Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Presidential Ponderings

Hillary Clinton made an appearance on Saturday Night Live this past weekend playing a bartender serving up drinks and advice to “Hillary Clinton” (Kate McKinnon). I’ve seen a lot worse from so-called professional entertainers stumbling through an SNL sketch; all in all, Clinton comported herself with grace and good humor. But is it enough to convince people she’s a human being and not a Calculadroid Human Simulator 3000? I don’t know. It is quite telling that Hillary Clinton’s main obstacle towards the Democratic nomination is her likability. No, she does not possess her husband’s easy going sense of humor, that classic “I feel your pain” empathy he could turn on at will.

That human connection is so important. It served Bill Clinton well against George H W Bush in 1992 and Bob Dole in 1996. George W Bush’s folksy charm kept him contention with the more robotic Al Gore in 2000 and the not at all endearingly awkward John Kerry in 2004.

In 2008 when Hillary Clinton thought she should be cruising to the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama out maneuvered her and he did it with an empathetic appeal that Clinton could not match. Could Hillary Clinton be facing a similar challenge going into 2016? Maybe but against who?


On the Democratic side, only Bernie Sanders is a serious contender as he closes in on or is at the top of the polls. But Bernie’s politics are so left of center that it’s doubtful he could carry a national election against a GOP opponent in November 2016. Right now, Bernie’s appeal comes from having no brakes on what he thinks. He is unapologetic-ally committed to what he says and what he believes. Oddly enough, the same could be said about Donald Trump over on the Republican side.

Oh, this clown car just keeps rolling on, doesn’t? Summer has turned to fall but Trump still leads in the polls even as his statements get more and more outlandish. However, there is some sense that Trumpathon has reached its plateau and Republicans are looking at their alternatives. Unfortunately, those alternatives are Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson. Fiorina benefited from Trump’s condescending remarks about her appearance which was bolstered by a strong performance at the 2nd GOP debate. Part of that display of strength, however, was fueled by false information. Fiorina cited footage from the now infamous Planned Parenthood video that actually does not appear in the video. This is red meat to the hard right but really undermines her for the general election if she were to actually get that far.  The hard right might be willing to believe in things that aren't there but that doesn't represent the rest of America.

God, I hope not.    

And Ben Carson, I truly hope he is indeed a brilliant neurosurgeon because he is brain-dead stupid at everything else. For example, Carson wrote on his Facebook page regarding the Oregon shooting that he had operated on victims of gun violence "but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away." (Click here for more on this stupidity.) Now you might agree with that. There was a quote a couple of years ago from some Tea Party lunatic fringe idiot who said "Your dead child doesn't trump my 2nd amendment rights." So Ben Carson may not be talking to himself with his foolish remarks. But like Fiorina, Ben Carson's right wing appeal is good for short term gain but isn't effective for a national campaign. 

So it looks like once the GOP hard right nut cases get over their love affair with Trump, they'll have a couple more dalliances to get through before its time to get serious and get behind someone who can get the job done.

Or Marco Rubio.

Of course the longer this silly season plays out, the harder it is for Republicans to coalesce behind a single candidate. The GOP will be in such disarray, Hillary Clinton could probably carry the day come November 2016. 

Assuming she gets there without getting "Bern'd". 

Be good to one another. Another post coming up tomorrow.  

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