Back in 2008, we were on Hillary’s radar. This year? Ehhh, not so much. That could be because of many different things, mostly because it’s 2016 and not 2008. Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to me like Hillary has taken a step back from really, I don’t know, campaigning. This time around, someone has convinced her that she needs to be data driven, reach out to millenials and embrace Obama like there’s no tomorrow.
And I think that’s why the race is so close in Iowa.
Note that she was similarly cautious in early 2008 as well. Remember all the crap we heard on DailyKos about Mark Penn? But then the party decided to take the money and turned on her and she got to work actually appealing to people.
I’ve made no secret about my lack of enthusiasm for Obama but I will let someone else make my case for why should reconsider her strategy of clinging to him:
or maybe this person can do it:
“Elizabeth Warren Indicts Shockingly Weak Enforcement” with respect to the finance industry.
Or go to any NYTimes piece on the cost of health care in America that wasn’t solved by the ACA, like Even Insured Can Face Crushing Medical Debt. One thing you can say for the Republicans, they’re like attack dogs on something when they’re aroused. Democrats seem to think that because people with preconditions and children are covered by the ACA, the rest of the losers in the Healthcare coverage olympics should shut the F^&* up about whether we’ll lose our shirts if we are inconveniently sick. That debate is so five minutes ago. It’s settled. Democrats think it was a bloody debate that the whole country was engaged in when, really, no one we know had anything to say in the matter. But, whatever, it’s over, for them. Let’s move on.
The problem is, in the last 8 years, the country has changed so radically that it’s hard not to get angry when you’ve been left out of the decision making process.
Who died and made them spokespersons of the gods who shredded our careers, decimated our retirement savings and created two classes of workers- those who were lucky to get employer based health benefits and those who have to pay those crazy deductibles out of vastly reduced salaries? If you haven’t been there, YOU’RE the one who should STFU.
On one of my recent posts about the fate of women over 50 who can’t get work, someone called the linked NYTimes article “clickbait”? Really?? Those of us who have been through it don’t think it’s trivial.
And then there are people who bogarted the message for the last 8 years and think everything is fine now, like the gay guy who cuts my hair who was all happy that now everyone is equal, isn’t it great? No, we are not all equal. What about the reproductive rights laws that are getting crushed in state after state? Seriously, I wanted to smack him except he had my hair in his hands. The fight for equality is not over just because you have marriage equality. NOW, it is your turn, LGBT people, to do what you can for women, who, just as our culture demands every time, patiently stepped aside and put your needs first. Pay it forward.
But I digress.
Or have I?
Have I mentioned race yet? No, I think that was my point. In none of the instances above has race been mentioned. Black lives do matter. But what has been done for the african american community in the last 8 years? They’re still getting killed for no reason, have higher unemployment, are getting pushed out of neighborhoods by progress. I could go on and on because I see it everyday as I pass through some pretty sketchy neighborhoods on my way to work.
And to add insult to injury, we now have a bunch of smug silicon valley types proposing to give us a basic income that is devoid of any meaningful work. I could write a whole different post on how many of us have lost the jobs we loved and enjoyed that we will never get back not because they weren’t useful jobs or highly skilled but because some bunch of shareholders decided they needed better returns on their quarterlies. There will be diseases that won’t be cured because of that. Can a guaranteed basic income make up for that, Paul Graham? I guess Zika will be a good test case.
Anyway, this is all to say what I predicted a couple of years ago about Hillary running for president in 2016. Why would she want to do it? The country has changed so much and people are so angry that the person who captures the voters is going to have to have to be a force for a big change. No one wants another “Lifeguard in Chief”, as Stephen Colbert says for 4 to 8 more years. Ain’t no one got time or money for that anymore.
I saw Hillary campaigning her heart out in the last days of the primary season in 2008 but a campaign is not the same as actually governing and leading with vision. Is she a transformative politician? I don’t know.
I know that Trump would be a transformative politician but not in any good way. I see nothing good coming for women if Trump is elected. If he can get away with disrespectful behavior towards women during a campaign, then it will only encourage others to crack down even more on women’s rights after the election. Who will enforce current laws against discrimination? We can barely get Obama to take notice. Trump stands for power, wealth, men and, um, that’s about it. If you’re a dude and you have a good job that’s a one-off and you’re not an illegal alien, you’ll do great under Trump.
But a guy who has turned getting out from under bankruptcy smelling like a rose while leaving his workers high and dry into performance art does not meet my criteria for good presidential material. Plus, I think he’s a narcissist. It looks like he attracts other narcissists to his campaign. That right there is a bad thing, especially when the Republican party has spent the last 8 years making government ineffective. It’s one thing to hire a selfish, self-centered, unscrupulous, macho, physically repugnant guy (the sexiest thing in his pants is his wallet) to the oval office. It’s another thing to make it impossible for any good legislation to pass through Congress while he’s in office.
Bernie Sanders is a good guy and he’s at least trying to give the rest of us a voice. But where was he in 2012? Why no action when the finance industry buddies of the Oval Office put a screeching halt on any progress to help the middle class? Sure, the FiliBernie was awesome but why didn’t he run in 2012? For that matter, why didn’t Hillary run?
But I can see where the passion is coming from on the left. Finally, someone is making a stand for income inequality. He’s saying craaaazy things. They’re just so crazy that everyone likes to hear them. They’re the kind of crazy things that appealed to voters my uncle’s age before he and his age cohort was distracted by abortion, conformity, religion and fear. Everyone should have health care because the rest of the developed world has done it. How novel is that?? Some countries have single payer, some have nationalized, some work through private insurance. ALL of the successful ones have implemented price controls. Don’t tell me that it’s not politically possible.
Most of the Europe has college education at vastly reduced prices so that students don’t start their professional lives indentured. Don’t tell me that’s not politically possible.
We used to have decent pensions in this country so that people were not forced to put their life savings on the roulette wheel of a global casino like we currently do with 401Ks. Don’t tell me that a guaranteed pension is not politically possible.
That’s what the polls are telling Hillary right now. They are telling her to NOT tell US that what we want is not politically possible.
We have had 8 years of a very weak president whose administration seems to excel at one thing- convincing pundits and political party spokespeople to glorify his Lilliputian achievements. (Please, don’t even go there.) And the voters are told over and over again that if they aren’t sufficiently appreciative that their net worth and futures are significantly diminished, they’re racists. If they want anything for themselves other than endless more decades of sacrifice while finance types continue to harvest them, they’re told that it’s not politically possible. I have to wonder if David Brooks, our modern Wormtongue and master of learned helplessness and messaging is secretly in charge of Democratic Party strategy.
Yes, the electoral map is against us but what would happen if the party stopped saying “Elect us president even though there’s nothing we can do!”
That’s not the message voters want to hear. They want to hear that you’re going to try. They want to hear that you’ll go to the mat for them. They want to be assured in no uncertain terms that if they hand the reigns of power over to you and manage to give you the house and the senate too by some miracle, that you are not going squander another golden opportunity to fix it. If there is one genuine surprise this year, it’s that after many long years, it is finally safe and even good to call yourself a liberal Democrat. It would be a shame if the party failed to move on that.
So, Hillary, tell Robbie Mook and his data models to take a hike. I don’t want to be pressured to donate just because 3 other people in my neighborhood did it. (Stop sending those emails. They make me resentful and obstinate.) Besides, data models are like Palantiri that can lead you astray. You don’t know the end of the story yet so there is no need to lock yourself into a careful, professionally crafted campaign approach that is unresponsive to current opportunities and realities. Do not market to me. What is good for my cohort is good for the vast majority of Americans. There is no reason to data drive, divide and conquer. We need a restart button not principle components analysis.
I want to see you throw caution to the wind and send a message that is going to at least match Bernie’s that you are going to do something for us even if it looks like it’s not politically possible.
Dream the impossible dream, Hillary. Dream BIG.