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,

The Folly of Expanding the Franchise 

Before our Constitution was amended, voting rights were basically left to the states and usually defaulted to property owners. Since then, amendments and federal legislation has expanded the right to vote to blacks, women and people between the ages of 18 and 21 with property ownership not a requirement.

After watching a focus group of Donald Trump supporters I’m beginning to think the notion of voting being an exclusive privilege rather than a right is the proper way to go. Bloomberg’s John Heilemann interviewed a focus group of Trump supporters. A few things became clear:

  1. Most had no idea of Trump’s prior, less conservative views on such things as healthcare and abortion rights.
  2. One said Trump was like one of us except for the rich part. That’s like saying a porcupine is like a kitty cat except for the needles.
  3. They liked that he was blunt and “honest” which gave him a pass for characterizing illegal immigrants as killers and rapists (and he “assumes” some good folks too).

In short, the group sounded like a bunch of thirteen year olds. That was their level of sophistication in choosing the next leader of the free world. Mind you, I don’t argue with some of their assessment. I like Trump’s in your face style. I like that he holds over all the other candidates their history of begging HIM for money and endorsement. But does that really qualify him for the biggest job in America?

Now before conservatives get their dander up, I admit this next-to-baseless infatuation is not unprecedented. In 2008, many Americans, including me, became enthralled with a man with near zero meaningful government experience. He had no executive experience. He was articulate, handsome, youthful and most of all black. Besides that, basically a blank slate. And millions, including me, fell in love and put him in the White House. How much CRITICAL thinking went into the decision? And I don’t mean stupid critiques like he was a closet Muslim. I mean serious consideration of his proposed solutions to our problems.

During this go-round I’m on slightly firmer ground but only slightly. I have rejected Hillary Clinton, a political operative and proven liar. But “my guy” has his own major weakness. While Bernie Sanders has a long legislative record and a consistent outlook, as a candidate he’s proven great at defining the problem but not as great at defining the solution. Forget foreign policy. It’s not his thing. I love his straight talk and I share his view of what ails us but how does that make me much different from the members of the Trump focus group?

Now I certainly don’t want to give up my right to vote. But do I work hard enough to make the right decision? Do you? Hasn’t our presidential selection process devolved into American Idol? I don’t know what the proper “test” is for voter eligibility but I have to admit that under the current come one-come all system, our country is probably not in the best of hands.

What do you think? The bar is open.