Saturday, December 22, 2007



As I've enjoyed pointing out over the past several months-- and as Republicans have lately come to admit in the face of incontrovertible evidence-- None of the Above is the choice of Republican primary voters. The party is in a pathological death spiral and none of the pathetic pygmies (as Newt Gingrich dubbed the clods seeking to embody a third George Bush term) can hope to arouse much enthusiasm beyond a narrow and shriveled piece of the crazed base he isn't hated by.

The situation among Democrats is pretty much the polar opposite. The dangers the GOP has demonstrably posed to our country's most cherished values trump any intra-party partisanship. Among Democrats, regardless of who their first choice is, everyone is just eager to beat back the far right. Even the worst Democrat-- and that varies among different people of course-- is far, far better than the least objectionable Republican.

Yesterday's Washington Blade, a respected gay newspaper, explained why the very concept of endorsing the overly compromised, distinctly uncourageous Clintons-- and then endorsed Hillary. Yes, they editorialize, the Clintons have proven themselves untrustworthy and just plain terrible for gay people but, according to the Blade, "Hillary Clinton, and most of her Democratic rivals, deserve much credit for evolving quickly on gay rights issues. Just four years ago, Kerry endorsed same-sex marriage bans. Today, all the Democratic candidates have backed some form of relationship recognition for gay couples... Clinton has demonstrated a mastery of detail during the campaign. Whatever you think of her, there’s no denying her intellect and willingness to work hard. She knows the issues, the history and players and has repeatedly pledged to work to restore the country’s reputation around the world. That’s a much-needed common sense perspective on where to start in 2009. And with an eight-year record of extensive globetrotting as first lady, she’s well positioned to serve as the diplomat the country needs."

So gay Democrats should support Hillary because she'll be good for foreign policy? Well, the Blade thinks she has the best chance to beat the Republicans and that's the reason they're asking their readers to back her.
Gay Americans cannot afford another four years of a Republican administration in the White House. Attacking gays and opposing even the most benign forms of incremental rights advances is now part of the GOP playbook, no matter the nominee. Bush has helped block ENDA and the hate crimes bill via veto threats. He has attacked our relationships in his State of the Union address, cruelly pushing for a federal ban on same-sex marriage. He — along with all the Republican candidates for president — supports the antiquated and reckless “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Many supporters of independent candidates argue that there is no longer a difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. But on gay issues, that is simply not the case.

As gay Rep. Barney Frank told the Blade last summer, “all the Democrats are very good and all the Republicans are very terrible.” For sure, gay Americans will be vastly better served by any of the Democrats now in the running than any of the Republicans.

But in the end, Hillary Rodham Clinton stands the best chance of sending the Republicans into eight years of a well-deserved political wilderness. She’s smart, tenacious, hard working and willing to cede the spotlight in the interest of bipartisan cooperation. She has marched in our Pride parades, promised unprecedented access to her administration and backed nearly all of our issues.

Democrats are counting on anger and frustration with Republican partisanship and obstructionism to propel their party into the White House with substantially increased majorities in both houses of Congress. Harry Reid gave voice to this yesterday in an interview on Jim Lehrer's program. Bitterly he admits the Democratic Congress hasn't accomplished very much.
I'm kind of frustrated, like the American people. There are a lot of things that need to be done. We found a blockage on nearly everything we tried.

But in spite of that, in spite of the fact that in just a few short months, rather than two years, the Republicans blocked us 62 times. The record for two years was 61. So in just a few short months, they had more filibusters than in the history of the Congress before.

The Republicans have been busy turning themselves into a religion-obsessed, Southern based regional party. They're through as a national force. Their vision has strayed so far from the mainstream that their bizarre ideology would be all but unrecognizable not just by mainstream Republicans like Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon but even by right-of-center conservatives like Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. It's time for a time-out, a long one.

John Sasso in today's Boston Globe also talks about electability as Clinton's ace in the hole when it comes not just to reluctant Democrats but to and all Americans who have grown sick and tired of Republican thuggery. He says he believes she will win the Democratic nomination and he believes she is "she is the most electable and least vulnerable Democratic candidate to face the Republicans."
I was more uncertain a year ago when she announced her candidacy. Then she had recognizable strengths but at the same time possessed familiar handicaps both political and personal. She was routinely portrayed as contrived, a woman whose high intelligence had an impersonal edge and whose real identity was difficult to locate.

That was then. Today Clinton has forged herself into a formidable political leader. She has undergone a remarkable journey. In the face of unending autopsies on her personal and political past, unrelieved targeting at both Democratic and Republican debates, the punishing demands imposed on a woman candidate, she is still standing unflinchingly in place.

This is the mark of thoroughbred candidates. They take the fire. They survive the wounds. And while voters relish the spectacle of office-seekers squirming under adversity, something else happens at the same moment. If candidates demonstrate they can bear that kind of public barrage with conviction and ready composure-- and Clinton has done that-- they cross a crucial threshold in the public mind. They are viewed as able to compete and win a national election and able thereafter to govern in perilous times.

Why the most electable Democrat? Because after a year of being tightly measured, Clinton has won a public acceptance that she has the intellect and inner confidence to do the job. She has reached beyond her political inheritance and shaped a political presence all her own. Hillary belittlers still abound, to be sure. She is still caricatured as calculating. But the senator has taken on some different markings. Gone is the defensive bite, on hand is a new openness to concede mistakes, often with glints of humor.

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At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS is right on.
"The party is in a pathological death spiral and none of the pathetic pygmies (as Newt Gingrich dubbed the clods seeking to embody a third George Bush term) can hope to arouse much enthusiasm beyond a narrow and shriveled piece of the crazed base he isn't hated by."

But I don't see the Hillary being the most electable at all. And competence and inner confidence and the ability to admit mistakes are welcome traits, but she voted to give Bush more power on the Iraq resolution (and she certainly knew better), and then just did the same thing on Iran. Toast.

I saw her speak about 3 years ago at a forum arranged in SF by a Women Lawyer org and she was warm, deep and wonderful. Pink protested her even back then. Many of us dislike her votes and the old Republicans HATE her even more than Bill, if that is possible. Even my appreciation for Bill doesn't offsite my toast forecast on Hillary since I believe we get Bill in a BIG way with any Democratic admin, and even with a Republican one perhaps. Oddly enough that might be one of Bush2's more admirable and unexpected moves; perhaps Bush1 laid down an ultimatum.

I unfortunately think America is too misogynist and bigoted anyway to elect Hillary, and too pure racist to choose Obama. That leaves Edwards for me as the most electable, with the previous two on his cabinet.
All would certainly not discriminate on gay issues regardless. Didn't Edwards say something like he was not comfortable around some gays but would never discriminate against them? Hell, if we are talking about electability, he just AGREED with about 3/4 the straight Clinton/Obama haters (the other 1/4 DO want to discriminate). I think that oddly enough ADDS to his electability.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Yes, Edwards said that. That was probably the most honest statement of the campaign. It also shows what effect his wife has on him, as in some ways, she'd make a lot better candidate than him. Overall, Clinton is the most compromised. Why do you think Fortune put her on the cover with that title? Because she won't rock the boat. She won't undo much of Bush's excesses. Both Hillary and Bill are just competent Republicans.


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