Will Billary Clinton’s legions of flying surrender monkeys be enough to win her the White House?
Ah, to live in the United States of Amnesia.
It was only a decade ago, in late 2003 and early 2004, that the “Deaniacs” had Howard Dean coronated already as the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee. Those of us who weren’t on Team Dean essentially were told by the “Deaniacs” to give it up already. My fellow leftist Ted Rall even wrote a column – one that he regrets, I surmise – stating that it sure would save the taxpayers money to cancel the primary elections and just crown Dean already. (Seriously. Rall really suggested that in late 2003.)
To Rall’s and the other “Deaniacs’” credit, I will admit that even I was quite shocked when my chosen candidate, John Kerry – my chosen candidate because I viewed him as more likely to be able to unseat George W. Bush in November 2004 than was any other candidate* – fairly miraculously rose from the dead like Lazarus as the “inevitable” Howard Dean imploded spectacularly in the snows of Iowa in January 2004.
The point is that the primary and caucus process played out, and Dean didn’t win.
So you don’t call these things done deals before they’ve even begun. You let the people caucus and you let them vote in the primary elections (um, yeah, despite the price tag). It’s called “democracy.”
Not entirely dissimilarly, to many if not even most Democrats, Billary Clinton in 2008 looked like the “inevitable” 2008 Democratic presidential nominee.
But in a painfully drawn-out primary season, of course Barack Obama, promising to be the true progressive (ha ha), beat Billary – in no small part because while Team Billary apparently had thought that she couldn’t lose and focused only on the states with the most delegates, Team Obama carefully was going all over the nation, picking up and cobbling together the necessary number of delegates to eventually win the most delegates and thus the party’s presidential nomination. Team Billary acted like the cocky hare while Team Obama acted like the slow and steady tortoise – and thus won the race.
Yet despite this recent American history, already pundits are telling those of us who are anti-Billary (and we are legion): “Surrender, Dorothy!”
Not just to pick on him, but to use him as a great, shining example of this smug, misguided and unfortunately widespread anti-democratic bullshit, Salon.com’s Andrew O’Hehir, who usually writes about movies but who fairly recently has forayed into writing about politics, recently wrote a piece about how where it comes to Billary 2016, “resistance is futile,” according to the piece’s headline.
We’ve heard that before, haven’t we? And fairly recently!
“Clinton’s impending presidential campaign is causing immense anguish on the left (which I share), but the 2016 battle is quite simply not worth fighting, not by Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or anybody else,” O’Hehir proclaims.
It’s not worth doing our collective best to ensure that the most progressive candidate possible emerges from the 2016 Democratic presidential primary season? That’s not a worthy goal? Really?
Because the wingnuts for damn sure will do their damnedest to make sure that the most right-wing candidate possible emerges from the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party primary season. They may not succeed, but they’ll try their damnedest.
But self-identified “Democrats” and “liberals” are proclaiming that those of us who are left of center should throw up the white flag of surrender already and settle for Billary, who is, they allege, the best that we can do.
This is one of the reasons that I don’t use the word “liberal” to describe myself – because way too many, like O’Hehir, who call themselves “liberals” are just lazy and complacent surrender monkeys.
And I suppose that while it’s fine if these liberals – many if not most of them Billary-lovin’ limousine liberals – can’t be pried away from their fine wine and foie gras and brie long enough to get their manicured nails dirty in the mud fight that is politics, it’s not OK for them to be ordering the rest of us to be as lazy and complacent and ineffectual against the right wing as they are. (Miserable, worthless losers sure love company!)
Nothing is to be done. Hillary Clinton cannot be remodeled as a politician or a policymaker at this stage of her career, beyond superficial questions of campaign branding, and is not foolish enough to try. The only plausible way she can lose the Democratic presidential nomination is if she decides not to run, or through the intervention of some unforeseen scandal or crisis. [Bernie] Sanders and [Elizabeth] Warren probably won’t run, and if they do they will lose. [Again: Isn’t that for the primary voters and caucus goers to determine?] Progressive voters are at liberty to stay home or go Green or flirt with the half-appealing, half-crazy, libertarian jazz-dance stylings of Rand Paul, as they choose. But they can’t stop Hillary.
We can’t? We stopped her in 2008, didn’t we?
And Howard Dean wasn’t so “inevitable” in 2004, was he?
O’Hehir also makes the bullshit claim that those of us who oppose Billary oppose her only to be contrarian (something of which the “Ready for Hillary” people have accused us, which kind of makes one wonder if O’Hehir is on the “Ready for Hillary” payroll…). Of course, that’s just a way to avoid your opponents’ arguments altogether, an intellectually dishonest tactic to, in your own mind, make your opponents’ arguments just vanish into thin air so that you no longer even have to think about it, because you are a grade-A asshole.
No, the focus of current left-wing obsession is not so much Hillary herself as the Hillary conundrum. It’s meta-Hillary, Hillary meteorology or perhaps Hillary Kremlinology: Can she be stopped? If not stopped, can she be diverted onto a new course, like a runaway locomotive or a hurricane? Do we resist, submit or run away? What, in short, is to be done?
It’s not about Billary herself? Really? How about the illegal, immoral, unjust, unprovoked and wholly bogus Vietraq War that she voted for in October 2002 (because she had calculated, quite incorrectly, that it would benefit her politically)? How about her calculating, carpetbagging gig as a U.S. senator for New York, her “qualifications” for which had been pretty much only her stint as first lady and during which time she had zero notable legislative accomplishments? How about her coziness with the Wall Street weasels and other corporatocrats and plutocrats, and how about her and her hubby’s systematic dismantling of the Democratic Party, which began with their involvement in the center-right (and thankfully-now-defunct) “Democratic Leadership Council”? (If you doubt the nexus, Wikipedia notes that the Democratic Leadership Council’s historical records were purchased by the Clinton Foundation.) NAFTA, anyone? “Welfare reform,” anyone? DOMA, anyone?
“Meta-Hillary”? No, fuck you, Andrew, it’s all about Billary herself – Billary, the living, breathing, (presumable) human being.
It’s not worth [opposing Billary for 2016] because presidential elections in general are an irrelevant distraction from the long, hard struggle against money and power and entrenched dark forces that might someday, just maybe, return meaning to American politics** — and the 2016 election is more irrelevant than most. And it’s not worth it because it won’t work: Hillary Clinton feeds on the anguish of leftists, and to stand against her only makes her stronger. If you haven’t figured that out, you haven’t been paying attention.
But I have been paying attention: Billary lost in 2008. “[Feeding] on the anguish of leftists” who “[stood] against her” did not “only [make] her stronger” then. She lost. She can lose again.
You know, though, let the DINOs who support Billary and the ineffectual, condescending, smug sellouts like O’Hehir (the same individuals who always allow others to do the hard, dirty work of fighting for a progressive agenda in a political environment that is usually hostile to a progressive agenda) call Billary’s 2016 Democratic presidential primary win “inevitable.”
Because that – that blatant, pure, raw, unadulterated hubris – is what sank Billary in 2008, just like Howard Dean before her.***
*Although Kerry lost, I still believe that he was the best candidate to run against George W. Bush’s “re”-election. Kerry won 48.3 percent of the popular vote to Bush’s 50.7 percent. Had Howard Dean won the nomination, I surmise, he’d have garnered considerably less than Kerry did.
**I agree, of course, that the “entrenched dark forces” in D.C., with their money and power that have been destroying our democracy, must be battled, but to concede the presidency is not the answer. We have to fight both battles, the battle against the system of legalized bribery in D.C. and the battle to ensure that the most progressive individual possible sits in the big chair in the Oval Office.
***Lest one think that I’m bashing Dean, let me state that of course I’d rather see Howard Dean in the White House than Billary Clinton. However, Dean was mostly unfairly branded as a kook when he lost Iowa in January 2004 – he never recovered politically from the “Dean scream” – and while something like that tends to stick to you for life, Dean must be credited with having built the left-of-center political organization that acted as the wave upon which Barack Obama coasted into the White House by having promised to be a Dean-like progressive.