Tag Archives: Saturday Night Live

Preventing President Trump is up to the Democratic Party super-delegates now

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Supporters of Donald Trump raise their right arms to “pledge their allegiance to him” at a rally in Orlando, Florida, in March. (It’s not at all Nazi-like.) Billary Clinton right now polls only 2 or 3 percentage points ahead of Der Fuehrer Trump, whereas Bernie Sanders polls ahead of Trump in the low double digits. Delusional individuals who believe that Trump couldn’t possibly beat Billary in November need only remind themselves that it long was believed that Trump couldn’t possibly win the Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination.

In April 2015, “Saturday Night Live’s” Kate McKinnon’s Billary Clinton (watch the video above) hilariously proclaimed (to the horror of her communications aide): “Citizens! You will elect me! I will be your leader!”

Prescient.

Today, the real Billary Clinton proclaimed on CNN: “I will be the nominee for my party… That is already done, in effect. There is no way that I won’t be.”

Billary was even wearing a blue pantsuit when she made this pronouncement. Watch:

Just: Wow.

The hubris.

OK, here’s the deal: It’s up to the super-delegates at the Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia in late July to determine whether Bernie Sanders or Billary Clinton will be the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee. Only they, with their votes, have the power to give Billary or Bernie the magic 2,383 delegates that either needs to win the nomination.

It’s actually not up to Queen Billary, as much as she and her henchweasels, including, of course, Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz, have done their best to rig the game in Billary’s favor and to shove Billary down our throats.

Why, you ask, would the super-delegates give the nomination to Bernie, since he trails Billary by around 275 pledged delegates?

Here’s why: Polls of the nationwide electorate show Billary beating Donald Trump by only 2 or 3 percentage points, whereas in the polls Bernie Sanders beats Donald Trump by the low double digits.

Real Clear Politics’ average of the match-up polls right now puts Billary at only 3.1 percent ahead of Trump, whereas RCP right now puts Bernie at 11.6 percent ahead of Trump.

The Huffington Post’s average of the match-up polls right now puts Billary at only 2.2 percent ahead of Trump — and puts Bernie at 10.6 percent ahead of Trump.

With about five and a half more months to go before Election Day in November, could these poll numbers change? Sure.

But both Billary Clinton and Donald Trump have been on the national stage for decades now. How many voters by now aren’t familiar enough with both of them that they’re going to change their minds between now and November? How much movement can we really expect to see?

Is Trump enjoying a bit of a bounce from his recently having emerged as the sole survivor of the overcrowded field of Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes?

Probably.

But I expect Trump to overtake Billary in all of the polls any day now — and what will happen at the Democratic Party convention in July if, by that time, nationwide polls have had Trump beating Billary by a decent margin (say, by at least 5 percent)?

What will the super-delegates do?

Which will be more important at the convention: coronating Billary, even though there’s a very good chance that she’ll lose in November, or stopping Donald Trump by nominating Bernie Sanders (assuming that Sanders is still polling significantly above Trump at that time, say, by at least 5 percent)?

It comes down to this: Do the super-delegates go with the winner of the majority of the pledged delegates if, as expected, Billary goes into the convention with more pledged delegates than does Bernie? Or do the delegates look to November and decide which candidate has the better chance of beating Trump?

Is winning the White House in November not the objective?

Is Queen Billary’s colossal ego, including her sense of entitlement, more important than keeping the White House in Democratic hands?

Yes, there is a strong case to be made that the winner of the most pledged delegates should be the nominee — it’s the only democratic way to do it, right? — but isn’t the purpose of the convention to pick the strongest challenger for November?

And we can change the rules of the game for next time — I repeatedly have advocated for the abolishment of the super-delegates, in fact — but for this round, the rules of the game are that the super-delegates, also called “unbound” delegates (pledged delegates are “bound” delegates), may vote however they please; they are not bound to vote with how those in their states voted.

It easily could come down to only the Democratic Party’s super-delegates being able to stop a President Trump by picking the stronger, nationally popular Bernie Sanders as the party’s champion instead of picking the weak, nationally unpopular Billary Clinton — no matter how the people have voted and caucused up to that point.

Buckle up. It’s going to be an even bumpier ride than it has been as of late.*

*Seriously, the more that the nationally despised and increasingly desperate Billary’s poll numbers tank, the more that she and her desperate surrogates will attack Bernie Sanders and his supporters, such as by calling yelling at the state party convention in Las Vegas on Saturday “violence” when, in fact, there was only shouting and no physical violence.

In their desperation and sense of entitlement they’ll lie through their fangs even more than they already have been. They will take slander and libel to a whole new level.

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‘SNL’ wasn’t funny on Saturday night (because fascism, racism aren’t funny)

Larry David May Get $5,000 For Yelling

It’s chilling that “Saturday Night Live” relentlessly makes fun of the one presidential candidate who would benefit the highest number of people were he to sit in the Oval Office, yet chooses as its guest host the one who probably is the most fascistic. Above, Larry David, who has just portrayed the “unelectable” Bernie Sanders unfairly unflatteringly again in “SNL’s” “cold open,” yells “Trump’s a racist!” during Donald Trump’s monologue — because Trump’s real-life racism and race-baiting, and further afflicting the already afflicted and further comforting the already comfortable, are funny, you see.

I try to have at least somewhat of a thick skin, and I think it’s generally important that one’s own cows that aren’t all that sacred, but “Saturday Night Live” went way too far on Saturday night.

No, it’s not that you can make fun of the right wing (yes, I still suspect that Tina Fey’s Emmy-Award-winning rendition of Sarah Palin on “SNL” hurt the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008) but never the left wing.

It’s that when you make fun of the right wing, you’re usually making fun of the rich and/or the powerful, of those who routinely afflict the already downtrodden. The targets of such parody deserve their comeuppance, albeit only their comedic comeuppance (which is usually the most comeuppance that they’ll ever receive here in the United States of America, where “justice” is but a word).

But when you make fun of the left wing, unless you explicitly are making fun of limousine liberals (who are, in my book, because of their rank hypocrisy, very fair game [and who sure love fellow limo liberal Billary Clinton]), you usually are making fun of those who already are downtrodden and/or of those who are standing up for the downtrodden. And that’s not humor. That’s bullying.

And the bullying began right at “SNL’s” opening, in which Larry David, apparently high from his first portrayal of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on “SNL,” returned for another portrayal of him, this time in a mock-up of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s Democratic presidential candidates’ forum (which aired on Friday night), which, we are told right out of the gate, means “a debate that no one watches.” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! (Actually, Rachel Maddow’s viewership, especially among younger adults, apparently is doing just fine. But if we say that there is no audience for left-of-center media content, that makes it true, right?)

Last time on “SNL,” Larry David’s great Bernie Sanders joke was that Bernie Sanders owns one pair of underwear! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!  This time, the hilarious Larry-David-as-Bernie-Sanders gag was that Bernie Sanders wants only your pennies — not your shiny and new pennies, but your old and nasty pennies retrieved from your vacuum cleaner, your “vacuum pennies.” Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaa!

“SNL’s” Larry David’s Bernie Sanders from Saturday night also picks from the mock Rachel Maddow an envelope (containing a question or a dare, apparently) from the far left — “so far left,” he says, “it could never be elected.” Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaa! Because NBC will tell us commoners who is and who is not electable, you see! We mere serfs to our corporate masters cannot (and will not) be trusted with such important decisions!

Larry David has some of Bernie Sanders’ mannerisms, such as the periodic tongue swipe, down — I’ll give him that — but overall the writers of “SNL” (who are, in the end, let’s just acknowledge it, corporate whores) very apparently don’t know where to take their Sanders gags outside of portraying him as a grumpy old man (“Of course I hate you; I hate everyone,” he tells the mock Maddow on Saturday night’s show) who’s huge on austerity (replete with owning only one pair of underwear and requesting only “vacuum pennies”).

Never mind that the real-life Sanders is older and is serious (because our nation and our planet face serious challenges) but isn’t grumpy, and never mind that the real-life Sanders does not actually preach personal austerity (such as advocating the possession of only one pair of underwear, and not one penny of the hundreds of dollars that I have given him for his campaign came from a vacuum cleaner), but he does preach against corporate abuses.

But corporate abuses are A-OK to a corporation like NBC, which demonstrated the stunningly poor judgment to allow fascist presidential aspirant Donald Trump to host its show on Saturday night.

Scroll down to the bottom of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign website’s home page and you’ll see the words “Paid for by Bernie 2016 (not the billionaires).” (Again, you won’t see any mention of “vacuum pennies”…)

Bernie Sanders isn’t a billionaire, but Donald Trump is, so which presidential aspirant does “SNL” invite as its guest host? The billionaire, of course, not the one who fights against billionaires. “SNL” invites as its host the billionaire bully, not the one who stands up to the billionaire bullies. And this fascistic slop is served up to us serfs by our corporate master NBC as “entertainment” and even “comedy.”

(And yes, Sanders and Trump are pretty equal, politically speaking. What they both have in common right now is that both of them are in the top two in the partisan presidential polling for Iowa, New Hampshire and the nation, and both lead in New Hampshire right now. [See here and here.])

I don’t use the term “fascist” lightly. I don’t use it as a slam, although it is, rightfully, a slam; I use the term in its dictionary-definition sense. A Laurence W. Britt, a political scientist, a dozen years ago listed 14 characteristics of fascism that we’ve seen in world history. Most of these characteristics are quite apparent in Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House (and already have been put into practice by the Repugnican Tea Party, if not by El Trumpo himself):

  1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.
  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice — relentless propaganda and disinformation — were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.
  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.
  5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.
  6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.
  7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.
  8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and proto-fascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.
  9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.
  10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.
  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.
  12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. “Normal” and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.
  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.
  14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite. [Bush vs. Gore, anyone?]

Fascism isn’t funny, yet “Saturday Night Live” saw fit to have fascist Donald Trump as its guest host, and apparently sought to absolve itself with yet another “funny” “joke”: Larry David, fresh off of his second stint bashing Bernie Sanders for his corporate pimp NBC, yelled from the sidelines during Trump’s opening monologue, “You’re a racist!” and “Trump’s a racist!” — because, David said, he wanted the $5,000 reward that he’d heard any studio audience member who called Trump a “racist” during the show would receive. Trump responded that as a businessman, he couldn’t hold David’s greed against him. Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!

Let me remind you that in June, Donald Trump stated, in his presidential announcement speech:

… When Mexico sends its people [to the United States], they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. … [“You,” I presume, would be (mostly if not entirely) white people who are “good” because they support Trump.] They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems [with them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. …

Trump has yet to back down from his anti-Latino-immigrant positions, including his ludicrous call for A Great Wall along the entire border between the United States and Mexico. That link is to his presidential campaign website, which also includes this lovely little anecdote:

Most recently, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, with a long arrest record, is charged with breaking into a 64 year-old woman’s home, crushing her skull and eye sockets with a hammer, raping her, and murdering her. The Police Chief in Santa Maria says the “blood trail” leads straight to Washington. [The link is the website’s, not mine, and this is a copy and paste, so the errors are entirely the website’s.]

Yes, not only does Trump need to buy himself a competent copy editor for his campaign website, but his campaign uses rhetoric that is chillingly reminiscent of the anti-Semitic rhetoric of the fascistic Nazi Party. Trump won’t tell you of the many murders and rapes committed by American citizens, especially by white ones; no, he will only single out heinous crimes committed by the “illegal aliens” — crimes that, of course, are committed by members of many demographics, especially when you have millions of members of these demographics in the United States.

Donald Trump would have you believe, for his own personal political gain, that only those crimes that he conveniently has singled out for the xenophobic and racist — the fascistic — political persecution of one group of people are the only crimes that occur in the United States of America — or, at least, the only ones that we should focus on and worry about.

By furthering the anti-intellectualism and the pro-plutocracy of fascism by consistently unfairly and inaccurately portraying the intellectual and the anti-plutocratic presidential aspirant Bernie Sanders in an unflattering light, and by trying to make light of presidential aspirant Donald Trump’s blatantly fascistic characteristics, NBC is only helping fascism to take even further root in the United States — which, only coinkily-dinkily, I’m sure, sure further benefits a corporation like NBC.

Fascism (including its racism and xenophobia) isn’t fucking funny, and I don’t think that I can think of “Saturday Night Live” or NBC in the same light ever again.

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False equivalence, even in ‘comedy,’ isn’t funny; it is dangerous

Bernie Sanders Reacts to Larry David's 'Saturday Night Live' Impersonation

Larry David admittedly does a pretty good Bernie Sanders impersonation, especially vocally, but I, for one, find corporately sponsored take-downs of Sanders to be chilling because there is a dark agenda of corporate self-preservation behind them. (By “self” I don’t mean to imply that corporations are people. They most certainly are not…)

It’s easy to laugh when a politician whom you despise is spoofed on “Saturday Night Live” or elsewhere. This was the case for me with parodies of Sarah Palin (Tina Fey won an Emmy for that portrayal) and yes, of Billary Clinton (both Amy Poehler and Kate McKinnon have done a pretty good job of portraying Her Highness).

It’s a little more difficult when the politician who’s being lampooned is your favorite, such as, in my case, Bernie Sanders.

Don’t get me wrong; Larry David overall did a great job as Bernie Sanders on last night’s “SNL.” He has Bernie’s voice down pat, and it’s OK, I suppose, for David or anyone else to portray Bernie as a bit of a crank, a curmudgeon (as David did). Long live free speech. (Did you detect my enthusiasm there?)

It’s that, of course, NBC is a mega-corporation, and so of course pro-corporate bias is going to seep even into a “comedy” show like “SNL.”

Larry David’s Bernie Sanders’ opening statement in “SNL’s” mock Democratic Party presidential debate of last night, for instance, includes: “We’re doomed! We need a revolution! Millions of people on the streets! And we’ve got to do something! And we’ve got to do it now!” He then pauses for a moment and then, waving his hand dismissively, declares: “Nah!”

David’s Bernie also declares, in his closing statement, that he’ll end up being Billary’s running mate, which is right in line with the corporate punditry’s “conventional wisdom” that Bernie can’t win. (He can, actually, but, of course, the corporatocrats and the corporate whores who love them will do what they can to ensure that Bernie doesn’t.)

Um, yeah, I don’t know. It’s important for us not to take everything too seriously, or at least to be able to laugh now and then, but the danger, it seems to me, of spoofing Bernie Sanders like this is that it’s meant to negate pretty much his entire message — which is awfully convenient, of course, not only for a corporation like NBC but for the entire elite establishment that benefits from the status quo, which hinges on corporations continuing to drain the life blood of working-class Americans and even destroying the planet itself in the process of profiteering obscenely.

It’s not really funny shit, and to laugh at it as though it were — Hey, if “SNL” is spoofing it, how serious can it be? — serves to enable us to continue to ignore it at our own collective peril.

Not that Bernie Sanders was the only one lampooned last night; the first words spoken by Kate McKinnon’s Billary Clinton in “SNL’s” mock Democratic debate are: “Oh, hello. Thank you for having me. I think you’re really going to like the Hillary Clinton that my team and I have created for this debate.” Ouch. (Because it’s so true.)

But while Billary Clinton indeed keeps rebranding herself like a human weather vane spinning around in a tornado (just very recently she went from being a proud “moderate” to being a “progressive”), Bernie Sanders isn’t a Chicken Little. The problems that he repeatedly talks about — such as climate change and insane income disparity — are severe and persistent, and it’s not difficult to foresee the future if we wave them all off like a joke, like Larry David’s Bernie Sanders does.

Another problem with spoofing presidential candidates and politicians in general is that there so often is the concern of the writers to give the appearance that everyone is being spoofed equally and that all sides of any political debate are presented as being equal. (This is meant to accomplish at least a few things, such as to avoid allegations of bias [probably especially by right-wing nut jobs] and to keep the money flowing [money might not keep on flowing if you have stepped on some toes].)

But that blatantly false equivalence so widely communicated within the corporately owned and controlled media, probably especially in the “news” media, inevitably infects our general discourse to the point that many if not most Americans cannot effectively and accurately analyze politics and politicians. They cannot discriminate between truth and bullshit and they often even (often enthusiastically) support politicians whose political practices harm them while only helping those who already are filthy rich.

The “tea-party” dipshits, whose darling right now apparently is billionaire Donald Trump, are experts at this, experts at being chickens supporting Colonel Sanders (who is not to be confused with Bernie Sanders).

How stupid is it to vote against your own best interests?

But millions of Americans do it every election, such as even with their blind support of Billary Clinton. (Well, Wall Street supports Billary, as it does Jeb! Bush, the Wall Street weasels’ top two beneficiaries, so their support of corporate whores like Clinton and Bush certainly makes selfish and greedy political sense for them, but the vast majority of us voters aren’t Wall Street weasels who will benefit directly from another Bush or Clinton presidency.)

Equal spoofing is bullshit because everything isn’t equal. To assert that it is is its own form of nihilism that, only in our own minds, lets us off of the hook of our duty, as the citizens and denizens of this nation, to ensure that our descendants, that all of the other species of life and the planet itself don’t continue to suffer degradation (or even extinction) in the future because of our selfishness, laziness and greediness in the present.

It’s not just “SNL”; take also 2004’s “Team America: World Police,” for instance. In that movie, which overall is pretty funny (with some truly hilarious scenes) and was a pretty good response to the hyper-jingoism that followed 9/11, the “South Park” creators make leftists from Hollywood (including Alec Baldwin [who played Jim Webb in “SNL’s” mock debate last night], Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon) and, of course, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore, into villains, apparently only or primarily for the purpose of not being accused of taking a political side, of being an equal-opportunity offender.*

But, again, not all political sides are equal. Sarah Palin, for instance, is not the equivalent of even Billary Clinton, and Billary Clinton, while she calls herself a “Democrat” and even “a progressive” (“a progressive who likes to get things done”!), is not the equivalent of Bernie Sanders.

In a nation whose denizens can barely analyze political matters and politicians as it is (if they haven’t already given up the effort entirely for sports, celebrity gossip, consumerism and/or other forms of entertainment and/or distraction) — and who consequently, again, thus routinely actually vote against their own best interests (when/if they vote at all) — this false-equivalence-as-comedy shit just isn’t very fucking funny.

*It’s perfectly OK to take down limousine liberals, who by definition don’t walk their own talk, but that doesn’t seem to have been the “South Park” creators’ main intent with “Team America.”

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George McGovern’s death makes me yearn for real Democrats

George McGovern, War Critic Routed by Nixon in 1972

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

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

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

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

The masses often get it wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did Obama do it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yeah, I’d Tickle That: Day Two (or, Andy Makes Me Randy)

Andy Samberg. >Sigh.<

I would give my left nut for a night with “Saturday Night Live’s” Andy Samberg.

Andy is adorable and talented, regularly playing not only a foul-mouthed, not-to-be-fucked-with Rahm Emanuel for “SNL,” but also creating “digital shorts,” my favorite of which remains “Iran So Far” (but “Jizz in My Pants” is, um, memorable, too…).

To my knowledge, Andy thus far mostly has had small film roles, none of them breakthroughs, but I think that he could carry a big film.

Andy reportedly is straight (I note that because surely if he were gay I’d have a chance…) and in one recent “SNL” skit he hilariously plays a young man fending off a snorkeling Eric Massa, who was my inspiration for this week-long series.

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Fey is AP’s ‘Entertainer of the Year’

In this Sept. 27, 2008, image released by NBC, Tina Fey portrays ...

Associated Press photo

Tina Fey, left, spoofs Repugnican Sarah Palin-Quayle on “Saturday Night Live” in late September. (Amy Poehler, right, plays Katie Couric.) Fey’s frighteningly funny, accurate portrayal of Palin-Quayle as a bumbling, ignorant beauty pageant queen who would be just a heartbeat away from the presidency — “I can see Russia from my house!” probably is Fey’s most memorable line as Palin-Quayle — probably was more effective against the McInsane-Palin-Quayle ticket than any television ad that Team Obama could have aired. 

We could use some good news right about now: The Associated Press named Tina Fey as its “Entertainer of the Year.” Reports the AP:

NEW YORK – Tina Fey is the entertainer of the year? You betcha.

Fey was voted The Associated Press’ Entertainer of the Year, an annual honor chosen by newspaper editors and broadcast producers across the country.

Fey was selected by AP members as the performer who had the greatest impact on culture and entertainment in 2008.

The 38-year-old comedian bested runner-up Robert Downey Jr., whose comeback was capped with the blockbuster smash “Iron Man,” and the third-place vote-getter, Heath Ledger, who posthumously wowed audiences as the Joker in “The Dark Knight.”

But it was Fey who most impressed voters largely with her indelible impression of Gov. Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live.” Her cameos on her old show (where she had been a head writer until 2006) helped drive the show to record ratings and eventually drew an appearance from Palin herself.

“Tina Fey is such an obvious choice,” said Sharon Eberson, entertainment editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “She gave us funny when we really needed it and, in a year when women in politics were making huge strides, Fey stood out in the world of entertainment.”

“She simultaneously entertained us with her wit and put a mirror up to the nation during the election and made us think about what was going on,” said Scott Shive, assistant features editor at the Lexington Herald-Leader. “She is the epitome of the smart kid coming out on top for once.”

As soon as Palin was chosen as Sen. John McCain‘s running mate, conjecture mounted that the similar-looking Fey would have to return to “SNL” to play her.

In an interview earlier this fall, Fey recalled watching early TV coverage of Palin: “That was the first time I thought, ‘Well, I kinda do look like her. I’d better really listen to how this lady talks.'”

Fey debuted the impression on the “SNL” season premiere and a sensation quickly followed. She made four more pre-election appearances as Palin on the late-night satire. [Actually, I count at least six appearances by Fey as Palin-Quayle on “SNL.”]

“From the winks to the nods to the accent, she nailed it,” said Marc Bona, assistant entertainment editor of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland. “And she did so at a time when it seemed the whole country was tuned in — both to the presidential race as well as ‘Saturday Night Live.'”

Last year’s AP Entertainer of the Year also went to a comedian whose satire blended in with politics: Stephen Colbert.

Yup, after Repugnican John Fossil Fool McCain picked Palin-Quayle as his running mate — my guess is that his choice of her as his running mate cost him at least 2 to 3 percent of the vote, maybe as much as 5 percent — my immediate impression was that he’d picked a Tina Fey lookalike, and I was going to post a picture of Fey and Palin-Quayle side by side, but I never got around to doing that.

So I wasn’t surprised, shortly thereafter, to see Fey’s first impersonation of Palin-Quayle on “SNL.” Probably Fey’s first appearance as Palin-Quayle is the funniest; it’s never quite as good as the first time… (All of Fey’s appearances as Palin-Quayle are here.)

A shout out to Amy Poehler, too, for having done a pretty good job as an increasingly bitter power-mongering Billary Cunton — er, Hillary Clinton. (Check out this one of Poehler doing Billary as the newly named secretary of state if you haven’t.)

Poeher’s Billary was overshadowed by Fey’s Palin-Quayle, but not only did Fey seem to be more like Sarah Palin-Quayle than even Sarah Palin-Quayle is like Sarah Palin-Quayle, but again, I think that Fey’s serial impersonations of Palin-Quayle helped Barack Obama and Joe Biden win the White House. That’s a great mixture of mainstream entertainment and politics, so I’m happy that Fey has been named the AP’s “Entertainer of the Year.”

Heath Ledger did a fantastic job as the Joker in “The Dark Night” — he made the movie worth seeing — and his death was a loss, but how do you compare Ledger’s performance as the Joker to Fey’s as Palin-Quayle? Downey Jr. was good in “Iron Man,” but I wouldn’t have put him at No. 2 on my list.

Anyway, I see that Fey is on the cover of the January 2009 issue of Vanity Fair:

In this image released by Vanity Fair, an image of actress and ...

The article on Fey is here. I’ll have to read it today.

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Obama worship out O’ hand, but presidential pessimism premature

Yesterday, it was the “limited edition” “official Obama [coffee] mug” that barackobama.com was hawking for a donation of $15 or more. Today it was the “limited edition” “official Obama calendar,” yours for a donation of only $35 or more. (I’m on the website’s e-mail list and so I received these great offers via e-mail…)

Um, is this a democracy or Home Shopping Network?

That “Saturday Night Live” skit in which John McCainosaurus (the real one) appeared with Tina Fey as Sarah Palin-Quayle on QVC: it doesn’t seem like it’s far from reality.

I just want a president who does a decent job.

I don’t want or need a president to worship, and Obama worship has gotten out of hand. His face and surname (and that damned stylized “O”) are emblazoned everywhere and on everything, and far from bringing me hope for change, it just gives me the creeps. (Leftist columnist and editorial cartoonist Ted Rall calls all of those damned stylistic Obama signs “Soviet-inspired propaganda posters.” I wish that I could disagree.)

Does the United States of America come down to and depend upon just one person? I hope not.

Maybe President-elect Barack Obama will do a kick-ass job. Maybe. I hope so.

But the man hasn’t even taken office and already he’s being compared to Abraham F. Lincoln, replete with his so-called “team of rivals.”

It’s also too early to declare Obama a failure, as some are doing:

Tr081201

I love Rall, but again, Obama hasn’t even taken the oath of office yet. Obama can’t do all that much about the nation’s ills right now, and even after he is inaugurated it still will take a considerable amount of time to turn the Titanic back around.

Has Obama sold out the left-wingers who put him office, as they have been yelping?

It’s too early to tell. 

Are Obama’s “centrist” picks for his administration posts a sign of wussiness or a stroke of political genius?

It’s too early to tell.

I’m assuming — or maybe hoping is more accurate — that Obama will be in charge, and that even if he has “centrists” in his administration posts, they will (more or less) carry out his wishes. “Centrists” in Obama’s posts carrying out a progressive agenda that trickles down from the top might be able to accomplish more than (perceived) leftists in those posts could. Is what I might call “stealth leftism” possible?

We’ll see.

I’m not ready to compare Obama to Abe Lincoln or to Billary Clinton just yet.

I’ll wait at least until Inauguration Day.

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