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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.)