Topics off limits at TC for 2012, topic 1: Hillary 2016

Why wait?

I’ve brought this up before but those of you who keep hoping for Hillary in 2016 and are clinging to any assurance from the party leadership and media that she will run, do not yet understand just how powerful you are.  Otherwise the party leadership and media wouldn’t keep floating this nonsense.  In fact, it is precisely because you former Clintonistas are so powerful that the idea keeps surfacing the minute the economic news turns sour.

But I don’t want to talk about it here.  Nope.  As far as I’m concerned, the Hillary 2016 meme is a Democratic party talking point and you should know by now that I don’t repeat party talking points here, no matter which party.  The Confluence is not a platform for spreading party propaganda or memes or psychological manipulation.  In the case of Hillary 2016 or it’s partner, Hillary as VP, this is exactly what I’m talking about.  Let me explain how this works:

1.) This is 2012.  What happens in 2012 is important.  The election of 2012 will determine what will happen in the next 4 years.  The “presumptive” nominees in this race are Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  Please note the use of the word “presumptive”.  They are not formal nominees and their names are not yet on the ballot in November.  Let’s dispense with the idea that the party primaries mean anything to the Democratic party.  That myth was exposed in 2008.  They’ll nominate whoever brings in the most money and/or who they think can win.  Obama was a historic candidate in 2008.  They could very easily replace him with another historic candidate at the convention. We already know that the party and the Obama White House floated the idea of replacing Jon Corzine with Richard Codey after Corzine won his party’s nomination in NJ in 2009 so, let’s not pretend that there is an obstacle to replacing candidates.

2.) There is a lot of discontent in the Democratic party.  The former Clintonistas have a very good reason for being mad as hell and unwilling to take it anymore.  Obama was forced down our gullets against our strenuous and legitimate objections.  Whenever there are headlines in the news about how the unemployment rate stays stubbornly pegged at 8.3% or that the economy is about to take another downturn, the party starts to worry.  It can throw all kinds of crap at Romney but none of it will stick if pressure on the middle class continues unabated.  If Obama can’t be shown to have effected positive improvement by November, the Republicans will be more motivated to go to the polls to oust him than the Democrats and their independent supporters will to be to make sure he stays.

3.) So, whenever the headlines are bad for Obama, the Hillary 2016 meme gets floated.  I saw it make an appearance recently, along with Ed Klein calling Hillary fat.   Here’s what this former editor of the NYTimes said about Hillary.  Um, he calls her fat and tired looking:

At this very moment that we’re speaking right now, Brian, [they] are already thinking seriously about running in 2016. She’ll be 69 years old. And as you know — and I don’t want to sound anti-feminist here — but she’s not looking good these days. She’s looking overweight and she’s looking very tired. [...]

I think she’s going to take some time off, get back into shape. And if her health holds out — that’s a big if, of course — if her health holds out, there’s no question in my mind she and Bill — two for the price of one — will run in 2016.

Yeah, that’ll work.  Like half of the population will be delighted by some political jerk calling the most admired woman in America fat.  By the way, why is this former NYTimes editor so dead set against a Hillary Clinton presidency? He has to be because I can’t imagine him thinking she’s svelte and youthful in 2016, can you?  Whatever.  The reason it gets floated is because the party wants you to postpone your demand for Hillary until 2016 and make you accept the presumptive nominee for 2012, Barack Obama.

Here’s why you are powerful:

The party has to keep doing this because they think you will defect.  Don’t be surprised if the Hillary VP thing comes up between now and the convention too.  But that’s not going to happen either.  Hillary is not a stupid woman.  If you put her in as VP you relegate her to political oblivion and she knows it.  She will be powerless.  And you can bet that the minute that such a thing happened, the Republicans would be all over it, pointing out that the Democrats took their strongest politician and made her a nobody just to get the Clintonistas onboard.  They’d make a field day of the fact that nothing will change policy wise.  Obama and his banker loving dudes will still be in charge.  They will laugh and say how we’ve been had. Not only that but they will have buried the most powerful feminist in America.  How will that make you feel?  It will suck in a monumental way.  In fact, it will underline the fact that the Democratic party thinks that it’s best woman politician is only good as a second fiddle to a man.  Would you really vote for that hoping that Obama met with some crisis that would force him to spend more time with his family?  No, of course you wouldn’t.  Hillary VP is not going to happen.

But if you accept the Hillary 2016 meme, you allow the Democratic party to treat you like children.  When Pelosi or Hoyer or someone else says wait until 2016, that’s the equivalent of mommy saying, “we’ll see”.  You know how it goes, you want something so badly and you keep asking for it because you know it will change your life and the parental unit keeps putting you off with “We’ll see”?  You know damn well they’re just stalling, hoping you’ll forget all about it.

And the reason they have confidence that Hillary will never run in 2016 is because she won’t be a viable candidate in 2016.  Forget her age.  Ronald Reagan was 69 when he ran for president.  If people really want her in 2016, her age wouldn’t be a problem.  The problem is that by that time, there will be other candidates who might be more viable and in the public eye, like Kirsten Gillibrand or Elizabeth Warren.  But this version of the Democratic party will never let them run.  This version of the party is definitely not into representing the people.  It’s into the moneyed class.  So, by 2016, the destruction that Obama has wrecked on the party and the way he will have fundamentally changed it, will be too far gone to turn around with a Hillary Clinton.

Not only that, the Clinton legacy will be 16 years behind us.  That’s 5 presidential elections.  Now, I am not a political scientists but I’m going to bet that there is some kind of metric that indicates the dissipation of the effect of a presidential term over time and 5 election cycles seems like a pretty long time to me.  Someone with better poli sci creds should jump in here.  In other words, you will be so consumed with the present that the legacy of a president 16 years ago is going to look unfamiliar to you, or to a lot of newer, younger voters.  I’m willing to bet that the metric, if it exists, will need to be updated to account for the effect of technology.  Since Bill Clinton took office, the internet has had an astounding effect on the culture at large and has sped up the way we operate.  Our culture is undergoing a period of rapid change even though we don’t realize the full effects yet.  Our generation will be the most influenced and influential of any since the invention of writing.  And in this period of rapid change, all bets are off but you can be sure that the political landscape will look completely different 4 years from now.

The question is, will we evolve in a positive or negative direction?  Towards more or less authoritarianism?  Perhaps the recent push towards more authoritarianism is a consequence of this rapid change.  From where I sit, it looks like the authoritarians have taken advantage of the recent chaos causing technological effects by putting in their candidate to make sure they will be in charge from this point forward.  This is what you are voting for when you vote for either Obama or Romney.  The authoritarians have the most to lose if any other candidate gets to be too popular, especially one that is not beholden to them.  So, it is to their advantage to make sure that Hillary 2016 is floated out there for the Clintonistas to cling to so that they will abandon that hope in 2012.

As Rocky Anderson said in his video, this election is about morality.  If you were paying attention to the Occupy movement, ie actually going down to their sites and talking to them or marching with them, you would have known this.  Who does this country belong to?  Who has a say in how it is run and how we spend our money?  Who is accountable to whom?  What do we value?  Where is our moral compass pointing?  Do the richest and most powerful get the final say or do the hard working people who live here?  Where is our compassion?  Are some people more equal than others?  Are some children more equal than others?  And do the American people have the right to speak on these issues and petition the government about its grievances?  This is what Occupy was about. If share these concerns and you are not one of the 1%, then you Occupy. You are an American citizen with a vote, your life is valuable, you have dignity and you have a right to be heard.  If you didn’t bother to go to a site, if you instead listened to the cable news programs who you know lied to you in 2008, do me the favor and shut up about what you *think* Occupy was all about.  You would only know if you had first hand experience.  You should know better when if comes to listening to anything the media says.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, when you former Clintonistas see the “Hillary 2016″ meme in the papers, you should be secretly delighted.  Yep, that’s the moment when you should get on your blogs and beat relentlessly on the Hillary 2012 theme.  Replace the top of the ticket altogether.  Urge the party to go bold.  Say that you KNOW that if they don’t even consider it, they aren’t really serious about making the country work for real, working people.  Hillary 2016 means that working people will stay invisible to the party power brokers.  Hillary 2012 means the party knows it is beholden to the voters.  At the very least, you will be exposing the hypocrisy.

Which message would you prefer to project if you were the Democrats?

You can only make this power work for you if you Don’t Settle.  Don’t give into Hillary 2016.  Tell your elected representatives that you aren’t buying that bullshit.  What do they take you for?  Someone who just fell off the turnip truck?  Tell them you’re going to start looking for a party that will treat you with more respect and like a real thinking person with a brain, not a slow child that can be easily fooled or distracted.  Same with the Hillary VP rumor.  Please, not that shit again.  Turn your back on that.  Tell them you want the truth in all of it’s ugliness- the party wants to stick you with Barack Obama for four more dismal years and you will get nothing from it.  Nothing.  The party intends to do nothing for you except cooperate in giving you the biggest haircut on Social Security that you PREPAID because it can’t afford to force a well deserved haircut on its donors in the banking industry.

You’re not stupid.  You’ve got power.  Tell them to STFU about Hillary 2016, get to work on saving the middle class or face the consequences in November.  If they really think that Hillary is worth having for president- some day- then why wait? There is no time like the present to make that happen. And if they don’t do it, then they’re not really serious.  You have options and you don’t have to put up with the condescending attitude anymore.  Tell them who the real parents are and where they’re going to end up if they continue to misbehave.

In the meantime, I am going to moderate any commenter who promotes the meme Hillary 2016. You know who you are. I don’t care if you’re thinking out loud.  You don’t even have to be a paid troll. Your out loud thoughts look an awful lot like some kind of persuasive argument for those Clintonistas who may be debating whether to stay or leave for other candidates.  I repeat, this blog is not a platform for party propaganda whether it is intentional or not.

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And here’s that blast from the past for the Clintonistas who may have forgotten just what and who we are dealing with.  The people who are working on Obama’s behalf gave us this:

Swapping out the candidate: The Curious Case of Governor Codey

Richard Codey, 4 time governor of New Jersey than no one’s ever heard of

New Jersey has a reputation for being special.  In the summer, we go to the shore instead of the beach.  We aren’t allowed to pump our own gas.  And almost none of the nice restaurants in the area have liquor licenses because the mafia owns the few licenses the state issues.  We do have restaurants with liquor licenses that go through a sequence of “new owners” before they’re burned down, but that’s a story for another post.

We also have a history of Governor problems in the decade Brook likes to call “The Naughties”.  Our problems were exacerbated by the fact that up until 2009, the state of New Jersey didn’t have a Lieutenant Governor position.  How ironic that in a state chock full of excessive administration, we wouldn’t have a lieutenant governor during the decade when one would have come in handy.  Go figure.

Let me back up a second and say that although New Jersey is considered to be solidly blue in presidential matters, that’s a bit of a misleading statistic.  Our Congressional representation in the House is 50/50.  We also have no female congressional reps and haven’t for several decades.  The local Democratic org says that’s because none ever apply, to which I answer that there don’t appear to be any lower level female politicians who are mentored and why is that?  But I digress.  New Jersey also votes for Republican governors and while Democrats are lucky if they last through a single term, Republican governors are usually two termers.  Tom Kean and Christie Whitman come immediately to mind.  Our story begins with Christie Whitman when a Democratic legislator named Richard Codey served the first of his several terms as governor of New Jersey.

When Whitman became head of the EPA under George Bush the lesser, she left a void in Drumthwacket (that’s the gov’s mansion right outside of Princeton).

Drumthhhhhhhhwacket, Chez Governor in Princeton

Since there was no lieutenant governor, the time left in her term until the election of a new governor was filled by the president of the state senate.  In 2001, the person in that position changed three times and each senate president took a turn being governor.  Richard Codey served his first 3 day term as governor just before Jim McGreevey, the newly elected governor, was sworn in.  We all know what happened to Jim McGreevey.  When he stepped down, Richard Codey, then president of the state senate, became governor once again for about half a year until the next governor could be elected.  That new governor happened to be Jon Corzine. But during the transfer of power when Corzine went from Senator to Governor, there was some weird little protocol where the state was in danger of not having an acting governor for a few hours (Oh No!), so Codey was asked to fill in until Corzine was free to take over.

Corzine had a thing for taking risks even back then.  Early in his term, he decided that he didn’t need to wear a seat belt as his SUV raced up the highway from Atlantic City because he was special.  What former Wall Street banker isn’t?  What could possibly happen?

Corzine’s State Trooper driven SUV crashes while speeding on the way back from Atlantic City.

Well, the SUV speeding at 91 mph could be involved in a serious accident where the governor was tossed around in the vehicle like dirty laundry and broke his femur.  The fracture, and other injuries, were very serious and the governor was hospitalized and incapacitated.  Richard Codey once again stepped up to fill the vacancy while Corzine temporarily suspended his powers for about 3 weeks.

So, if you’ve been counting, that makes Richard Codey the governor of NJ *four* times.  After the last time, the state got serious about the Lieutenant Governor position and in 2009 we elected our first.

But back to Codey.  He turned out to be not bad as a governor.  He’s a true blue Democrat that leans liberal and has a passion for championing the mentally ill.  His one major accomplishment during his brief stint as governor was making sure that insurance companies cover treatment for mental illness and postpartum depression.  He also made sure stem cell research wouldn’t face any obstacles in New Jersey.  It appears that everyone played nicely when Codey was in office, although he wasn’t in long enough to make any significant policy changes.  Even stranger was that even though he got good approval ratings, nobody really knew who he was.  His tenure was just one of those special things that happen here.   When his last crack at being governor ended, he went back to the senate.  All hunky dory and people forgot about him.  Until 2009.

In 2009, Jon Corzine was facing reelection against Republican Chris Christie.  Let’s remember here that New Jersey doesn’t have a problem with Republican governors.  Christie was not as moderate as Kean and Whitman but Corzine would have had a better chance of winning if he hadn’t been so meh as a governor.  During the economic catastrophe that followed the housing bubble, he should have stepped up and presented some policies that would have helped municipalities and cash strapped property tax payers. But he didn’t.  He represented the bonus class.  He was a former Goldman-Sachs guy and I think that he thought he could ride to reelection on the coat tails of Barack Obama.

Part way through the election campaign, it looked like Corzine wasn’t going to have the cake walk he was anticipating.  He was having trouble attracting interest and couldn’t fill his rally venues.  The race was starting to tighten up.  This is where it gets interesting. Richard Codey says it happened like this:

Codey said he got a call from the White House a week after Vice President Joe Biden appeared at Corzine’s poorly attended primary night kickoff rally in West Orange in June. “They wanted to talk about what’s going on with the governor’s race,” he said. “They would call me every week, every two weeks.”

By July, Codey said there was growing concern from the president’s advisers as Corzine’s polls declined even as he poured money into anti-Christie ads. It grew worse after 44 arrests on July 23 in a corruption and money-laundering case.

Corzine privately mused to the White House he was having second thoughts about continuing his campaign, Codey said.

“He was, mentally, as low as you can get,” Codey said of Corzine, even before July 23. “Then this … hit. It was understandable he was having a moment where he was saying ‘to hell with this.’”

Codey said White House political director Patrick Gaspard called him and expressed “great concern about the governor’s race, (Corzine’s) lack of support amongst Democrats and whether or not he would be able to overcome it. He never criticized Jon personally. But he said he was meeting with Obama and ‘the president wants to know if you might run if, in fact, Mr. Corzine got out.’ Can he tell the president ‘Yes.’”

Codey said Gaspard detailed an internal poll that showed Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Rep. Frank Pallone about the same as Corzine, but Codey leading Christie by double digits.

“I told Gaspard I was going to be seeing Mr. Corzine in Trenton. I told him I felt duty-bound in terms of being a gentleman to tell Corzine. I sat with Corzine. I told him what I knew. I said ‘as a friend, I just wanted you to know.’ I said ‘bottom line is you’re the decision-maker. You want out, just do me a favor let me know as soon as possible. If you’re going to stay in there, I’m with you.’”

“I did not hear back from the White House.”

I guess the Democratic party leadership was concerned that losing New Jersey to a Republican would look bad.  (And it did, Oh, how it did) And even though Corzine went out of his way to make sure to deliver all of New Jersey’s delegation to Obama during the 2008 convention in Denver, from a primary that Obama LOST by 10 points to Hillary Clinton, I might add, Obama and Biden didn’t feel any sense of loyalty to this guy who carried their water and sold out the rest of the state for them.  So they approached Richard Codey and tried to work out a deal where they would pressure Corzine to step aside in the campaign and Codey would become the nominee.

Oh no they di-int.  Oh yes they did.

Corzine didn’t quit but that hardly matters, does it?  It was the thought that counts. And the thought was that Corzine was in danger of losing the governorship of New Jersey and the Democrats were concerned enough to want to make a switch of candidates at the top of the ticket of an incumbent governor with a solid, well liked Democrat former temporary governor whose approval rating was higher than Corzine’s.

So, ladies and gentlemen, if someone tells you that it’s not possible to change candidates before or during the Convention, and that the world would end if we merely *entertained* the idea of changes at the top of the ticket, remember that it was Obama himself who proposed the very same thing to the Democrats of New Jersey in 2009 when Corzine was in danger of failing.  Indeed, he did fail and Christie the Republican is now governor.  All that stuff about how an incumbent is sacred and the primary voters have spoken (because they had a gun to their heads and didn’t have a choice) and the world will end, yada-yada-yada, all that is bullshit.  The Democrats are a private party.  They can (and have) change the rules any time they want.  We have seen by 2008′s example that the delegates can be forced to vote for who ever the party wants, voters be damned.  And if they want to switch candidates, it can be done.  Franklin Roosevelt switched out his VPs, Lyndon Johnson stepped out of the race when he knew he couldn’t win a second term and, by golly, if Democrats don’t think Obama can win in 2012, they can make him “spend more time with his family”.

Obama and Corzine have a lot in common.  It’s not like Christie is well loved by New Jerseyans or that we actually wanted a Republican this time around.

Chris Christie during the first leg of his helicopter-limo-walk triathlon.

The problem was we didn’t want Corzine anymore. Voters were well aware of all of Christies liabilities and Corzine’s campaign flogged us with the fear whip and tons of advertising to make Christie look bad.  In the end, it didn’t matter.  It wasn’t about Christie.  It was about Corzine’s performance.  Voters judged him fairly, so, he lost.  I might add that Independent Chris Daggett, who I voted for, took almost 6% of the vote, almost all of it from Corzine’s hide.  New Jerseyans wanted to send a message to the Democrats but it remains unclear whether the Democrats actually got it.

But if any Democrat tells you you’re crazy to even suggest that Obama step aside for a better Democrat in 2012, and starts terrorizing you about Supreme Court justices and women losing access to birth control and dogs and cats living together, ask them why the Democrats didn’t think a candidate switch was so crazy in New Jersey in 2009.  Obama is not having a cakewalk this year.  And in spite of the media blitz against Mitt, Obama and Mitt are still tied in the polls.  People may not like Mitt personally, but they really don’t like Obama’s performance.  He has let regular people out to hang by themselves for four long years.  The Democrats are fooling themselves if they think that’s not going to hurt in November. And it’s not like the Democrats don’t have a back up who would be a lot more popular than any politician on the current scene.

Time to call Obama into the office and tell him management would like to make a change. We’re in the doldrums, the dog days and the base is depressed.  Change up the ticket, bring in a relief pitcher see what happens.  I’d be very surprised if management hasn’t already entertained such a possibility behind closed doors. In the event of an Obama loss in November, they might be in political oblivion for a very long time.  If the Democrats are sincerely concerned about all the horrible things they fear will happen if Mitt wins, then they owe voters a REAL choice.

Otherwise, the country might just end up with a Chris Christie type Republican in the White House in 2013 and it will be very hard to take Democrats seriously if they lose without ever considering changing their lineup.

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