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The Problem with Bernie

Most folks who know me know I’ve been “feeling the Bern”. Yes, Bernie Sanders is another aspirational politician speaking in lofty terms. Yes, I fell for that in 2008 and got a big letdown. However, think about the Democrat alternative whose slogan might as well be “no we can’t”. Hillary Clinton’s message of practical progressivism just feels like status quo. Bernie promises a political revolution. How cool is that?

But here’s the problem. Bernie does not understand what country he lives in. When MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Bernie how he’d deal with inevitable Republican obstructionism, Sanders said he would tell Mitch McConnell to look out the window at the millions of Americans demanding change. News flash Bernie: they won’t be there. 

We don’t have low voter turnout because of voter suppression. Hell, even if blacks and Latinos are being suppressed, there’s a LOAD of whites not voting. The fact is most Americans watch the soap opera which is the current POTUS race, they get entertained, MAYBE they vote and then they go back to their daily lives. They are not interested in ongoing political activism. It’s not as much fun as discussing whether or not Bruce Jenner is a woman. 

So, the Bern I’m feeling is really just a distraction from the total despair I’d feel otherwise. Bernie lives in a Fantasy America that even if she were there with him on Election Day, would disappear by January 20, 2017, returning to her living room to watch Real Housewives and Jerry Springer. 

What do you think? The bar is open. 

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What MSNBC Missed in its New Hampshire Coverage

The news channel that famously leans left and delights in identity politics somehow missed the obvious in last night’s coverage of the New Hampshire primary. They stepped right up to it and then failed to meet the clear conclusion. 

Analysis of the Democratic primary results reveals that Bernie Sanders won white “working class” voters who went for Hillary Clinton in 2008. MSNBC got that but seemed unable to take the next step. Clearly “working class” is a euphemism for Archie Bunker democrats. There was no way in hell they were voting for Barack Obama. 

In fact if you look at Ivy League schools in the past 30 years (post civil rights era) the only Ivy with headline making racial tensions was New Hampshire’s Dartmouth. 

Granted, Hillary also beat John Edwards in 2008 NH but women had not tired of her by then. 

Mark my words. Every “working class” state that Hillary beat Obama in 2008 will go to Sanders this year. That’s Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio for starters. 

The question remains why did MSNBC come to the precipice and not take the logical jump? Simple. In the world of MSNBC, democrats can’t be bigots. That’s reserved for republicans. 

I guarantee you. A large measure of Bernie’s gains in states like PA and OH will come from folks who couldn’t vote for a black guy and held their nose for the woman. Now they’ve got a man, albeit a Brooklyn Jew, to vote for … and they will. 

What do you think? The bar is open.  

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My Political TV Oasis and the Hillary Sex Speech

With All Due Respect

My friend and former political blogger Huck has been taking over blogging duties here lately. His film reviews and pop culture takes on politics have been great and have inspired me to knock off a quick TV review to end the year. As a bonus, I’ve drafted a speech for Hillary to deliver since Trump has her rightfully in his cross-hairs.

First some quick background. From the late 70’s I was a fan of the various incarnations of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s film review programs. Once Gene died I stuck with Roger as he went through a few co-hosts and stayed on the air until poor health forced him out from in front of the camera. We have since lost Roger too. There was something about two guys debating their opinion on a topic that was fun to watch.

Well, film has changed to politics and Siskel and Ebert has changed to Halperin and Heilemann and the show is “With All Due Respect”. Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, co-authors of the two “Game Change” books have the same bouncy back and forth on things political that Siskel and Ebert used to have on things cinematic. Halperin is the nervous one with facial ticks and a certain obnoxious stubbornness to his interview style. Heilemann is the laid back pot smoker. Mark appears moderate, skewing perhaps a wee bit conservative. John seems pretty clearly liberal.

This is pure inside-baseball folks. You don’t get the impression that either Mark or John give that much of a rat’s ass about the good of the nation or the world. This show is not about preaching. It’s about politics as a game and how it is played. Who is winning and who is losing. It reminds me of the great WordPress blogger ChenZhen of years ago who really was just in it for the horse race. When the race got boring he retired. I stuck around trying to argue the right and wrong of things. I think I missed the point. Right and wrong only exist on a personal level. On the macro-level, sadly, it is just a game and we can either be entertained or watch in disgust.

The leading GOP candidate is a master of branding with little else to show. The leading Democratic candidate is a woman most find untrustworthy but will still inexplicably support. How can one approach this political season with any sincere hope for a good outcome? That is why I turn to my oasis in the political desert, a show where the game is indeed just a game and the analysts know exactly how to call the play by play. On a side note, I’ve caught plenty of hell from the bar patrons on my MSNBC habit. “With All Due Respect” broadcasts on the Bloomberg channel but effective January, 2016 the MSNBC snarking will begin again as the show does a dual broadcast on Bloomberg and MSNBC. Regardless, “With All Due Respect” gets five stars from me.

The Hillary Sex Speech

Donald Trump, God bless him, says the stuff everyone wants to say but is afraid to. When Hillary calls Trump crude and sexist, Donald fires back with a hat tip to her philandering husband and former POTUS Bill Clinton. In the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus gave an unconvincing argument as to why Trump was not off base. It seemed to suggest being married to a pig made attacking a pig less credible. Fine, but the better argument is Hillary’s own behavior. Hillary viewed Monica Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony” and asked that her opinion be documented, as discussed in Lewinsky’s Vanity Fair article from last year. Let’s be clear. Bill was a workplace predator. Lewinsky was a victim. Hillary lashed out at the victim, never publicly acknowledging the harm done to her.

So now in reaction to Trump, I suggest Hillary deliver in prime time, the equivalent of 2008’s Race Speech by Barack Obama. This one should be called The Sex Speech and it goes something like this:

What goes on in a marriage is nobody’s business but the people in the relationship. Donald Trump’s comments about my husband’s behavior are intrusive and rude. But I would like to take this opportunity to address an article published in Vanity Fair last year that expressed the emotional damage done to Monica Lewinsky, the intern whom my husband sexually harassed. I have zero tolerance for workplace harassment and my husband’s behavior back then was inexcusable. I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Miss Lewinsky for the pain and suffering she has gone through. I also want to apologize for not addressing this sooner. As women, we must stand together against workplace harassment. I know that Bill is sorry for his behavior. He and I have made peace with it. I hope that Miss Lewinsky can find peace also.

Of course, Hillary is way too arrogant to ever give such a speech but I think in the words of Halperin and Heilemann, it might be a game changer.

Happy New Year,
Rutherford