Saturday, August 8, 2015
Hillary Over Bernie? Yes! Here's Why:
Many of my left-leaning friends are excited about Bernie Sanders. Many are also convinced that he can, will, and should win the Democratic primaries and the general election. Personally, I like Bernie. I think he's an upstanding guy and would make a fine president. If he ends up being the nominee, I'll back him 100%. But right now, I'm all for Hillary, and I'm about to give an impassioned speech as to why I am, and why you should be too.
I know, I know, this is where people who "feel the Bern" will write me off as a "Hillary schill" or worse, and not bother to listen to a single thing I have to say after this point. But please, hear me out! I think those who write Hillary off do so at their own peril! Some of us may not like Hillary, but as you'll see in a moment, we need her, plain and simple.
First, let's address Hillary's downsides, since we all know them well. People say she's 1.) shifty, 2.) an insider, 3.) totally ruthless, and is 4.) chummy with the big-money. All of which is true. But let's get something straight, because it's the crucial point:
That's what we want! That's what we need!
Shifty? Yes, she plays dirty. But the republicans have played dirty for seven years, and all during that time, we've watched our first African-American president, a man with a heart of gold and a brilliant mind, get completely and thoroughly lynched! Frankly, I'm fucking sick of it! It's time for us to get up, dust ourselves off, turn to the Republican machine as we wipe off our bloodied mouths and say, in all sincerity, "So ya wanna play rough, do ya?!" Yeah, Hillary plays dirty. Well, GOOD! We want to play dirty! Because only by playing dirty can we stop ourselves from getting steamrolled!
An insider? You bet! But she's an insider in so many ways. As Secretary of State, she knows world leaders personally, and knows what they're capable of. As First Lady, she was present at all the prayer circles and luncheons, and you can bet that she got the dirt on everybody through their wives! Believe me, Republicans fear her inside info, because she has the dirt on all of them, and don't think she won't use it!
Ruthless? Again, GOOD! I don't know about you, but I'm sick of Washington gridlock. How do you break gridlock? By breaking those who orchestrate it! No, we won't get compromise through appealing to the mavericks on the left and the right, because there aren't any more mavericks on the right. Only the Democrats have any moderates. The only way we will broker any compromise deals now is to make the opposition too scared to do otherwise.
In the pockets of big money? True! Welcome to the necessities of Citizens' United plutocracy. And make no mistake, it is a plutocracy, and an oligarchy, and has been since that sick, twisted SCOTUS ruling back in 2010. So the only way we can beat it is to strike a Devil's bargain and get enough big money to support our own side just long enough to undo it. If we don't, we're all fucked, because only billionaires will be able to play the political game. And here's the sick part: We only have one realistic shot at this, and it needs to be THIS election year! Otherwise, the Supreme Court could end up stacked against being able to do anything about this for generations. Hillary has a realistic shot to do it! She's the only one with the financial power to challenge the Republicans and their big-money donations. No checks and balances exist to prevent the Koch brothers and many others from throwing as much money as they can at their candidates, so having the finances to fight them means everything. The only hope Democrats have at matching this is having a candidate win early, and then wrapping up as much airtime as possible before the Republicans have a candidate settled. That advantage is key when you have less money than the other candidate, and already Hillary does have less. In spite of a four-year head start over everyone else, Jeb Bush has already out-raised Hillary, and you can bet that disparity is going to increase as the election wears on. A prolonged fight between two Democrats for the nomination will mean losing that all-important edge. We can't afford to fuck around!
But is Hillary in the big-donors' back pockets? It's possible, but I find it unlikely. She's proven herself to be a woman of integrity in the Senate and through many purported scandals and many different personal trials. She may be forced to keep certain campaign promises to the biggest money people, but if that's what's needed to beat back C.U. and win back our democracy, I say so be it.
Ah, yes, the Clinton scandals. She's had some of those swirling around her, that's true. But have you noticed, for all the concerted efforts Republicans have made to bring her down, none of those scandals seem to stick? Nobody's better at fending off attacks, warranted or unwarranted, than Hillary Clinton, and I argue that the current attacks on her are completely unwarranted. Benghazi? A Republican panel already exonerated her. Dead issue. E-mails? What 68 year old woman hasn't fretted over being required to use a new e-mail address? Unless she actually shared sensitive information, she's already off the hook. Oh, some scandals certainly stuck to Bill, but the last time I checked, he's not on the ballot.
Can Bernie win? That would be nice, since he's a nice guy. I dare say he could pull off an upset for the nomination, but I have grave doubts that he can win the general election. First, he's been very honest and outspoken about bringing fairness to a tax system that gives too many breaks at the top, and feels that income inequality is best addressed by making certain that the wealthy pay their fair share. Okay, fine, but in politics, especially post Citizens' United politics, there is such a thing as too much honesty! The big-money lenders who traditionally back left-leaning candidates will balk at Bernie's blunt admission that they too will be hit in their pocketbook, and it will cost him.
Too much honesty will cost him as well because he's too blunt about being a Democratic Socialist. The word "socialist" no longer has a stigma among young people, but among older Americans, it certainly does. Even MSNBC's Chris Matthews shows a knee-jerk reaction to Bernie using the "S-word." And I perfectly understand that Bernie's form of watered-down socialism doesn't entail the government running the means of production, nor does it mean undoing a capitalist base that's been proven to work. But you can bet the general population won't understand that at all! People are lemmings! And too many people are still affected by the Red Scare of McCarthyism to put the label of socialism completely behind them. Even today.
Also, Bernie has a huge albatross around his neck in the form of his being Jewish. No, I don't have a problem with this, and neither should anyone else, but he will almost certainly be attacked as a "non-Christian." Say what you will about Obama, but he was truly a Christian (not a Muslim). But this time, accusations of a candidate being a non-believer in Jesus Christ will be 100% accurate, for once. Hillary, as anyone who knows her is aware of, is a devout Presbyterian, and her faith is something she cherishes deeply, although she doesn't flaunt it. A Jewish candidate shouldn't be a big deal, but people are just plain idiots about that sort of thing.
And Hillary has a powerful X-factor in her favor in that, of course, she's a woman. The prospect of our first female president is simply too loud a siren call for jaded voters to ignore. They'll vote her in, even if she is a bitch. Perhaps even because she's a bitch! (That's what I'm arguing for, after all.) She already has the black and Latino vote, but if she chooses a young Latino vice president, such as Julian Castro, the White House could be safely Democratic for another sixteen years!
So, there it is. Hillary is our one realistic shot, as I see it. And Bernie's a very nice guy, but that's just it, he's too nice! When you need a warrior, you pick the mean bastard, not the gentle scholar. And after nearly two terms of nice-guy Obama getting stomped on, nice just doesn't cut it for me anymore. I am literally arguing "no more Mr. Nice Guy!" Yes! The bitch is back, and I'm on board!
Make no mistake, everything rests on this upcoming election! The culture war could end and America could finally be the nation of freedom and prosperity it was meant to be. Or it could all collapse into even more oligarchy and plutocracy, forever put out of the reach of any reform. The other side is playing for keeps! And so must we! So, with that much at stake, the question I would ask all of my friends who are (and I'm being good-naturedly humorous, here) "Bern-outs," is simply this:
Would you rather have your second choice and win it all, or your first choice and lose everything?
We're betting it all on one throw. Let's bet wisely!