Tuesday, November 15, 2016

After the deluge

It was tempting to refer back on election night to Murray Kempton's memorable column in the '50s (I think it was '56) when writing in the late, lamented New York Post of those days about another Republican triumph: Eisenhower over Stevenson. His theme was "Don't tell me things will get better. Yesterday, the sun didn't shine on me, brother." He was taking the occasion to show his profound disappointment. (In retrospect, it's extremely ironic that Eisenhower turned out much better than expected.)

Yes, I wanted Hillary to win, more because the Republicans are always worse every time than they were the last time than because Hillary was so wonderful or even that Trump was so awful. He's a pragmatist, and likes to negotiate deals. The worst thing about his victory is the GOP flotsam and jetsam he brought in with him--tell me that Giuliani, Christie, and Gingrich aren't far worse than Trump any day.

I wish that this disaster for the pollsters would decrease the huge emphasis on polls in all of our news coverage. They blew it, pure and simple. But we will still see them prominently positioned every day because the broadcasters and reporters love a horse race, far easier to cover than discussing serious issues. 

I hope the Dems will shed some of their wimpish behavior and be prepared to fight this time when the usual GOP horrors are put up for the Supreme Court. Cries for unity are ridiculous--coming from McConnell and Ryan who admittedly did everything they could for eight years to frustrate everything Obama aimed to accomplish? And Obama too now talks that unity rot because he's more interested in his legacy than rebuilding the Democratic Party--showing how he blew the midyear elections twice under his watch. 

Chuck Schumer has the rep of being a fighter. Too often, of course, he fights for the interest of Wall St. But he needs to lead his troops effectively. If we get a Clarence Thomas this time, the nomination must be fought all the way--Joe Biden is the culprit for Thomas's making it on the court because the Republicans ran rings around the then-hapless Biden. Make them use the nuclear option. They'll regret it.

Obama disappointed me. He didn't really care about fighting hard. He let the pols write Obamacare and ended up with a mess. He let himself be held up by the two-bit insurance mouthpiece Joe Lieberman and should have denounced that pompous windbag owned by Hartford. In the end, Obama was afraid to push real change. And Hillary failed to give people a reason to back her. She played identity politics and yes, negative campaigning.

I liked Bill Clinton and recognize that when he was running, a Democrat had to look like he wasn't a wild-eyed radical to win. Clinton was a natural politician who related to regular people. Hillary never has been like that. Bill Clinton has done too much to soil his image and made too much easy money to be credible now. I was skeptical of Bernie Sanders but on most things, it turns out he was right. If he had won the nomination, they would have red-baited him but maybe it would've been better to go down that way.

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