable plutocratic asshole, is that it’s incredibly hard to deny a sitting president a second term [ask John Kerry].)

Anyway, I’m not sure exactly at which point to panic, but it seems to me that if Trump hits 40 percent or above and stays there through Election Day, yeah, it’s time to panic.

*No, Vice President Joe Biden wouldn’t be an acceptable Billary replacement; if he wanted the job of president, he should have run for it, as Bernie did.

And no, Billary’s running mate Tim Kaine isn’t acceptable, either; the primary and caucus voters never got to weigh in on him.

Bernie would be the only democratic way to go should something happen to Billary between now and Election Day.

 

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Billarybots want Liz Warren to be a spoonful of sugar to sweeten the ordeal

Senator Elizabeth Warren listened to testimony during a Senate committee hearing in 2013.

Getty Images photo

The call of many Billarybots for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to be Billary Clinton’s running mate at least is an admission of how weak a presidential candidate Billary is. But while such a team-up would benefit Billary, how would it benefit Warren and her future political career to be a probably-invisible vice president with probably little to no influence within the second center-right Clinton administration?

There is chatter among the Billarybots now that Queen Billary making Elizabeth Warren her running mate would be the spoonful of sugar that would help the rest of us choke down the bitter horse pill that is Billary.

Billary booster Michelle Goldberg of Slate.com, for instance (although she’s not nearly the Billary booster that Salon.com’s mega-Billarybot Amanda Marcotte is), recently wrote this (links are Goldberg’s):

On Thursday we learned, via Politico, that had Joe Biden run for president, he would have asked Elizabeth Warren to be his running mate. According to reporters Glenn Thrush and Annie Karni, Biden has “recently told associates that Warren would be an equally smart pick for Hillary Clinton.” The Huffington Post reported that several people in the Clinton campaign are also pushing for Warren.

They are right. Choosing Warren would be an uncharacteristically bold and thrilling move for the cautious Clinton, one that would help unite Sanders supporters behind her candidacy while throwing its feminist promise into high relief. Clinton is already playing the woman card; now, to belabor a metaphor, she should double down.

One of the many dispiriting things about this primary season is the degree to which Clinton’s baggage has dampened excitement over the prospect of our first female president. She’s been near the center of power for so long that her possible presidency seems less like a breakthrough than a wearying inevitability.

Further, in order to get close to power, she’s consistently subsumed idealism to realpolitik; her career is littered with grim compromises, from reluctantly backing welfare reform to voting to authorize war in Iraq. Thus some progressive women who enthusiastically support Clinton feel like they have to apologize for it.

Other progressive women who’d like to vote for a female president feel like they can’t enthusiastically support Clinton. Obama’s campaign created an incandescent sense that America was on the cusp of history. That magic is missing from Clinton’s long slog.

If you haven’t said it yourself, you’ve surely heard it: “Of course I want to see a woman in the White House, but…” Warren on the ticket would annihilate many of those “buts.” She would help to neutralize some of Clinton’s very real flaws; it would be harder to accuse Clinton of doing the bidding of big banks while running with Warren, the scourge of Wall Street.

Warren’s presence would give disappointed supporters of Bernie Sanders a reason to rally to the Democratic banner. And by Clinton’s side, she would make it blazingly clear what an epochal moment this is for American women. She’s a choice who could electrify both Clinton’s fiercest progressive critics and her most devoted acolytes.

Of course, an all-woman ticket carries real risk — that’s the flip side of its audacity. Already, Clinton is likely to face misogynist headwinds, and Warren would make them stronger. People sometimes claim that the deep, widespread antipathy to Clinton, particularly among men, is unique to her and has little to do with her gender.

Warren’s political career shows us that this is not the case. When she ran for Senate in Massachusetts four years ago, she was regularly disparaged as both a liar and a crone; the Boston Herald referred to her as “Granny.” We were constantly reminded that while people admired her competence, they weren’t sure they liked her. (One poll found that even Democrats found her opponent, Scott Brown, more likable.) Warren won thanks to a large gender gap: According to a CNN exit poll, Brown won 53 percent of the male vote, but Warren carried 59 percent of the female vote, and women were the majority of the electorate.

It’s possible, then, that Warren could exacerbate rather than ameliorate some people’s — particularly some men’s — resistance to Clinton. As T. A. Frank points out in Vanity Fair, social science research shows that when minorities team up to form a duo, they are judged in more stereotypical terms than they are individually. “If this is a reliable dynamic, then it means that Clinton is seen by voters first and foremost as a Democratic presidential candidate, and not simply a female,” Frank writes. “But if she were to pick Warren as a running mate, gender could start to color many people’s views much more.” …

[Clinton] is not going to win this race by persuading white men who are uncomfortable with women in power. She will do it by turning out the Obama coalition, probably adding more married white women to it. Warren can help her do that. She’s shown that she’s eager to, leaping into the Twitter fray against [Donald] Trump.

If a vice presidential candidate’s job is to attack, Warren is ready. Watching her go after the short-fingered orange chauvinist from now until November will be a pleasure. The fight for the first female president should be a joyful feminist crusade, one that progressives can join without reservation. Warren can make it one.

I agree with some of what Goldberg has to say, and it’s refreshing to witness a Billary supporter actually publicly acknowledging that Billary is not an exciting candidate. Billary’s being an uninspiring candidate — demonstrated by the fact that thus far democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has won 19 states and has won 1,437 pledged delegates to Billary’s 1,717 (45.6 percent to 54.4 percent, a gap of only 8.8 percent) — long has been the elephant in the donkeys’ room.

What is disappointing about Goldberg’s piece is that she apparently primarily attributes the lack of enthusiasm for Billary to the fact that Billary has been around so long (well, if Goldberg’s primary attribution isn’t actually supposed misogyny, that is; charges of misogyny are peppered, predictably, throughout her piece). But Billary Fatigue is only one piece of the puzzle.

Hell, I’ll even ignore the piece of the puzzle that I could label the “Clinton Scandal Fatigue” piece. A much larger piece of the puzzle than how long she has been around on the national stage is Billary’s long history of political opportunism and flip-flopping, such as how she publicly called herself “moderate and center” just back in September 2015, but now calls herself a “progressive” since she’s running against the actually progressive Bernie Sanders, who has done quite well for a “fringe” candidate.

(A more concrete example of Billary’s famous flip-flopping is her miraculous embrace of a $15-an-hour minimum wage only after both New York and California adopted a phased-in $15-an-hour state minimum wage when her current presidential campaign always has supported only a $12-an-hour federal minimum wage — and still does on its website.)

Billary’s being a multi-millionaire who certainly wouldn’t want to even try to try to try to live on $12 an hour herself and who demands hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech and her having been part, with her hubby, of the now-thank-Goddess-defunct Democratic Leadership Council, which turned the Democratic Party from the people’s party to the corporate weasels’ party, are other huge pieces of the puzzle as to why so many of us who lean left of center don’t like and don’t trust Billary.

Billary has said that Bernie isn’t a real Democrat when she really should look into the magical mirror that she surely possesses like a Disney villainess. (Actually, I’m sure that she has, and when she asked the mirror, “Who is the most Democratic of them all?” the mirror answered, “Bernie Sanders,” which no doubt sent her into a flying-on-her-broomstick rage.)

But the Billarybots don’t like to discuss these inconvenient truths.

Instead, they frame quite-legitimate opposition to Billary as misogyny, which apparently does a lot to relieve their cognitive dissonance that their “heroine” actually is just yet another self-serving political asshole, but which harms the cause of feminism because the so-called “feminists” defend abject slimebags like Billary Clinton, whose center-right socioeconomic politics harms women and families here at home and whose right-wing war hawkishness harms women and families abroad — yeah, that’s really feminist!

Indeed, the “lean-in” “feminism” of today is “feminism” that has become twisted into women demonstrating that they can be just as big as assholes as can men; they can be just as selfish and ruthless, just as financially and politically corrupt, and they can kill just as many innocent people in military actions in a show of “strength.” Woo hoo! “Feminism”!

Since liberalism became warped as “neo-liberalism,” which actually is just conservatism masked as something good, we can call today’s “feminism” “neo-feminism.”

And dragged into this stinking mess should not be Elizabeth Warren, whom I consider to be a true feminist, not a neo-feminist.

Sure, Warren could help Billary greatly in the likability and progressive credibility departments, but what would Warren and her future political career get out of it?

Most of us Berners — and again, thus far 45.6 percent of us who have participated in the Democratic Party presidential primary elections and caucuses have chosen Bernie over Billary — would be disappointed, I surmise, were he to become Billary’s running mate (something that I don’t see happening, as I really don’t see Billary asking him, and I rather doubt that he’d accept even if she actually did ask him).

Most of us Berners would, I surmise, view Bernie’s agreeing to Billary’s running mate as his selling out — big time — on his progressive principles and promises.

Why, then, would we feel much, if any, differently about progressive Elizabeth Warren joining Billary on the ballot?

Leave it to a neo-feminist to see it (a Billary-Warren ticket) as an issue of matching biological sex rather than of matching political philosophy; Warren should join Billary because they’re both women, you see.

And this also gets to how much power the vice president of the United States of America actually has, which is not much; the vice president pretty much sits back and either hopes or dreads that the president dies or otherwise no longer can serve in the capacity.

It gets to the public visibility of the vice president, too. We’ve seen little of Joe Biden over the past seven-plus years. He wonderfully wiped the floor with Pretty Boy Paul Ryan’s limp body in the vice presidential debate of October 2012 and he vowed to take on cancer in his last year in office after his son died of brain cancer a year ago this month at age 46, but other than that, how much influence Biden has had on the Obama presidency has not been very clear. If he’s had significant influence on Obama, it’s been behind the scenes, for the very most part.

There is no reason to believe than any vice president to a President Billary would have the power to induce her to run a progressive presidential administration, given Billary’s center-right record, given how power-driven and stubborn she is (except, of course, when political expediency induces her to flip-flop, but of course, no matter what she says, she always acts within the center-right, and given how not even a year ago she proudly publicly proclaimed herself to be “moderate and center.”

Given all of that and the historical weakness and the historical invisibility of the vice president, no, for this Berner, Billary picking Liz Warren as her running mate would not “be a reason to rally to the Democratic banner,” as Goldberg conveniently and magically believes.

It’s not that simple, and we Berners are not that simple and stupid. That Team Billary would believe that adding Elizabeth Warren to the ticket would be the magic bullet only further demonstrates the contempt and the condescension that the Billarybots have for us Berners — who are progressives before we’re Berners and who reject Billary Clinton for very good reasons, paramount among them the fact that she’s not even an actual (that is, progressive) Democrat, but is a Repugnican in sheep’s clothing.

To be clear, I have no problem with two women, even two white women, on the ballot for president and vice president. One, I care primarily about a candidate’s politics; his or her demographics are secondary or tertiary or even further down than that on my list. And two: Fuck, the Obama administration marks the first time in our nation’s history that both the president and the vice president were not white men. (When I voted for Obama in November 2008, it felt good to be part of that history, even though Obama turned out to be only a Caretaker in Chief, the one thing that Sarah Palin actually has been right about: that he’s been President Hopey-Changey.)

If two white men on the presidential and vice presidential ticket were OK for more than 225 years of our nation’s history, then I’m fine with two women and even two white women on the ticket, even though the conventional wisdom as of late is that you mix up your demographics; in 2008 John McCainosaurus picked a woman as his running mate and Barack Obama picked a white man, for instance. (Mittens Romney for 2012 reverted to the historical pattern of two white men, of course; my guess is that his patriarchal and historically white supremacist Mormonism was the largest factor in that retrograde choice.)

In a nutshell, again, my primary problems with a Billary-Warren ticket are that Vice President Warren wouldn’t have nearly enough influence to ameliorate President Billary’s deep neo-liberal tendencies and that Warren would harm her reputation and credibility as a progressive by agreeing to be the center-right Billary’s running mate.

Better for Warren to run in 2020 or 2024 or 2028, methinks, at the top of the ticket, than to run with Billary now.

I’d be fine with Elizabeth Warren being Bernie Sanders’ running mate. (Well, probably more like “ecstatic” than just “fine.”) Their genitalia don’t match, but their political philosophies do. Not only would President Sanders allow Vice President Warren much more of a voice and visibility than the vice president ever gets (exempting grand puppet master Dick Cheney, of course), I surmise, but she’d be his natural successor.

Billary would just use Warren to get into the White House, and then, after that, do you really think that Queen Billary ever would allow Princess Warren even the opportunity to step on her regal cape? No, Billary would treat Warren like Cinderella; she’d keep her tucked away from public view as much as possible.

Unfortunately, we apparently are quite unlikely to see a Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren ticket, because the blind, self-serving Democratic Party hacks are poised to incredibly stupidly make Billary Clinton the party’s presidential nominee, even though presidential match-up polls show Bernie doing twice as better against Donald Trump as does Billary.

Real Clear Politics’ average of the presidential match-up polls right now has Billary at only 5.7 percent ahead of Trump, with Bernie 13 percent ahead of Trump. The Huffington Post’s average of presidential match-up polls right now similarly puts Bernie at 13.4 percent ahead of Trump and Billary at only 5.8 percent ahead of Trump.

If beating presumptive 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee Donald Trump in November is the goal, then Bernie Sanders has a compelling argument for the super-delegates to pick him over Billary during the party’s convention in late July.

Unfortunately, I fully expect the lemming-like super-delegates to follow Queen Billary right off of the cliff at the convention. She is, after all, the rodents’ Pied Piper.

And also after all, Queen Billary never really can lose. If nothing else, we always can ascribe her predictable loss in November entirely to “misogyny.”*

P.S. It’s worth nothing that Elizabeth Warren is the only Democratic woman in the U.S. Senate who hasn’t endorsed Billary Clinton. One writer argues that this is why Team Billary wouldn’t pick Warren, but I disagree; if Team Billary viewed Warren on the ticket as being beneficial enough, they’d ask her.

The real question is whether Warren, if asked, would say yes or no. Hopefully, she would have her wits about her, realize that Team Billary only wants to use her, and say no. Even Oh, hell no!

P.P.S. Jeff Greenfield, writing for Politico, points out that whoever would be President Billary’s vice president would be “the most marginalized vice president in a generation.” (Ditto for President Trump’s veep, he writes.)

“Neither Trump nor Clinton is likely to allow his or her vice president anywhere near the center of power,” Greenfield posits, adding:

… The challenge is different for a prospective Clinton running mate — and one that no past veep has ever faced. Yes, past vice presidents have found themselves in a battle for the ear of POTUS with key White House aides and Cabinet members.

But they’ve never had the challenge of competing with a presidential spouse who also happens to be a former two-term president.

Indeed, in many ways, Bill Clinton would be a near-perfect choice to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. His political skills are unmatched; he knows the dangers that confront any White House as no one else possibly can; he’s even got a track record of working with an opposition Congress — something that neither of his successors can match.

Yes, there’s a pesky issue of whether the 22nd Amendment bars a two-term president from running for veep, and one of the Clintons would have to move back to Arkansas to avoid risking the loss of New York’s electors (constitutionally, electors can vote for only one of the two national candidates from their own state).

But the point is that Bill’s credentials — even as first spouse — make him a formidable power source that would confront any real-life vice president. …

The issue isn’t Billy Boy’s supposed greatness (and speculation of him being Billary’s veep is ridiculous, although he very well might end up as her de facto veep) as much as it is how much he would let Billary’s actual veep have any power. And that is not much.

Elizabeth Warren would want to stay far, far away from this fucked-up drama.

*A post-mortem “analysis” of a Billary loss in November also, of course, quite predictably would put blame on Bernie Sanders for having “weakened” Billary when she’s obviously inherently weak. The neo-feminists would continue to ignore Billary’s glaring weaknesses and blame “misogyny” instead.

And most of the neo-feminists’ attacks on Bernie Sanders and on us “Bernie bros” is, ironically, flat-out misandry — it’s just the flip-side of misogyny. How dare a man run against Queen Billary? How dare he criticize her at all, even though that’s what you do in a competitive political campaign? How dare any man — or especially any woman — support a male presidential candidate over the female candidate? (That was a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway: For pretty much the same reason that a man or a woman rejected Sarah Palin.)

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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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Time to panic, Bernie supporters?

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reacts to supporters during a concert hosted by his campaign Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Associated Press photo

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders reacts to supporters during an appearance in Davenport, Iowa, last week. Reports of Bernie’s political death have been greatly exaggerated; I can see Billary Clinton imploding like Howard Dean and I can see Bernie rising like Lazarus like John Kerry did in 2004. In any event, I have a novel, even revolutionary, idea: Let’s let the people caucus and vote! Let’s let the people decide!

Billary Clinton has had a decent month (at least so we’re told). The corporately owned and controlled media pronounced her the “winner” of the October 13 debate, even though post-debate focus groups and online polls showed Bernie Sanders to be the clear winner.

This month Billary had Katy Perry perform for her, while Bernie Sanders was impersonated by Larry David proclaiming (as Bernie) that he owns only one pair of underwear and not only doesn’t have a superPAC, but doesn’t even have a backpack, and thus has to lug everything around with him (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!).

This month Billary survived her “Benghazigate” inquisitors, which, for some bizarre reason, widely has been seen as some sort of “accomplishment” for her. As “Benghazigate” always has been trumped-up bullshit anyway, what, exactly, did she accomplish?

No matter; when you’re Billary Clinton, you don’t have to have any actual accomplishments; you have the surname, and for many if not even most of those who call themselves “Democrats,” that’s enough.

Bernie Sanders apparently maintains a slim lead over Billary in New Hampshire, but Joe Biden’s belated announcement that he isn’t running still hasn’t taken full effect in the polling. Therefore, I’m not panicking over the polling that gives Billary a wide, double-digit lead over Bernie in Iowa right now. The post-Biden dust still hasn’t settled in the polling. We’re going to have to see.

That said, yes, I’d say that if Bernie doesn’t come in at No. 1 in New Hampshire or in Iowa – if Billary comes in at No. 1 in both states – no, I don’t see Bernie recovering from that.

Should Bernie win Iowa and New Hampshire (I still expect him to win New Hampshire, but I am concerned about how he’s doing in Iowa right now), we could see Billary collapse, but I don’t expect her to give up; I expect her to do what she did against Barack Obama in 2008, which was to keep going for as long as she could (indeed, the 2008 Democratic presidential primary fight ran all the way to June 2008).

In the meantime, to anyone who is predicting Bernie’s loss to Billary already, I say:

  • The first voting (in Iowa on February 1) is still more than three full months away. Billary, apparently way too high on undeserved praise from the corporately owned and controlled mass media punditry, keeps making offensive and untruthful statements (characteristic of her 2008 run for the White House), such as that the odiously homophobic Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that her hubby signed into law actually was meant to staunch the bleeding where LGBT rights are concerned, and that Bernie Sanders is sexist! (Women who shamelessly mendaciously play the feminism card for personal and political gain only hurt the feminist movement; Billary should be ashamed of herself, but, as she amply has demonstrated over the many years, she is unburdened by anything remotely resembling a normal human sense of shame.) Also, the FBI is still investigating Billary and those involved in her home-brewed e-mail server. A lot can happen in the political world in three months.
  • Two words: Howard. Dean. Howard Dean for a long time was the “inevitable” 2004 Democratic Party presidential nominee. Only he imploded spectacularly in Iowa in early 2004, coming in at third place, behind both first-place winner John Kerry, whose moribund campaign had come back from the dead like Lazarus on crack, and behind second-place winner John Edwards. In the end, the only state that Dean won was his home state of Vermont. (No, that Bernie also is from Vermont doesn’t mean that he’s destined to share Dean’s fate, and yes, I can see Bernie making a John-Kerry-like resurrection after he’s already been written off as politically dead.)
  • Four words: Donald Trump. Ben. Carson. These two “men” have topped the Repugnican Tea Party presidential polling for a while now, yet few who truly know anything about political science and U.S. history really see either of them ultimately gaining the party’s nomination. (Neither has held elected office, and never in my lifetime of more than 45 years has anyone made it to the White House who had not been at least a U.S. senator or the governor of a state.) Why would it be that Donald Trump and Ben Carson can fall from their lofty perches, but Billary can’t fall from hers?
  • Finally, but certainly not the least importantly: Let the fucking people vote and caucus! Let the people decide! If Bernie Sanders ultimately comes in at No. 2 to Billary Clinton, so be it, but it’s to be decided by those voting and caucusingnot by the punditry. Not even by me (although it should be…).

The only thing that we Bernie Sanders supporters have to fear is fear itself. The Billarybots would love for us to become dispirited and thus disarm (yes, that’s a pun on Team Billary’s lame attempt to make gun control a big issue [funny, it hasn’t been until very recently that Billary ever made gun control a big issue; the timing of her new-found “concern” is awfully interesting]).

The corporately owned and controlled media would benefit much more from long-time corporate whore Billary Clinton sitting in the Oval Office than they would from democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, so when they report that Bernie can’t win, consider the source and ask yourself if the corporately owned and controlled mass media care more about your welfare than they do their own.

We Bernie Sanders supporters must ignore the naysayers, who have a right-of-center agenda of their own, and continue to support him as we have been. I just gave him another donation, for instance, and there’s no way in hell that I’m ever casting a vote for Billary Clinton, no matter what bile and venom spews from the mouths of the Billarybots.

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And then there were three…

Democratic presidential candidates Sanders, Clinton and O'Malley react to the crowd before the start of the first official Democratic candidates debate of the 2016 presidential campaign in Las Vegas

Reuters photo

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, former U.S. Secretary of State Billary Clinton and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (pictured above at last week’s first primary-season debate) are the three remaining candidates for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination. While the Democratic presidential field has narrowed, the Repugnican Tea Party presidential field remains a train wreck in which neither of the top-two candidates ever has held elected office. 

So the field of Democratic presidential aspirants has shrunk dramatically since last week’s first Democratic Party presidential primary-season debate.

Out of the running are Jim Webb (he dropped out on Tuesday) and Lincoln Chafee (he dropped out today), who, I easily had predicted while I live-blogged the debate, would drop out soon. And, of course, non-candidate Joe Biden announced the day before yesterday that he indeed is a non-candidate.

As I’ve written, Martin O’Malley appears to intend to hold on for a while longer, to, perhaps, at least get a vice-presidential bid out of it.

So we won’t have Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee to kick around at the second Dem debate, which is on Saturday, November 14, in Des Moines, Iowa. (The full Dem debate schedule is here.)

Billary Clinton’s performance yesterday before her “Benghazigate” inquisitors has been widely portrayed by the media as a win for her. I don’t know that that will increase her poll numbers, however; in fact, I doubt that it will.

As I’ve noted, it seems to me that the vast majority of voters know Billary well already and thus know already whether or not they support her. Therefore, I could have seen her performance yesterday harming her in the polls had she made any great stumble or stumbles, but, as others have noted, all that she really needed to do was not erupt like a volcano. This was the case probably especially in the wake of dipshit Repugnican Tea Party Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s on-air admission that the whole thing is a Repugnican Tea Party political witch hunt in the first place, which we’d all known all along anyway (well, those of us who have a grasp on reality have known all along, anyway).

So, again, I don’t see Billary having survived yesterday’s hearing giving her a significant increase in her polling, as well before yesterday most voters already knew whether or not they’re supporting her.

Again, what I’m waiting for now is to see how the polls shake out in the coming weeks with only Bernie Sanders, Billary Clinton and Martin O’Malley left in the running. Mostly, I’m interested in seeing how Joe Biden no longer being listed as a polling choice affects the polling between top-two contenders Bernie and Billary.

As I’ve noted, for some time now Biden consistently has come in at third place in nationwide presidential preference polls of Democrats and Democratic leaners (and in polls of Iowans and New Hampshirites). While he didn’t have a shot at winning the nomination – which is why, I’m confident, he ultimately decided not to run – at third place he’d been polling around 17 percent nationally (and also around 17 percent in Iowa and around 12 percent in New Hampshire), most of which now will be divvied between Bernie and Billary.

While the Democratic presidential race has settled to two main candidates, the Repugnican Tea Party presidential race remains a train wreck.

Donald Trump, who wasn’t supposed to last this long (he was supposed to be just a summertime fling – remember?), still leads the nationwide presidential-preference polling for his chosen party. Real Clear Politics (as I type this sentence) shows him around 27 percent among Repugnicans and Repugnican leaners, with Ben Carson in second place at 21.4 percent, Marco Rubio a distant third with 9.2 percent, and Ted Cruz at fourth with 7.8 percent.

Jeb! Bush is in fifth place nationally, with 7.2 percent (and reportedly, Jeb! today ordered his campaign to “cut payroll costs by 40 percent, downsize its Miami headquarters by more than 50 percent, reduce travel costs by 20 percent and cut 45 percent of spending on things other than media and voter contact”).

The members of the Repugnican Party establishment must be shitting their pants, with the presidentially unelectable Trump and Carson, who never have held any elected office before, having held on to the top two spots in the nationwide, Iowa and New Hampshire polls for a while now. (Carson now tops Trump in Iowa polling by four points, and Trump trumps Carson by 12 points in New Hampshire.)

Iowans caucus on February 1, and the New Hampshire primary is on February 9, so there are only about 14 weeks left before Iowa weighs in. Can the struggling campaigns of Jeb! Bush and Ted Cruz hold on that long? Maybe Cruz’s campaign can – I understand that he’s doing OK on money – but can Jeb!’s?

My money still is on Marco Rubio emerging as the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate – a candidate who is acceptable enough to both the establishmentarian Repugnicans and the “tea-party” nut jobs – but again, we have only 14 weeks to go, and Rubio’s nationwide polling – and his polling in Iowa and in New Hampshire – aren’t even at double digits, and Trump and Carson show no signs of slipping from their top-two perches. So if it’s going to be Rubio, the party’s establishmentarians have a lot of work to do over the next three months.

In the meantime, I still support Bernie Sanders, as I believe he’d be the best (that is, the most progressive) president of all of the viable presidential candidates.

The prediction markets favor Billary, the corporate punditry’s choice, over Bernie, but I stand behind Bernie, win or lose.

Minimally, Bernie’s candidacy has shifted the Democratic Party to the left, where it belongs.

Not that that would last all that long at all with a President Billary.

It was just on September 10 that Billary declared while campaigning in Ohio: “You know, I get accused of being kind of moderate and center. I plead guilty.”

During the October 13 Democratic debate, Billary claimed, “I’m a progressive who likes to get things done.”

I have little doubt that as far to the left Bernie could push Billary’s current campaign rhetoric, as president she’d actually deliver to us the same old corporate-ass-kissing, center-right bullshit that her husband did in the 1990s.

If Billary wins the White House – which, yes, I could see her losing to Marco Rubio (current polling match-ups have Clinton leading Rubio by not even two percentage points) – the best that we could say of Bernie Sanders’ candidacy, hopefully (even if he wins the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination but loses the White House), would be that he was to the Democratic Party in 2016 what Barry Goldwater was to the Republican Party in 1964: He set the stage for his party’s later resurgence.

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