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#SOTU v. #GOPDebate v. #DemDebate

It was a big political ball o' wax these past 7 days, what with President Obama giving his final State of the Union address, The Republicans having their... 84th? Debate and the Democrats gathering to hash and hashtag it out with their own debate.

I want to make a brief note of pride that the first "social media" vlogger that asked a question of the Democrats was chescaleigh, who was a guest on my talk_show blog way, way, way back in the day. Since then, she has exploded on YouTube, does a web series for MTV called "Decoded" and has been making appearances on everything from Anderson Cooper to The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. In some ways I feel like I discovered her, but she would have (and really did happen) without me!


But, let's start with the Dems, and how they are tracking. Bernie Sanders is really getting a boost, and I have to think there are several issues to explain why. The first is, obviously, that he has a penis. It's kind of difficult to overlook that Bernie Sanders is, in fact, male, and that there are just a bunch of people who think that the Leader of the Free World needs to have balls to do that job. That's especially true when it comes to dealing with warring factions and terrorism coming from who knows where, which is the world of 2016. Keep in mind that selecting a Presidential Candidate is only partly borne from logic and common sense. There's a lot of emotion involved too, and picking the person you think best represents either yourself, your values, your country, which, again, is more emotional than rational.

Additionally, the mud slinging is starting to happen, with Bill Clinton entering as support for his spouse and with the continual efforts by the Republicans, despite their big committee about Hillary's emails yielding no proof of wrongdoing, to imply that she is not trustworthy. That's one of the rules of hypnotics: if you keep saying something over and over, eventually people start to believe it.

Hillary, who this time last year was the prohibitive favorite to be the Democratic Nominee, now seems to be on a similar track to 2008. Is it just her personality? Her pedigree? Her pants suits? It just seems like people don't like her...

And that's a perfect segue to the Republicans, who have a front-runner that a lot of people don't like, including many within the party. Donald Trump has a negative rating by a lot of people, yet every bad thing he says seems to have no effect on his polling numbers. How is it Trump, who clearly has people up in arms for some of the outrageous things he has said is still crushing it, but Hillary, who has all of the experience of being a First Lady, a Senator and Secretary of State, is fading away?

Emotion plays a part, and negativity lasts longer than positives. People remember that her husband was impeached for a sex act on the job. So, they consider that element, not that she worked diligently to coax the Congress into setting up health care for Americans, back in the 1990s. They think about her privilege and how she "doesn't need their money," and yet, they don't think that way about Donald Trump, who is a lot more privileged than Hill when it comes to the ledger.

But, we have to give props: Trump really might be the smartest of the all of the candidates. He has orchestrated a campaign where he says everything the base wants to hear, he says something outrageous every week or so to keep the media fascinated and he always has a counter-move for when he is attacked by any of his opponents. That's right, the 2016 election is a Chess Tournament for Trump and he's making like Gary Kasparov. It's undeniably genius. He's also been picking off the others in the race, one by one. Now, apparently, it's basically Trump, Cruz and Rubio remaining. This, though last year Jeb Bush appeared to be the likely one.

There are no accidents with The Donald. He has plotted and planned everything, and has foreseen scenarios that the rest of us haven't imagined yet. No doubt he's created an answer to every question. That's why, despite all the machinations from the GOP, Trump is almost guaranteed to win the nomination at this point. Yes, there has been discussion of a split vote and needing to resolve things at the Convention. But that's still going to come down in favor of Trump... unless there are some dirty tricks going on, and I can't rule out that someone in the RNC will try to work things so that someone other than Trump will win, if it's close. I mean, we all remember 2000, don't we? Still, I would wager that if there was some sort of manipulation to give someone other than Trump the nomination, the plot would be discovered and Trump would be awarded his place at the top of the ticket.

Just keep in mind, President Trump could happen.

And that brings us back to our current leader, who gave a magnificent final State of the Union. Just a few of the quotes worth preserving from that speech:

"Anyone claiming that America's economy is in decline is peddling fiction."

"We have to make college affordable for every American. No hardworking student should be stuck in the red."

"Social Security and Medicare are more important than ever; we shouldn't weaken them, we should strengthen them."

"Food Stamp recipients didn't cause the financial crisis, recklessness on Wall Street did."

"If you doubt America's commitment, or mine, to see that justice is done, ask Osama bin Laden."

(I particularly loved this one, as it was a rare case of the President touting something he accomplished)

"That's why we need to reject any politics, ANY politics... that targets people because of race or religion."

"End the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around."

"Each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, stood up for us."


When the Republicans constantly state that Barack Obama is a failure, that his administration did not accomplish the goals of "Hope" and "Change" that he proclaimed during his runs for the White House, they point to all of the things still not completed. What they don't do is admit that they were responsible for sabotaging the President's best efforts through filibuster, congressional voting and refusing to lift a finger in support. They have never admitted that the gun lobby has them sewn up and that there will never be any proper legislation to make it more difficult to get guns. That they don't want to help the neediest people in our country and would prefer to take more away from our nation's most impoverished so that they can treat their corporate moguls and wealthiest One Percenters with a few more trinkets.

Never mind that Obama's diplomacy has lead to a path for warming relations with Iran, and that those efforts have freed 5 prisoners this past weekend. Ultimately, how the story is told depends on how you want to spin it, I guess.

We know that the Republicans did everything they could to prevent President Obama from having any success in any endeavor. It appears that they plan to destroy everything he has accomplished if they get their guy into the White House. Unlike the 44th President, if that guy gets in, there will be no reaching across the aisle to do anything. It will be an ebb tide of everything from the past 8 years, and beyond, with the potential defunding of Planned Parenthood and the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade... plus the Voting Rights Act, which has already been cut off at the knees in 15 states, may take us back to something closer to Jim Crow for the first time since the Kennedy administration.

I'm not being an alarmist, but that seems to be the direction the Republicans want to go.

I can't believe I may end up longing for the days of George W. Bush.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
kehlen_crow
Jan. 18th, 2016 04:11 pm (UTC)
Well, this is interesting. My Facebook timeline where your election is concerned is basically all Trump bad Bernie Sanders good. So I was thinking of asking you (because you seem interested in analyzing politics) to consider making an entry enumerating the opposite for both candidates. And here you have sort of done that.
penpusher
Jan. 18th, 2016 04:55 pm (UTC)
Obviously any Democrat is going to characterize Trump as bad. Bernie Sanders has been on the upswing, so Democrats are supporting him. Seems like you have a fair number of Dems on your timeline!

I'm definitely not predicting what's going to happen, and just a little while ago, I saw a report where Trump was booed at his most recent rally, so there needs to be some adjustments on his part, but I don't doubt that he will, as he has done to this point, continue to tweak things without a problem.

The question is how does Trump win that small group of "undecided" voters. We are also worried about voting in the states that changed their laws - like needing to have Voter ID in order to cast a ballot, among a bunch of changes making voting more expensive and more difficult, especially for minority and poorer citizens.

I'd like to think that everything is going to work out fine, but I have no idea, and to me, that's even scarier than it was in 2000.
kehlen_crow
Jan. 18th, 2016 06:35 pm (UTC)
It seems like I do, and not a single person who would (openly at least) support Trump.

How is voting at all expensive? Do you have to pay to get that Voter ID?

And who was the alternative candidate in 2000?

---
You don't pay anything at all to vote in Russia, and the only thing you need to vote is your passport, but voting also feels more and more useless and staged here.

Having said that, I also have absolutely no idea how difficult it is to get registered to vote if you move, and none about how homeless people vote, either.
penpusher
Jan. 18th, 2016 07:30 pm (UTC)
Well, here's the thing about it. Voter IDs, or "Legal" IDs cost money. If you have a drivers license, that would count, but those are relatively pricey, especially if you are retired and don't do any actual driving yourself. This used to be called a "poll tax," where you had to pay a sum in order to cast your vote. "Poll Taxes" were outlawed, but this is a kind of loophole around that.

In the case of 2000, I meant the General Election when Gore and Bush wound up in a virtual tie, and it came down to Florida, where Dubya's brother Jeb was the Governor. It's difficult to think that the Truck carrying the ballots that nobody ever saw was not orchestrated to vanish into the Sunshine State's labyrinth of highways somehow.

Passports would qualify, but again, a passport is a very pricey document. It's 135 Dollars, which is about 40-60 dollars more than a drivers license. Voting is very manipulated, as the votes that are cast count only for your own district, and if a district is won, all those votes go to that candidate. This is how News Channels "project" the winners of these various states: they basically know how the vote is going to go!
herwonderfulday
Jan. 18th, 2016 05:49 pm (UTC)
Great post.

A+. Would read again. I see a little Scott Adams seeping in, which is always enjoyable.

Trump's gonna be in Iowa on Saturday. I've never been to Iowa...
penpusher
Jan. 18th, 2016 07:32 pm (UTC)
Adams does make his points. I don't know that I want to carry it as far as he does, though.

Are you going to Iowa? Are you going to meet Donald?
herwonderfulday
Jan. 18th, 2016 08:12 pm (UTC)
I told my mom and she was like,"Day trip?"

But we don't fly to Sioux City (yet), so. And I'm not sure what other nearby cities there are if we could drive it and fly in and out in a day. I'd have to look at a map.

I'd go to Tulsa but that's on a Wednesday.

His rallies are such a trip.

Edit: Alas. There are no nearby cities we fly to that are viable for a day trip into SUX for Trump.

I'm sure there will be more rallies.

I was just telling my friends how much I like Trump's emails. They are short and to the point. "Having a rally at this address at this time. Doors open at X. Arrive early for screening. See you there!" And he doesn't ask for money every 5 mins.

Edited at 2016-01-20 03:06 pm (UTC)
packgrog
Jan. 18th, 2016 06:52 pm (UTC)
Eh, I don't think that HIllary's gender is an issue of significance among Dems, and certainly not among those of us that seem to be pulling for Sanders. Hillary's problem is her personality.

I've loathed Hillary since she was our senator in NY, or perhaps even before. Her move to NY, along with nearly every other decision that she seems to make, reeked of calculated self-interest above all else. Her goal was clear back in 2000: Building toward a Presidential bid. Every choice that she has made since has seemed in service to that goal. Not in service to the public, necessarily, but in service to building toward the Presidency. I still remember with revulsion seeing a post-9/11 press conference with her, Pataki, Giulliani, and I think Schumer, where she was leaning in as far as possible toward the podium with this cheshire-like grin on her face, apparently giddy at the potential gains she'd be getting from the increased visibility. I've been unable to find video of this (suspiciously, you'd think Fox News would fap to that image), but it burned a dislike for her into my psyche. Follow that up with her underhanded mudslinging against Obama and now Sanders, her general hawkishness, and the bald-faced opportunism exhibited by every one of her policy positions/changes/statements. I genuinely wonder if she is a sociopath, merely lacking Bill's natural charisma.

This is not to say that she is incapable. Quite the contrary, she's extremely intelligent and sneaky. She's too smart to be as revolting as most of the GOP contenders, and frankly I think she has more steel than all of the rest of the candidates put together, so again, I don't think that her gender is that significant at this point. She's proven time and again that she can hold her own and not be intimidated by anyone. But I also think that she lacks genuine empathy, sincerity, and integrity.

Sanders excels at Hillary's greatest weaknesses, which is why he's doing so well in contrast. Given his NY background, I don't foresee him as having issues with appearing weak in the way that Carter may have been. He's certainly assertive and quick. He's not the most cuddly candidate, nor the most sound-bite-worthy, but his message is the strongest of the lot. His weakness seems to be the lack of establishment support, such as the (clearly corrupt) one wielded by Hillary. The Clinton-devoted party establishment has been making life pretty difficult for Sanders (Wasserman Schultz, anyone?), and it's shedding renewed light on the self-serving opportunism that has hounded the Clintons for decades. Those of us who were grudgingly resigned to Hillary as our candidate but notice this behavior have become increasingly disgusted with her and exponentially more supportive of Sanders.

As far as the General Election is concerned, Hillary's gender might be a factor, but even then I think it would be minimal. The Right has always despised her, and they certainly wouldn't change their minds now. If they're insane enough to support Trump, Cruz, or Carson, then they're lost. If they're looking for Bush or Rubio, then MAYBE we can have a discussion that actually involves policy differences (wouldn't that be refreshing after all of the blatant bigotry flying around)? But before we bemoan the potential loss of a serious female candidate, let's also give thanks at the potential for a serious secular Jewish candidate. I'd gladly take anything other than the standard male W.A.S.P., provided that the person in question demonstrates a genuine concern for the populace. Sanders fits that bill; Clinton, not so much.
penpusher
Jan. 18th, 2016 08:05 pm (UTC)
I guess people said the same thing about RFK when he moved to New York and became a Senator. It was all just a chance to get a higher profile and position to follow his brother's footsteps. He just didn't get the chance to be sworn in before he took a bullet to the head.

Maybe you have some information about Hillary I'm not privy to, but I wasn't aware that she was intent on becoming President as far back as 2000. As for that video you described, I guess I would ask are you sure you saw what you saw, or did you see what you wanted to see?

In politics, we all know, there is some mudslinging that will happen when candidates are close. I'm not against that. It's all a part of the process. Just make sure that there is factual info in those missives.

But the part that disturbs me is simply this: if Hillary wasn't a woman, would people perceive all that she has done as sneaky or revolting or lacking in empathy or sincerity or integrity... would those adjectives even be considered for use if she were a male? That's what I mean when I'm talking about not liking a woman for President. The fact is, you can't escape that aspect of it, and neither can she, and that undercurrent of sexism that the entire nation is swimming in is both surprisingly strong and sometimes almost invisible. It's so inherent you might not even realize that THAT is what is going on.

In fact, I previously wondered if Hillary were a man, would Barack Obama have even gotten the nomination, let alone the Presidency in 2008. It's an impossible question to answer or even ask, I suppose, since the implications attached to it are elements of our society that we simply aren't ready to confront.

Granted Hillary didn't do many favors for herself with her persona and with connecting with people as clearly as Senator Obama did that go round. But I just can't dismiss the fact that even if you believe yourself to be "liberated," that you might not be affected by this somehow, which colors how you see everything, which causes any slight or any element of Hillary's style choices or how she laughs, or anything she might do to be looked on with derision.

I did notice that the Sanders campaign is very much down playing the whole Jewish element, and I suspect they will continue to do so, just as Barack Obama did with becoming the "First African-American President." Clearly Between voting for a Woman, or voting for someone of the Judaism faith, the Republicans will all vote for their own this time. And with the Voting Rights Acts repealed in 15 states, the GOP appears to be determined to get the Executive Branch at any cost.
packgrog
Jan. 18th, 2016 08:37 pm (UTC)
No, my distaste for her is not colored negatively (if at all) by her gender. I just despise her personally, and purely due to her actions. Similarly, I recall when I went to Stony Brook for orientation, and was super enthusiastic to hear Geraldine Ferraro speak. I was disgusted the moment she started speaking. She was just as smarmy as any other politician.

I also find it a bit surprising that you're quite so quick to defend her and dismiss negative reactions to her as being gender-biased. My reasons for disliking her, and her campaign strategies, run in line with the sort of activities that drove you away from working for the Party. It's that kind of ingrained preferential treatment of a select few, that corrupt status quo, which the Clintons (and Bushes) exemplify.
penpusher
Jan. 18th, 2016 08:59 pm (UTC)
The point I'm making transcends Hillary, and speaks to how we see women generally. Obviously we're more advanced than many countries in how we view women, but we aren't being equitable in any way. No, see, the point I'm making is that the view of the candidate cannot be separated from her gender, and to say that gender simply doesn't enter into it is just a conscious reply that doesn't take into account any subconscious biases. Your response about Geraldine Ferraro reflects this, I think.

I'm not necessarily defending Hillary as staunchly as you seem to be implying. But I am asking, is it possible that the undercurrent of sexism is having an effect on how she is perceived, and how much she is appreciated for her accomplishments. I think we would have to agree that there is that possibility.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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