Thursday, December 29, 2016
Yesterday, December 28th, Sprint announced the addition of 5,000 jobs to its current American workforce, the first of 50,000 additional jobs, some moved from overseas. Within hours, Trump took credit for the decision, which, in fact, was announced before the election. The lie, of course, was flagrant, but Don the Con will suffer no harm. And not because his supporters will believe the lie. Trump will suffer no harm because his supporters will embrace the lie.
Monday, December 19, 2016
I won’t detail the second mountain Hillary had to scale because I’ve already analyzed Comey’s hatchet-job of a press conference in my October 30 posting. Meanwhile, new information has come to light in the last few days, which I’ll get to later. I want to discuss the polling first. On July 7, when Comey gave his press conference, and on October 28th, when Comey dispatched that letter to Congress announcing a new investigation into Anthony Weiner’s emails, Hillary Clinton enjoyed a significant lead in the polls. I’ve used the Reuters/Ipsos Tracking Poll here, but most of the other polls produce the same general trend. On July 5th, the Reuters Poll reveals an 8% lead for Hillary Clinton. That lead shrank to a virtual tie after Comey’s press conference, but soon expanded once again as voters got to know the real Donald Trump. Then, on October 28, eleven days before the election, Comey struck again. New emails had been discovered in the computer of Anthony Weiner which might incriminate Hillary Clinton and lead to an indictment. With a little luck, she’d be in jail before her inauguration. At that point, Hillary enjoyed a six percent lead, which again began to shrink. Only now, she didn’t have enough time to recover.
And all the while, from Trump’s lying mouth, it’s “Crooked Hillary”, the most corrupt candidate ever to run for the highest office. Lock her up.
On December 9, the Washington Post ran a story that included a letter from outgoing Senator Harry Reid. Early on, according to Reid, the CIA concluded that the Russians were behind the hacking of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s emails because they wanted Trump to win. Further, the CIA revealed their findings to James Comey who somehow decided that the emails in Anthony Weiner’s computer were more important than an attack upon the American electoral process by a foreign country.
It seems more and more likely that Comey was motivated by purely partisan politics and not a prickly conscience. He wished to elect a Republican, any Republican. But I’m not here to convict a man already convicted by the facts. I only want to demonstrate that like Bernie Saunders’s attack on Hillary’s character, Comey, as an obstacle, was unique. No former FBI Director, not even Hoover, had dared to insert him-or-herself into an election. Comey did it twice. And Vladimir Putin? Hacking into the DNC’s computer, then selectively releasing emails in an attempt to defeat a candidate in an American election? Again, an unprecedented obstacle, one too many to be overcome. In my opinion, against anyone but Don the Con, Hillary would have lost by a wider margin.
What’s the point? Why the rant? Given the composition of most State governments, and the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, I don’t think that Democratic success depends on shifting to the left, as Bernie and the Progressive Caucus demand. Just as Southerners voted Democratic for a hundred years because a Republican ended slavery, just as Southerners now vote Republican because a Democrat ended segregation, a significant percentage of the white working-class in the north have been, and will continue, to vote against their economic interests. Perhaps when they hit bottom, when they see their children and grandchildren going hungry at the end of the month, the worms will turn. Until that day, which may be very far off, the Dems are better off with the coalition they now have.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
I’ve been listening to the election post-mortems, those of the cable news pundits and of my dearest friends, for the past two weeks. All have missed the point, blaming Hillary Clinton and her campaign staff for the loss. If only she’d done this, or that, or this, or that…. The image this debate calls to mind is of a soldier charging across an open field at a machine gun nest. If she’d zigged instead of zagged, she would have escaped the bullets that took her down. But there was no escape for Hillary, not in the face of the three obstacles placed in her path: Bernie Sanders, James Comey and Vladimir Putin. Any one of them, or even two, might have been overcome, but not all three.
I’ll start with Bernie and his morally-bankrupt campaign. By the time Bernie jumped into the race, the Republican party had been attacking Hillary’s character, en masse, for two years. And why not? Few presidential candidates in American history, if any, had come to the races as prepared as Hillary Clinton. Her readiness could not be directly challenged and character assassination, by default, was the only play on the table. Vilification, demonization, defamation – Hillary had to be transformed from a superb Secretary of State, praised by John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Henry Kissinger, into a lying sleazebag who could not be trusted with the nation’s highest office.
I don’t blame the Republicans. They’ve used vilification - think Vince Foster, the swiftboating of John Kerry and birtherism - to win elections for decades now, a strategy that’s proven highly successful. Bernie, by contrast, might have chosen a different tactic, but I suspect the temptation was too great, the weapon too easily acquired. He attacked Hillary’s character from the outset. The campaign donations she took from the business community, especially from corrupt Wall Street sources? Her well-paid speeches, especially those made before corrupt Wall Street audiences? How could all that corruption not rub off? Clearly, the woman was tainted.
The saddest part was that Bernie’s attack continued long after all hope of his winning the nomination had been lost. Or maybe that’s not the saddest part. Bernie’s ritual denunciations, in fact, had the ring of truth only because of the several lies of omission he committed throughout the campaign.
Politicians would confine the definition of a lie to a deliberate misstatement of a fact. They exclude dissembling, obfuscation and lies of omission because these forms of deception, if applied to politician, would put them at the heels of Satan, the Great Deceiver.
So, what did Bernie’s stump speeches omit? First, that every Democrat takes money from any legal source willing to give it. If Hillary’s fundraising rendered her corrupt, the entire party, the party Bernie Sanders voluntarily joined, was corrupt. Why then would Bernie seek to be their candidate? Why not run as an independent? The answer is simple enough. If he hoped to actually win a general election, Bernie needed the party’s resources, accumulated in large part by contributions from the rich and powerful, including Wall Street wheeler-dealers. This was the part he omitted when he attacked Hillary’s fundraising. You’ll note that he didn’t attack Barack Obama who took money from the same people. Nor did he admit the obvious, that as long as the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision stands, money will continue to pour into political campaigns. More lies of omission.
Even as he challenged Hillary’s fundraising, Bernie opened a second front. Since leaving the Obama administration, Hillary had given speeches to many organizations, including the dreaded Goldman, Sachs, for which she was paid as much as $225,000. Who can forget Bernie throwing out his arms, declaring, “Here are the transcripts of my paid speeches. There are none.” It sounded great. The man of integrity refusing many thousands of easy bucks. How noble. How deceitful.
Federal law dating to 1991 prohibits federal officeholders from giving paid speeches. Had Bernie done so, he might well have been charged with a crime. And Bernie knew his claim was misleading. His own actions convict him. In a television ad, a thirty second spot aired in April, 2016, he declared that “Washington politicians are paid over $200,000 an hour for speeches.” But politicians holding office, including staffers, are not allowed to give paid speeches. Perhaps he meant ex-politicians. Perhaps he was merely dissembling, and not telling an outright lie.
The website of All American Speakers, a talent agency providing speakers for events held around the country, has a page devoted to one of its favored clients, Condoleezza Rice. Her smiling photo greets the visitor, underscored by her extensive resume. She’s ready to share her wisdom for a fee of $100,000 and above, plus expenses. Call now.
But you might not want a politician. You might want a comedian to cap off your annual convention. All American Speakers lists the resumes of 1,040 comedians willing to entertain your conventioneers. If you're willing to pony up $200,000, Jay Leno, for example, will be happy to attend your event. I could go on and on, but I believe the point is made. After-dinner speakers are entertainers. Their compensation is based, as with athletes, on supply and demand. All American Speakers lists hundreds of semi-celebrities who’ll grace your gala dinner for as little as $5,000. And by the way, just so there’s no misunderstanding. Every former Secretary of State, including Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice and even James Baker, gives paid speeches. George Bush has given at least 200 paid speeches at up to $175,000 per.
Even as I write this, Bernie’s out there, urging Dems to endorse his pseudo-socialist brand. Hillary lost, he insists, because she espoused the conservative policies that failed to excite the populace. That he took the baton of vilification from the Republicans, ran with it throughout the primaries, then handed it over to Donald Trump, goes unmentioned. And, apparently, unpunished.
Go, Bernie, go.