Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sanders or Clinton? Two Options Learning from the Past

 I could vote for Hillary Clinton. I could vote for Bernie Sanders. Both are reasonably sane Dems. I agree with both on most issues. I think Hillary would be the most ready on the first day and able to deal with the broken system. I think Bernie would try to change the broken system. The idealist in me knows that a fundamental shift is necessary in how we frame our debates. That is what Obama's campaign had as an underlying plan. What ended up happening was the 'change politics' dream was buried in favor of a 'get stuff done now' utility. Not great, not what most young people were voting for, but President Obama completed almost all the concrete promises that candidate Obama made while not quite fulfilling the need for shifting the debate. And so the pragmatist in me fears that Dems should just go for the politician who can squeeze things by the rubble of incompetence and partisan hatred that's blocking the path of normal progress...aka Hillary, who has been described as Soviet-like with her lists and bullet points, and very unflashy, un-inspiring, but able to get some stuff done. Whoever wins the Dem nomination has my vote. And seeing Bernie and Hillary debate on stage has been such a stark contrast to the fiery clown car of GOP politics.

Both candidates also have a chance to learn from Obama's mistakes. Although his presidency has seen many triumphs, it's hard to ignore the initial stumbles that squandered good will. I know the buck stops with the prez...but the chief of staff has a lot of power. Obama's chief was Rahm Emmanuel at the start of his presidency and first term was an endless stream of capitulation to a hardening right-wing factor that felt emboldened to become even more radical and nonsensical against a reasonable leader who over-compromised.

 The reason why the young base didn't show up in the midterms is because Obama made a key tactical error in his 1st 100 days in trusting the GOP and trying to pull over conservatives rather than shoring up his base. Rather than pushing through a massive spending bill for infrastructure which would have employed millions more and been an even bigger jolt to the economy, he squandered half of the recovery plan on a pointless tax cut to please Republicans. It neither helped the economy nor did it engender love with the GOP, and it soured many young ppl on him early. He misread the situation. You always want to shore up your base 1st before you go fishing for outsiders. Obama bought in a bit too much into being a transformational leader complex and thought through his generosity and compromise cooler heads would prevail. I don't think Sanders or Clinton would make that same mistake. It's now become clear that the GOP is a shrinking and enraged cancerous viscera in the gut of America. There is no compromise with cancers who want to poison water, destroy the middle class, and exacerbate global warming. There is no compromise when you're all on the same ship and one faction wants to burn the sails. What Obama did was say 'okay, maybe burn half the sails' and his followers (myself included) got pissed. So the GOP burned half the boat and then clamored for the other half. And that is why we study history, so we don't have to repeat that mistake again if another Dem gets in office. There is no intent of real compromise in the House GOP. They must be voted out and beaten down hard on every point.

The new misstep was relying on the old Clinton guard.  Obama was new and he depended on the old centrists who are now just lobbyists for Wall Street and board members. This was not the best plan of action but at least Dems corrupt insiders are somewhat competent at actually fixing an immediate threat and putting out the emergency fire of 2008. They're not out and out war profiteers selling faulty parts that will kill people in battle or poisoning kids to make profit. There's no 'heckuva job Brownie' in Obama's bunch of fat cats. They know what they're doing, even though I might not agree with their approach...same with Leon Panetta. The Clintonites who stuck around DC are guns for hire, but they can still do what is necessary to prevent us from dying in a ditch...today. Most of those 90s Clintonistas are out of politics. Hillary is one of the last, so both candidates would be forced to rely on a younger and hungrier pool of talent. 

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