OK, let’s do this…
I’ve been ruminating on this post for a few months, but I haven’t sat down to write it, because I need to work for a living, and—frankly—nobody reads my blog. But I can’t get the idea out of my head.
One thing I’ve noticed about the great Hillary versus Bernie struggle is that the arguments put forth by Hillary supporters are really really dumb. Oops. That was undiplomatic, and Hillary supporters always swoon whenever anything mean is said about The Annointed One or her followers, so I’ll rephrase that. One thing I’ve noticed about the great Hillary versus Bernie struggle is that the arguments put forth by Hillary supporters are unconvincing. There, is that better?
Let’s make a list of unconvincing reasons to support Hillary over Bernie, with the far-too-easy rebuttals.
Hillary is a real Democrat; Bernie just joined the Party for the election
Really, Hillary people. Really? You folks make this “argument” over and over as if it were convincing and unrebutable. Yet, it’s so stupid… let me tally just a few of the ways.
- Issues. What makes a “real Democrat”, anyway? Blindly marching in lockstep behind the leaders? Or commitment to the issues which supposedly define the Party?
- Political parties. The two party system is about as popular with the electorate as Ebola. It’s even less highly regarded than Nickelback. Yet the only way to win political office (outside of Vermont) in this country is through one of the parties.
- Nader. Of course, the people making this argument would be the very same people who would squeal the loudest if Bernie ran as an independent or as a Green.
- Hackdom. We’re choosing who we think would make the best President, not who has been most loyal to the Party establishment, or who has raised the most money for down-ballot corporate blandocrats.
Hillary is more moderate, so she’d negotiate better with the Republicans
Here is a complete list of all the Republican office holders who are willing to sit down and negotiate with Hillary in good faith:
- Really. Nobody.
- You’ve got to be fucking kidding.
- The fact is, there’s no negotiating with today’s Republicans.
Hillary is a woman
One point we can all agree on: it’d be fine and dandy to have a female POTUS. But which woman? And is that the only criterion? If you just want a woman President for the sake of having a woman President, you’ve got to realize that your argument works just as well for Carly Fiorina, Michele Bachmann, or Sarah Palin.
The Republicans would say mean things about Bernie in the General Election campaign
In contrast, the Republicans would have a calm rational discussion of real issues with Hillary. It’s not like there’s any precedent to suggest that the Republicans would say anything mean about Hillary or anyone else named Clinton, now is there? Face it, the Republicans would slime anybody. It’s what they do. They’d be no slimier or less slimey with Bernie.
Hillary could get stuff done
Actually, electing Hillary is the recipe for perpetual gridlock. As long as Hillary and DWS are running the Party, down-ticket Democrats will be corporate blandocrats like Braley and Republican retreads like Crist. Turnout will be low and Republicans will continue to have power to gerrymander and obstruct. A more progressive party would motivate younger and otherwise disaffected voters to show up on election day and break the gridlock.
Bernie’s promising the impossible
If you don’t attempt things that are difficult, you never get anything done at all.
The incremental change Hillary proposes is realistic; Bernie wallows in naïve idealism
Once upon a time, during the Bill Clinton administration, I was on the play selection committee for our local community theatre. Somebody asked me if I was enjoying it. I said something like “It’s kind of an exercise in Clintonian Democracy. You know you’re not going to be able to do what you really want, so you start with a watered-down compromise proposal. Then, you further compromise down from there. When it’s all finished, you step back and ask youself ‘would it have been any different if I’d just let the barbarians run things?’ “.
The fundamental problem with the pragmatic incrementalism espoused by both Clintons is pre-emptive surrender. Real solutions are never proposed, so they’re never discussed. The best that can be hoped for from this approach is a slight deceleration in the rate we’re going backwards.
Hillary has more foreign policy experience
Yes, she has more experience at supporting wars and military coups. But those are not good things.
Bernie is a—gasp—socialist!
Yes, the Republicans would make red-baiting a central feature of the General Election campaign. But they’ll do that anyway. They always do. Even Ronald Reagan would be called a Commie by today’s Republicans.
Hillary is more electable
Poll after poll after poll after poll shows just the opposite. Hillary has historically bad approval ratings. Hilary is disliked by all Republicans, nearly all independents, and an awful lot of Democrats. Bernie does better than Hillary against Trump in virtually every poll. I know the polls are of somewhat limited value this far from election day, but what other criteria do we have, conventional beltway dogma?
Hillary is a good liberal
Good liberals do not play kissy-face with Henry Fucking Kissinger. Good liberals did not support the Iraq War. Good liberals did not support the coup in Honduras. Good liberals are not quick to try to bomb-away our foreign policy problems. Good liberals stand their ground and fight for important issues. Good liberals do not support “free trade” agreements. And on and on.
Bernie supporters are mean to Hillary supporters
It’s true that this debate has not always been completely civil, and that is unfortunate. It’s not true that any excesses have been one-sided. Hillary supporters have proven themselves quite adept at spouting insults, lies, and misleading half-truths. At the same time, Hillary supporters have often proven to be thin-skinned, whiny little kindergarteners. They can dish it out, but they can’t take it. But seriously, folks, on the scale of such things, this has been a remarkably civil, issues-based campaign.