July 25, 2016

I'm Underwhelmed (part 2)

Why underwhelmed, you might ask?  Here goes.

I did not really want Hillary Clinton to run for President.  I knew it was inevitable that she would, and that if she did, she would become the nominee. NOT because of a rigged system, mind you, but because with her background and service to the country she is a formidable candidate and one I think that many Dems were not willing to take on, or one who, under the circumstances, many thought was a good choice to take on whoever was the last man standing in the Republican circular firing squad.

Hillary's experience, her body of work, if you will, is clearly impressive going back to her college days. If that body of work and service and experience belonged to anyone else, male or female, I don't think there would have been the slightest hesitation on the part of people like me to throw our support behind her.

The flip side of the Clinton coin, of course, is the baggage. The negatives, the conspiracy theories, the horrible answers to questions that she's tired of answering, that she's answered 10, 100, 1000 times before and more, the questions she can't control and worse, the answers she can't control.
  • Where she needs to be honest and forthright and collected (Bill and the gals, Vince Foster) she and her advisers concoct a circle-the-wagons thing that does Clinton huge harm.  
  • Where her husband gets in the way and says or does something stupid that harms her, (Loretta Lynch at the airport) instead of taking a page out of Ronald Reagan's book and doing a "there he goes again!" they draw upon the circle-the-wagons things and try to not answer, or answer without addressing anything, instead of just blasting the stupid husband for being a idiot.  
  • When faced with an actual problem (emails) or a perceived problem (Libya)? They do the circle-the-wagons thing, and we have seen the outcomes on these two issues.
What does it say about Clinton that she surrounds herself with people who give her bad advice, or that she doesn't listen to her advisers who give her good advice that she ignores? And how, over time, do you let your reputation become what hers has become? It's frustrating, it's infuriating, and it's a damn shame. 

I want to be able to support her, strongly support her as the candidate of the party I've belonged to since my teens, and yet... I'm feeling underwhelmed.

Now, here's my take on the 'rigged system' thing: the system is rigged by Democrats for Democrats, who know what the rules are, including all about super delegates and all about getting on ballots and all about having a ground game and, oh yeah, making sure your voters are actually registered as Democrats where that's a requirement to vote, and stuff like that. Those rules, no matter how distasteful the Sanders camp found them, were the rules that Clinton also had to play by.  The problem wasn't the system. the problem that Bernie had is that he is not a Democrat.

He's been a democratic Socialist his entire political career, with an I after his name, not a D. His Senate webpage still refers to him as "the longest-serving independent member of Congress in US history" -- even after he proclaimed himself to be "a Democrat now" last November and his campaign said he was "a Democrat for life" this past April.  He can call himself a progressive; that, he certainly is, without denial or disagreement from any quarter. But he's not a Democrat, and the Democratic Party was crazy to let him in the race.  For that reason alone, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz should have lost her job a long time. (That she is finally losing it now is a bonus, certainly).

And that's another reason for my underwhelmedness: the mess the Democratic National Committee has made of this whole thing. Again, bad wagon-circling on the whole Bernie thing, on the debate schedule, on the complaints about the rigging of the game, the whole nine yards.

I mean, you shouldn't find yourself in the position of having the other party's nominee mentioning your second place finisher in his acceptance speech. If you've gotten that far, you shouldn't have passed Go, you shouldn't have collected your $200, and you should have made different choices along the way.

So where do I go from here?  Tim Kaine on the ticket helps her; Elizabeth Warren off the ticket helps both Clinton and Warren. Hearing what's gone on today, seeing the replays on the news of Bernie fans booing Bernie directly, booing just about every mention of Clinton's name, at least it's energetic.

I'm hopeful as I wait for tonight's lineup: Warren and Sanders and Michelle Obama. Maybe, by the end of the week, my temperature will at least be up to 'whelmed'.