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article imageOp-Ed: If it's not Bernie, choose the worst

By George Arthur     Sep 17, 2015 in Politics
The common cliché taken as general wisdom for voters heading to ballot boxes is to “choose the lesser of evils.” But the 2016 race for the Oval Office is a unique beast that brings the supposed axiom to its knees.
What’s original about 2015-16 is that the real race is in the primaries, and that the important storyline doesn’t have to do with Trump or border walls or Hillary’s private email account. The real story has to do with Bernie Sanders.
Far too busy following the raucous GOP jawing between 16 shades of insanity and lunacy, little attention has been paid to the real fight. For democrats, there is an excellent candidate in Bernie Sanders; a true Socialist, a man with a record of solid character, a champion for the public and in particular for those in need. For the Democratic Party, there is Hillary Clinton, a shoe-in candidate with a highly questionable public record.
I write this believing that Clinton is the odds-on favourite to take the cake in 2016. This is mainly because, other than Sanders, there is not much Democratic Party opposition to prevent her from getting the nomination. And when it comes time for the public to vote for president, I suspect that if the choice is between her and a guy like Donald Trump or Jeb Bush it’s quite likely that she’ll get at least a couple more votes than her opponent…
The worst of this and the most dangerous part is that Hillary is really no different in policy than the awful options the Republicans have fielded, which makes her the greatest threat of all.
She’s a politician with every advantage: sophisticated messaging, loads of money, name recognition, a doublespeak record written to (for the most part) admire her, the potential title of first female President of the United States. The money, the name rec, and the doublespeak are the trouble.
An excellent polemic by Christopher Hitchens titled No one left to lie to included one of two subtitles. The first seemingly benign, “the triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton,” was on the first and most common cover, while the first edition of the paperback version read “the values of the worst family.” As to be expected from a work by Hitchens, it is well-researched, well-argued, and incredibly damning though the long and short of it is well summarized in the original subtitle. Hitchens reasons, quite rightly, that the seemingly populist approach to politics that Bill Clinton employed was in fact a well-veiled fight against the people, a decades long pursuit of Republican, and more importantly, elitist causes. Hitchens was essentially describing the evolution of doublespeak to tripletalk, or more literally and as Hitchens put it, political triangulation: Convince the people that you act in their interest in order to gain their support, then do what the opposition wishes to have done so as to gain their favour, and in the end and above all, benefit elites while ensuring you’re in their future. The great trouble with the Clinton's is that they hide their wrongdoings so bloody well, thus the subtitle on the paperback. Buy one edition or another of the book above, you’ll be upset but informed on the type of politics the US is potentially returning to.
Such a return would be a disaster, and worst of all, a disaster hard to see coming or happening. The Clinton’s mask their manipulations, distortions and exploitations too well. It’s long been the hallmark of “Clintonian” politics; a form of governance so wrong that it Hitchens gave it its own name.
Although “Don’t-ask, Don’t Tell” is an excellent example of the regressive politics of the Clinton’s, their circa-1996 stance on welfare reform is particularly disturbing. On this issue, the Clinton’s favored big business above single mothers and hungry kids. By way of their "progressive reform to help America" they dramatically and negatively impacted the lives of moms and kids. As recently noted by Dr. Leroy Pelton, the swap of Aid to Families with Dependent Children to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families did little other than to limit and restrict access to social assistance. Pelton also reminds readers that Hillary’s critical role in the creation of the Adoption of Safe Families act should not go without scrutiny.
To turn to the right side of history, on the Clinton welfare reform program Sanders wrote the following in his book Outsider in the House (first published in 1997):
“The crown jewel of the Republican agenda is their so-called welfare reform proposal. The bill, which combines an assault on the poor, women and children, minorities, and immigrants is the grand slam of scapegoating legislation, and appeals to the frustrations and ignorance of the American people along a wide spectrum of prejudices… The legislation is a real political winner for the Republicans, and has caused a dramatic and fundamental change in the philosophical underpinnings of the Democratic Party… It is astonishing how little fanfare accompanies such an historic event. Here is the Democratic Party, a party which prided itself for sixty years on defending the poor, making a radical shift to the right, and accepting policy which Richard Nixon would have summarily rejected.”
Sanders always saw Clinton’s welfare reform for the wickedness that it was and is. He also sees banks as too domineering to not break up, the environment as too fragile and our dependence on it too obvious to not help conserve it, the racist and militaristic culture within police forces as at best pernicious, the need for education to be practical and universal; in short, Sanders is a Socialist in a proper and admirable sense.
Cast and contrasted against Hillary, and then against the GOP primaries, we have an odd case of good versus evil that is being shadowed by a mess of obnoxiously loud clowns.
Attached to this idea, the article earns its name… If it’s not going to be the best candidate that wins the Democratic nomination, better to choose the worst of them all for president. With a president pulled from the Party of White Paranoia (as Matt Taibbi so perfectly put it), the public would be in a better position to see and rally against the madness that would certainly ensue. But this would not be the case with Hillary. Clintonian politics is a refined kind of neo-conservatism dressed in blue, yet due to a combination of a peculiar type of worship, deep wallets, and strong messaging she, like her husband before her, would likely be able to pull the wool over Democratic, independent and Republican eyes alike.
Uniquely, it doesn’t need to be this way. In the race for the 45th US President, there is — at this juncture — the opportunity for the people to choose radical, meaningful and worthwhile reform. With record setting rallies already under Sanders’ belt, polls suggesting he may be overtaking Hillary in key states, and a patchwork of local events set to engage Americans throughout the country and in their communities, there is reason to be hopeful that the US may soon be governed by a president worthy of the title Leader of the Free World.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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