Tuesday, March 10, 2015

(old school game show dude voice) the password is "scandal" ...

“I can’t take this anymore,
And I’m almost pretty sure?
I’ve been here before.

I can’t take this any longer,
I won’t heal until I’m stronger –
Strong enough, to not be afraid.

Of what anybody thinks!
Of what anybody says,
About the way, about the way I am!

So I’ll wait until the day,
When those feelings fade away.
Then I’ll make my break …

I can’t take this anymore,
And I’m almost pretty sure?
I’ve been here before.

I can’t take this any longer,
And I won’t heal until I’m stronger –
Strong enough, to not be afraid.

So I leave it up to you!
Yeah, I leave it in your hands!
Respect your wishes, and your demands!

Aw, but if it was up to me?
Honey we’d already be,
Back at home and living out our dreams.

Living out …

Everybody and everything I’ve known?
Never taught me how to stand upon my own!
I had to learn it from the one who let me go.
Now I walk alone!  I walk alone! …”

-- “I Walk Alone” by Oleander.  (Pause).  Damn skippy it’s a Throwback Tuesday selection …

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I have stated before, that Ron Fournier of National Journal, is my favorite political journalist in this great nation we call home.

Like Mr. Fournier, I am very biased when it comes to the Clinton’s.

My reasons for bias, are not as personal, nor as defensible, as his are.

But I am biased, for the reason that closes this post down.

See, when I was 17 year old (and yes, that was over half a lifetime ago, for the peanut gallery), I was granted what (in hindsight) should have been the opportunity of a lifetime.  I spent a week in the District, at the National Young Journalists Leadership Conference.  My folks shelled out over $2,000 to send me to that thing.

I had an amazing five, six days, visiting our nation’s Capital.  I sat through a Supreme Court cession in person.  I met every Senator (at the time, Senator Dole and Senator Kassebaum), as well as my state Representative (Rep. Jan Meyers) personally.  I had the high honor and privilege of meeting Tony Snow (the late President George W. Bush speechwriter, and eventual FOX News contributor), as well as my second favorite political writer, Mr. Reagan’s primary speech writer, The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan.

I got a tour of the Capital, the Smithsonian.  The Holocaust Museum was under construction – and when (and it’s not an if, it’s a when) I visit my favorite cousin and her husband to catch John Wall, Bradley Beal, and the East’s most watchable NBA team that doesn't play in Milwaukee (that would be the franchise formerly known as the Bullets), I’m gonna demand to visit that place.  (I’m guessing they won’t mind.) 

I was given a “private” tour of the monuments – Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln, and Vietnam.  (The WWII Memorial was a decade away … although I was there fifty years, after D-Day.)

I even attended a climate change presser, where the Secretary of the Interior at the time (who I believe was Bruce Babbitt), indulged us teenagers with worthless question after pointless remark.

But I also attended an event, that many in the national media – and damned near everyone in the conservative media – dubbed “The Pink Suit Presser”. 

A press conference, where the person answering the questions asked of her …

… was First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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It was April 1994.  Mrs. Clinton’s health care task force was in the midst of Congressional debate over her proposals.  (Note: how ironic, in hindsight, every damned thing she and Mr. Ira Magaziner wanted to cram through Congress?  Is what private insurance companies voluntarily adopted.  Mrs. Clinton’s centerpiece of the Health Security Act?  Was HMO’s … and HSA’s.  Funny – even twenty years ago, she saw the future crystal clear.)

My mom has the picture somewhere – and I’ve been searching like mad every time I’m at my folks house the last few months, to find it – me and Mrs. Clinton, shaking hands in a staged pose, on the stage after the presser was over. 

She could not have possibly been more gracious.  Here’s twenty some odd high school kids, awe-struck beyond belief, asking the most ass-kissing questions imaginable (note: I never got to ask one … and that’s probably a good thing, because I probably would have just stammered, said “uuh” five times, then said a few words of support, before sitting down), after she’s just conducted an interview on the NBC “Today” Show that is still known twenty years later.  (Second note: I believe this sit-down with NBC was due to Whitewater, but it may have been her close friend Vince Foster’s tragic death by suicide*.  It’s one or the other, and I’m too damned lazy to research which it was.  But whatever it was, I know it was the pink outfit presser, and the picture would prove it, if I could find it.)

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(*: and yes, I believe Mr. Foster killed himself.  Secretary Brown?  Not so much.  But Vince Foster?  Yes.)

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I know everyone likes to point to 2008 as Mrs. Clinton’s “blown golden opportunity”, and to be fair, even (gulp) seven years later now?  The PUMA** Democrat in me still seethes with rage over the 2008 Democrat Nomination process.

But I’d argue her golden blown ticket was 2004.  I get that she made a promise to the voters in New York, that she’d serve a full term before seeking higher office.  (She was elected to the Senate in 2000, and re-elected in 2006.)  But really, do I have to state the obvious?  I do?  (deep sigh of disgust)  Fine.

Mrs. Clinton?  You’re a Clinton!  Nobody expects you to be open, honest, and pure as the wind driven snow!  Hell, quite frankly, we’re frightened when you or President Clinton are open and honest!

What if Mrs. Clinton had run in 2004?  I know that’s eleven years ago now, but my God, the opportunity that was there!  A nation disgusted with Mr. Bush, now entering year two of chaos in Iraq, osama bin ladin not only still alive, we were no closer to catching him than we were on September 10, 2011, the disgrace that is Guantanamo Bay, the repulsive outrage that was the pictures from prisons in Iraq, the utter incompetence of Don Rumsfeld, a skyrocketing deficit***, accounting scandals left and right – and the best the Democrat Party had to offer entering Iowa was Howard freaking Dean?  We’d have been better off running James Deen, if we’re being honest.

If Mrs. Clinton runs in 2004?  We’re saved the embarrassing “reporting for duty” acceptance speech from Senator Kerry.  We’re spared John Edwards being one breath away from potentially owning the nuclear launch codes.  And more specifically, we’re probably saved the disasterous second Bush term, that this nation not only hasn’t recovered from, it’s a miracle we’re almost back to where we were in September 2008, in terms of economic prosperity in the stock market, and the job market****.  Granted, we’ve mortgaged our grandkids future, and ensured my generation (I am 38 years old … but not divorced, and I do not live in a van, down by the river) probably can’t count on Social Security to be there when we retire. 

How many debacles of the last ten years are we spared, with Mrs. Clinton calling the shots, instead of Curious George and Barack the Magic Negro***** at the helm?

How ironic I’ve always thought it is, that by passing on what will likely be her best (and most winnable) chance at the Presidency, she opened the back door, to her doom four years later, by ceding the stage in Boston that Tuesday night in late July, to an aspiring senatorial candidate from Illinois … named Barack Hussein Obama******.

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(**: PUMA = Party Unity My Ass.)

(***: in case you’ve forgotten, the Treasury ran a surplus the last two years, of the Clinton administration.)

(****: I know the “real” figure shows 11.5% unemployment … but knowing a few of the “underreported” who have “dropped out of the workforce”, let’s just say, they have no interest, in looking for work.  Let alone showing up and doing anything.  We’ll be paying for their deadbeat asses for the rest of our lives.  Sometimes, reality blows.)


(******: gun to my head, his “One America” speech is my second favorite political speech I’ve ever heard.  When it comes to political speeches, I’m like how it rolls with favorite sports team – there’s an undefeated champ, and there’s only one possible thing that could top it.  For political speeches, my favorite is Al Gore’s acceptance at the 2000 DNC.  (Pause).  My God did we blow the 2000 election as a nation.  Oh, and yes -- the prospect of Mr. Gore hopping into this thing if Mrs. Clinton continues to flail like a fish out of water, is a really, really, really intriguing proposition.)

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Earlier today, Mrs. Clinton finally dealt with the “scandal” of using a private server and non-government email address, as her primary communication link during her time as Secretary of State.  Unfortunately for me, I waited a day too late to type this, because the very first point she raised, was going to be my primary one.

Namely, if she sent emails to government employees at their addresses, what’s the scandal here?  They’re already archived!  Every “dot gov” email is backed up and stored on secure servers, regardless of who it comes from.  All of her official correspondence is there; it’s up to someone to simply comb the servers and pull the records.

But there’s a few other things I wanted to say about this, that maybe, just maybe, might jog a little discussion or disagreement on you, the readers, part.

1. Can you blame Mrs. Clinton for not having a shred of trust in Mr. Obama?  Who hasn’t Mr. Obama spied on?  The NSA, wire tapping, using the IRS as a political arm of the party – would you trust your emails on a server Mr. Obama’s tech guys control?  I sure as hell wouldn’t.

2. Why are we focused on this?  Isn’t the bigger scandal the millions upon millions of dollars foreign governments donated to the Clinton Foundation during her four years as Madam Secretary?  What did those millions of dollars buy?  (I suppose this is where I should note, that as of 3/10/15, Mrs. Clinton has my vote in the primary, and the general, in the 2016 election, and the only person at this point who could possibly take it away from her is Governor Walker.  But he’s gotta cool it on demonizing unions, before I’ll choke that vote down.)

This is the scandal that frightens me.  I’m not concerned one bit about what was sent in an email.  I’m scared to death what a multi-million dollar donation from a Middle Eastern country, got in a quid-pro-quo return.  There’s no such thing as (dire straits voice) money for nothing.  (Or, sadly, your chicks for free.  Dammit!  Sonofa …)

3. How is this really going to affect Mrs. Clinton?  Can we just acknowledge the Captain Oats in the room here for a moment, please?  There is NOBODY else on the Democrat bench capable of winning the 2016 general election. 

Senator Warren is someone I tremendously admire for her tireless work for the, uuh, working class.  She’s as qualified to be President as I am to teach a class on the pleasures of sobriety.  And there ain’t no way she’s carrying the independent vote like Mr. Obama did.  Let alone the African-American vote that single-handedly re-elected Mr. Obama.  (If you think 90-plus percent of the black community is showing up to vote for a white grandma from Massachusetts or New York that strongly supports equal gay rights, you’re clinically insane.)

Governor O’Malley is a nobody.  Senator Kaine is intriguing … in the same way Evan Bayh was eight years ago – as a veep nominee.  (And my money is on Mr. Kaine being Hillary’s running mate, if we get to that point in fifteen months from now.)  Governor Brown will be 77 on Inauguration Day; Vice President Biden will be 75.  The oldest man to take the oath of office?  Ronald Reagan, at 73, in 1985.  (He’s also the oldest elected, at 69, in 1980.  Mrs. Clinton will be 69 on Election Day 2016.)

Who else is there?  Minority Leader Pelosi is a non-starter; Minority Leader Reid is a national disgrace.  Governor Cuomo isn’t tested enough – and before you say “well, that was true about Mr. Obama as well”?  That’s why he won’t run.  This nation won’t give a JV squad amateur the nuclear launch codes two open elections in a row.  I happen to like Gov. Patrick of Massachusetts, but come on, this nation ain’t electing a northeastern liberal with low national profile.

The only person you can argue, other than Mrs. Clinton, who gives the Democrats at least a 50/50 crack of winning in 2016 is former Vice President Gore … and do we REALLY want to go down that road again?  And I say that as someone that was one of about 4 people in Johnson County, Kansas who proudly voted for Mr. Gore fifteen years ago, and as someone who will go to his grave convinced Mr. Gore won Florida, and Katherine Harris is the Anti-Christ.

The Democrats face the same problem right now, the Republicans did after Mr. Bush’s re-election in 2004: they’ve got nobody worth electing, save for one candidate … and that candidate is severely flawed.  The Republicans had John McCain in 2008.  If the stock market hadn’t collapsed in early October, maybe McCain guts it out.  But because Mr. Bush’s re-election gutted the state and national scene for the Republicans, there was nobody to pick up the torch, due to an unelectable Vice President.  Mr. Obama has offered the same nightmare to Democrats.  They lost every meaningful state race, lost the Senate, didn’t come close in the House, and have an unelectable Vice President.  It’s HRC or bust.

Which is why, six weeks from now, or eight weeks from now, or ten minutes from now – whenever Mrs. Clinton announces she’s in it to win it, all of this ceases to matter.

She’s the only shot the Democrats have.

It doesn’t matter how she handles this phony scandal.  It doesn’t matter how she handles the real scandal nobody seems to be talking about.  It doesn’t matter if she’s smart enough to recycle her husband’s brilliant “Two for the Price of One” offer from 1992, or savvy enough to just start airing the brilliant “3am” ads from 2008.

She doesn’t have to cross the bridge, from a pay phone to an iPhone.  (Note: I love Ron Fournier; he’s my favorite political writer.  But he’s so, so, so clueless on this, it’s pathetic.) 

NONE of this matters.  Because she’s the key to Mr. Obama’s legacy.  

And everybody knows it.

Most especially her.

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Mrs. Clinton is the only shot to giving Mr. Obama a legacy other than abject, total failure.  She’s the only way he becomes more than a Gerry Ford, a Calvin Coolidge, a Grover Cleveland.  A footnote in history.

The media knows this.  Which is why I suspect this is a “toughening” episode they’re giving Mrs. Clinton, knowing she won’t face even 1/1000ths of the intense scrutiny the Battle Royale the Republican Nominee is going to get, in the free-for-all on that side of the aisle. 

(And as a sidebar: Mr. Obama knows this too.  Hence the verbal fellation piece on “60 Minutes” when Mrs. Clinton left Foggy Bottom, and the refusal to respond to her subtle jabs at his failures in office.  How rich and ironic – Mr. Obama needs Mrs. Clinton, far, far more, than she needs him, at this point, and every point to come, for the rest of his life.  I love irony.  I also love arrogant self-righteous hypocrites getting what they deserve.)

Whoever steps onto the stage at the RNC next June as the nominee, will survive one of the bloodiest, vicious, knife-in-the-back-stabbing campaigns of our lifetimes.  (Note: my mommy was pregnant with me, for the linked one in the prior sentence.)  The way the schedule is lined up, this thing might go to Cleveland and become a floor fight, the Republicans have so many electable alternatives.  Governor Walker has won 3 elections in 4 years.  Jeb Bush has the name recognition, and delivers Florida, and probably the other “renegade” Southern state from 2012, North Carolina.  (If those two had gone for Mr. Romney?  He’d be President right now.)  Senator Rubio not only gives you what Mr. Bush would, he brings Hispanic support, which could flip Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado.  Ditto Senator Cruz (although I think he’d lose to any credible Democrat).  Senator Paul is intriguing, but probably won’t be a factor after Super Tuesday.

The point is?  The Republicans have five, six, seven credible candidates to choose from.

The Democrats?  Have one.

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Hell, this being a Clinton?  (Pause).  Yeah, I’ll go there.

This scandal involving a Clinton?  It wouldn’t stun me if the Clinton’s themselves leaked this “scandal”, as an early test to learn from.  Nobody’s gonna remember Emailgate twenty months from now when we vote.  Nobody’s gonna remember it next March come Super Tuesday.  The Clinton’s – at least one of them – is smart enough to know this.  “Never let a crisis go to waste”, as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is famous for saying.

Look at who has been Hillary’s biggest defenders in this.  “The gang’s back together again!”  James Carville.  Lanny Davis.  “The Forehead” Paul Begala.  The braintrust that elected a backwoods governor from Arkansas twenty three years ago, with a beyond sleazy background and beyond questionable resume.

A governor from Arkansas, that is at worst the second best President of my lifetime … and in some regards, I’d argue he’s the best.

And I happen to agree with Stevo’s Site Numero Dos’ Official Political Columnist, Ron Fournier: she’ll make a better President, than he did.

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I guess I’ll close with this.

A gigantic chunk of me wants all of this to blow away, because I’m repulsed by extremism on both sides of the aisle.

I don’t want another Obama.  And I don’t want a Rick Santorum.

I want a President willing to listen to, and work with, the opposition.  I want an opposition party willing to listen to, and work with, the President.  I want a President who is left-leaning on social issues*******, moderate on foreign policy, and conservative on economic policy.  I want balanced budgets, not base-line budgeting.  I don’t want to give China another penny of my (never to be born) children’s future.

I want a President who stands for equality for all, and stands for the undying value of all human life.  I want a President who doesn’t give a damn about fancy speeches, but does give a damn about the integrity of the office of the Presidency.  I want a President who isn’t predictable in his or her Supreme Court nominations.  (I’d also like a Chief Justice who could make up his damned mind where he stands on the Affordable Care Act as well, thank you very much.)

I want a President ruthless enough to use a private server to keep his or her emails away from spying eyes like Edward Snowden or Mr. Obama’s NSA thugs … but compassionate enough, to take an hour out of a trying day, to entertain 20 some odd 17 year olds, and indulge us in our “journalist” fantasies.

To this day, if you ask my dad who his favorite President of his life is, he’ll not surprisingly respond "Reagan".  (Gun to my head, I'd answer the same.)

But if you ask him the President he respects and/or admires the most in his lifetime, he’ll (surprisingly) respond “Nixon”.  When you press him as to why, it’s a simple answer.

“He had a pair, and he used them.”

We can debate all day whether Mrs. Clinton has a pair.  (It’s a joke people.  Come on.  Although she definitely wears the pants in the Chappaqau household … if only because Bill never has any on.  Hey yo!  (rimshot!)  Seriously, I’m here like once every five weeks.  Tip your waitress!)

But there’s no doubt she’d use them.

That, above all?  Is what I want in my President.

And we haven’t had one in pushing thirty years.

Hence my bias in favor of Mrs. Clinton ...

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(*******: when it comes to social issues, I am as far left as they come, with two exceptions.  (1) I think both sides in the gun-control debate are bat sh*t crazy.  Anyone who thinks removing all guns from society will end violence is a f*cking moron.  Anyone who thinks arming everyone to the teeth will reduce violence is a f*cking idiot.  There has to be a happy medium; God forbid we find it.  And (2) I am anti-abortion, for the same reason I oppose the death penalty: all life, in any form, no matter how worthless it is?  Should be valued at a price higher than the loss of that life.  There, now you know something more about me, than you did opening this post.  You're welcome.)

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