A rant on politics for a Labor Day weekend. As a jumping-off point, supposedly the majority of Republicans think Obama is a Muslim. That’s probably bullshit. As the Brits say, they are taking the piss. They don’t like Obama and pick the most other and derogatory (in their mind) response. If you asked them to bet $5 on what religion he was raised in, what services he attends, they would not say Muslim.
It says something that you take the most experienced elected officials the GOP has to offer, and they can’t break out of single digits, and Trump is kicking their butt by 20+ points. Poll responders who say they support Trump are also taking the piss. A lot of Republican voters do not like the establishment GOP. Given a free shot, they’d as soon kick’em in “Deez Nutz” as admit to supporting one of them. Whether a lot of voters have actual enthusiasm for Trump in a binding primary, or a general election, or as a President may be a different matter.
But it’s more than just a protest. There’s a fundamental split between the donor base and establishment candidates, on the one hand, and the voter base on the other. Practically no one in the voter base wants to gut Social Security. But you have to say that as a candidate, or bye-bye PAC money. On the other hand, no one in the donor base is anti-immigration. It keeps wages low. The business establishment played the game of the Reagan amnesty, with the caveat that employers would be on the hook for checking legal status. Then they gutted enforcement. What started off as a fair and humane compromise turned out to be a bait-and-switch. It’s a sad day when the USA acts like Dubai, de facto inviting a foreign worker army that can be taken advantage of with impunity in fruit orchards, slaughterhouses, and Home Depot parking lots. Economic pain, and latent and overt racism and anti-immigrant xenophobia play their role, but righteous anger is there too.
Previous populist Tea Party movements have been a bust. Like grass-roots wack jobs like Sharon Angle or “I am not a witch” Christine O’Donnell. Like the Dick Armey Tea Party scam, where they rile up the base, affinity-scam them for money, and then try to deliver them as voters to establishment legislators. A lot of Republicans would welcome a Trump hostile takeover, if he would deliver an actual populist movement. The question is whether that’s what Trump wants to do, or whether he just wants the attention to inflate his ridiculous ego. Seems equally probable he’s the one taking the piss out of all of them, and us.
The GOP is a strange alliance of pro-business types, a theocratic American Taliban1, libertarians, and nationalist populists. Oddly, they don’t seem to have a credible candidate or shot at taking the Presidency. Meanwhile the Founders’ Senate gerrymandering and a number of states’ Congressional gerrymandering doesn’t give the Democrats much of a shot at taking the legislative branch back for a while. Sounds like a recipe for gridlock. What a total clusterfuck.
I feel sort of the same about Hillary as I do about Tom Brady, Boston’s finest Deflator in Chief. He tampered with the football and covered it up. That is a threat to the integrity of the game, and needs to be nipped in the bud. But it’s not really that different from a pitcher spitting on the ball. Throw him out of a game, slap him with a fine, and get on with it. At most a 2-game suspension and a fine, one for tampering and one for covering up. Same as Ray Rice’s initial suspension. At some point the greater threat to the integrity of the game is a lynch mob against a terrific competitor, or an arbitrary star chamber settling unrelated scores. Fuck Boston and fuck Tom Brady, but let the guy play.
So Hillary placed her own IT guy at State and paid him under the table to maintain her server. Now, Colin Powell and all manner of Bush White House staffers had their own off-government email addresses. This seems to go a bit beyond that. But let’s face it, anything Hillary puts in an email is going to be out in public. Either the Republicans are going to get it via a witch hunt subpoena over some manufactured scandal, the intelligence services domestic or foreign are going to get it, some Snowden type is going to release it. (The White House and State Department systems were both massively compromised by foreign intelligence services and got shut down.)
So she said fuck that, I’m going off the reservation, going full Cheney, doing it my way. If she came out and said she did it that way so she could do her job right and fuck the political consequences, it could even be called a gutsy decision. The problem is, she did it to protect her ass and her political future against perceived persecution.
So slap her on the wrist, tell her that’s not how you do it, set some binding rules on official communication. (FFS, it’s fine to have your personal text messaging or e-mail account, just don’t use it for government business. And maybe, allow a legal purge of official emails for personal or embarrassing irrelevant stuff, as long as a complete record of official business is preserved.)
The problem with Hillary is, she has been subjected to all kinds of insane attacks and witch-hunts her whole life. And unlike Obama2, she hasn’t reacted with mostly good humor and the occasional on-target dig. She gets paranoid. She sounds evasive, entitled, petulant. She fires travel agents and White House staff she thinks might not be loyal. And now this, her own personal IT department to flout government rules.
So, as President would she put the past aside, say she’s attained the equanimity of her years, and work for the future of the country with anyone who was willing? (Which doesn’t seem to count many Republicans.) Or would she go full paranoid score-settling Nixon? I wish I were more optimistic.
God help us.
1 FFS, that Kentucky born-again bumpkin is not in jail for exercising her freedom of religion, she’s in jail for trying to use the power of a cushy state bureaucrat to impose her religion on everyone.
2 Which immediately sets all the assholes puckering up about how un-Presidential and divisive Obama is. Now seriously, on what planet is the guy who can’t shut up about Obama’s birth certificate going to make America great, while Obama is the great divider?