Friday, April 21, 2017

Clintonite Follies

Earlier this week, I ran into a noxious bit of Clintonite revisionism over at Medium, essentially a hit-piece directed at Bernie Sanders--the story is here. In the days since, I've spent far too much time in a series of internet duels in various locales with a string of like-minded characters and it has really reinforced for me the extent to which the hardest-core Clintonites are really no different in their "thinking" than the worst, most-brain-waxed-by-the-Rage-Machine rightists. This afternoon, I open up Facebook and see the news that a Clintonite from California has launched a petition aimed at the Democratic National Committee, "DNC must bid farewell to Bernie for the sake of the Democratic Party." Maybe in even bothering with this, I'm making the case that I have too much time on my hands but maybe enough is enough.

The petitioner's key line, as I see it, is the assertion that Hillary Clinton was "the most qualified person ever to run for the office of President." This was a claim that was ubiquitous among Clintonites during the 2016 election. During my exchanges with those Clintonites over the last few days, significantly more have thrown it around--and at me--than haven't. It's as if they're all part of some electronic hive system and the MCP is programming their "thoughts."

Consider the basic claim for a moment. Clinton put in one term as a U.S. Senator plus 1/3 of another--overall, a particularly undistinguished tenure[1]--plus four years as Secretary of State. She's never been a governor--no experience as a chief executive, which most argue is the best experience for a potential president. Dwight Eisenhower won the Second World War and was personal acquaintances with most of the people who ran the world at that time. Franklin Roosevelt had been a state legislator, the Assistant Sec. of the Navy during the First World War and the governor of New York. George Bush Sr. had been a congressman, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the U.S. Ambassador to China, the director of the CIA and, for 8 years, Vice President of the United States. Richard Nixon had been a congressman, a senator and another two-term Vice President. Walter Mondale had been a state attorney general, a U.S. ambassador, a U.S. Senator and Vice President. When it comes to governors, there was Mitt Romney, George Bush Jr., Bill Clinton, Michael Dukakis, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and on and on--17 presidents have been former governors, and those are just the candidates who actually won the presidency. If it's experience in government that makes one qualified, Bob Dole had been a congressman and a senator for, all tolled, 35 years. John McCain had been a congressman and senator for 25 years. John Anderson had been a State's Attorney and then a congressman for 20 years. Lyndon Johnson had been a congressman and senator for 24 years and Vice President. Even Bernie Sanders, the focus of so much Clintonite rage, had 8 years as the mayor of Burlington--executive experience--plus 25 years as a congressman and senator.

"Most qualified" is a subjective judgment but on the grounds on which Clintonites sold their claim--Hillary Clinton's experience--there's simply no case for her fitting the bill. It would, in fact, be much easier to list the presidential candidates who, on those grounds, were less qualified than Clinton than those who were more. The latter are legion. This idea that she was the most qualified is a joke.

More to the point, it's an emotional political fantasy, devoid of content or any connection to the real world. It's an indulgence in exactly the sort of toxic psychological weaknesses and craniorectal inversion that have turned far too much of the American political right into a herd of angry zombies who are openly contemptuous of reality.

The Clintonites I've confronted have described Bernie Sanders as some egomaniac, a fame-seeker, a guy looking to make money off his stardom, someone treated as a "godlike leader" by his followers and who revels in that attention. Sanders stands condemned for both applying a "purity test" to the candidates he endorses and for not applying enough of a purity test (re: his endorsement of an anti-abortion candidate).[2] One writer, whose article was thoughtfully called "Fuck Bernie Fucking Sanders," described Sanders and his followers as an extreme-left fringe faction that needed to be kicked to the curb then, a few lines later, proudly asserted that Democrats are "already to the left of [Sanders], and have been for a long time," while trying to paint Sanders--the democratic socialist--as some sort of rightist. She also asserted that Sanders, who resolutely refused to personally attack Hillary Clinton throughout the primaries, "did everything he could to harm Clinton" and that Clinton won the popular vote by "the widest margin in U.S. history." Still another article, "Still We'll Rise"--an absolutely asinine invocation of Maya Angelou by a woman who, disturbingly, claims to teach "intellectual history" at a community college--insists that "we HRC supporters can only interpret [the male leadership of the Democratic party] as a repudiation of women. I call that misogyny 101." Its author equates including the most prominent, popular exponent of politically progressive values in America (Sanders) in a DNC-sponsored tour to women being thrown down stairs and injured so badly they have to be fed through tubes. Directly echoing Trump's insistence that he actually won the popular vote but for the 3 million-5 million illegal immigrants who voted for Clinton, she writes of

"the fact that Hillary Clinton did win the election. Yup, and I don’t just mean the popular vote. The broken machines, voter suppression, miscounted votes, and the whole bag of dirty tricks (remember Watergate) resulted in an illegitimate election outcome."

The Clintons have made $240 million in the last 15 years and have been living fat from cashing in on their pubic service at every opportunity, while Sanders, for all his years in various offices, is one of the least wealthy senators[3] but this author, who champions Clinton, even calls her a "visionary," writes:

"Which candidate benefitted economically from the campaign? Which one is still using the campaign as a retirement account? It’s Sanders..."

Of Sanders, the lifelong champion of women's rights, the author asserts, "Sanders is the enemy of women. He doesn't hire us, and he drools over the sexuality of thirteen-year-old girls. He calls our concerns a distraction."

These are the ravings of people who have entirely checked out on reality. Lost in a delusional, hate-fueled fantasy, they say absolutely ludicrous things aimed at serving some sort of twisted emotional need they feel to wallow in this sort of poison but seemingly without any concern with whether those things are helpful, fair, honest or even remotely true.

Sanders is presently involved in a DNC-sponsored "unity tour," aimed at reinvigorating the Democratic party and bringing it together to battle Trump. In reaction to this, these Clintonites, absent any sense of irony, call Sanders a divisive figure, repeatedly note that he isn't a Democrat, want him to go away, to be banished, to be left at home and frequently threaten Democrats with dire consequences if this isn't done. The petitioner, who is more mild on the point, writes, "we respectfully request that the DNC Chair, Tom Perez and Deputy Chair, Keith Ellison bid a kind farewell to Bernie and hand the mic to a Democrat, preferably a woman and/or poc."[4] The demand is an indication of how profoundly out-of-touch those making it really are. Most of the headline items in the Sanders agenda have the support of the vast majority of the public and an even vaster majority of Democrats. If you're a progressive, you're with Sanders. While these Clintonites spew all of this bile his way, he's working every day to try to make the world a better place and while their own "most qualified" champion will go down in history as one of the most unpopular candidates to win a major-party presidential nomination--and as the loser who inflicted Donald Trump on the nation--Bernie Sanders is the most beloved politician in the U.S.. The Democratic Establishment may hate him but no matter how much it may gall the hardcore Clintonites, it isn't going to be mothballing him any time soon.

And no actual progressive would want it to do so anyway. At the moment, he's the best thing their party has going for it but, lost in their own fog, these hardcore Clintonites only want to tear him down. For what? Their only real complaint about Sanders is that he was a far better candidate than their own--after one strips from their gripes the nonsense, there's really nothing else left. Such people are a serious liability to any serious political movement. As the out-to-sea rightists they mirror have more than amply demonstrated, they're also a serious liability to the nation.



[1] During her years in the senate, Clinton sponsored a grand total of three bills that became law, one renaming a highway, one renaming a post-office and one designating a building in Troy, New York as an historic site.

[2] Sanders has just endorsed Heath Mello for mayor of Omaha. Thursday, Mello's anti-abortion record emerged, causing a bit of a scandal. Multiple Clintonites have, in exchanges with me, insisted this means he isn't pro-choice and/or believes women's rights are negotiable. Sanders holds 100% lifetime voting records from both Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League; he's stood with them on every issue for the whole of his political career. There's literally no elected official in the U.S. who is more pro-choice. Sanders is also a political realist though. No strong pro-choice candidate is going to win that Nebraska post. Other than his backwards views on abortion, Mello appears to be a progressive. Is it better to have that or his Republican opponent Jean Stothert? She says 

"I am a strong pro-Life candidate. I believe God has fearfully and wonderfully made all of us, and formed us all in the womb. I always pray that all mothers would chose Life... I believe that life begins at conception. In short, reproductive rights occur before conception and human rights begin after conception. The ending of a fetus’ life should only occur when a mother’s life is at serious risk. Even in these instances, after understanding the risks, the mother may decide to keep the pregnancy."

One of them will soon be mayor of Omaha. Take your pick.

[3] The author makes it worse by attempting to portray Sanders' breakneck trip to Rome during the campaign--there and back in a day to give a speech--as an example of some sort of luxurious lifestyle. She also asserts the trip cost a million dollars. The anti-Sanders' hit-pieces in the press that followed in the wake of that trip only claimed it was half-a-million but that was nothing more than a guesstimate made to trash Sanders anyway, so why not double it, eh?

[4] That demand for giving the mic to a person of color, it's worth noting, comes in the immediate aftermath of the Clintonites deciding they didn't want Keith Ellison--a black man--to become the head of the DNC. Sanders had endorsed him, you see. They recruited Tom Perez for no other reason than to take him out then dumped a bunch of anti-Ellison oppo research in the press to sabotage Ellison's campaign. Perez invented a deputy job for Ellison at the DNC and Ellison is taking part in the "unity tour," but he apparently doesn't count.


  1. Absolutely spot on. I did vote for Hillary, but only because Trump is insane. Very insane. But I don't want her back. I don't like or trust her. She ran a dirty campaign and has tried again and again to sully Bernie's reputation. I see him as a good guy. A man dedicated to the American people and especially the poor. I had a Hillbot tell me two days ago that Bernie had never held a job until he was 40! And that he lived off of public assistance! Not true at all. I don't know what his future holds but if I were him I wouldn't be helping the Democrats at all. The DNC does not appreciate him and their treatment of him is deplorable. I will continue to vote democrat, but that is with the understanding that they are doing NOTHING to address the corruption within the party. And Hillary? She needs to go back to the woods. She has done nothing but divide the party. She ran a hateful campaign and she needs to fade away.

    1. The Clintonites in the DNC hate Sanders but they're stuck with him for the moment--he's the most popular pol in the U.S. and by a wide margin. They'll either try to use him--the current approach--or they'll try to tear him down in order to make him unpopular, which some of the Clintonites in the press have been attempting. I've got plenty to say about the subject. If this sudden rash of Clintonite articles keep appearing, I'm probably going to have to write more about it.

  2. You have it right: " it has really reinforced for me the extent to which the hardest-core Clintonites are really no different in their "thinking" than the worst, most-brain-waxed-by-the-Rage-Machine rightists." I was astonished to discover the same thing during the Primary. I watched it happen to several former "friends" who I had thought were intelligent people. It was like some new variant of The Body Snatchers was playing out! WEIRD. Rabid, mindless propagandists. I can't look at those people the same way again.