Tag Archives: professional left

Billary’s ‘inevitability’ is not inevitable

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	U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responds forcefully to intense questioniing on the September attacks on U.S. diplomatic sites in Benghazi, Libya, during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington January 23, 2013.  

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Billary Clinton appears to be going through the last four of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief as she answers the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ bullshit charges on Benghazi in Washington, D.C., in January — charges that the traitors (including Mittens Romney) couldn’t make stick to President Barack Obama but sure the fuck are trying to make stick to Billary, even though war criminals George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, et. al. remain free. I, for one, don’t want to hear even more Benghazi bullshit for months and months to come, and would much rather see another, actually progressive Democrat win the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, male or female. (Go, Elizabeth Warren!) I reject Billary’s “inevitability,” and I hope that she has to go through Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief where the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination is concerned.

Too many people were bored over the long holiday weekend, because the “buzz” was over Billary Clinton: Will Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren run in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary?

A writer for the New Republic says yes (or, at least, says probably); the smug, center-right political columnist for Slate.com David Weigel, in response, among other things has proclaimed that “The professional left [an apparent insult, since progressives, myself included, were quite insulted when a mouthpiece of the Obama regime dismissively referred to us as “the professional left,” when the more correct term for us would be “the Democratic Party’s base”] doesn’t know how to win” and asks (rhetorically?) of “the professional left”: “if the Obama experience hasn’t taught them that a dreamy presidential candidate won’t bring about paradise, what will?”

Weigel could have summarized his inevitability-of-Billary screed in two words: Surrender, Dorothy!

It’s fun to pick on “the professional left,” I’m sure. And it’s fun to knock down an argument that your (presumed) opponent never even fucking made. I mean, I know of no progressive who ever has described Elizabeth Warren as a “dreamy” candidate who will usher in “paradise.”

I do believe, in fact, that “the Obama experience” has taught us progressives an important lesson. (If nothing else, Obama has utterly ruined the words “hope” and “change” for all Democratic campaigns to come.) But Weigel, who apparently doesn’t actually associate with any of the progressives whom he so smugly disdains, wouldn’t know that; if he knew that, he wouldn’t need to ask, rhetorically or not.

Weigel’s assertion — not to pick only on Weigel, although he can be a real asshole — essentially seems to be that because “Billary Clinton is more popular than ever,” we might as well just skip the 2016 Democratic primary season and declare her the victor already.

I remember when the Deaniacs were basically, sometimes even literally, saying the same thing about Howard Dean during the 2004 presidential election cycle. Even progressive columnist and political cartoonist Ted Rall, with whom I agree more than 90 percent of the time, once actually wrote a column suggesting that states save money by skipping the caucuses and primaries altogether, since Howard Dean undoubtedly was going to win the nomination anyway.

Of course, when people actually voted in the primaries and attended the caucuses that Rall had recommended be scrapped, it turned out very differently: The candidate whom I’d supported all along, John Kerry, like Lazarus, arose from the dead and got the nomination. (Kerry, admittedly, has been a shitty, or at least a disappointing, secretary of state, but I still believe that he did much better against George W. Bush in 2004 than Howard Dean would have done had he won the nomination.)

So I reject similar assertions of Billary Clinton’s inevitability. Will she run for president again in 2016? Very most likely, as she is widely seen, as Mittens Romney apparently was seen in 2012, as her party’s heir apparent for 2016.

But is her primary-season win inevitable?

No. No more so than was Howard Dean’s.

Sure, polls right now show Billary as the undisputed leader for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but doesn’t the fact that the likes of David Weigel basically are telling Americans that Billary Is Inevitable lead a great number of them to believe that Billary is their only real choice?

Elizabeth Warren shows in the top three in the 2016 Democratic presidential field in the latest polling, which suggests to me that she has a real shot.

I’d support Elizabeth Warren or another actually progressive Democratic candidate (female or male) hands down over Billary. I’m fine with a woman as our next president; I’m not fine with that woman being the center-right Billary Clinton.

I require more than the mere possession of the XX chromosomes in a presidential candidate. I wouldn’t want Sarah Palin to be president (or even vice president), either.

Ted Rall, in his forthcoming column on Billary Clinton and how she never should be president, among other things, notes:

… Hillary’s admirers have conflated her impressive list of jobs with actually having gotten things done. When you scratch the surface, however, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the woman has done little more than warm a series of comfy leather desk chairs. How has this career politician changed Americans’ lives? Not in the least.

No doubt, Hillary knows her way around the corridors of power: first lady, senator from New York, presidential candidate, secretary of state. Nice resume, but what did she do with all her jobs? Not much. …

Rall reminds us of Billary’s years in the U.S. Senate:

… After sleazing her way into the Capitol as an out-of-state carpetbagger — New Yorkers still remember — Senator Clinton wiled away the early 2000s as a slacker senator. This, remember, was while Bush was pushing through his radical right agenda: the Patriot Act, wars, coups, drones, torture, renditions and so on.

While Bush was running roughshod, Hillary was meek and acquiescent. …

[Update: Rall’s full column is here.]

Indeed, Obama also accomplished little to nothing during his (four) years in the U.S. Senate. Indeed, perhaps progressives have learned that you look beyond a candidate’s campaign rhetoric and instead look at that candidate’s record, and Billary’s record of accomplishment is no more impressive than was Obama’s when he won the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

“Since 2009 we’ve seen what happens when we elect a president with charisma but minus a resume,” Rall notes. But Billary doesn’t even have the charisma.

And, as Rall notes, “At least with Obama, 2008 voters saw potential. Hillary has had 20 years to shine. If she hasn’t gotten anything accomplished in all that time, with all that power, why should we think she’ll make a great president?”

Yup.

Elizabeth Warren at least has consistently stood up to Wall Street — Warren at least shows potential — while the Clinton machine has made Wall Street its engine.

Would Warren use the hopey-changey bait and switch that Obama did? I doubt it. It wouldn’t be impossible, but I find it unlikely. And it would be difficult to find a lazier president than Obama has been. Recall that when he had both houses of Congress in his party’s control in 2009 and in 2010, he squandered his political capital, something that even the fucktarded George W. Bush never did.

In his column, Rall also correctly points out that although “A woman president is two centuries overdue,” by having ridden her husband’s coattails, Billary is “a terrible role model for women,” and that Billary royally fucked up in October 2002 when, in “the most important vote of her life,” as a U.S. senator she voted to allow the unelected Bush regime to launch its Vietraq War.

While I don’t know that I agree with Rall’s assertion that Billary lost to Obama in 2008 “primarily due to that vote,” it was a significant factor. (The charisma factor was larger, though, I surmise.) I, for one, still hold it against my U.S. senator, the nauseating DINO Dianne Feinstein, for having voted for the Vietraq War in October 2002 (the traitor nonetheless keeps getting re-elected here in California, though; that she’s a millionaire helps, I guess), and I still like my other, for-the-most-part-actually Democratic U.S. senator, Barbara Boxer, in no small part because she voted against it.

But John Kerry also had stupidly voted for the Vietraq War in October 2002 yet still won the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

True, the Vietraq War still raged then, and we didn’t have the hindsight on it that we did when Billary ran in 2008, but here in the United States of Amnesia, I can’t see her vote for the Vietraq War hurting Billary much in a 2016 campaign.

Still, though, her vote for the Vietraq War demonstrates that if she isn’t a self-serving coward who will do what’s politically expedient over what is right, she exhibited, in Rall’s words, breathtakingly “poor political calculus,” which makes her “kind of dumb.” (“Kind of” is generous.)

I’ll offer yet another, perhaps selfish reason to reject the “inevitability” of Billary Clinton: I really, really, really don’t want to keep hearing, for months on end, about Benghazi from the very same right-wing traitors who have had no problem whatsofuckingever with the pointless deaths of more than 4,000 of our troops in the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked, unjust and thus bogus — and thus treasonous — Vietraq War, but who claim to care sooo much about four Americans who died in the Middle East last year.

But then again, perhaps with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors so fucking focused on trying to take down Billary with the Benghazi bullshit, they wouldn’t see someone like Elizabeth Warren coming…

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We’ve already lost the future

President Barack Obama delivers his State of ...

President Barack Obama is applauded by House ...

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In character with the “hope” that he dashed and the significant “change” that he never delivered, President Barack Obama last night delivered a falsely positive State of the Union address meant to capture the “swing vote” for his 2012 re-election campaign. The new slogan is “winning the future,” which is meant to make you keep on hoping for that promised change.

I watched President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night, live via whitehouse.gov (and I even followed along with his prepared remarks, which he followed to the word, with only a few minor exceptions), and my immediate reaction to the “SOTU” was that the Obamanesque slogans of “hope” and “change” — now that they’re defunct because we know that we were punk’d — apparently have been replaced with the equally fluffy but insubstantial “winning the future.”

(Oh, and Repugnican Rep. Joe “You Lie!” Wilson was able to contain himself this time.)

Seriously, though, Barack Obama is far more about saying the right thing, the most politically advantageous thing, than he is about doing the right thing. And the nation’s challenges are far more daunting than Obama let on in his address.

We’re soon to be awash in baby boomers who will be dependent upon us — that’s “dependent” as in “dependent upon Depends” — and we already don’t have the resources to handle the old people that we have now. And the profits-over-people Repugnicans want to undo any gains that might have been made with health-care reform (a.k.a. “Obamacare”).

We can talk all we want about this being our “Sputnik moment,” as Obama put it last night, but with an impending avalanche of dependent senior citizens who can only suck up our already vanishing resources, in the coming several years we’ll have far more sputum moments than “Sputnik moments.”

But hey, bravo to Barack for appealing to the “swing voters” with his new empty slogan of “winning the future” while he continues to alienate his base, those of us of the “professional left.”

Will the “swing voters” give Obama any money for his 2012 re-election campaign, though?

As far as I know, “swing voters” aren’t known for making substantial political donations.

And I’m one disgruntled former Obama supporter — a member of the “sanctimonious,” “professional left” — who won’t give Obama another penny or another vote. (I quite regret that I gave him hundreds of dollars and that in November 2008 I cast my vote for him.)

Former “President” George W. Bush is one motherfucking dipshit, but the one thing he never did was alienate his own base. Bush might have tried to play to the center sometimes, but he never abandoned those who brought him to the dance.  

At any rate, I might write more about Obama’s speech of last night, but frankly, when the man moves his lips these days, all that I hear is the crafty rhetoric of promises that already are broken even as they are spoken.

I, for one, just can’t hear him anymore.

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No. 44 is down to 44 percent

US President Obama speaks during an event for ...

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How many of those who don’t approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance disapprove of it because of the way he has sold out the left, such as by having sold Shirley Sherrod down the river to the wingnuts and by not having chastised his spokesweasel for bashing the “professional left” (a.k.a. Obama’s base)?

President Barack Obama (pictured yesterday above) now has the lowest approval rating that he has had since he took office in January 2009, Politico reports. The Gallup poll that Politico cites puts Obama’s approval rating at only 44 percent.

Politico opines:

The drop can likely be attributed to the loss of independents. Obama’s approval rating among independents now stands at 39 percent, down 4 points from June. Obama began his presidency with the support 74 percent of independents.

Eighty percent of Democrats still approve of the president’s job performance, down only 2 percent from June.

OK, so where do we of the professional left fit in?

I’m a registered Green Party member. I don’t call myself a Democrat because way too many Democrats disgust me with their cowardice and corporate ass-licking.

I don’t consider myself to be an “independent,” either. I consider myself to be a progressive, a leftist — yes, a professional leftist.

I don’t approve of Barack Obama’s job performance, and had I been contacted in Gallup’s poll, I would have indicated as such.

But, it seems to me, those who disapprove of Obama’s job performance are presumed to be Repugnicans, members of the far right (mostly the “tea party” dipshits) or “independents”/“swing voters,” whose views consistently lean to the right.

How many of those who disapprove of Obama’s job performance disapprove of it because they believe, like I do, that he’s not nearly to the left enough?

We professional leftists, it seems to me, are unaccounted for in the polling.

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Deep thoughts on the week that was

I post only a fraction of what I could post, because my time is limited (like it is with most bloggers, I have to earn a paycheck, and that doesn’t happen with my blogging, which is a labor of love) and because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and don’t like doing something unless I do it right.

So here is some of what I would have posted in the past week or so if I’d had the time (and if I weren’t such a perfectionist):

Movie reviews

“Countdown to Zero”: This documentary about nuclear weapons was disappointing. It taught me little that I didn’t already know or that I couldn’t have discovered on my own via Google (which now is evil, I understand, and which is too bad, because I’ve always liked Google).

“Countdown” apparently lets the United States of America off of the hook for having been the first nation on the planet to nuke another nation. It’s an obvious conclusion that if nukes are bad and the United States is the first and thus far the only nation ever to have nuked another nation — what does that say of the U.S.?

“Countdown” also doesn’t delve into the uber-hypocrisy of the United States — the only nation ever to have nuked another nation (I never tire of saying that) — dictating to the rest of the world which nations get to have nukes and which nations don’t. No, I’m not big on the idea of Iran having the Bomb, either, but it was the United States that opened that Pandora’s box, and “Countdown to Zero” doesn’t even begin to address that adequately.

My grade: C+

“Inception” is entertaining enough, but it also could have been titled “Deja Vu,” because it’s a mixture of “The Matrix” and “Shutter Island.”

“Inception” explores what is real and what is not, and features characters kicking each other’s asses in a video-game-like fantasy land while their physical bodies are unconscious and wired up, a la “The Matrix.” What’s most bizarre about “Inception” is that in both “Inception” and “Shutter Island,” Leonardo DiCaprio plays a man who is tortured by the ghosts of his dead wives. The similarity is such that my having seen “Shutter Island” first made me able to enjoy “Inception” less.

Any movie starring both Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, two of my favorite young actors, however, can’t be all bad. (Marion Cotillard, as DiCaprio’s character’s deceased wife, is pretty good, too, although her accent sounds a bit like Arianna Huffington’s…)

“Inception,” besides being too derivative, is too long, though…

My grade: B-

“The Kids Are All Right” is more than all right. Julianne Moore and Annette Bening do a great job playing a lesbian couple with two teenaged kids. Each of them had been inseminated by the donations of a sperm donor (played by Mark Ruffalo, who can donate sperm to me any time…) who later is contacted by the older teen (played by Mia Wasikowska, who starred as Alice in Tim Burton’s latest film) and who comes into their lives.

Probably because I’m a gay man, I have no problem seeing any two people of either sex in a relationship, and having been in a relationship for almost three years now, I see certain dynamics in all relationships, regardless of gender and sexual orientation. (While my boyfriend and I watched “The Kids Are All Right” together, I poked him in the arm several times to declare: “That’s us!”)

I understand that the lesbian community is not thrilled about the type of porn that the lesbian couple in the film enjoy, but, as Moore’s character explains, human sexuality is complicated.

My biggest problem with “The Kids Are All Right” is that Ruffalo’s character isn’t all that believable. Is he a care-free Bohemian or is he a successful businessman? And how does he have all of that time and energy (and the money) to do all that he does, including having a romance with one of the lesbians? Still, the insightful dialogue and the realistic situations in “Kids” make it worthwhile.

My grade: A

Politics

Leave Michelle alone! Had Barbara Bush or Laura Bush gone to Spain on vacation, it would have been no big fucking deal. But because Michelle Obama went on vacation to Spain, and not, I suppose, to Haiti or Darfur or Uganda, she’s taken shit for it. Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker recently huffed:

Is it really such a terrible thing that the president’s wife took a few days off to enjoy the beaches of Spain? Yes and no. Michelle Obama’s trip, though expensive in the context of our dire financial straits, isn’t putting a dent in the Treasury.

But as a political move, it could not have been more out of step with most Americans’ reality. The obvious reasons include the stagnant job market, the depleted fortunes of the middle class, millions of lost homes and, for many, the prospect of an insecure financial future….

On balance, the vacation was poorly conceived but hardly a crime befitting the condemnation. Perhaps of more lasting concern is the missed opportunity for the first lady to set an example of restraint and even generosity. I hear the Gulf Coast beaches could use a cash infusion.

When do the Richie Riches of the Repugnican Party ever “set an example of restraint and even generosity”? Why the fucking double standard that a conservative white man is expected to be a selfish asshole, and gets away with it, but if a black woman takes a trip that any well-enough-to-do white woman would take, she instead should have “set an example of restraint and even generosity”?

And talk about pettiness. Parker notes in her column that

George W. Bush largely escaped scrutiny because his preferred getaway was a place no one else, especially the media, wanted to go. Crawford, Tex., in August? Fabulous.

Whatever else one thinks of Bush, he did have a sense of propriety in matters recreational, perhaps in part attributable to his life of privilege and attendant guilt. He gave up golf after invading Iraq because he felt it would look bad to be perfecting his swing while those he had consigned to battle were losing their limbs. A token, perhaps, but a gesture nonetheless.

A token gesture “perhaps”? And oh, please. The xenophobic, parochial George W. Bush never showed interest in other nations or cultures unless they had vast oil reserves that could be stolen. He didn’t take vacations at home out of some “sense of propriety in matters recreational,” but out of his utter lack of curiosity about the rest of the world.

And Gee Dubya gave up golf? Oh, gee, what a sacrifice! That almost makes up for the damage that he did to his own nation, including leaving office with (not in any certain order) a record federal budget deficit, an overextended military, a crumbling domestic infrastructure, far more enemies around the world than there were before he stole office in late 2000, and what economists have dubbed the “Great Recession.”

Why does Kathleen Parker get paid to write and I fucking don’t?

(Well, that’s mostly a rhetorical question, but the answer is that she’s a baby boomer, and boomers never have needed any actual talent to make big bucks, and because as a writer she supports the status quo, which includes keeping Americans stupid and disempowered by discussing such non-issues as Michelle Obama’s vacation, and my intention when I write is to destroy, not to prop up, the status quo. And, we Gen X’ers historically have been shit and pissed upon by the talentless boomers.) 

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a Gen-X hero!

Steven Slater, a JetBlue flight attendant (pictured above in a MySpace photo), had had it. As a (U.K.) Guardian columnist tells it,

…as the plane was coming in to land, Slater asked a passenger who was attempting to get her luggage from the overhead compartment to remain seated. After the passenger verbally berated Slater, a piece of her luggage fell on to his head. [This website states that Slater’s mother says that Slater was hit in the head by the door of the overhead bin the foul-mouthed passenger was yanking open, not by luggage.] Slater took to the plane’s PA system and announced that he was quitting. Then, after grabbing two beers from a food cart, he opened one of the plane’s doors, slid down the emergency chute, and was gone for good.

This story is being told as a simple episode of “take this job and shove it,” but I think that there is a lot more than that beneath the surface.

Slater is in his late 30s — a Gen X’er, like me, who, I am sure, is sick and fucking tired of being squeezed in the middle between overly demanding (mostly baby-boomer) customers and rich (mostly baby-boomer) overlords who do little to no work themselves but who reap all of the profits while we Gen X (and Gen Y) wage slaves, who usually live from paycheck to paycheck, make their wealth and their comfort possible. (I felt this big squeeze especially in nursing, which I left in 1998 and to which I’ll never return.)

I don’t know how old the obnoxious passenger is, but my guess is that she’s a fucking baby boomer. (I’d bet money on it.)

The passenger’s selfish, inappropriate and illegal actions — this website reports that the Federal Aviation Administration is looking for the passenger because she is accused of “several airline infractions,” including “unbuckling her seatbelt and walking while the plane is taxiing, [constituting] two separate fines of $1,100” — ended up creating a visible wound on Slater’s forehead, but, as a Gen-X wage slave in the “service sector” (the new slavery system) he was just supposed to take it.

The boomers clearly expect us Gen X’ers to continue to take it up the ass indefinitely. We Gen X’ers are overeducated and underpaid, and we’re quite clear as to the future that the uber-selfish boomers intend to leave us, yet the boomers expect their gravy train to chug on forever at our continued expense.

If we Gen X’ers — and the “illegal aliens” — all ever were to refuse to continue being whipped wage slaves for the overprivileged boomers — if we all were to activate and slide down that emergency chute — their comfort would come to a screeching halt.

We Gen X’ers and other wage slaves have the real power, not those parasites who are dependent upon us yet act as though we need them.

Severing the hand that feeds you (and slapping your benefactor in the face with it): I’d already decided long before Obama administration spokesweasel Robert Gibbs called us progressives members of the “professional left” who should be drug tested that I’ll never give another penny nor another vote to Barack Obama. So I can’t call Gibbs’ smug comments the final nail in Obama’s coffin. That coffin was nailed shut long ago, so I guess that Gibbs’ latest statements are just concrete poured over that coffin.

You know, George W. Bush is a major fucktard, but neither even he nor any of his spokesweasels, to my recollection, ever publicly bashed the Repugnican Tea Party’s far-right-wing base.

You may not like your base all of the time, but you don’t alienate your base.

Clearly, starting with DINO (Democrat in name only) Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party decided that it’s OK to promise some things to us progressives but then to do other things — because where else are we progressives going to go?

Well, this member of the “professional left” won’t support Obama anymore. Clearly, the Obama administration has decided to sell us progressives up the river for the unstable, volatile support of the “swing voters,” who can’t tell right from wrong, good from evil, or friend from foe.

I’m more than happy to pick up my marbles (which Gibbs claims I’ve lost) and go home, even if doing so means the quicker collapse of the American empire. I’m with Ralph Nader, whom I voted for president in 2000 and whom I should have voted for president in November 2008 (instead of Obama) — and of whom one of his detractors once claimed believes that things have to get even worse before they’ll ever get better.

And this pundit had it right when he remarked:

We “professional leftists” do indeed need drug testing because apparently the … hallucinogenic of “hope and change” has worn off and the ugly mediocrity of modern Democratic leadership stares us in the face with the not-so-friendly smugness of a hookah-smoking caterpillar.

Yup. It was the Obama campaign that had sold us the drug of “hope” and “change” and now criticizes us for having imbibed it.

Well, we of the professional left are going to have to find a new drug.

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