Hillary Clinton’s “Wronged Woman” Problem

Many people think that Hillary Clinton is the right woman to be president.  I think the “wronged woman” is her problem.  I was thinking that if Hillary were to be the Democratic nominee, what weakness will the GOP attempt to exploit? What might they zero in on other than the standard “she’s a liberal” thing?  Then it became obvious to me: they will exploit the fact that she’s a woman, but not just any woman.  She is the wife of a man who while he was president was caught cheating with a much younger female White House intern named Monica Lewinsky who was barely out of college.  If this had been the only affair, the GOP presidential candidate surrogates—like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and the Fox babes (excluding Greta Van Susteren but not Laura Ingraham, of course) will say,

“I can see why she would have forgiven and stood by her husband. But, my gosh, Bill Clinton had at least three other affairs while he was the nation’s president and who knows how many he had when he was governor?  Did Hillary know about all these affairs? Well, if she wasn’t aware of what her own husband was doing behind her back, how can she possibly be aware enough to know what her own government is doing? And what about foreign leaders of countries like Red China and Syria and Iran–and the Soviet Union? (This is Sarah and Michele talking, after all.)

“And what if she DID know about all those affairs? What does it say about her strength of character that she has stayed married to a serial cheater of a husband? How could she live with herself? And (here’s what is meant to be the killing blow) what kind of message did this send to your little daughter?  That it’s ok to stay married to a man who would rather cheat with other women than be at home with his wife and child? Bill’s no longer president—why doesn’t she divorce him?  Has she no self-respect? If she’s too weak to leave a philandering husband, how can she be possibly strong enough to run the most powerful nation on earth and stand up to the enemies who want to destroy us?”

This opens the door to planting another visual label on Hillary to add to that of the wronged wife: the battered wife.  They won’t have to come out and say that Bill beat her but they will definitely raise the point that there had to be some reason why she stayed with him all those years through all those affairs. It wasn’t like she didn’t have her own money and her own career to fall back on to support her and her little girl.

I think that Hillary stayed with Bill not out of loyalty or weakness of character but out of pragmatism. To divorce Bill would have just served to give the media two circus tents to cover.  Bill and his advisers probably assured Hillary that he would weather Hurricane Monica and successfully but it behind him. Divorce would add to the scandal and effectively bring his second term to a standstill while overshadowing everything he had accomplished.  And besides, divorce would be their twin legacies. Bill would be remembered by history as the only president to be divorced while in office.  But Hillary may have been formulating plans even then to run for public office, perhaps even for president. She could not afford to carry The Woman Who Divorced Bill Clinton stigma into the political arena.  Everything about Hillary’s past up to that point as a high-powered attorney, activist for children’s rights, First Lady, senator, would be blanketed over by that stigma. But Hillary must have known that if she decided to stay with Bill, at some point she would be asked the question:  “After all his extramarital affairs, why didn’t you divorce Bill Clinton?”  And she must have realized public opinion would center on her loyalty, concern for her child, weakness, or a calculated, politically-motivated plan.  The Democratic Party might refuse to endorse and support her bids for public office as punishment for helping to bring down the most popular Democratic president since John F. Kennedy.  If she remained Mrs. Bill Clinton, she would have earned the Party’s backing for any political office for which she chose to run.

Hillary running for Senate or being appointed Secretary of State didn’t bother the Republicans much, especially after she voted to fund and authorize the invasion of Iraq.  But running for president and the chance that could actually be elected is something entirely different to the GOP.  They will throw everything they can at her and first and foremost will be the Character issue. But by opting to remain married she will be given the question “Why didn’t you divorce Bill Clinton?” How she answers this question—or refuses to—may define how well Hillary attracts the women’s vote outside of her base in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. I think her answer to this question will be as important as how she answers the Benghazi question: What did she know and when did she know it? I think these are twin issues the GOP will hit her hardest on since they may believe she can show as being vulnerable on honesty and strength of character, and independence.

I don’t consider myself smarter or more intuitive than anyone else.  What I’m saying is that if I’m smart enough to think of this whole scenario you can bet that the GOP powers-that-be, guys like Karl Rove, the Koch boys, Ed Gillespie, Ed Rollins, etc., have already thought of this. The best way to take the women’s vote away from a female candidate is to cause women voters to lose respect for the woman candidate.  And the best way to beat this female candidate is for the opposition to run a seemingly stronger of character woman candidate of their own, someone in a long-term marriage to a husband who has never cheated on her, someone younger than the other woman candidate and who is also experienced at running a state for more than one term, someone who has name recognition and is beautiful to boot and someone who is all this and also very popular in the South, someone named Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina—unless she’s sunk by her own scandal—and there might be a couple of them in incubation like they were for Gov. Chris Christie and now ex-governor and newly indicted Bob McDonnell.

Or, the GOP could go traditional and run a candidate whose last name is still highly respected, is a solid family man free of scandal, and has a squeaky clean image outside of Florida—Jeb Bush.  The only reason why Bush has a squeaky clean image is that reporters for the corporate media gave him a free pass after there was evidence his hands were knee deep in fixing the 2000 presidential votes in Florida by purging tens of thousands of legally eligible voters from the roles and getting away with it. They were his hands but he was smart enough to cover them up with Secretary of State Katherine Harris’ fingerprints, for which the Bush family awarded her a two-term stint in Congress.

Of course, Hillary may not run in 2016 and Bush and Haley may not run, either separately or together.  But anyone who supports Hillary Clinton for president has to keep the scenario I presented in mind and ask themselves: What will Hillary do?


The Ant Farm

Repugnant-cons have been like an ant farm; all the worker ants walking up and down the line like good obedient mindless worker ants carrying out the orders of the high priest ant Fox (and Limbaugh and Rove but that carries my analogy too far afield) with the soldier ants keeping them in line. Obama’s election was like a giant shoe stepping on the entrance to the ant farm and sending all the little mindless worker ants scurrying around in confusion and panic. They’ve lost their Red Queen Ant and are desperately searching for her. Mitt Romney called out “Hey, I’m over here.”  Michele Bachmann shouted from her corner “No, I’m over here—and I’m female.” Rick Perry drawled “I’m the Queen that’s kept y’all all employed.” Ron Paul squeaked “If I were your queen you wouldn’t have to obey anything I ordered you to do.” Rick Santorum firmly stated “I am NOT a queen but I sure like being surrounded by all these soldier ants.” Newt Gingrich spread his feelers in an all-encompassing gesture and proclaimed “I am not the queen of this ant farm—I AM the ant farm!” There were other pretenders to the throne who quickly devoured themselves before they could claim much of anything.

ut the ants could tell by the smell of each pretender to the throne that none of the queen ant candidates were the actual queen. But they dimly recalled that though they were a colony of red ants, their Queen Ant was black. They then remembered that the fear of an ant queen a different color from them had caused them all to panic.  They were afraid that there panic had carried them so far away they would never find their way home since there was no one to lead the way. They kept running from queen ant pretender to queen ant pretender but none of them smelled right. The ants as a group crystallized this single thought: “We’re on our own.”

They then heard voices shouting to them from the entrance to the ant farm. It was a small group of black ants calling to them “Hey—what the hell you doing out there? All the work’s in here, guys!” The red ant who was closest to the pack of black ants said, “Are you kidding? You’re black ants. You’re smaller than us and you don’t sting. You’re wimps.” The leader of the black ants replied, “Oh yeah? There are more of us than you. Besides, we’ve been stung for years; it doesn’t affect us anymore. But why are we even arguing—we’re all ants!”

The red ant thought for several minutes while digesting what he had just heard. “So,” he finally said, “what’s your point?”

The black ant, knowing the dim brain power of the red ant he was dealing with, sighed heavily and replied, “We should join forces. Look, our queen ant is one of us but not really one of us, if you know what I mean.”

The red ant smiled knowingly and nodded his head and said, “No, no I don’t.”

The black ant sighed even harder and tried again. “OK, try to stay with me. Here we all are walking back and forth in a straight line all day long every day every week for our entire lives, carrying food to the latest queen who then has a crapload of kids and one of them becomes the new queen. None of us ever gets to become queen. In fact, we never get anything out of anything we do all day long every day every week for our entire lives. Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?”

The black ant could see a flicker of understanding in the twitch of the red ant’s antennae so he pushed forward. “We heard all those jokers out there claiming to be queen—we could smell them from here. Like it or not, one of our guys is queen but he’s only got another four years to go till one of his kids takes over.  What we’re saying is this: we join forces—there’s strength in numbers, my friend. Before the kid mounts the throne, we grab the big chair and WE run the ant farm for once. And for once—we ALL share in the spoils and fruits of our labor! We should walk wherever we want to. No more straight lines.”

“We run it together, you mean?” asked the red ant.

“Not so much ‘we” as ‘me’. Look, I’m a black ant who can think logically and plan a peaceful revolution. Anyone on your side able to do that?” asked the black ant.

The red ant looked confused. “What does ‘think’ mean?”

“Forget about it before you hurt yourself.” The black ant looked at the red horde gathered in front of his small group, smiled and called out, “So are you all with us? Are you ready to take our ant farm back?”

A red ant in the middle of the horde shouted out, “We don’t know. Where’s Fox? He would tell us what to do.”

The black ant, thinking quickly, shouted out, “I’m Fox. That’s me—Fox. And I say listen to that black ant. He’s never steered you wrong before!”

The red ants all murmured among themselves in agreement.  The black ant then rose up on his four hind legs and after a suitably dramatic pause, waved a top leg and shouted, “C’mon, men!”

“And women,” said a female red ant.

“And women!” the black ant called. “We’ll lay a pheromone trail that you can follow back to the sugar mines. And repeat after me: no more straight lines!”

All the red ants gathered together; their non-battle cry lifting as one great voice into the air and hovering above them.  “No more straight lines!” they cheered as they marched back into the ant farm in single file. And four years later everything the black ant said came true exactly as he had predicted.  Except for one thing.

When the throne was taken from the new black queen ant, the black ant leader suffered a hernia helping to move it to its new home at the Western Ant Farm. Being too injured to rule, his wife took his place on the throne. And so Queen Elizabeth became the first truly female queen ant to rule the newly-liberated ant farm. She had a good sense of humor but could never tell a joke. Now that ants were free to walk anywhere they wanted, no one could hand her a straight line.



The Rick Santorum Hype

Let’s be honest here.  Rick Santorum is just the latest right wing Republican Evangelical nutjob to rise to temporary prominence in what can be laughingly called the Republican presidential race.  And like the four before him he will surely sink like a stone within two weeks, if not sooner.  Willard Mitt Romney has the Republican machine behind him. All of these paper opponents thrown at him are just for the media’s sake. After all who will tune into the political radio and TV shows or watch the “debates” and their commercials if the race is already over?

But even more insidious than this is the reason behind why the entities who control Republican politics are allowing these Evangelical upstarts to stand on their tippy-toes against Romney.  They know there is white-hot hate for Romney within this religious sect who do turn out en masse to vote at every election. If they stay home in November, President Obama wins in a walk. So, they have no choice but to allow these “Christian” candidates to briefly grab the spotlight only to be brought down by scandal or lack of votes.  This way, the Evangelical voters are somewhat-willingly herded towards Romney as the only viable candidate left who has a chance to beat Obama.  But those entities know Romney hasn’t a chance in hell of defeating Obama in a fair and square election, hence the proliferation of voter suppression laws nationwide in the swing states. Smart, huh?

The Iowa caucus means absolutely nothing, as did the Iowa Straw Poll before it. Iowa means nothing other than just another marketing tool for the media and fundraising and income-generating tool for failed Republican politicians. Just shy of 122,000 votes were cast in Iowa last Tuesday.  Out of those 122,000 ballots, just 30,000 had Santorum’s name on them. Every political pundit from Fox to NPR to MSNBC to CNN to Current TV making a big deal out of this is acting out of self-interest for the reasons I explained above.

Bottom line: just like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry before him, Santorum is too crazy to be elected President–and like them we’re talking dangerous crazy here.  From thinkprogress.org here are his Top 10 Most Outrageous Campaign Statements:

1) ANNUL ALL SAME-SEX MARRIAGES: Arguing that gay relationships “destabilize” society, Santorum wouldn’t offer any legal protections to gay relationships and has pledged to annul all same-sex marriages if elected president. During his 99-country tour of Iowa, Santorum frequently compared same-sex relationships to inanimate objects like trees, basketballs, beer, and paper towels and even tried to blame the economic crisis on gay people. As Santorum explained back in August, religious people have a constitutional right to discriminate against gays: “We have a right the Constitution of religious liberty but now the courts have created a super-right that’s above a right that’s actually in the Constitution, and that’s of sexual liberty. And I think that’s a wrong, that’s a destructive element.”

2) ‘I’M FOR INCOME INEQUALITY’: “They talk about income inequality. I’m for income inequality,” Santorum said during an event in Pella, Iowa in December. “I think some people should make more than other people, because some people work harder and have better ideas and take more risk, and they should be rewarded for it. I have no problem with income inequality.”

3) CONTRACEPTION IS ‘A LICENSE TO DO THINGS’: Santorum has pledged to repeal all federal funding for contraception and allow the states to outlaw birth control, insisting that “it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

4) GAY SOLDIERS ‘CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR PEOPLE LIVING IN CLOSE QUARTERS’: During an appearance on Fox News Sunday in October, Santorum defended his support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by arguing that gay soldiers would disrupt the military because “they’re in close quarters, they live with people, they obviously shower with people.” He also suggested that “there are people who were gay and lived the gay lifestyle and aren’t anymore.”

5) OBAMA SHOULD OPPOSE ABORTION BECAUSE HE’S BLACK: During an appearance on Christian television in January, Santorum said he was surprised that President Obama didn’t know when life began — given his skin color. “I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people,” he explained.

6) WE DON’T NEED FOOD STAMPS BECAUSE OBESITY RATES ARE SO HIGH: Speaking in Le Mars, Iowa in December, Santorum promised to significantly reduce federal funding for food stamps, arguing that the nation’s increasing obesity rates render the program unnecessary.

7) ABORTION EXCEPTIONS TO PROTECT WOMEN’S HEALTH ARE ‘PHONY’: While discussing his track record as a champion of the partial birth abortion ban in June, Santorum dismissed exceptions other senators wanted to carve out to protect the life and health of mothers, calling such exceptions “phony.” “They wanted a health exception, which of course is a phony exception which would make the ban ineffective,” he said.

8) HEALTH REFORM WILL KILL MY CHILD: Santorum, who claims that Obamacare motivated him to run for president, told reporters in April that his daughter Bella — who was born with a genetic abnormality — wouldn’t survive in a country with “socialized medicine.” “Children like Bella are not given the treatment that other children are given.”

9) UNINSURED AMERICANS SHOULD SPEND LESS ON CELL-PHONE BILLS: During a meeting with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register in August, Santorum said that people who can’t afford health care should stop whining about the high costs of medical treatments and medications and spend less on non essentials. Answering a question about the uninsured, Santorum explained that health care, like a car, is a luxury resource that is rationed by society and recalled the story of a woman who said she was spending $200 a month on life-saving prescriptions. Santorum told her to stop complaining and instead lower her cable and cell phone bills.

10) INSURERS SHOULD DISCRIMINATE AGAINST PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS: Santorum sounded like a representative from the health insurance industry when he addressed a small group of high school students in Merrimack, New Hampshire in December. The former Pennsylvania senator not only defended insurers for denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, he also argued that individuals who are sick should pay higher premiums because they cost more money to insure.

Plus: watch the following video clip: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/01/03/396428/santorums-racist-welfare-rant/

Santorum clearly DID say “black people” despite his attempted spin claiming he actually slurred the word since he was trying to change the word in mid-pronunciation. Oh really? If you were, Rick, what word were you attempting to change “black” into to hide your overt racism?

Rick Santorum is unelectable even as a Vice President nominee and the powers behind the Republican Party know this. They know that while Santorum rants against abortion it will be brought out that his wife Karen had a midterm abortion in 1996. But being a typical hypocritical Republican, abortion is fine for his wife but not for anyone else. Apparently she is an example of an un-phony abortion exception.

After Santorum fades it will finally be Ron Paul’s turn in the artificial sun.  Jon Huntsman will remain left out in the cold. He’s Mormon anyway and Romney has already taken that slot.

Just to unmask the Santorum media hype, in New Hampshire, reporters covering his campaign stops still outnumber voters coming to check him out. What does that tell you?

Bachmann Bites The Dust

I had the misfortune of watching Michele Bachmann’s speech announcing she was quitting the presidential race. Yeah, she said she was suspending her campaign but that’s only so she can continue to rake in campaign contributions and keep the money.  The only possible reason why Bachmann stays in politics is for the money.  She certainly doesn’t do anything in Congress except vote the way she’s told to.  If she has ever introduced a bill into the House, it never got out of committee.  But, for some reason, she’s a money magnet.

When I listen to this woman speak, I’m convinced she paid the smart students in law school to do her homework and even impersonate her at the bar exam.  The only way Bachmann could have gotten hired at the IRS is if she had a powerful political sponsor. When the woman opens her mouth, abysmally stupid tripe and carefully-coached talking points spew from that orifice. Her intelligence probably matches that of Rick Perry and George W. Bush, which means stupidity is a basic Republican requirement to be elected to public office.  How else do you explain a woman who supposedly graduated from law school by her own efforts and worked in tax law at the IRS not knowing how to correctly pronounce the word “poignant”? For you Republicans, the “g” is silent. Except to Bachmann who pronounced it “poig-nant” at her press conference today.  So this stands beside her pronouncing “chutzpah” (again for you Republicans, it’s “hutz-pah”) just the way it’s spelled. You see with a mind as simple as Bachmann’s, words are to be pronounced as they’re spelled. Wonder what she does with “quixotic” or “psalm”?

Female politicians like Bachmann and Sarah Palin learned early on that if they’re pretty enough they don’t actually have to know anything about what they talk about.  They practice reciting with convictioin the speeches that are written for them and are hurried off the stage by their handlers after finishing their remarks.

Bachmann’s meaningless presidential campaign was kicked off with a meaningless win in last year’s meaningless Iowa Straw Poll–a victory she purchased out of her campaign’s petty cash fund.  Now, like Palin before her, the silliness of her running for president, if not out of her system, should be out of the Republican Party’s.

The sad thing about Michele Bachmann dropping out is that the joke which is the Republican presidential race has one less punch line.

Stupid Is As Stupid Runs (For President)

Upon reading Thomas Frank’s “The Wrecking Crew” it becomes crystal clear why the current slate of Republican candidates—with the exceptions of Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich—are either politically incompetent, stupid, or both.  It all started with the election of Ronald Reagan, a moderately intelligent fellow, as President. He had been told he had won the lead in a new TV show about the White House called “The West Wing”–18 years before the show was actually brought to TV by Aaron Sorkin.  All the Republicans needed to do was surround him with professional political operatives and D.C. insiders and he was a lock for eight years.

Then the Republicans made the fatal error of getting a real brainiac professional political operative and D.C. insider, George H.W. Bush, elected President but he crashed and burned after just one term and was followed by a pseudo-Democratic president into office.  The Republicans said, “Whoa, we’ll never do THAT again!” and set about looking for a suitably stupid political incompetent who they could surround with professional political operatives and D.C. insiders. Voila–George W. Bush.  Along the way they learned how to steal elections by rigging state election results in Florida in 2000 and then getting their hand-picked  U.S. Supreme Court justices majority to appoint their candidate President. Refining the election rigging techniques they learned in 2000, they perfected it in Oho in 2004 to retain Bush in office. Boom—eight years of Georgie boy and the process was patented.

As Ronald Reagan once said from a line written for him, “The best minds are not in government.  If any were, business would steal them away.” And therein lies the core Republican philosophy of governing: you install incompetents and partisan shills in all agency and department head positions on down to the lowest filing clerk and janitor. (And President Newt Gingrich would give those graveyard shift janitor jobs to elementary school children).  In order to get a job in the Reagan administration, you only needed to do two things: wear a “I’m a neo-conny for Ronnie” button, and send your resume through the Koch-owned Heritage Foundation.  As Lyn Nofziger, Reagan’s political affairs director said in 1981, “We have told members of the Cabinet we expect them to help us place people who are competent.  As far as we are concerned, anyone who supported Reagan is competent.”

Young Grover Norquist was more overtly partisan when he said in 1984: “First, we want to remove liberal personnel form the political process. Then we want to capture those positions of power and influence for conservatives.” So, no liberals allowed at all in government, no matter how well they did their jobs.

In 2007 under the George W. Bush Administration, Monica Goodling, fresh out of Pat Robertson Regent University Law School, was installed into the Justice Department and helped fire nine highly experienced U.S. attorneys and blocked other federal hires purely on the basis that they weren’t Bush “men” (or women), so to speak. In fact, anyone who displayed the slightest tendency towards competency was banished to “the hall of zombies” where, according to Hugh Kaufman of the Environmental Protection Agency, “…you’re at a desk, and you don’t do anything of substance. Most of the career bureaucrats in Washington in [the Bush] administration are in the hall of zombies.”  Fills you full of confidence in your federal government, don’t it?

You see, Republicans like ‘em partisan and stupid because experienced, competent people in government get things done, which makes the populace like their government getting things done. And Republicans don’t like government getting things done.   This explains why Michael Powell, son of Colin, was promoted by G.W. Bush to chairman of the FCC, and why Michael Brown, a lawyer and ex-Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association, was also placed in charge by Bush of FEMA.  Brown was forced out of his job with the IAHA and we all know he resigned in ignominy from FEMA for his incompetence in handling aid and assistance to Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005.  Hmmm, Michael Powell also resigned in 2005 and fell out of the FCC (eventually) into the waiting arms of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association as their president.  Wonder if some underground mass RNC communication was sent to all Bush administration agency heads saying, “The jig is up! Amscray!”

The title of of a 1928 article that appeared in Nation’s Business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce magazine said it all: “A Plea for Inefficiency in Government”.  If you keep government dumbed down, that opens the door to outsourcing and privatizing federal services to the private sector, which means big profits for the private sector. Big profits for the private sector is what makes the Republican world go ‘round. This is why Paul Ryan and his handlers want to privatize the Social Security and Medicare programs. This is why Ron Paul wants to eliminate all federal health insurance programs so that you either pay to play or you die.  This is why Rick Perry wants to privatize all oil drilling because it would make big profits for the oil companies who keep him in the Texas governor’s chair. Of course none of this explains Herman Cain’s or Michele Bachmann’s stands on the issues because even they don’t understand what they stand for if it hasn’t been explained to them.  Even Huntsman appears to be throwing in a couple of “er’s” and “uh’s” before he speaks in an effort to dumb himself down in the eyes of the Republican National Committee.

The Republicans had a real problem with Barack Obama because here was a Democrat who was extremely politically competent and intelligent. So, they adapted their primary play and used Fox to frame Obama as one of their own–politically incompetent and stupid. However, this made him qualified to be President until they threw in he was also a Democrat AND a native of Kenya AND a communist socialist which immediately disqualified him and made him the illegally-elected President of the United States (as opposed to George W. Bush who had been the legally appointed President of the United States).

So, there you have it, the reason why the Republican candidates appear to be so abysmally lame and stupid. In some cases, their images are being carefully crafted for them. In others, they’re self-made men (and woman).