Politics not as usual

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Probably the funniest item in this particular 24-hour news cycle comes from a conservative Virginia candidate who lost his primary and is now trying to mount an independent campaign. Mike Webb is running to represent the Virginia 8th District and while trying to prove a point about joblessness and finding a job, he posted a screen shot to his Facebook page to illustrate his point.

Meme making the rounds on Facebook
Meme making the rounds on Facebook

Webb likes to engage with the public through social media, as he puts it, “One way to do that is to personally respond on social media.  Talk and engage with people.  Joke and chide.  Engage in dialogue.  That is what it is all about.”

Well there you go: a politician who is willing to go that extra mile … probably because he can’t really afford to hire a proper press representative.

At any rate, the screen shot he posted, which shows some staffing agencies on a Yahoo search, also shows the other windows he has open, including two porn hubs. They no doubt had a spike in views over the past 48 hours. As of Tuesday noon Pacific Time, 69,554 views for the one.

Today Webb is quoting Psalms 100:5 to thank the lord for leading all the new followers to his page after the porn breach. That’s one way to put it.

Mike Webb’s browser tabs
Mike Webb’s browser tabs

For the rest of the Republican Party, it’s all about unity … Donald Trump is all for unity, as long as everyone in the party lines up behind him. Party chair Reince Priebus wants dithering Republicans to take the Paul Ryan approach. On Sunday when asked about members of the Republican Party trying to mount a third party candidate, he told Chris Wallace of Fox News, “Well, I always take things like that seriously, but I also know that the law makes it very difficult. I mean, they could try to hijack another party and get on the ballot, but, look, it’s a suicide mission for our country because what it means is that you’re throwing down not just eight years of the White House but potentially 100 years on the Supreme Court and wrecking this country for many generations.

“And so, I think that’s the legacy these folks will leave behind. I think it’s very dangerous and there’s other ways to get assurances on the things that they are worried about, which is what Paul Ryan is doing, and making sure that some things are understood before moving forward with some particular people and I think Paul Ryan’s approach is much better.”

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush, on the other hand, said, “This guy. If we lose in November, we Republicans have ourselves to blame.”

And he blamed the media. It seems everyone is blaming the media for covering a major party’s front-runner and eventual presumptive nominee for that nominee’s success in winning more votes and delegates in that party’s primaries.

For seven months before the Iowa Caucuses the Republican Party and its cavalcade of candidates had the opportunities to stop Trump from gaining so much popularity. The media covered them too. Bush was the presumptive frontrunner then and everyone expected it would be Jeb Bush talking to Reince Priebus and Paul Ryan about the Republican National Convention in July. But they didn’t do much of anything to try and stop Trump before he started winning primaries.

So it’s partly the media’s fault for covering the GOP primaries and the presumptive nominee — not the fifteen wannabees that should have dropped out long before they did. Bush got out early, but not early enough. Remember how he played the waiting game to get in, to take advantage of the rules that allow nearly unlimited fundraising for non-candidates? Now the Bush campaign is giving back what hasn’t been spent.

Republicans can always vote for the Libertarian candidate, who will most likely be Gary Johnson once again. He was in the GOP as governor of New Mexico and embraces the fiscal conservatism so many GOPers claim to prefer. Truth is, what they really prefer is power, lots of it, so Johnson won’t be getting much of their support.

Donald Trump (YouTube)
Donald Trump (YouTube)

On the flips-de of the aisle Hillary sorta, kinda, well you think she shoulda by now, have the Democratic nomination won. She’s less than 200 delegates away from getting the nomination. With Senator Bernie Sanders vowing to stay in it until the end, Clinton will need to win California to wrap up the nomination.

“What’s taking her so damn long,” many ask?

Bernie Sanders had energized the left wing of the Democratic Party. Many on the left of the left see Hillary Clinton as just another career politician, another insider, someone who represents the status quo. Never mind that Senator Sanders has been an elected official for over 30 years, getting into the U.S. House of Representatives in 1991 (after winning election in 1990).

Sanders has been an Independent until he decided to run for the Democratic Party’s nomination last year. He brought his message of income inequality to the race, pulling the entire debate much farther to the left than it was planning to go — because a year ago it was decided Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, presidential candidate and U.S. Senator from New York, was anointed the presumptive nominee of the party.

Some of us were holding out for Vice President Joe Biden to get in the race, but he didn’t.

Clinton was even more centrist then Barack Obama — she voted to authorize the use of war in Iraq in 2002. Now she is described by critics on the left as a hawk, despite her admitting her vote was a mistake. She agrees with much of President Obama’s foreign policy, which employs the use of drones to kill the enemy in places where we are not “at war.” Those drones often kill other people as well.

It was Secretary Clinton who pushed the idea of helping the rebels in Libya to topple the dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi … which eventually led to the attacks on Tripoli and Benghazi in 2012 and the endless hearings in the House of Representatives about those attacks.

U.S. Marines and British troops in fire fight during Iraq War. (Photo is screen shot from YouTube video)
U.S. Marines and British troops in fire fight during Iraq War.
(Photo is screen shot from YouTube video)

War is a messy business and we should stay out of it. We learn that every time we send our troops — or drones — into harm’s way.

Most recently a Navy SEAL was killed in Iraq assisting the forces fighting against ISIL.

Bernie Sanders says if we’re going to spend the money to send our men and women to war than we should spend the money to take care of them when they come back. Senator Sanders has been one of the biggest supporters of veterans in the U.S. Senate.

Sanders has brought to this campaign the issue of income inequality and after being confronted by the Black Lives Matter movement, he began to tie his message in with their message, that racial inequality and income inequality are two important issues that must be addressed and corrected together.

What’s not to like about Bernie Sanders? I felt the Bern early on.

But the one big draw back to Bernie Sanders is he doesn’t have a plan of what to do on January 20, 2017, if he were to be elected president in 2016.

Now there is this great rift in the Democratic Party, with Bernie supporters echoing Trump supporters with their cry, “The system is rigged!”

Well duh! The two major parties — like all other political parties — are private institutions and can rig their election processes any way they like. To change it the aggrieved group needs to get as many like-minded individuals on the inside to instigate some change. Which is what the Democrats did after 1972 when the party nominated George McGovern to run for president, losing in a landslide to Richard M. Nixon.

That’s why the system is “rigged.” For an outlier like Bernie Sanders to win the nomination, he has to do it in an overwhelming fashion. Not only to win the elected delegates, but sway the “super-delegates” too.

Sanders isn’t even winning in an under-whelming fashion. He’s so far behind Secretary Clinton there’s really no point in calculating the difference … before the end of today’s primaries in Kentucky and Oregon: 2,240 for Clinton (including super delegates) 1.473 for Sanders (including some super delegates). Going into the primaries today Clinton needed only 143 delegates to clinch the nomination.

Bernie Sanders on the Harball With Chris Matthews College Tour in February.
Bernie Sanders on the Harball With Chris Matthews College Tour in February.

But Sanders has a right to stay in it until the final primary vote is cast, so march on Senator Sanders.

The trouble is the Bernie supporters and Hillary supporters are beginning to sound and act like Trump supporters. The debacle in Nevada was an embarrassment to the Democratic Party.

Monday I read on Facebook a guy saying, “I view HRC and many of her supporters as undifferentiated from the Republicans in ways that are important to me.”

The claim being many Clinton supporters would be happy with the status quo.

Umm, no. We’re not happy with the status quo. We’re happy the president and Democrats on Congress have kept the country from slipping backwards into a GOP time warp, where men are men and women are … maids and nannies. Where minorities “know their place” and it ain’t at the table with the white folks.

You can see and hear it from Republican voters with their racist remarks about Black Lives Matter and the President and his family.

What we would like to see is a Democrat, at this point preferably Hillary Clinton, move into the White House and the Democrats retake the House and Senate and pass some meaningful legislation that pulls the country into a more equitable place than it is today. A nation that begins to restore the rights of workers, through collective bargaining.

A sane and equitable trading philosophy because we can’t be isolationist in the world, but we can’t lose manufacturing jobs, at least not at the clip they’ve been leaving the U.S. since 1981. Dare we say it: a country that begins to look more like some of our European allies and less like a plutocracy where the rich get richer and the rest of us get screwed.

Bernie supporters will say, “That’s Bernie!”

Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearing in October (YouTube)
Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearing in October (YouTube)

Yep, that’s Bernie, but that’s also Hillary Clinton. We may have to drag her a little further to the left, maybe a lot further on some issues like the minimum wage and use of the military; centralizing education and reining in Wall Street, but Hillary Clinton was for universal health care 20 years ago. It cost her dearly. She’s been promoting the causes of women and girls for her entire adult life.

Yes, Senator Sanders is to the left of Hillary Clinton; he has a better record on Iraq and he can gleefully say he’s never given a six-figure speech to Goldman Sachs, but what has he done?

I’ll give him this: his support for veterans is second to none. He stood up for General Eric Shinseki when the latter was forced to resign as Secretary of Veteran Affairs.

Senator Sanders knows exactly what is at the root of the issues concerning the V.A.: inadequate funding — infrastructure, administrative and medical. He also knows there is that cabal of Republicans who claim to support the troops, yet cut funding for Veterans Affairs as an excuse to do away with it all together and farm the veterans out to the private health care sector.

But other than that, there’s not much to say for Sanders’ legislative achievements. The Washington Post published an extensive comparison of legislative action between these two candidates and showed Senator Clinton was a much more effective legislator than Senator Sanders.

Of course someone will say WaPo is part of the establishment media. So? Jeffrey Lazarus, an associate professor of political science at Georgia State University, did the comparison.

Bernie Sanders has done a good thing for the Democratic Party, but he is not the guy for the job.

You can be like the Republicans and claim Clinton is about to be indicted for something (not sure what) all day long, but until Bernie Sanders started winning primaries, that was just another GOP pipe dream.

But we can be assured of one thing: if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency and is sworn in on January 20, 2017: on January 21, 2017 some chucklehead Republican will file impeachment papers.

Politics, American style — this is an entertaining year.

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UPDATE MAY 18: After Tuesday’s primaries in Kentucky and Oregon: Clinton won Kentucky and Sanders won Oregon. To clinch the Democratic nomination one of the candidates has to reach 2,383. As of this morning Secretary Clinton has 2,291 (including super delegates) and Senator Sanders has 1,528. Clearly Clinton has the upper hand, needing only 92 delegates to clinch the nomination.

There are 548 delegates in California, which holds its primary on June 7, 142 delegates in New Jersey. Both states are trending towards the frontrunner, but even if she wasn’t leading in those states, she only needs 92 more delegates and she will easily get those delegates from both states. Both candidates say they will be campaigning in California.

Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver seemed to accept his candidate was not going to win the nomination when he spoke with Steve Kornacki on MSNBC Wednesday Morning. He promised there would not be any violence at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and that Senator Sanders would throw his support behind Secretary Clinton for the general election.

But Weaver also attacked Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for what he claims is the chair’s bias towards the frontrunner. Weaver made it clear his candidate was in it until the last primary vote is counted and that the campaign condemned the violence displayed in Nevada.

Senator Sanders did condemn the violence and the threats of violence some of his supporters displayed at the Nevada Democratic Convention, but the bulk of his statement was a forceful denunciation of the Democratic Party leadership, both at the national and state level in Nevada. You can read it HERE.

There are nine primaries left: the U.S. Virgin Islands on June 4, Puerto Rico on June 5 and the final “Super Tuesday” of the primaries: June 7 with California, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota. And the last primary: the District of Columbia on June 14.

If Sanders supporters think — believe — their candidate is going to sweep all of those primaries and keep Clinton from those final 92 delegates — it’s time to wake up and get in the real world.

Top photo: YouTube screen shot.