Imagine.

An Essay by member William:

Imagine for a minute that suddenly the 22nd Amendment were repealed, and that a President could serve more than two terms.

And further imagine that President Obama declared that he was going to run for the third term. And still further, that as a result, no Democrat would oppose him for the nomination. And one final feat of imagination: that it was a virtual certainty that Obama would win the third term, by about the margin he had over Mitt Romney in the last election.

Would that be a strongly positive thing for the country, for the vision of it which we have consistently been striving for? I think not.

Yes, it would be a Democratic victory; it would not be a takeover of the executive branch by the Republicans. Roe vs. Wade would be safe for a while longer. But of course the almost certainly small margin by which Obama would win, would insure that the Republicans still controlled both houses of Congress. And given the absolute hammering the Democrats took in the two midyear elections during Obama’s term, it is likely that the Republicans would even increase that majority, maybe almost to a veto-proof majority. If not quite that, then close enough so that all that Obama could do during the third term would be to veto most of the many bills which the far right-wing House and Senate would send to him. And what if the Republicans threatened to shut the government down if he did not accede to various of their demands? And what if they refused to raise the debt ceiling? What leverage would Obama have, beyond making his “grand bargain” in which he agreed to massive cuts in Social Security and Medicare?

And what about the environment? Obama can’t do anything now to compel any agreement in this country to cut coal and gas emissions. He can do a few very small things around the fringes, but nothing substantial. He can’t really do much of anything in any area, because the Congress will not pass any bills he might propose. All he can do is veto some bills, and make speeches, which the media always seems to adore, but which don’t accomplish anything concrete.

We’ve now had a year of Obama facing a Republican controlled Congress, and he seems to have virtually given up on getting anything positive accomplished; he is simply trying to mute the worst effects. Another four years of that would not only be fruitless and dreary, the country would decline in so many important ways. A stalemate is better than a loss, but we do not have the luxury of being able to let things get worse in so many crucial areas, hoping for a change four years after that. In fact, why would anyone reasonably expect that four years from Obama’s re-election to a third term, the Democrats would suddenly become able to retake the Congress? Right now, the Democratic grassroots is withering; the Democrats have almost no strength or organization in a majority of the states. Republicans control most state legislatures, and they use this power to redistrict things even more in their favor. Some Democrats may not want to realize it, but the Democratic Party is actually in a state of serious weakness, despite holding on the presidency .

Now, if one follows this logical line, it seems pretty clear that an Obama third term would be far from sufficient or significant. And of course, that is the “best case” in that scenario. Obama barely won last time; what if he were to lose this time? Consider not only where we would be for the next four years; but who could suddenly arise to take back any of the lost ground in the next election?

What is absolutely. desperately needed, is a President who could do the following things:

1) Win by a large enough margin to at least help Democrats to make some inroads in the House and Senate, maybe even win the Senate back. This is so crucial in terms of the Supreme Court seats which will be coming up before too long. A Senate completely controlled by Republicans will simply defeat any moderate-to-liberal nominee. It should be very clear that the rabid and doctrinaire Republicans who control that party, do not care about protocol or reasonable dealings; all they care about is getting their way. If the Supreme Court seat has to remain unfilled for four years, while they vote down every nominee, they will do that. Thus a Democratic Senate is essential. At the very least, we need a Senate which is closely divided enough that maybe a couple of East Coast Republican senators might finally agree to support a moderate nominee.

2). Fight the Republicans. Do not cave into them. Use the power of the presidency for all it is worth. Use Executive Orders; threaten to withhold funds from legislators’ pet projects; go directly to the people and urge them to voice their support for the President’s position. Do not make bad deals just to avoid conflict. Call the Republicans out, and explain to the American voters what is at stake; and how pernicious are the Republicans’ views on these crucial issues. In other words, try to change the national dialogue. That is something that has not been tried since Bill Clinton was president. No one in recent times was more effective in winning the national debate on economics. If it weren’t for Clinton explaining this all once again to the American people at the last Democratic convention, Obama would probably have lost the election, because he somehow lacked the ability to make the case in simple but strong fashion. Or maybe he did not identify closely enough with the Democratic Party. Democrats have to win the national debate to be able to gain popular support for their positions and programs. Otherwise, the Republican-dominated media drowns it all out, and we are in a state of perpetual deadlock, at best.

3) Build up Democratic strength on the state and Congressional level. Democrats cannot. accomplish much of anything, if all the state legislatures are controlled by Republicans. Much of what can be done on a national level can be undone by the states. And having state legislatures in which Democrats show some power, can help in Congressional elections, because there is a deeper bench of potential new candidates. Right now, the Democrats nationally have virtually no young talent, which is frightening. This desperately needs to be fixed, and without delay.

The key point I take away from all of this, is that it is not enough for the Democrats just to win the next presidential election. It has to be won by someone who has the skill and strength to do all of the above, and more. And of course it is beyond obvious that if the Democrats actually nominate someone who cannot win, things immediately get much worse. We have to win, but not with just anyone; with someone who can set about fixing things which have steadily gotten worse in the last sixteen years, through a variety of failings and faults of a variety of people.

I think that it should be abundantly clear that the only possible person who has at least a chance to achieve this, is Hillary Clinton. Senator Sanders cannot win, nor could he effectively govern. Vice President Biden would at best just be a continuation of all of the limitations of the Obama Presidency. Hillary has by far the best chance of any Democrat to win. She is smarter than all of them; all the Republicans, and the media, too. She has vowed to undertake a massive rebuilding of the Democratic Party on the state level. She has seen and done more than enough in her career to have a very clear knowledge of what the Republicans and the vast right-wing conspiracy is about. She is a fighter, and she will not give in for the sake of convenience. It is so overwhelmingly clear to me that she is the only possible person who could change the course that the country is heading on, that I am virtually amazed that she is not getting the support of every single Democrat and Independent who truly cares about the the state of this nation.

Alternative History

An essay by our member, William:

 

August 25, 2019

The country is in the third year of the Jeb Bush presidency. It is in the midst of the hottest summer on record, with temperatures in the 100’s in many states. Climatologists who three years before warned that the “tipping point” on climate change was close to being reached unless drastic measures were taken, now state that it is virtually impossible to stop it. Republicans in Congress have gutted every environmental law and control previously on the books, and coal emissions have skyrocketed. Fracking has extended to both coastlines, and the Alaskan National Preserve. Pollution covers most American cities, in some cases worse than in the 1970’s, before the former EPA air quality standards were in place. The intense heat of course holds the pollutants in the atmosphere longer. Asthma, emphysema, and other lung diseases become epidemic.

The Food and Drug Administration has been essentially eliminated by the Republicans. Outbreaks of poisioning due to contaminated foods are becoming commonplace. Some state governors have warned their citizens that they cannot guarantee the safety of any food or drug on the market, and that extreme care must be taken.

Social Security benefits have substantially diminished, under the cuts decreed by Bush and his Republican dominated Congress. In his Inauguration Speech, Bush vowed to end Social Security, saying that the country could no longer afford it, but he promised to do it over a five year period. There are to be no more new Social Security recipients beginning January 1, 2020.

Medicare benefits have been severely slashed, under the legislation which offset these cuts with a payments of up to $1,000 a year to allow the elderly to buy insurance. However, with insurance rates skyrocketing, most seniors are unable fo afford such plans, and are reportedly using the money to buy dog food to eat. Bush has promised to crack down on this fraud; and the Congressional leaders have indicated that the payments may be terminated altogether.

The stock market, which rose 500 points in the three months after Bush’s election, which conservative pundits hailed as a “Republican Rally,” has now dropped 2500 points since then, as unemployment has risen, and spending is down. Corporate profits have done well in some industries, with many more jobs being outsourced or eliminated than in previous decades. Economists believe that we are already in a recession, the depth of which is not yet known. Republicans have promised to further cut corporate taxes, which they say will stimulate the economy; even though the reduction to a 20% top rate two years before has not done so.

An article in the Washington Post, entitled, “Were We Unfair to Hillary Clinton?” has gotten some coverage, though most of the broadcast media has ignored it. The article wonders whether the media was unfair to Clinton during her campaign, ignoring most of her policy proposals, in favor of covering matters such as her email, her speaking style, and her wardrobe.

Part of the article is as follows: “It turns out that Ms. Clinton was correct when she predicted a downturn in the economy if the Republicans won the White House. She was also right when she warned that the Republicans. if given control of all three branches of government, would quickly move to end Social Security and Medicare; while most of the media scoffed at this, saying that it was just fear tactics from a candidate desperate to win. And unfortunately, her warnings that global warming would drastically increase, seem to be proving out. Perhaps we in the media paid too little attention to these policy issues, in our more pervasive coverage of personal matters.” The article goes on to say, “We may owe Ms. Clinton an apology. But whether we do or not, our hope is that we will work to improve the way the media covers campaigns in the future.”

This article drew scornful reaction from the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd. Writing on the company’s blogsite, which has taken the place of the former print editions, Dowd said that Clinton’s retirement from public life was “akin to Miss Havisham sitting in her room filled with cobwebs and stale wedding cake.” Dowd also likened Clinton to Lady Macbeth, Daisy Buchanan, Medea, the Medusa, Lizzie Borden, and any other character she could remember from her high school and college literature courses.

The broadcast media, now “All Conservative, All the Time,” hailed the raising of the chocolate ration from two grams to three.

This could all be real headlines and news from this date. Or there could be an alternate history where things are much better. Who can tell? In the words of the great Philip K. Dick, from his novel “The Man in the High Castle,” “Believe.” And realize that if it has not already happened, we might still have a chance to keep it from happening.

Marketing Towards 1984??

—-An essay by our member William:

1984-NovelWhen I first read Orwell’s “1984” as a teenager, the thing which most terrified me was that the totalitarian state he envisioned, existed with the full support of its populace. There was some physical coercion, of course; and relentless surveillance of potential rebels; but the great mass of the people wholly bought into the government’s propaganda. There is no way that each of these people could have been individually brainwashed, the way that the protagonists Winston and Julia ultimately were. No, this was some kind of mass thought control, not done through individualized torturing, but simply playing on what Orwell saw as popular ignorance and credulousness, by the use of mass marketing techniques.

That book was written before technology has unfortunately (in my view) come to dominate much of people’s lives. Computer programs can now do even better what the cynical marketers of the “Mad Men” era were trying to achieve with their slogans and jingles. I never bought any of those products because of ads, so I used to look at it all somewhat amusedly. They could do all the beer commercials they wanted, but I wasn’t going to drink beer. And I wasn’t going to buy a car because some slinky woman was sitting on top of it, purring to me about how sexy it was.

But the somewhat amusing but ultimately sinister world of TV ads of course developed into something even more sinister: the marketing of politicians, and the attempts by the same types of marketers to manipulate the views and votes of the populace. First it was developing a certain kind of look for the camera; or coming up with a slogan like “I Like Ike.” But as this field developed, and as computers were able to calculate and refine such things much more comprehensively than humans, it became much more insidious. Millions and millions of dollars were poured into marketing research, to find ways to seduce, coerce, or manipulate the voters into preferring one candidate over another. And not at all surprisingly, the bulk of this is increasingly being done by the Republicans, a party controlled by corporations which now have billions of dollars to spend; and which contemplate even more billions of dollars in returns, by getting their preferred corporatist candidates elected.

A frightening microcosm of this can be seen in California, where I live. California was a state which was once controlled by oil and railroad barons, who bought and paid for the entire state legislature. When the Progressive movement of early 20th Century America found its way to California, it resulted in the election of the one progressive governor in 100 years, Hiram Johnson. And he helped to spearhead the three populist voting devices of the Initiative, Referendum, and Recall. These were intended to break the stranglehold of the corporate controlled state legislature, by letting people create Propositions which could go straight to the ballot, and be voted on, without the legislature being able to stop them. And people could vote to recall a politician who was felt to be guilty of malfeasance or ineptitude.

Well, as one might cynically expect, the good intentions of this system were eventually taken advantage of by billion-dollar corporations. First, they realized that they could develop and fund their own initiatives, and put them on the ballot. Then they would devise marketing schemes which would convince the people that they were not voting to benefit corporations, but that they were fighting against intrusive government, or “liberals,” or reducing their taxes. So some horrific propositions were put on the ballots. But actually, most of them were defeated, through some good, if underfunded, advertising by the “anti” forces. However, the corporations have been able to defeat virtually every populist consumer-based initiative, by swamping the airwaves (and I mean swamping; something like every five minutes, one of their ads would run) with messages carefully constructed to manipulate the opinions of voters, or make them think that “up is down,” the way that Orwell’s then-fictional totalitarian state did.

The typical buzzwords used (they are pretty easy to deduce, since we hear them all the time), are: “This will raise your taxes”; “We can’t afford to spend this money now”; “This will further damage a struggling economy”; “It will cost jobs”; “It is supported by the trial lawyers, who want to make money by filing frivolous lawsuits.” They have been tested and re-tested by the computer programs, and by immense marketing research. And very sadly, they seem to work. Most people just don’t have the time or even the insight necessary to sift through these messages and try to figure out who is paying for them. I always thought that the best way for the vastly underfunded consumer side of things to fight this avalanche of ads, was to try a little ju jitsu, by simply running a few ads saying, “All these ads you have been seeing, urging you to vote No on Proposition 58? Take a look at who is paying for them. Billion-dollar corporations which want to rob you of the ability to see what actually is in the foods you are buying. Stop them from duping you into buying genetically engineered and dangerous foods. Vote Yes on 58.” But no one actually runs such ads, and I don’t know if they would work, in any event. So the corporations spend $100 million to make $3 billion, a good investment for them. And this profit is poured into more of such marketing research and mind control manipulation.

Of course this has become pervasive in actual person-vs.-person elections as well. Both sides do it, but the Republicans, awash in corporate billions, have a lot more money to do so. And they are much more machiavellian about it. The Republicans have long ago abandoned whatever moral compunction they may once have had. They do not believe in science; they do not believe in facts; their sacred text is anything which can get them to win a national election. And very tragically, they are getting better and better at it. The fate of our democracy depends on people smartening up, and becoming more impervious to this evil marketing. And of course it depends on the reversal of the “Citizens United” decision, which opened the floodgates to “dark money” coming in to election campaigns, with no way for people to discern who is really behind it.

Now, as we know, the Republicans will do anything to defeat Hillary Clinton. Hillary is the greatest, and maybe the last, threat to their efforts to completely take over every branch of government, plus the media. At such a point, people would have no way to know what the truth was; they would just be brainwashed by the political leaders, supported by the corporate-owned media. We could be fighting Eastasia, or not; we could now be allies with Eastasia; who could tell? It is not really that difficult to create a totalitarian state, if you have control of all branches of government, AND the media; AND if you have trillions of dollars, and advanced computer metrics to show you how to keep this control.

So we are already seeing the results of these billions (and I literally mean billions) of dollars being spent on marketing research and advertising, designed to poison the voters’ minds against Hillary Clinton. We read that they are trying to figure out exactly how to get women voters to turn against Hillary. It is simply a marketing problem for them; like how to convince people not to buy a competitor’s detergent. They develop focus groups, and they try the various ads out on them. They found that the harsher ads were rejected by potential women voters, so they are going to try “softer” ads, all designed to change the minds of the women voters who originally favored Hillary. Will they be successful in this? Let us all fervently hope not. But we know that people are very susceptible to cleverly positioned ad campaigns. Just like in “1984,” the goal is to figure out what people’s greatest fear is, and then play upon it, to convince them that Hillary Clinton will cause the things that they don’t want. The accuracy of any of this is of absolutely no concern to them, just like it wasn’t to Goebbels in Nazi Germany, where his “Big Lie” technique was perfected.

And as we have discussed before, the Republicans believe that their best line of attack is the personal. They really don’t want to debate issues with Hillary Clinton. They want to convince people that she is a bad person, that she lies, that she cannot be trusted. All of these are nonsensical, but marketing research shows that you might be able to convince people of anything, if you say it frequently and cleverly enough. There is not one shred of fact indicating that Hillary has ever lied or misled about one aspect of political life; and probably not her personal life, either. But that does not stop the corporate marketers, who will run ads which say “she can’t be trusted,” over and over and over, like the Chinese Water Torture, designed to break the will of the tortured person. They will try to paint her as some kind of evil figure who wants to accumulate imperial power, when it is really they who want that power. They will doctor photographs of her to make her look unpleasant. And rest assured, they will seize on the most infinitesimal misstatement in any debate or speech to proclaim, ” You see! She lies! She misleads! You cannot trust her!” And the media, which is supposed to be a neutral and fair-minded watchdog, is really in the pocket of the corporatists, and will cheerfully aid them in this brainwashing technique.

We can still prevail in this election, and must do so. We cannot be overly dispirited by the misrepresentations in the broadcast and print media. But we have to provide the Clinton campaign with as much money as possible to help them to combat the Republicans’ insidious multi-billion dollar brainwashing campaign. It is a great shame that you need money to combat money; but right now, this is what has to be done. And then of course there still is a place for grassroots campaigning, where you can talk to the people one by one, and show them that billion dollar funded marketing lies are just that. We can all play a part in that, even as the main battles are inevitably fought in the media. Never in my life so much as now, have I felt that “1984” could become a reality. But it is not an inevitable reality, as long as we recognize the danger, and do not become paralyzed by fear or despair when confronting it.

Oooops! Now That I’m Running, I’ve Changed My Mind…

Lucky Hillary is in this race or these guys wouldn’t have any talking points. – SophieCT

Isn’t that the truth!

I can’t help myself! I just have to post these comments made by hypocritical Republican Desperado candidates who suddenly regard Hillary Clinton as The Enemy Of America who, to quote Carly, “Has no achievements”.

h/t to SophieCT for finding this.

Clinton’s campaign set up a press filing room for reporters covering the debates at her headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. The walls of the room were covered with posters showing past statements from several of the Republican candidates praising Clinton.

All Righty, then. Let us move onto Quotable Quotes from times no so long ago:

I want to start with Carly, who seems to have no problem accommodating the Patriarchy’s oldest trick in the world: Let’s get this girl to attack that girl AKA “The Cat Fight”.

Carly, the truth is: You would still be fetching coffee and donuts for some dickhead with half your brains if it weren’t for 2nd Wave Feminists like Hillary Clinton, who stood in the rain and snow and incurred multiple bruises so that you could  move up in the world of business and  then show up one day running for President while behaving like an insufferable ingrate. Thanks for confirming that in your one accidental moment of truth about Hillary:

………..And now, for quotable quotes from the Boys In The Band:

Well Donald! In between calling women dogs, slobs and fat pigs, you said this about the woman who, now that you are Running, is suddenly “The worst Secretary of State Ever”:

Gang, I don’t even know what to say to this Dumbo, except that the quote below is surprisingly cogent – at least for him:

And how about you, Marco, you plastic-faced clown?

Did I hear you say in that debate that “God has blessed the Republican Party with some good candidates. The Democrats can’t even find one”.

What a hypocritical desperado you are. How’s this, Jesus-Man: “Alas you pharisees. Hypocrites all!”. Read this and have a gulp of water, you two-faced asshole:

A Bush admitting that Hillary is admirable! I’ll alert the Media!

The Republican Campaign Playbook Returns

—An essay by our member, William:

If you have followed national politics for any reasonable period of time, you know that the Republicans have an essential gameplan which they bring out for every election. It is to attack the character of the Democratic nominee, on as personal grounds as they can get away with. Note that they rarely want to engage on issues. This is because, 1) they sense that the voters favor the Democratic positions on major issues; and, 2) their own candidates are not very well versed in facts, or the intricacies of complex matters. So, figuring that enough of the populace also doesn’t know or care much about real issues, they try to turn elections into some kind of personal popularity contest. Like, who would you rather have a beer with? Or who do you prefer to come into your living room and talk? Whom would you most want to be friends with?

Let’s look back some other recent campaigns. We all know that the attacks on Bill Clinton started very early. All about personal matters, of course. There were of course the attacks on any sexual peccadilloes he might have had. But the Republicans went on and on about Clinton’s draft status; how did he manage to not get drafted? The fact that virtually every single Republican officeholder pulled just the same strings to avoid being drafted, seemed not to matter. No one ever questioned them about it. But we had week after week of this microscopic analysis of whom Clinton went to in Arkansas; when did he send this or that letter, or stamp something in? Of course it was truly much ado about nothing, but it was all in service of the character assassination which the GOP relies on to win elections.

There was more. The “did he inhale?” nonsense. We heard about this on a daily basis. When a later Republican candidate had a rather clear history of cocaine and alcohol abuse, their people told us that this was off limits, and how dare anybody bring it up. And then there was this non-story about Clinton’s protesting against the war in Vietnam while in England. A non-story, but one which filled the airwaves. And then there were even worse attacks: right-wing tabloids writing that Clinton was running drugs over the Arkansas border; that he murdered people. You have never in your life seen any Democrat make such allegations about any Republican candidate, but it is almost par for the course for the Republican side. Do you remember the Republicans discussing actual policy issues during that campaign? No, with them it is always strictly personal.

Let’s move on to Al Gore, someone who had a reputation at that point of squeaky cleanness in private matters. Well, first they started with this idiocy about Gore not being able to choose the right suit color; vacillating; as if this were a metaphor for how he would serve as president. Then of course their main line of attack: that Gore was a fabulist at best, or a pathological liar at worst. “He said he invented the internet!! Ha! Ha! What an idiot!” Of course Gore never really claimed to have “invented” the internet; just that he had championed the idea. This line of attack then morphed into the, “He said he went many times to stricken areas with the head of FEMA. But did he really, or was he lying???” Well, the truth was that Gore had indeed made such trips, but sometimes with the assistant head of FEMA, so a distinction without a meaningful difference. But if one has a good memory for such things, you will recall that this took at least two weeks of the media’s time to gnaw on.

Then John Kerry. A bona fide war hero who actually chose to fight in a war he could have easily avoided. So the Republicans dredged up the “Swift Boat Group,” to completely lie about his war record. They made it the lead story for about six weeks, doing inestimable damage to Kerry’s campaign. People said, well, Kerry should have dealt with it head-on, and that probably is true. But that really obscures the point that people were blatantly lying about something that was very personal and even psychologically painful to him: his war experiences. And then in a more minor key, there was all this about Kerry being a “Frenchified sissy,” or something to that effect. And then who can forget his somewhat ill-chosen bur actually legitimate statement about “I voted for it before I voted against it.” That of course had to do with political tactics, changing a position on a bill which now had a pernicious rider attached to it. But this of course became another campaign diversion; once again the theme that you could not believe Kerry, that he could not be trusted, that he was a dreaded flip-flopper.

In every case, you can clearly see the Republican tactics at work. Make the public think that the Democratic nominee is a prevaricator, a liar, someone you cannot trust. Do this by dealing with personal issues and then trying to make them a metaphor for how they would act as president. Make the only issue of the campaign, “Our candidate is a good guy; while the Democratic candidate is a liar whom you cannot believe on anything.” In one sentence, this is essentially the only play in the Karl Rove Playbook.

With Obama, this line of attack was more difficult because of the racial aspects of his candidacy. Republicans feared being called racists if they were too blatant in their attacks. And John McCain, who has many negative aspects in his politics and approach, was laudably decent enough to discourage it. Karl Rove did not run McCain’s campaign. And the economy collapsed in September of the election year, so that it was virtually impossible to avoid talking about it.

But now we have Hillary Clinton as the very likely Democratic nominee. And we are clearly going to see the most vicious and personal campaign of all. The Republicans hate and fear the Clintons, because they have been, and still are, the greatest threat to their dream of taking over all three branches of government, plus the media, and thus creating a literal oligopoly in which billion dollar corporations tell everyone else what to do.

The Republicans have so far not even talked about one legitimate domestic or international issue in their attacks on Hillary. It is all about “her character.” And once again, it is the same dreary but unfortunately dangerously effective tactic: desperately try to convince people that they can’t trust her, just like they tried to convince the electorate that Bill Clinton and Gore and Kerry and Obama could not be trusted. “They are not one of us,” goes along with that theme, of course.

Now, I have followed Hillary Clinton’s career pretty closely. I don’t believe that she had one even minor allegation of questionable actions, or having been influenced by outside lobbyists, or any of that, as an eight-year senator from New York. Had there been any of that, the New York media would certainly have uncovered it. Actually, she was a very popular Senator, with about a 70% popularity rating, including support from many Republicans, who grudgingly had to admit that she worked very hard, and was very effective.

As Secretary of State, she was again drawing raves, even across the aisle. Until Benghazi, in which she was completely absolved of any responsibility by an FBI investigation. Loyal trooper that she is, she verbally took responsibility; but if any American bore any responsibility for that tragedy, it was certainly not Secretary Clinton. And she was not a Secretary of State who helped lie us into war, or whose silence was tantamount to going along with those who did lie; or who helped conspire to violate the Constitution, and ignore a Congressional Act, as everyone should know was done by Cabinet members in past Republican administrations.

But even with all this negatve history on their own side, the Republicans move ahead with their very obvious tactic, the only real one they have. Impugn the credibility, trustworthiness and honesty of Hillary Clinton; so that if you cannot possibly beat her on issues, you can try to make her unelectable. In this sleazy effort, they are of course abetted by their tools and dupes in the media. The “email scandal,” also undoubtedly termed, “emailgate” (ever since Watergate, Republicans who insisted that was about nothing, and that Nixon was unfairly pushed out of office, have appended a “gate” to everything, thinking that this would prove that Watergate was unimportant), is of course a completely trumped-up faux scandal. The New York Times, in their eagerness to push a story; and also to satisfy the NYT’s rather weird and obsessive hatred of Hillary, wrote a completely false story, for which they were excoriated by other media, including Newsweek. The Times never saw fit to retract their story on the same front page which had carried it in the first place. This utterly false story about “criminal investigation” has caused damage, because as every sleazeball journalist knows, you can get a lot of traction out of a lie, even when it is later clearly shown to be one.

But what the Republicans are trying to do is to simply keep throwing up these things, and hoping that voters will give enough countenance to them to cause them to vote against Hillary, even though they might agree with her on 90% of the issues. I can virtually see the Republican ads now. A screen upon which is superimposed black letters, which scroll along. “Benghazi. Mailgate. Whitewater. Vince Foster. Travelgate. How can you trust Hillary Clinton to be President?” Of course, the Republicans invented all of these “scandals.” After spending about $80 million of taxpayer money, Kenneth Starr had to admit that there was no Whitewater story or scandal. “Travelgate” was Hillary replacing the members of the White House travel staff, completely within the purview of any White House occupant. Vince Foster’s tragic death was seized upon by vicious crackpots to claim that the Clintons were murdering people and hiding their bodies. The point is that none of these show any lack of honesty or trustworthiness whatsoever, and in fact were invented as fake scandals by Republicans; but the Republican strategists think that mentioning these names over and over again will sink into the popular consciousness, as a kind of shorthand.

Believe me, this is all that the Republicans have got. This is really all that they ever have. They will not dare to run on issues, even if the media occasionally tries to get them to actually come up with some specifics. They will run against Hillary on personality; and the only way they think they can succeed there is by trying to create a narrative that she, an eight-year senator with an unblemished record; and a very effective Secretary of State, respected and admired by most world leaders, is somehow untrustworthy and dishonest. The fact that there is no evidence whatsoever of this has never bothered them before. That’s how they go about trying to win elections, like the misdirection and sleight-of-hand of a magician. But this is not a magic show, it is about the country, and about the dreams and aspirations of hundreds of millions of people. For the Republicans, though, it is just about winning by any means possible. So watch Hillary continue to talk about issues in depth, while the Republicans engage in their customary attempts at character assassination. Let us see which the voting public ultimately prefers.

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