The Rogue Voice


February 01, 2008

Devil's in the details

Why the Washington, D.C. political establishment is pushing Hillary Clinton so hard in the face of her many negatives is a mystery. Unless they’ve decided that they’re so good at losing, so used to defeat that why not just embrace it?

How Hillary Clinton could bludgeon her way through the primary and lose the general election

By Max Talley

In the heady hours after the Iowa results, when outsiders Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee triumphed over the establishment candidates, there was a feeling that anything could happen, that pundits and money-men were wrong, and that the 10-ton shit-storm about “change” that rained over voters might actually reap a mighty harvest.
I remember thinking: Hunter Thompson should be around for this.
Thompson was undoubtedly the best chronicler of modern-day politics as proven in Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail. Although the book covers the 1972 (and ’68) election, everything in it rings true today. Just replace the principals and you see the same patterns in the Republican and Democratic parties. He talked about how the Democratic primary process weeded out interesting outsider candidates, until the party was left with a Humphrey, a Muskie, or a McGovern, someone who sort of stood for the right ideas, but could barely muster the enthusiasm of the Democratic base (which yearned for a Kennedy, or a McCarthy). These half-assed “winners” were then trounced by the Nixon murder-machine. Since then, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry have kept the lackluster tradition going.
Yes, there was a moment of hope this last January 3, but after New Hampshire, after Hillary teared up and conservative female Democrats in pants-suits got into their mini-vans and rushed out to vote in droves, I realized that this is what broke the heart of a long-time political junkie like Hunter Thompson: The establishment candidate using every trick in the book to decimate an upstart opponent, just to lose in the general election.
Why the Washington, D.C. political establishment is pushing Hillary Clinton so hard in the face of her many negatives is a mystery. Unless they’ve decided that they’re so good at losing, so used to defeat that why not just embrace it? No one seems alarmed that the issue of Hillary herself, like gay marriage in 2004, will serve Republicans (un-inspired by their own lackluster choices) like a 10,000-volt electro-shock to the gonads to actually wake up and vote against her in force. Outside the hired hacks, the Beltway blowhards, consultants and investors, actual Democratic voters want true change, and not just from eight years of Bush ruining America’s global reputation, but from the politics-as-usual that the Clinton clan now represent.
I voted for Bill Clinton twice. I don’t regret either vote. In retrospect, the ‘90’s seem like the last golden era of the U.S., a time of mostly peace and great prosperity. However, this is the 21st century and Hillary Clinton is not Bill. Her past record on Iraq and recent record on Iran are extremely hawkish and to the right of freaking Pat Buchanan. I am also not fond of Bill’s new role as attack dog. So we are left with bad cop, Hillary, and really bad cop, Bill.
John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich seem to be speaking to the real issues in healthcare, the Iraq war and the environment, and both actually dare to mention the poor. Kucinich can barely get on the debates and has been relegated to “the kook with the smoking-hot wife” status, while Edwards is ignored by the major media outlets because he doesn’t put enough advertising dollars into their pockets and has the audacity to be anti-corporate.
I have been torn, wanting to support Edwards, who is so much more now than he was in 2004, and wanting to block Hillary’s arrogant inevitability. Many Democratic voters face my same difficult choice in their state primaries: whether to vote out of conscience for their first choice and perhaps help Hillary Clinton win the skirmish, or vote for their second choice, Barack Obama, to help stave off doom in November.
If Obama wins the primary, does that automatically mean Democrats win in 2008? No, but with a few smart choices, like making Edwards his running mate, and giving Gore anything he wants, Obama will get the base fired up to work for him and put him over a Republican challenger. And who will that be? John McCain, the crotchety grandfather who never leaves after the Christmas party? Mitt Romney, the moderate republican who is dizzy from running so hard to the right that no one believes any of his positions? Mike Huckabee, the goofy, bass-playing minister who will further un-separate church and state? And if it all goes to Hell-ary, I’ll hold my nose to vote for Clinton with images of Mike Dukakis, riding his army tank to defeat, dancing in my compromised brain. §

Max Talley will attempt to stave off doom by voting his conscience in his hometown of Santa Barbara.


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