Wednesday, October 05, 2016

"I'm No Fan of Hillary, but ..."

“I am not a fan of Hillary, but …”  

Then follows an appeal to the principles of any Republican contemplating voting for Trump that implicitly leaves the conclusion that if you do vote for him you have no principles.  As far as a rhetorical technique, it lacks the “how to win friends and influence people” vibe, and in fact I’ve defriended Facebook friends who feel the need to pre-insult anyone who might vote for Trump as unprincipled on a daily basis.

Let’s get this on the table – it’s not sufficient that you are “not a fan of Hillary.”  Hillary is a crooked, incompetent, lying shrew.  The last genuine laugh she mustered was while describing getting a guy off on a rape charge of a twelve year-old girl.  But you know that already.  Or if you don’t, it’s because you refuse to look at the evidence.  You choose to remain blind to it, and instead chalk it to up to a vast right wing conspiracy (a term that is Hillary’s lone act of cleverness in her long corrupt and divisive career).  That term, initially used to deny allegations against her husband that she knew to be true, has nevertheless provided her and her husband with all the cover they’ve ever needed for every scandal that has followed.  And they owe that cover to people like you, sitting there telling people like me that we risk demonstrating a lack of principle.  

Admit a few things for me – you are a partisan who really doesn’t care about competence, principle, or the character of your candidate.  If Trump were your candidate (and he’s closer to your party than you think), none of his crazy assedness would matter to you.  What we would now be witnessing is the smearing of whoever the Republican candidate would be as a racist sexist troglodyte.  You’d be starting your Facebook posts, “I am not a fan of Trump, but …” and the rest of the content would be the same. 

So let’s just talk about principle.  Your candidate has amassed a fortune as a public speaker who has never had an original thought, and one shudders to think what fees she would have been able to garner if she had more than one tone of voice, or if that tone wasn’t that of a woman who seems to be perpetually auditioning for the role of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  (I actually googled to make sure I got the correct spelling for Ratched and one of the autocompletes was Nurse Ratched Hillary – so much for what I thought was an original comparison).  I’d rather pay to attend a speaking event that consists entirely of a someone dragging fingernails down a chalk board for 30 minutes.  So, if the payee doesn’t expect to get any real insight out of such speeches, what do you think those speaking fees are for?  Now, you could say it is not her fault that people may have an unreasonable expectation of some undefined quid pro quo down the line.  But how could so many corporate organizations who’ve shelled out the big bucks for the a forty-minute snooze fest not have some inkling that they would realize some return beyond that mid-day snooze fest?

But it’s people like you who wake up in a cold sweat screaming about the Citizens United case.  In your eyes, corporate lobbying is the big boogeyman under the American political bed, unless of course it’s the incessant lobbying of the New York times or CBS news on behalf of your pet causes – oh, wait, sorry, I forgot, that’s journalism.  So let’s say we ban all corporate lobbying.  All that will do is raise the speaking fees for monotone simpletons who don’t know that “C” stands for classified, and the result will be the same, or even worse because said speaker can actually pocket those fees directly rather than laundering them through a campaign.  Want a candidate who amassed some riches without being able to sell political favors?  Trump’s your guy (although he probably bought a few favors that helped). 

So let’s talk about competence.  The great progressive lie is that there is no agenda to progressivism other than to bring competence to government.  Obama rode that wave in 2008 – he was, and would bring in, the best and the brightest.  All we needed was more Harvard guys, or gals, or guys who wanna be gals, or vice versa, and all in certain acceptable proportions, who know best.  I don’t want to open up a Bush vs. Obama discussion on comparative competence, but certainly no one can say that all of a sudden our government seems to be competently run.  The last eight years have been marked by scandals at the VA, the IRS, the Secret Service, and the State department, not to mention the incompetent rollout of and the beginnings of the (predictable) pending implosions of the private exchanges.  Our foreign policy is a shambles, with enemies emboldened, and allies disheartened.

And of course one of the scandals of incompetence is all centered around your candidate.  Now, you can chalk up all of the criminal allegations to the vast right wing conspiracy, and you probably will.  You will say shit like “move on” and “she hasn’t been convicted” and that all of these investigations “were a waste of taxpayer money,” but pause to remember how feverishly you wanted the government to pursue the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent.  That was back when classified meant something to you. Here we are, thirty-thousand e-mails sent over a private unsecured server later by a simpleton who did all she could to erase any evidence of criminal negligence, and we are supposed to trust that our governance will be competent in her hands?  At best she’s a nincompoop; at worst she’s a lying criminal with wonton disregard for national security.  Take your pick.  Neither is very comforting.

At this point no doubt you’ve either stopped reading or some variant of “starting disastrous foreign wars on the pretense of WMDs” is spewing forth with a little spit from your lips as you feel your heart rate quicken.  This is your way of saying I really couldn’t care less about the character of the candidate – unless of course we are talking about the opposing candidate - it’s all about the policy.  And it’s not even about any policy being put forth by anyone – it’s about a policy put forth 13 years ago by a guy who’s not running.  Meanwhile, the chick who is running voted for that war, and the dude who is running thinks the President who initiated that war should be tried as a war criminal.  If you suffer from Bush derangement syndrome to this day (and clearly you do), Trump is your guy.

Meanwhile, your gal, at best, was hoodwinked into voting for the war by a guy you consider to have the IQ of an invertebrate.  But at least she was steadfastly against the surge.  Oops, that turned out to be a smashing success, so much so that Biden at one point tried to take credit for a stable and secure Iraq as the Obama administration’s greatest accomplishment.  Hillary seems to have a history of zigging when she should be zagging.  Good thing Hillary was on the job with Obama to sign that stay of forces agreement to maintain that success and not let any crazy practitioners of workplace violence or manmade disasters get a foothold from which to start beheading Christians.  Oh wait, I think I have that wrong again.

RACIST! RACIST! RACIST!  Ah, took you awhile to get there.  You were doing so well there for a while, what with your Citizens United reference and your incessant harkening back to the early Bush years as the explanation of everything that has ever gone bad before, during, or after that time.  Now we’re down to Peter in the forest crying wolf.  Can you name for me a Republican candidate in the last 60 years whom you haven’t called a racist?  Bush had the most diverse cabinet in history with Powell and Rice, and that didn’t spare him because the race police can dismiss their service under him to the selling out of a couple of Uncle Toms; Rice in particular was subjected to all manner of racist scorn from liberal Democrats.  The Republicans could clone MLK and have him run and he’d be tarred and feathered.

Maybe you do have a real live racist on your hands this time, but I doubt it.  And you would be the last to be able to identify one.  I’m sure you’ll scream that the policies he advocates, particularly with respect to immigration, are racist.  I’ll deal with that charge in a later post (it could be much later judging by the frequency of my blogs).  But putting that aside, if you asked a group of economists to pick a particular policy in place that is most likely to hurt the most vulnerable and at risk African Americans, I would bet that a plurality would choose the minimum wage.  In fact, if you had damaging that population as your primary goal, you would be hard-pressed to find a more insidiously effective policy.  Why?  Because a young male high school dropout’s chances of finding employment is effectively killed by the minimum wage – with little skill and no established work history, they are forced to compete at a wage that is too high. And it’s not about racism.  Denied that first rung on the ladder, the options and prospects are not good.  That’s not an opinion – it is an established scientific fact. 

Is Hillary Clinton, who is all on board for raising the minimum wage, a racist?  By your definition, with an understanding of the science (remember science - that thing you believe in so fervently when it suits you?), clearly she’s as racist as they come.  And you cannot protest that any failure to show evidence of personally racist behavior means she’s not a racist – you’ve dismissed that type of evidence as a non-issue for anyone who believes, for example, that affirmative action is fundamentally wrong.  If she successfully maintains or increases the federal minimum wage, she’ll do more harm to the black community than the grand wizard of the KKK could ever hope to.  And guess what – there is no way she is unaware of the effect of the minimum wage on African American employment.  She’s aware, but she’s made her political calculations and she knows that doing the right thing – educating her base of this fact – is not her best political move, as her union support is largely based on the federal minimum wage (unions who do work with the federal government have rates specified as a multiple of that federal minimum wage).

But I appreciate your concern for principles, and can happily tell you the reason I probably will vote for Trump relates specifically to principles.  Not to mine, mind you, but to yours. It’s your principles that trouble me, or at least how little they ever seem to mean to you.  For decades now you’ve been saying things like “it’s just about sex”, and now you are adding “it’s just about a few e-mails.”  The latter was about perjury in a context where the perjurer’s lies were meant to deny a citizen’s civil right to a fair civil trial over sexual harassment.  The former is about purposefully destroying evidence in a potential criminal investigation over matters of betraying national security, and repeatedly lying about it to at least the American public, if not the FBI (but of course she was never put under oath with the FBI, so she was free to lie).  Last I checked, your principles’ nominally include telling the truth, respecting other people’s civil rights, respecting the right of a woman to go to work without being harassed by a sexual predator, not laying out national security secrets for all eyes to see, etc. etc.  And when it is a Scooter Libby being sent to prison, or a General Petraus having to end his career in disgrace, your good by these principles.  But when push comes to shove in applying them across the board, you put that little smirk on your face and say “it’s just about sex.”  I really don’t relish the list of “it’s just about …” tut-tutting you’ll subject me to for the next eight years or beyond, as the Clintons continue to operate under their own set of rules. 

You see, it’s precisely the fact that I trust Republicans will hew to their principles and you won’t that makes a Hillary presidency a larger pending disaster.  We had a field of 14 candidates through most of the primaries, and the dynamics of that excuse the fact that Trump made it through.  Your party has no such excuse.  The fact that only one old socialist kook even tried to take her on is proof enough that principles ceased to matter to the Democratic party long ago.  Trump will be boxed in by many in his party who view him as a usurper, by the entire Democratic Party, and by the entire mainstream media.  Hillary will be boxed in only by Republicans, who may not manage to hold a majority in Congress.  

So I’ll leave you with this: I’m no fan of Trump, but …


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