The final night is boring. Few big name speakers.
Overall, it’s been a staid affair. No invocations of Lucifer. No chants about jailing Mr Trump. No thinly-veiled bigotry. No overt bigotry. No Chicken Little syndrome. No emocons.
OK I wrote too soon. There’s Katy Perry without the left shark.
Ms Clinton says Mr Trump is a small man, stiffs working Americans, and can’t be trusted with nukes.
And she’s right.
Talk of uncertainty in an era without bubonic plague is a bit much. Uncertainty is surely a relative thing.
It is more likely the case that it’s never been a better time to be bourgeois or bohemian, social formations that thrive on uncertainty and change. The notion that “everything that is solid melts into air” (Marx) expresses the historical condition of possibility for both.
Mr Clinton punctured the caricature of Ms Clinton that Fox News Republicans and the Berniebros cling to like a favorite childhood blanket. He laid out the choice clearly: one can either choose reality or infantile phantasies.
My guess is Mr Sanders would like to walk back the “Goldman Sachs speeches” gambit. It was a moment of desperation and weakness in his otherwise highbrow campaign.
Mr Sanders is learning first hand how politically naive his most fervent supporters are.
One person’s tantrums are another person’s heteroglossia.
Al Franken brings the comedy.
Sarah Silverman brings the rationality.
Can I just say, to the “Bernie or Bust” people, you’re being ridiculous.
Mr Booker shouts, Berniebros bark.
announces candidacy delivers the goods.
Ms Warren questions what kind of a man Mr Trump is. Berniebros heckle.
Bernie endorses over tears of supporters.
No one compelled Mr Sanders to run for the Democratic Party nomination. Since he’s never been a member of the Party until he announced he was running for President, he might just as well have run as an independent candidate, thereby avoiding the Democratic Party nomination procedures. The rules were in place before Sanders announced he would run as a Democrat. He knew the super-delegate situation and he likely knew Ms Clinton would have an edge. However, because he freely submitted to those procedures, he now has to deal the consequences of never having been a Democrat. It is no surprise that Ms Clinton, who was elected to the Senate as a Democrat, and ran for the Party’s Presidential nomination in 2008 as a Democrat, and served in the cabinet of a Democratic President, has the support of other Democratic politicians and grandees.
Adieu Fiorina: Mr Trump basically set her résumé on fire during one of the early debates. Unable to run on her business record, she was left with fronting the defund Planned Parenthood cabal, which was based on the dubious video. When that cause exploded (i.e., the head of Planned Parenthood unmanned the Republican members of the Congressional witch trial and the video-makers were arrested for making fake driver’s licenses), she didn’t have anything to stand on or for.
It’s all over for the Bundy bandits in Oregon. It must have come as a huge disappointment that reinforcements never arrived.
Being anti-Beyoncé is like being anti-puppies. Don Giuliani of the Five Families should know better.
The big winner of last night’s debate was the Democratic Party, whose candidates conducted a rational debate of political issues. Floppy shoes and grease paint were not in evidence.
As a seasoned debater, Ms Clinton was steady, in command of the issues. In a word: presidential.
Mssrs Webb, Chafee, and O’Malley faded into the background (aside from Webb’s whining about lack of speaking time and his odd humble brag about killing someone on the field of battle).
This debate was all about Mr Sanders. Emerging from the Vermont wilderness, the debate was his first moment on the national stage. However, it appeared he thought he was speaking at a Democratic Socialists of America conference or to students at the Brecht Forum. It’s one thing to rail against “casino capitalism.” It’s another to think a President can single-handedly transform capitalism. Righteous indignation aimed at the 1% aside, he offered no practical way out of the current downturn in economic development. Mr Sanders’ song of praise for Nordic Socialism (a rehash of the “Third Way” discussions of the 1980s) suggests a person with a political philosophy that is unfettered by the practical conditions of US political culture.
Mr Sanders is well meaning, but his message was au courant decades ago. He should tone down the angry-man-on-a-soap-box demeanor during the next debate. For a positive model of comportment, he could look to Mr Corbyn in the UK.
Apropos the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of JFK (originally written on 27 January 2008).
The New York Times is reporting that Senator Edward Kennedy will endorse Barack Obama tomorrow. This news follows in the wake of Caroline Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama in a New York Times Op-Ed, in which she writes: “I have found the man who could be that president” who inspires people as did her father, JFK. This is certainly a major coup for the Obama campaign, to have the last surviving member of Camelot bestow the Kennedy imprimatur on his pursuit of the Presidency. Any evocation of her father tugs at the heartstrings of Democrats old enough to remember anything about 22 November 1963, perhaps the most significant date in American political memory until 9/11. Strategically, the double dip of Caroline Kennedy and Senator Ted may put into play such Clinton “safe states” as New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts on 5 February. It will also not be easy for the Clintonistas to spin these endorsements, from the daughter and the brother, especially Bill, the self-represented legatee of the Kennedy tradition. Additionally, the logic of ethnic politics can be drawn out of Ted Kennedy’s endorsement. Ted co-sponsored (with McCain) the defeated immigration reform legislation that had less draconian paths to legalization for millions of illegal immigrants. In the Lou Dobbsified American imagination, illegal immigrant equals “Mexican.” Hence, the message can be delivered: Obama is good for “Latinos.” Obama should play this “ethnic card” to the hilt.
A question remains: why invoke the Father at all? If, as some pundits write, Americans may not want alternating political dynasties (Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton), what recommends the symbolic capital of the Ur-Dynasty in American politics? Is this a unconscious hankering for the long lost aristocratic beginnings of the nation? For now, I’ll propose that politics is about identity and the projection of identity. Unburdened of the responsibility of historical memory, there is a tendency in American politics to traffic in imagery. This is not necessarily a criticism. But what it means is that the political unconscious of the nation tends towards a search for the most positive image as the anchor of identity. The optimistic and naive self-conception of Americans about their place in the world order is mirrored by the desire to find “likable” people to have exclusive access to the launch code of the U. S. nuclear arsenal. In recent memory, the two parties have two fail-safe images: the “Happy days are here again” Reagan and the photogenic JFK (and Jackie), who asked the nation to do something for the greater good. If this is true, the photogenic Barack Obama, with the immigrant’s name, will stand a good chance against the fidgety persona of Hillary Clinton, and the clenched jaw militarism of the aged McCain. Neither Clinton nor McCain emit the sort of light that enveloped JFK and now Obama. Caroline Kennedy has simply reminded Americans of the Democratic stripe: Father was best.