Showing posts with label Hillary Clinton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hillary Clinton. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Just look at all the WikiLeaks emails! Why do you think she was hiding the Goldman Sachs speeches?

Listen, you slobs! If you vote for Killary Clinton, you're going to have black helicopters and federal gestapo troops coming to take away your guns and your rights!

You think this woman respects the Constitution? You think she wouldn't lower the federal boom on God-fearing Americans and throw 'em all in politically correct prison camps?


If you don't want Hillary's storm troopers marching down Main Street -- if you don't want the U.S. Army turned against American citizens, you must vote for Donald Trump and the Christian, freedom-loving, limited-government, Mexican-rapist hatin', states-rights respecting Republicans. Just look at this exchange with a freedom-loving, right-thinking Republican during one of those Goldman Sachs speeches:

MR. (Lloyd) BLANKFEIN (CEO, President, 
Goldman Sachs): I have to say we Republicans -- 
we obviously reach out to both sets. To a person 
-- a person regarded as someone who may be 
expected to be more partisan and has spent so much 
time is is very, very well liked by the Republicans.

PARTICIPANT: First off I would like to
thank you for all the years. Of course, I'm on the
other side.

MS. CLINTON: The dark side?

PARTICIPANT: It's the dark side right
now, but otherwise the sun does come through. You
have to be an optimist. But you have to put a
great, great effort, and I commend you for it. But
I would like two things. No. 1, you just talked
about Sandy. And since you were First Lady and a
senator -- forget the Secretary. But what is wrong
with our politicians -- I served in the Corps of
Engineers. Whether it's in Iraq, Iran -- anyplace
outside the US you can build bridges overnight.
You could have gone into Sandy. You could have
gone into New Orleans.

The actual problem is the law from the
1800s. No military, which is the only force, not
the National Guard. They don't have crap. It's
the military. Like down in New Orleans. If we
would just change the dumb law -- because it hasn't
been changed because politicians have no say once
the president declares it martial law. Put the
military up. They would have cleaned up that
coast. You wouldn't have the frigging mess you
have today. But we can do it for everybody else in
the world, but we don't do it because the state
judges don't have no authority. The mayor don't
have no authority, because you're going to put a
military officer in charge. That's one question
why you haven't looked at --

MR. BLANKFEIN: They did that in New Orleans.

PARTICIPANT: Forget the -- the second thing you mentioned about Afghanistan. Most people don't realize the Russians were there before us for
ten years and whatever, and we supported Tannenbaum
to beat the hell out of them. A lot of our
problems is because we have a competition with the Russians. If we would -- the Russians by nature
hate the Chinese, but forget that.

If we were more or less kind of like forget that
superpower, superpower, and work with them
-- two superpowers equal a hell of a lot more
in the world. You wouldn't have an Iranian
problem, we wouldn't have the Syrian problem, and
why don't we just cut Israel loose? Give them the
frigging bomb and just blow the thing up. That's
my question to you.

MS. CLINTON: Those are interesting
questions for sure.

First, I think you're referring to the
posse comitatus, which has been actually in
existence -- if not from the end of the 18th
century, the very beginning, as you said, of the
19th century. And it is a law that really limits
what the military, the US military, can do on our
soil, and it has been supported all these years in
part because there is a great suspicion by many of
US government power -- and there is no more obvious
evidence of that than the US military.

However, we do call out the National
Guard, which is under the control, as you know, of
the governor and the adjutant general. But it is
clearly in the line of command as well from the
Pentagon. So although it took some difficulties
with Katrina we did get the National Guard out.

With Sandy we got the National Guard out. But
you're right, that if you were to want to have the
military, the actual US military involved in
disaster recovery, you would have to change the
law. And it's something that would be a big fight
in Congress because a lot of people would not vote
to change a law that would give any additional
authority to any president, Republican or
democratic, to order the US military to go anywhere
in the United States.

We kid about it, but I used to see it
all the time when I was a senator. There is this
great fear that the US military is going to show up
and take away your guns and confiscate your
property. I think it's --

MR. BLANKFEIN: Was the last time that
happened with Eisenhower?

MS. CLINTON: Yes. That was to enforce
a court order.

MR. BLANKFEIN: It was shocking,

MS. CLINTON: It was. Wasn't it the
82nd? I mean, they flew through to desegregate the
central high school, and it was viewed as a very
provocative action.

PARTICIPANT: The fact is it proved
what was right. Not what the politicians think.
It's a case of sometimes the politicians, which
includes --

MS. CLINTON: The politicians for more
than 200 years have been united on this issue.
There was a posse comitatus law before that. But
the sensitivity about it was heightened and new
regulations were put in after the Civil War, but --

PARTICIPANT: No disrespect, but if you
were right you could not have had Illinois,
Oklahoma, California join you. You had governors
that were appointed there. Military law.

MS. CLINTON: Well, you can declare
martial law. You can declare martial law.

PARTICIPANT: Military was always --

MS. CLINTON: Well, I personally could
not favor turning control over to the United States
military as much as I respect the United States
military. I guess I'm on the other side of this
with you.

I think that the civilian rule has served us well,
and I don't want to do anything that upsets it even
though I have a very personal experience. You
remember when Castro opened the prisons and
sent all the criminals to the United States?


MS. CLINTON: A lot of those prisoners
were ordered to go to a fort in Ft. Smith,
Arkansas, Ft. Chaffee, and my husband was governor
of Arkansas at the time. It was a military fort,
so the United States military ran it. So if you
were on the fort you were under US military
authority, but if you stepped off the fort you were
not. And the result was there was a riot where
prisoners were breaking through the gates, and the
US military would not stop them.

So my husband as governor had to call
out the state police. So you had the military
inside basically saying under the law we can't do
anything even to stop prisoners from Cuba. So it
is complicated, but it's complicated in part for a
reason, because we do not ever want to turn over to
our military the kind of civilian authority that
should be exercised by elected officials. So I
think that's the explanation.

Uhhhhhhhhh . . . .

Monday, August 15, 2016

Politics in the age of short-fingered vulgarians

My wife thought I was having a stroke.

There I stood in the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fair, mouth agape, jaw slacked. My eyes must have been a little glazed over. I stared at the Republican Party of Iowa booth.

Actually, I stared at the Crooked Hillary photo booth. That stood in front of and perpendicular to the life-sized Donald Trump cutout, where bunches of good Iowa people were lining up to take a picture with the cardboard candidate.

I found myself compelled to take pictures of the people taking pictures, if for no other reason but to reality-check myself that this campaign -- this insane presidential contender -- was really happening, and that a formerly mainstream political party had entered the terminal stage of a decades-long descent into bat-shit madness.

THIS COARSE display . . . this supreme unseriousness and spleen venting . . . this is how the the government becomes delegitimized (see Obama Derangement Syndrome) and the country becomes ungovernable. This is how we lose faith in democracy, and how we cast off all our hopes for the future.

This is so beneath us as Americans. We are so beneath us, at least beneath our better selves, as Americans.

This is how everybody becomes The Other, and this is how opposing political parties become Lebensunwertes Leben

How damned sad that what's left of Republicanism sounds so much more serious in the original German.

The Real Donald J. Trump -- star of stage, screen, divorce court and bankruptcy -- would sound just as nuts in Classical Latin, alas.

As we were leaving the fair Sunday, I asked my wife whether this would be the last Iowa State Fair we'd go to without having to get a passport or obtain a visa. Would Iowa end up in the Republic of Heartland, while Nebraska joined with the Dakotas in the new Canadian province of South Manitoba? Would the United States still be united in 2017, somehow, despite Trump ginning up panic and rage among the booboisie about the "rigged election"?

Could be a hell of a "reality show."

Call it The End of the World as We Know It.

And we feel . . . pissed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tomatoes and shoes be with you

Some loonies on the right-hand side of America's great divide think Barack Obama is a Muslim. Or a "Muslin," as the case may be.

They miss the point.

It doesn't matter whether the president of the United States is a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew or a Druid, the bottom line is that U.S. policy -- just as under the evangelical George W. Bush -- is to be very, very upset when Arab despots murder their fellow Muslims but not so upset when Christians get slaughtered by Islamists under "democratic" regimes in the region. In this respect, President Obama is no better than Bush 43 . . . and probably even worse.

The mainstream American press generally won't point this out. Americans by and large will not call "bullshit" where bullshit needs to be called.

Egyptian Christians will, though. It is their lives on the line and --
Boy, howdy! -- did they give Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the business Sunday. Good on them. The tomato-and-shoe toss rather made the point, methinks.

CHANTING "Monica!" was a little 1998, however. From the newly rebranded (formerly MSNBC):
Prominent Christian Egyptians snubbed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday because they feel the U.S. administration favors Islamist parties over secular and liberal forces in society at the expense of Egypt's 8 million Christians.

The critical theme was repeated by others Sunday in Cairo and Alexandria despite Clinton denying U.S. interference in Egyptian elections.

The politicians, businessmen and clerics who snubbed Clinton were supposed to take part in meetings between Clinton and influential members of civil society.

Coptic Christian businessman and politician Naguib Sawiris and three other Coptic politicians said in a statement they were objecting to Clinton's policies in solidarity with the mainstream Egyptian.

They also said that since the revolution, the U.S. administration and Clinton have paid many visits in support of Islamic political currents in society while ignoring other civil movements.

The four prominent Copts consider the meeting with the Islamist parties a form of external pressure to push the Islamists to power and ignore other civil movements. They blamed the U.S. for even showing a preference for an Islamist presidential candidate.

Egypt, a nation of nearly 84 million, is 90 percent Muslim, 9 percent Coptic and 1 percent other Christian denominations.

Two church leaders also turned their back on Clinton.

Coptic Bishop Morcos and Evangelical church leader Safwat al Bayadi refused to meet with Clinton because of what they characterized as interference in Egyptian internal affairs and U.S. support for Islamists while ignoring the majority of Egyptians.

A few hundred protesters chanted the same message in front of the Garden City Four Seasons hotel where Clinton overnighted.

I WONDER whether Obama will offer aggrieved Middle Eastern Christians the same kind of "compromise" he's offered Catholics and others over contraception coverage in the health-insurance mandate? In other words, not much of one at all.

For the sort of people who populate the Obama Administration, some lives are more important than others. At home, it's anybody's over A) the unborn or B) Christians with principles differing from those of secularist, "progressive" Democrats.

Everywhere else, it's anybody's over Christians who stand to be A) slaughtered by the winners of "democratic" elections or B) driven by the same from lands where they have lived since the dawn of Christianity itself.

Of course, thanks to the constitutional separation of church and state, the United States has no state religion. That is right and good.

But this is ridiculous.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Never mind the bollocks

When a high-profile consultant in your own party starts recycling jokes he told at your expense during the 2008 campaign -- when working for your archrival -- you may be in some political peril, Barack Obama.

Especially when it's a really, really funny joke.

And even more so when it kinda, sorta has the ring of truth about it.

Then, when the White House gets all pissy and thin-skinned about a joke -- especially a good one that people think is kind of close to reality -- the butt of the joke just starts to look like a butt, period.

A rather humorless one, actually.

TAKE THIS story from CNN, for example:
Democratic strategist James Carville compared President Barack Obama to his democratic primary rival and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday, implying Obama needs to toughen-up.

"If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he'd have two," Carville said at a "Christian Science Monitor" breakfast discussion.

His comment was a response to whether Obama is taking strong enough stands on taxes and repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy.

Carville made a similar comment to "Newsweek" during the 2008 campaign season when he compared Clinton and Obama's toughness.

"If she gave him one of her cojones, they'd both have two," he said.

He reacted to the comment on CNN's "John King, USA" Thursday.

"If I offended anybody, I am not sorry and I do not apologize," Carville told CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King.

THE WHITE HOUSE and senior Dems, according to King in the CNN video, "are outraged tonight (Thursday)." Well, that certainly violates a basic rule of politics, and life: "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."

President Obama can stop digging any time now.

The proper way to handle this would be 1) not to look like something traditionally paired with "balls," and 2) step out of character and summon your sense of humor. (Like, everybody's supposed to have one of those, right?)

An example: Pop in at the daily briefing and announce to the White House press corps -- in a basso profundo voice -- that you'd just had a productive meeting with the secretary of state. A good laugh defuses much.

Face it, when the most celebrated Democratic strategist's response to reports of your outrage over his political funny is "I am not sorry, and I do not apologize," you'd best start doing all the defusing you can regarding that H-bomb in the middle of your presidency.

P.S. TO CNN: If you're going to quote somebody -- especially somebody telling a a joke -- get the quote straight. All you had to do was . . . watch the videotape. Doesn't YouTube come through your Internets tubes in the CNN newsroom?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pakistan on the bayou

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was rather, shall we say, blunt in her remarks to various groups of Pakistanis this past week.

Basically, adjusting for diplomacy-speak, she said Pakistan was a basket case, and that unless that country gets its act together, Americans will just be pouring foreign aid we scarcely can afford anymore down a rat hole.

She told Pakistanis they were too ignorant, too sick, their infrastructure was a damn mess, and that their country doesn't tax itself nearly enough to do any bootstrap-pulling at all.

HERE'S A "money" quote from a roundtable with Pakistani business leaders in Lahore.

"And so at some point, when you ask for partnership, you have to ask what the equity state is that Pakistan itself is looking to make," Clinton said, "because it is difficult to go to our taxpayers and say we consider Pakistan a strategic partner, we consider it a long-term friend and ally, we have supported it since its inception in 1947, we want to continue to do so, and have our taxpayers and our members of Congress say, 'Well, we want to help those who help themselves, and we tax everything that moves and doesn’t move, and that’s not what we see happening in Pakistan.'"

That's blunt. And it occurred to me . . . what if the federal government took that approach with various "undertaxed" American states that, nevertheless, think they have the same -- nay, more -- right to sacks and sacks of federal cash than those "nanny states" taxing themselves into oblivion.

Red-blooded, all-American, rugged-individualist conservatives in low-tax states like (Oh, what the hell . . . ) Louisiana would like us to believe they're somehow ruggeder and more individualistic and moral than us damn Yankees in Omaha, by God, Nebraska, sitting here
with the 182nd-highest property tax out of 1,800 ranked U.S. counties. By comparison, my home parish in Louisiana, East Baton Rouge, sits at No. 1,546.

And the bottom 10 property-tax counties in the United States are
all in Louisiana.

And yet, there are Louisiana's politicians standing there in Washington,
with hands outstretched or, alternately, trying to gerrymander the 2010 Census to tilt federal-aid formulas in their direction -- and maybe keep from losing a congressional district, too.

Cue Hillary Clinton.

I WONDER whether she could make time for a couple of Baton Rouge roundtables? Because if you spend a day driving around my hometown -- driving around all of my hometown -- you're going to think two things.

First, you're going to think it doesn't do much to keep itself up. You're going to, at some point, use the phrase "God helps those who help themselves."

For example, is this a school in Baton Rouge or one in Pakistan?

You ought to see police headquarters (at top).

And second, you're going to think middle-class Baton Rouge spends the money it doesn't spend on taxes on heavy artillery it trains on the city's poor neighborhoods.

WHEN A STATE doesn't see fit to collect enough local revenue to take care of its basic local needs, at what point does a strapped national government -- and Americans who do tax themselves enough to, more or less, cover local basics -- look at the able-bodied beggar and say, "Screw you, buddy! I saw you take that fiver out of your pocket and buy a pack of smokes."

I mean, read these excerpts from
Clinton's remarks and start replacing "Pakistan" with "Louisiana." It gets real interesting real fast:
The United States wants to help create more jobs in Pakistan. We see this happening in two ways: one, a direct way through programs such as what we are advocating for the creation of reconstruction opportunity zones which will open market access to the United States. We are working to accelerate this approach because it’s essential that we provide more assistance in trade and investment and help to improve the environment for you to do more business.

We also know, though, that in addition to direct programs like that, encouraging your government to do more in the way of trade agreements, looking for opportunities to open up the Pakistan economy to greater trade access, from not just the United States but from this region and beyond, but there are issues that affect how much business you can do, what kind of capacity you have.


We know that at the base of any economy are the talents of the people, and there is no doubt that the Pakistani people are incredibly talented. But it is also beyond argument that there needs to be greater emphasis on education and health, on women’s empowerment, in order to realize the full potential of the challenge that exists. I often say that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. And we have to change the opportunity structure and create opportunity ladders.

Last night, I was in Islamabad for the second drawing of the Benazir Income Support Program, and I was privileged to hand out certificates to some of the women who came from very rural areas to accept their certificates, which carried with them the promise of investments, investments in them and in their families, giving them the tools that they then can use to try to improve their lives.

Really, when you look at what it takes for a society in the 21st century to flourish, I believe that it really rests on three pillars. Sometimes I liken it to a three-legged stool. One is a democracy, democratic form of government with accountability, transparency, a commitment to produce results for people, because if democracy doesn't produce results for people, there’s a built-up frustration that can often cause instability. Second, a market economy where people are given the opportunity to flourish and to create their own wealth and spread it around because of the jobs and the other benefits that flow from it. That strong economy goes hand-in-hand with a strong democratic government. And then the third is civil society, the kind of support for society that you get from faith communities, that you get from private associations, that are really what makes life worth living besides being a citizen and being a consumer and a producer in the economy, really fulfilling oneself.

And certainly, when one looks at the results of the decisions that have been made by the kind of people that the governor referenced who have left Pakistan and have moved to the United States or to Europe or to elsewhere in the world, and when I look around this table and look at the names here and realize how much success there is and how many risk-takers there are and how many people have really prospered through good times and bad because of your own hard work and your entrepreneurial skills, I have no doubt that we can expand that and create many more entrepreneurs and successful business people of all size businesses in Pakistan. The United States is ready, willing, and able to help in whatever way is appropriate. But for us, Governor, we want to make a long-term investment in Pakistan. We think it will pay off. And we certainly believe that it is to the best interest of both the people of Pakistan and of the United States to have that kind of partnership.


But I think too that it is only fair to take a hard look internally about what Pakistan needs to do. And at the risk of maybe sounding undiplomatic, Pakistan has to have more internal investment in your public services and in your business opportunities. By any fair measure, for example, the percentage of taxes of GDP is among the lowest in the world. The United States, we tax ourselves, depending upon who is in power, somewhere between 16 and 23 percent of GDP, and right now, it usually hovers around the 20 percent. You’re less than half of that.

And so at some point, when you ask for partnership, you have to ask what the equity state is that Pakistan itself is looking to make, because it is difficult to go to our taxpayers and say we consider Pakistan a strategic partner, we consider it a long-term friend and ally, we have supported it since its inception in 1947, we want to continue to do so, and have our taxpayers and our members of Congress say, well, we want to help those who help themselves, and we tax everything that moves and doesn’t move, and that’s not what we see happening in Pakistan.

And I can say that because I think there has to be, in any partnership, but more importantly in any plan for your own economic future, a hard look at where you’re going to get the resources to meet these needs. You do have somewhere between 170 and 180 million people. Your population is projected to be about 300 million as the current birth rates, which are among the highest in the world, continue – 2.6 birth rate. I don’t know what you’re going to do with that kind of challenge unless you start planning right now.

And despite the fact that you have all of these wonderful assets that we have been talking about, Pakistan ranks at about 142nd on the Human Development Index. So as we sit here in this absolutely magnificent building, as we talk to people who are educated and worldly and successful, it doesn’t reflect what I saw last night when I handed out those certificates to the very poor women who had come to collect them.

So I think that it is important for us to do our part, and I am here to make that commitment. But that partnership and that trust deficit that was referred to can only be dealt with by an open and candid conversation. We have been friends and allies. We’ve gone through good times and bad times. As somebody said to me earlier in one of my meetings, it’s like a marriage; sometimes we just get really put out with each other. And I said yes, but we don’t want a divorce. What we want is to keep working to the benefit of our countries and our people, and, from my perspective, to really see the time when Pakistan realizes its destiny. I mean, strategically, geographically, in every sense, it’s all there. But it has to be put together by the people of Pakistan.

We are willing to help, and President Obama and I have a very personal commitment to this relationship that we will carry through on. And I look forward to this kind of conversation and then the follow-up call to action and work – the hard work – that’s translating the hopes into the reality that’s on the ground that will realize the kind of economic prosperity that the people of Pakistan deserve.
YES, HILLARY CLINTON "looks forward" to "this kind of conversation" with a country on which we're spending relative chicken feed compared to what we're spending at home. On states and localities that obviously have a lot more federal representation than they have self-taxation.

Maybe the Obama Administration has too small a pool of folks it's planning to engage in, as the diplomats say, "frank discussions."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The more things change. . . .

Now, I have to tell you that it was a great privilege when I was told that I would receive this award. I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision. Another of my great friends, Ellen Chesler, is here, who wrote a magnificent biography of Margaret Sanger called "Woman of Valor". And when I think about what she did all those years ago in Brooklyn, taking on archetypes, taking on attitudes and accusations flowing from all directions, I am really in awe of her.

-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
upon getting Planned Parenthood's
Margaret Sanger Award

"We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don't want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."

-- Margaret Sanger, 1939

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

And they laugh at the Obamaniacs. . . .

Unfortunately, you can't make this stuff up.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank captures this scene from the road in New York, at Hillary Clinton's big speech last night:

The rush of the opportunistic superdelegates toward the inevitable nominee only worsened what was certain to be an unhappy day for the Clintons, who had arrived at their Westchester home at about 3 a.m. after an awkward last day of campaigning in South Dakota. Bill Clinton had flown into a rage and called a reporter a "scumbag." At her last event in South Dakota, Hillary had lost her voice in a coughing fit. Somebody had seen fit to play an inappropriate John Fogerty tune before she took the stage: "It ain't me, it ain't me. I ain't no fortunate one."

On Tuesday evening, the crowd began to assemble at Baruch College in Manhattan for Clinton's non-concession speech. The scene was made to look festive: The Clinton campaign ordered 70 boxes of Domino's pizza for the press corps, and set up a cash bar for its fundraisers, or "honored guests." The honored guests were not in a partying mood, however. One older woman pointed at a reporter accusingly and said: "He is the one who destroyed our heroine!"

A crew from "The Daily Show" joined the party, and, hoping to keep Clinton in the race, struck up a cheer of "Four more months!"

Such an outlandish thing seemed almost plausible among the Clinton backers in the hermetically sealed Baruch gym. Below ground level, there was no cellphone or BlackBerry reception, and there was no television playing in the room. That meant that they could not see the network projections showing that, while Clinton had won South Dakota, Obama had won enough delegates to clinch the nomination. Instead, they listened to Tom Petty's "Won't Back Down."
WHY DO I keep thinking of Baal and golden calves? Or, in this case, a golden ass . . . er, donkey.

Really, though, what more is there to say about the spectacle that is Clinton '08? What words do we have for old women who unselfconsciously go around spouting angry paeans to megalomaniacal Huey Long wannabes in drag?

Is this Bosnia, or what? Run! Run! Snipers! Incoming! Incommmmmiiiinnnnnng!

ONLY ONE THING in particular comes to mind right now -- at least apart from last night's post. It's this: When a society throws the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses overboard in order to set out on a brave, new course, it's not that we mortals get over the need for a deity.

It's just that we'll start to worship any damn thing . . . or politician. Even Hillary Clinton.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's the end of the world as they know it

Have you ever wondered whether the Clintons are metaphors for America itself? That Bill and Hill are the story of modern (and postmodern) America time-compressed and writ small?

After all, it takes a little story to illustrate a big story, right?

BILL CLINTON was born into a family of modest means . . . and into a world of familial dysfunction, which obviously left its scars on his psyche. Yet, through sheer smarts and epic drive and ambition, he got himself into Georgetown, then into Yale Law, then embarked on a life of the law and public service -- and marriage, family and his own one-man sexual revolution -- until he climbed and clawed and "Comeback Kidded" his way to the top of the world.

From 1993 to 2001, no man on earth was as powerful as William Jefferson Clinton.

And at his side was Hillary. Born Hillary Rodham, the future first lady, U.S. senator and presidential candidate lived a bourgeois life of relative middle-class privilege. And after getting the political bug as a "Goldwater Girl" in 1964, she used her drive and considerable smarts to shine at Wellesley College . . . and then Yale Law, where one of the most formidable political mergers of the modern age took shape.

She helped the family political franchise along through those years of struggle, until reaching the pinnacle of political power with her senior partner, Bill.

SOON, HOWEVER, the ultimate power couple would find that once you get to the top, the only place to go is down.

Clinton, Inc., weathered its own private Vietnam with l'affaire Lewinsky, which left the union -- and the partnership -- bruised and beaten, but intact and ready to begin plotting Hillary's ascent after an eight-year interregnum.

They thought it was "Morning in America." Instead, their trouble was just beginning.

Tim Reid of The Times in London gets it pretty much right-o in this account from the campaign trail:
Seventeen months after she sat regally in her New York living room and calmly declared: “I’m in and I’m in to win,” Hillary Clinton stands on a stage in a stifling hot shed in South Dakota, coughing and spluttering, as her daughter, Chelsea, grabs the microphone from her hand to take over the show.

“A long campaign,” the former First Lady chokes out between sips of water. Her husband, red-faced and exhausted – and having just apologised for another angry outburst in front of reporters – looks on wistfully at the final rally of his wife’s presidential bid, an endeavour that has been transformed from an inevitable juggernaut into a costly train wreck.

It was an extraordinary moment, exactly five months after the first contest in Iowa, to see the former First Family in the dying moments of the longest primary campaign in history, a gruelling journey across America that was meant to end in a Clinton restoration and has instead bought a very different inevitability: defeat at the hands of Barack Obama.


In this final day of campaigning, Mrs Clinton was still defiant, still giving, as she has done for months, an impressive and detailed stump speech full of uplifting prescriptions for healthcare, taxes and energy independence. Yet there was a sense of a woman with her fingers in a leaking dam, straining to halt the impending flood of super-delegates to her rival. Even as she spoke in Sioux Falls, several of her Democratic Senate colleagues were meeting behind closed doors in Washington to plot the end-game by planning a mass endorsement for Mr Obama.

At two events she became convulsed by coughing fits. At one she got the name of the local mayor wrong. In Yankton, she completely lost her voice and had to leave the stage. Chelsea again took over, the reluctant, largely mute campaigner of Iowa now a star in her own right. During the day Mrs Clinton’s event advance team was laid off. Campaign staff were urged to turn in expense receipts. Young aides were talking about vacations. Several volunteers, amid a slightly hysterical fin de siècle atmosphere, gave Oscar-like speeches listing all the states they had visited.
PERHAPS NO COUPLE has been such poster children for their generation -- and for a whole era of American history -- as the Clintons . . . Bill and Hill. Their motto just as well could have been "You can't touch this," because, well, who could?

All good things, however, come to an end eventually. Bill and Hill perhaps knew that in their heart of hearts. But they never saw it coming, not until they were wandering -- shell-shocked and desperate -- through the ruins of the Clinton '08 campaign.

Now the former president and the would-be president appear for all the world like a couple of half-crazed refugees stumbling, glassy-eyed and babbling, out of the ruins of a political Dresden of their own making. Their reputations in tatters, their futures uncertain, they can't help but mindlessly prattle about glorious days still to come.

The world, alas, has moved on.

THE CLINTONS, Bill and Hill, are America. America, behold yourself . . . soon enough.

Soon enough.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Make that Mongo County, WV

The erudite swells of London's The Financial Times get in touch with their inner "hill William" while following the doomed presidential campaign of the Thing Who Would Not Die through the hollers of West, by God, Virginia:

Like most people in Mingo County, West Virginia, Leonard Simpson is a lifelong Democrat. But given a choice between Barack Obama and John McCain in November, the 67-year-old retired coalminer would vote Republican.

“I heard that Obama is a Muslim and his wife’s an atheist,” said Mr Simpson, drawing on a cigarette outside the fire station in Williamson, a coalmining town of 3,400 people surrounded by lush wooded hillsides.

Mr Simpson’s remarks help explain why Mr Obama is trailing Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival, by 40 percentage points ahead of Tuesday’s primary election in the heavily white and rural state, according to recent opinion polls.

A landslide victory for Mrs Clinton in West Virginia will do little to improve her fading hopes of winning the Democratic nomination, because Mr Obama has an almost insurmountable lead in the overall race.

But Tuesday’s contest is likely to reinforce Mrs Clinton’s argument that she would be the stronger opponent for Mr McCain in November, and raise fresh doubts about whether the US is ready to elect its first black president.

Occupying a swathe of the Appalachian Mountains on the threshold between the Bible Belt and the Rust Belt, West Virginia is a swing state that voted twice for George W. Bush but backed Democrats in six of the eight prior presidential elections.

No Democrat has been elected to the White House without carrying West Virginia since 1916, yet Mr Obama appears to have little chance of winning there in November. Recent opinion polls indicate that Mrs Clinton would narrowly beat Mr McCain in the state but Mr Obama would lose by nearly 20 percentage points.

West Virginia is hostile territory for Mr Obama because it has few of the African-Americans and affluent, college-educated whites who provide his strongest support. The state has the lowest college graduation rate in the US, the second lowest median household income, and one of the highest proportions of white residents, at 96 per cent.

A visit to Mingo County, a Democratic stronghold in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields, reveals the scale of Mr Obama’s challenge – not only in West Virginia but in white, working-class communities across the US. With a gun shop on its main street and churches dotted throughout the town, Williamson is the kind of community evoked by Mr Obama’s controversial comments last month about “bitter” small-town voters who “cling to guns or religion”.

“If he is the nominee, the Democrats have no chance of winning West Virginia,” said Missy Endicott, a 40- year-old school administrator. “He doesn’t understand ordinary Americans.”
IF MINGO COUNTY represents "ordinary Americans," Washington needs to sue for peace with Beijing before war has a chance to start.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It takes a Democrat to lose to this GOP

Barack Obama is going to grow a pair, right now, and deal with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- his posturing, egomaniac ex-pastor -- or we're going to be in Iraq until we have no army left and America is left as a broke, broken and beaten country.

And if Hillary wins, things could be even worse.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank
weighed in Monday with a most depressing blog post:

Should it become necessary in the months from now to identify the moment that doomed Obama's presidential aspirations, attention is likely to focus on the hour between nine and ten this morning at the National Press Club. It was then that Wright, Obama's longtime pastor, reignited a controversy about race from which Obama had only recently recovered - and added lighter fuel.

Speaking before an audience that included Marion Barry, Cornel West, Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam official Jamil Muhammad, Wright praised Louis Farrakhan, defended the view that Zionism is racism, accused the United States of terrorism, repeated his view that the government created the AIDS virus to cause the genocide of racial minorities, stood by other past remarks ("God damn America") and held himself out as a spokesman for the black church in America.

In front of 30 television cameras, Wright's audience cheered him on as the minister mocked the media and, at one point, did a little victory dance on the podium. It seemed as if Wright, jokingly offering himself as Obama's vice president, was actually trying to doom Obama; a member of the head table, American Urban Radio's April Ryan, confirmed that Wright's security was provided by bodyguards from Farrakhan's Nation of Islam.

Wright suggested that Obama was insincere in distancing himself from his pastor. "He didn't distance himself," Wright announced. "He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was anti-American."

Explaining further, Wright said friends had written to him and said, "We both know that if Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected." The minister continued: "Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls."

Wright also argued, at least four times over the course of the hour, that he was speaking not for himself but for the black church.

"This is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright," the minister said. "It is an attack on the black church." He positioned himself as a mainstream voice of African American religious traditions. "Why am I speaking out now?" he asked. "If you think I'm going to let you talk about my mama and her religious tradition, and my daddy and his religious tradition and my grandma, you got another thing coming."

That significantly complicates Obama's job as he contemplates how to extinguish Wright's latest incendiary device. Now, he needs to do more than express disagreement with his former pastor's view; he needs to refute his former pastor's suggestion that Obama privately agrees with him.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if Obama manages to save his campaign from Wright's one-man wrecking crew -- Live! In a speaking engagement near you! -- and if he manages to survive the John McCain (expletive deleted) storm that's headed his way, he just might end up being as spectacularly bad a president as Jimmy Carter. At best, there's no way he can live up to his billing as some sort of political messiah, which will leave his delusional hordes with a bad case of disillusionment.

Color me Not Optimistic, no matter what.

If and when the Democrat presidential candidate manages to get blown out by the GOP's McCain -- The Republicans! George W. Bush's Republicans! The morally, intellectually and spiritually bankrupt Republicans! -- this election year, I'm going to try to buy up the FDR memorabilia at the Dems' estate sale.

I'll be there early.

The Post's Eugene Robinson nails another aspect of this silly, sickening and sad spectacle.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

She 'misspoke.' Yeah, that's the ticket!

George W. Bush lied us into a disastrous and unjust war in Iraq. Do we really want to replace such "truthiness" with the lies of someone who can't even make the ridiculous sound plausible but keeps trying to, anyway?

From The Associated Press:
Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign said she "misspoke" when saying last week she had landed under sniper fire during a trip to Bosnia as first lady in March 1996. She later characterized the episode as a "misstatement" and a "minor blip."

The Obama campaign suggested the statement was a deliberate exaggeration by Clinton, who often cites the goodwill trip with her daughter and several celebrities as an example of her foreign policy experience.

During a speech last Monday on Iraq, she said of the Bosnia trip: "I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

According to an Associated Press story at the time, Clinton was placed under no extraordinary risks on the trip. And one of her companions, comedian Sinbad, told The Washington Post he has no recollection either of the threat or reality of gunfire.

When asked Monday about the New York senator's remarks about the trip, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson pointed to Clinton's written account of it in her book, "Living History," in which she described a shortened welcoming ceremony at Tuzla Air Base, Bosnia-Herzegovina.


I went to 80 countries, you know. I gave contemporaneous accounts, I wrote about a lot of this in my book. You know, I think that, a minor blip, you know, if I said something that, you know, I say a lot of things -- millions of words a day -- so if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement," she said.
REMEMBER Jon Lovitz' pathological-liar character on Saturday Night Live, Tommy Flanagan? Exactly.

Hillary's explanation could have been lifted straight from an old SNL script: "I went to 80 coun -- 800 countries, you know. I wrote a lot of this in my book -- it sold three cop . . . three billion copies. You know, if I said something that, you know, I say a lot of things -- millions, uh, trillions, yeah, that's it -- trillions of words every day. So if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement. Yeah, that's the ticket!"

Is anybody with half a brain buying this attempt at papering over an incompetent attempt at pulling off the kind of bald-faced lie that even Bill would shy away from?

HILLARY! has no good way out of this mess of her own desperate making. Either she was trying to get away with telling a blatant lie -- and a stunningly stupid one, given the videotape evidence -- or she knowingly took her then-15-year-old daughter into a dangerous war zone, where the child was, to hear the candidate tell it, forced to run for her life, ducking Serb sniper rounds.

Or, if she didn't knowingly take her daughter into a active-combat zone, why didn't she know? Is she that dense? Does she have a habit of trusting her life -- and her daughter's -- to a bunch of rank incompetents of exceedingly questionable judgment?

Or . . . if she didn't get shot at in Bosnia, exactly where did she get shot at? I mean, getting shot at is something you don't easily forget. Or "misspeak" about.

After all, you have to be careful in choosing who'll be answering those 3 a.m. phone calls.

You can fool all the people some of the time . . .

I remember when I first came to the wilds of eastern Nebraska 20 years ago . . . the wife an' me polin' our flatboat up the Missouri River to a spot where we could unload our gear just upstream of the rough settlement of Omaha.

FROM THERE, we would stake out our little homestead a few miles to the west. Yeah, we did have a little skirmish with some hostile savages, but their bows and arrows were no match for the missus' and my bolt-action 30.06 deer rifles.

We built a nice sod house out here on the prairie . . . only had to live in our buffalo-skin teepee for three or four months that winter. It's amazin' how warm a wigwam can be when you have 30-foot snowdrifts for windbreak and icy insulation.

Ah, I miss the homesteadin' days of '88. It hasn't been the same since we got runnin' water, e-lectric lights and a flush toilet.

Who knows? Maybe with my resume of sod-bustin', Injun fightin' and conquerin' the wild frontier, I could get myself e-lected president.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Politics makes you stupid

This, from the New York Times, is a perfect example of why I have an almost visceral negative reaction to political activists of any sort.

It is, in a word, "idolatry":
But Mr. Richardson stopped returning Mr. Clinton’s calls days ago, Mr. Clinton’s aides said. And as of Friday, Mr. Richardson said, he had yet to pick up the phone to tell Mr. Clinton of his decision.

The reaction of some of Mr. Clinton’s allies suggests that might have been a wise decision. “An act of betrayal,” said James Carville, an adviser to Mrs. Clinton and a friend of Mr. Clinton.

“Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic,” Mr. Carville said, referring to Holy Week.

Mr. Richardson said he called Mrs. Clinton late on Thursday to inform her that he would be appearing with Mr. Obama on Friday to lend his support.

“It was cordial, but a little heated,” Mr. Richardson said in an interview.
BETRAYAL? JUDAS ISCARIOT? That kind of nuclear language over a freakin' political endorsement?

James Carville -- and, frankly, the rest of Washington, D.C., too -- needs to get a damn life. What we have here is a failure of perspective.

It's not like Richardson betrayed his lord and savior. One, Hillary Clinton -- it is obvious -- cannot even save herself, and her ex-prez hubby ain't gonna raise her campaign from the dead.

Two, Barack Obama ain't the savior, either. Saviors have no need of Bill Richardson's endorsement.

Three, Carville needs to go home, pour himself a double of something mighty fine, pat his child on the head, put on some sweet music, make out with his wife and thank God for his blessings. In that is found the meaning of life.

In the Washington fever swamps is found a bad case of nothing good.