Friday, April 8, 2016

It's Hillary's Turn. Or Is It?

Bernie Sanders is getting under Hillary's skin and I don't blame her. She subordinated herself to her husband, then to the party, then to the will of a movement beyond any prediction in the campaign of Barack Obama. It's her turn, right?

Mmmm.... let's talk about that.

The whole point of our democracy is that anyone can become anything, not that some are entitled. Hillary isn't owed anything, either by the establishment Democrats or the progressive movement in this country. She has to make her case and the voting population has to buy it. If they don't, she loses, and that's how that works. End of story.

But Bernie is being disingenuous, suggesting that her PAC and corporate donors influence her policy-making, right?

No, he's not. No matter her integrity and good wishes, you can tell a lot about a person by the people they surround themselves with. So, too, you can tell a lot about Hillary by the people she is receiving money from; that's just true. You can tell that she speaks a message her backers believe, you can tell they have confidence she can win, you can tell they are not abstract in their interest in her - they are heavily invested in her success. Why do you think that is? It's not because she is necessarily false in her speech, or two-faced as has been insinuated, but because she will work to protect some of her investors' interests. She's a person well-versed in compromise, moreso after her own experience in trying to bring forward healthcare before the country was ready. She touts herself as a pragmatic, a progressive who can 'get things done'. Agreed. That requires bridging gaps, and that means some of the dirty money players will be brought to the table, people who have and continue to manipulate the economy on the backs of the poor and middle classes in this country for the quite obvious and gluttonous gain of a select few.

There's an objection to that among Sanders supporters and instead of being indignant, Hillary could own that objection. She could say, "I have friends in those crowds. I've had dinner with them, spoken at their corporate meetings, and attended their private events. I agree that it could seem they might influence policy, but the opposite is also true. I intend to work those personal relationships to influence them, and I hope to bring them into the fold and encourage them and incentivize them to work for the middle and poorer classes in our country, and here are my ideas..." Her pushback seems defensive, and so fuels the Bernie supporters' worries about her sincerity.

Hillary is, no doubt, the most qualified person to run for President in this or any recent election. But in addition to these flaws in her message, she's generally not a great campaigner. Her well-known temper is starting to show. That's not going to play well, but more importantly, it may not be useful to her as a Commander in Chief. You can't "pissed wife" your way through the job, just as you can't "schoolyard bully" your way as Trump imagines. I think that's one of the things people are responding to in their Cruz and Sanders support. Neither of those guys is perfect for the job either, but they may appeal for the anti-Hillary or anti-Trump reason enough to garner a vote. That's not illegitimate, it's just unfortunate.

There are several of these pings and pongs to consider, but I do grow tired of the 'get off the stage already' dissertations aimed at Sanders and Kasich. I personally think their presences are the only things making this embarrassing election cycle less the abomination it would be without them.

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