The Power and Importance Of Truth: Why I Criticize “Our” Candidate

LIAR

Apparently, I am a victim of decades of Republican propaganda against the Clintons.

The irony is that I worked as a volunteer for Bill Clinton both times, met Bill and Hillary, motorcaded through Georgia with Al Gore and his family and got to know them pretty well, and sat next to Andrea Mitchell at the Vice Presidential debate with Gore vs. Quayle. I’ve been actively involved in every presidential campaign since, always for the Democrat even though I’ve never considered myself a Democrat because I recognized the deep problems the party has.

I also, for all those years, admired and adored the Clintons and defended them from all that Republican bullshit I’m now accused of falling for.

Since 2008, however, I have come to recognize the Clintons — and the Democrats in general — even more for what they are. I’ve seen the long-term impact of Clintonian Third Way politics, the damage they’ve done to the party and to the country, and I’ve seen the craven, arrogant way they use and abuse power. Who else has the gall to walk into polling stations and illegally campaign on voting day, simply because they know their local cronies won’t charge them with the crime?

So when people use the simple-minded defense that I’m sharing Republican lies (I am not) or falling for Republican spin (I am not), they are betraying their own superficial understanding of the facts and their own lack of attention to what I’m actually saying. Or they’re just spinning damage control for their candidate and being disingenuous.

Why do I keep criticizing Hillary Clinton while TRUMP? Because I believe in holding our leaders accountable, and I don’t believe in putting aside that principle for tactical reasons. Donald Trump is a disaster, but Donald Trump is not going to be the next president. So I don’t care what he might do in that office. Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president, so I’m VERY concerned about what she’s going to do.

Staying mum on her faults and falling in line isn’t going to improve her. The same folks who now say not to criticize her because of the election will change their tune once she’s in office and say we shouldn’t look backward or criticize her too harshly and possibly hinder her effectiveness in office. Her questionable record and current actions will be considered old news. That’s why I point out that the Empress has no clothes NOW. And my criticizing her is not going to cause her to lose. If she loses, it will be because she is a historically unpopular candidate.

The Dakota Access Pipeline issue is the perfect example of why I continue to criticize her. Her lack of leadership on the matter is obvious and deplorable. Clearly the ONLY way to get her to take a more positive role in the situation is to publicly chastise her, en masse, for her political cowardice and/or preferential consideration of the corporate interests involved. Silence will allow her to do nothing and to skate past the problem while people suffer and the land is despoiled.

I don’t accept silence as a valid or noble political tool, sorry. If the truth is too harsh, the problem is with the candidate, not the truth.

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So We’ve Got THAT Going For Us… (A Bit of Good News For Election 2016)

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In June, polling agencies stopped including Bernie Sanders in their questions. At that time, he led Donald Trump by an average of 10.4%. This was the culmination of a campaign which always led Trump (and, indeed, all of the other GOP contenders), every step of the way, usually by double digits. Sanders, one of the most popular politicians in the country, a man drawing tens of thousands of excited voters to his rallies all over America, was the only candidate on either side with net positive favorability ratings.

Hillary Clinton’s numbers were never remotely as good. She often lost to Republican candidates (even John Kasich usually beat her by 8-12%), and Trump was the only candidate she could almost always beat, though always by a very small margin. And she shared with Trump the worst favorability scores of any candidates in history.

No candidate has ever won the presidency with negative favorability scores. This year that will no longer be the case, as both major candidates are enormously unpopular. Recent polls show that a majority of each of their committed voters say they are voting for their chosen candidate primarily to vote against the other candidate.

The standard spin about Sanders’s better polling results was always that he was “untested,” and if he became the nominee then he would be tested and maybe his numbers would drop. But the spinners never seemed to see that their argument also basically acknowledged that Clinton’s numbers were terrible because she had been tested, and failed, and her numbers were therefore unlikely to get any better if she became the nominee.

We were also told that “polls don’t matter this far out.” Only polls after the convention are accurate, only polls closer to election day prone to reflect pertinent trends.

Hillary Clinton currently leads Donald Trump by a paltry 1%. Both continue to have net negative favorability, with 55% of voters disliking her and 57% disliking him.

We have only 47 days till election day.

As Sanders supporters said for months, only to be met with spin and derision from Clintonites and establishment loyalists (I saw one person say that “clinging” to Bernie’s superior poll numbers was, you guessed it, misogynistic), we’d have been better off going to fight with the nominee who at least started with superlative favorability numbers and far better numbers against all GOP possibilities than the nominee whose numbers started in, and would likely remain in, the toilet.

But at least we can say that the Democratic nominee isn’t quite as hated as Donald Trump, one of the most hated men in the world.

So we’ve got that going for us.

The Pragmatic Truth Behind Bernie Sanders’s Endorsement of Hillary Clinton

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Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders also endorsed Bill Clinton in 1996, and I think we can read his words then and gain a great deal of insight into his present endorsement:

“In terms of who to support for president, the choice is really not difficult. I am certainly not a big fan of Bill Clinton’s politics. As a strong advocate of a single-payer health care system, I opposed his convoluted health care reform package. I have helped lead the opposition to his trade policies, which represent the interests of corporate America and which are virtually indistinguishable from the views of George Bush and Newt Gingrich. I opposed his bloated military budget, the welfare reform bill that he signed, and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which he supported. He has been weak on campaign finance reform and has caved in far too often on the environment. Bill Clinton is a moderate Democrat. I’m a democratic socialist.

“Yet, without enthusiasm, I’ve decided to support Bill Clinton for president. Perhaps ‘support’ is too strong a word. I’m planning no press conferences to push his candidacy, and will do no campaigning for him. I will vote for him, and make that public. Why?
“I think that many people do not perceive how truly dangerous the political situation in this country is today. If Bob Dole were to be elected president and Gingrich and the Republicans were to maintain control of Congress, we would see a legislative agenda unlike any in the modern history of this country. There would be an unparalleled war against working people and the poor, and political decisions would be made that could very well be irreversible.

Medicare and Medicaid would certainly be destroyed, and tens of millions more Americans would lose their health insurance. Steps would be taken to privatize Social Security, and the very existence of public education in America would be threatened. Serious efforts would be made to pass a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, affirmative action would be wiped out, and gay bashing would intensify. A flat tax would be passed, resulting in a massive shift in income from the working class to the rich, and all of our major environmental legislation would be eviscerated.

“The Motor Voter bill would be repealed, and legislation making it harder for people to vote would be passed. Union-busting legislation would become law, the minimum wage would be abolished, and child labor would increase. Adults and kids in America would be competing for $3.00-an-hour jobs.

“You think I’m kidding. You think I’m exaggerating. Well, I’m not. I work in Congress. I listen to these guys every day. They are very serious people. And the folks behind them, the Christian Coalition, the NRA, the Heritage Foundation, and others, are even crazier than they are. My old friend Dick Armey is not some wacko member of Congress laughed at by his colleagues. He is the Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. Check out his views. No. I do not want Bob Dole to be president. I’m voting for Bill Clinton.
“Do I have confidence that Clinton will stand up for the working people of this country—for children, for the elderly, for the folks who are hurting? No, I do not. But a Clinton victory could give us some time to build a movement, to develop a political infrastructure to protect what needs protecting, and to change the direction of the country.”

That was when the Democratic Party took its rightward turn and disavowed its traditional progressive ways. Bernie knew it at the time, and he spoke out against it, even while acting pragmatically in the face of the Republican threat.

Time is a circle.