Category Archives: 2016 election

A Worried Democrat Ponders

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It all sounded so simple. The Dems would back Hillary Clinton but they did not want her to run alone. They wanted a primary – a sort of pro forma affair, just to keep her on her toes. She was the anointed but they did not want her to appear to be the anointed. In fact it seemed as if they needed Hillary because she was so experienced, but they didn’t really “feel” Hillary. There was a last minute groundswell for Elizabeth Warren.

When Bernie Sanders entered the race, along with Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb, none of these male candidates seemed strong enough to change the course of the Democratic Party’s push to elect the first female President of the United States. O’Malley and Webb were virtual unknowns, not hefty enough in personality, experience, or cultural cachet to be any real force in the primaries. Bernie Sanders was a Socialist, for heaven’s sakes. Americans shudder at the faintest whiff of “socialism”.

The exigencies of the current state of our nation, are perceived by shell-shocked Americans with great anxiety. Faced with an economy far less favorable than projected, there is unexpected appeal in a senior citizen who, philosophically, has remained in the 1960’s for decades, and who preaches a revolutionary message that has finally found its powerful rebirth. This has become a phenomenon that is changing everyone’s predictions about who will be the Democratic candidate in 2016.

I have found such solidarity with fellow Democrats, all resolved that we must not let a Republican win the Presidency in 2016. That goal is even more important now with the Supreme Court suddenly in play. Bernie’s success is splitting Democrats into the Hillary camp (seemingly growing smaller by the day) and the Bernie camp (ostensibly growing larger). Most Hillary people say they will support Bernie if he is the party’s candidate. The reverse is not as likely to be true however. Some Bernie people say that they would rather vote for a Republican than for Hillary Clinton. How is that even a thing? The Republican’s agenda is in no way similar to that of the Democrats. Perhaps there is a strong desire to be a firebrand, an extremist – any extreme will do. It is as if there is no middle anymore.

It doesn’t help that Bernie gets such sweet media attention. The media loves Bernie. The media also puts on a sour face for anyone who is not an extremist. And Bernie has been nice. He has been the ever-well-received “happy warrior”; probably stunned and pleased by his success, by a reawakening ‘60’s vibe. There do not seem to be many bad things to say about Bernie Sanders. Some say that he has been slogging away in government and yet has accomplished very little and has not, until now, made much of a splash. But the people in his state do seem to love him in spite of the fact that single payer health care failed in Vermont. I have even been tempted by Bernie. I grew up in those same energetic times when we dreamed of equality for everyone, an end to war for all people and all times, and changing the “establishment” so that our government would become truly Democratic, instead of a Democracy in name only.

Hillary, on the other hand, seems to be no one’s darling. The media rarely has anything good to say about her. They pound away at her lack of authenticity, they say that people don’t like her or trust her. They say it almost every day. And some of these media folks are classified by the right as left-leaning journalists and pundits who should be allies for Hillary. “With friends like that who needs enemies?”

The fact is that Hillary has not led a quiet political life. Because of her marriage to the high octane Bill Clinton she has been in the limelight for decades. She was not just a helpmate either; she had her own career goals and she got involved. She got her hands in the dirt, so to speak. She was not just the great lady who told the gardener what to do, she helped plant the garden. She legislated. She designed the precursor to Obama’s health care plan. She travelled the world and met the world’s leaders.

Hillary is vulnerable to attack because she has been front and center. She has not been timid, or held back, or bided her time. She has just rolled up her sleeves and helped her nation solve its problems. She is vulnerable in so many ways because she actually “did stuff” and is accused of making many wrong decisions. The tough drug arrest policy of the 1990’s is the newest albatross being hung around her neck. She didn’t pass that program alone. Even Bernie voted for that one. We, perhaps, only see what a mistake this policy was in hindsight.

Bernie Sanders is not looking quite so sweet these days. He is no empty suit. He has become a powerful opponent, splitting the Democratic vote and perhaps even getting some Republican votes. Independent voters find themselves choosing between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. How is that even possible? It boggles my mind. I see nothing in common between these two. In spite of the fact that Bernie is now fighting to be President for real, he is still not getting a lot of bad press. I am even reading mixed results when it comes to vetting the plausibility of Bernie’s programs. Some authors think that there is some economic viability, most have reservations.

Is Hillary Clinton as bad as the media paints her? Do the people even know anything about Hillary except what the media has told us or hinted at or insinuated. Is Bernie as spotless and pure as the media lets him seem? I am guessing that Bernie is “as honest as the day is long”. He just does not seem very materialistic or in possession of any strong personal ambition. While these qualities may make him a trustworthy leader, will they make him a powerful and a flexible leader? I don’t think Bernie Sanders is good at compromising. I think that may be his Achilles heel. I saw the camera catch a look on Bernie’s face the other day which did not look at all sweet, or flexible either. Look up “Bernie faces” on Google Images. He is not always so sunny these days.

What I am saying is that Bernie Sanders is creating a split between me and other Democrats who I thought of as my allies against the Republicans and that this split has me worried. I am also worried that it is looking less and less like Hillary Clinton is the most viable Democratic candidate among Democrats. We had better hope that if Bernie Sanders and the fans of revolution get the nomination that they can actually carry the day. Will the word “socialism” be used as a club to beat Bernie up and will the majority of American voters come to his defense?

I refuse to give up on Hillary yet. We wait, we listen, we watch, we express our thoughts – but we won’t know until we know.

By Nancy Brisson

Why I Pick Hillary in 2016

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I am a girl. Hillary is a girl. I’m with Hillary. I would not back Hillary just because she is a girl, but she is a girl who has an agenda for America that is well-thought-out and based on plenty of experience. In addition, I assume that she will be flexible enough to adopt a new approach to a problem if she is convinced that it will be more effective. And I feel certain that she will not turn into a Republican anytime soon.

I love Bernie Sanders, I do. His people make an ad for him with Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” song from the Book Ends album. It warms my hippie soul. If I didn’t think that it was time for a girl President, then that little revolutionary in me would go for Bernie. But right now the only way I will pick Bernie is (1) if he turns into a girl (highly unlikely) or (2) if he wins the Democratic nomination.

Girls, ladies, women, females have always been asked to wait. Wait for this, wait for that, and when we felt it was appropriate, which we usually did because we are pragmatic and compassionate, we did wait. I don’t think we have to wait in 2016. I think we are good to go. So I back Hillary Clinton and all the other women who have worked so hard in the past eight years to keep the rights that women have won – rights that never came easily. So I also stand with Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood and I stand with Emily’s List trying to get more women elected to office and a whole roster of active women that I won’t list because then I’ll forget someone and I’ll feel badly about it.

I sure would like to hear Hillary Clinton addressed as Madame President and I know those other women will be there to help the first woman President in America do a truly great job. Now that will be huge!

By Nancy Brisson

Who Beats the GOP: the Valkyrie or the Socialist?

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Imagine that Hillary Clinton becomes #45 in November, 2016. Imagine that, although over 400+ seats in Congress are up for reelection, because of Republican maneuvering the Congress remains majority Republican. The GOP despises Hillary. They despise the idea of a woman in the oval office. They would perhaps feel the same astonished anger they felt about having an American of African Descent in the White House.

Do we then have 4-8 more years of “road rage”? Do we have 2 terms of obstruction? Will Hillary Clinton find it as difficult to make policy and get bipartisan support as Obama has? What will this do to America? Can Hillary get the GOP, so invested in their Capitalist dream for America and their moral agenda for America, their isolationism/nationalism, and their militaristic sword rattling, their lust to rape the untouched land, their belief that only citizens with guns pointed at Washington will keep America on “the right path”; can Hillary get these folks to agree to any legislation that looks like a compromise? Will the fever subside a bit or will the predominantly male Congress hate the idea of a woman (and a Clinton) in the White House so much that our ideological standoff will continue unabated?

Would Bernie Sanders fare any better against a predominantly Republican Congress or will they just shout “Socialist” over and over the way a dog owner shouts “squirrel”?

It seems to me that the only thing that will satisfy the rabid Republicans is to win the White House and Congress. But will it be worth it to give them what they want just to shut them up, to appease them with public office when what they plan is to turn America into a nation we will not recognize? If they shut down all of the voices against them there will be no more push and pull. Then they will be on a reign of glee and able to legislate willy-nilly over the effectively silenced voices of opposition.

There will be nothing to stop them from overturning Roe v Wade and making abortion a criminal act. Same sex marriage will no longer be legal and perhaps government will clamp down on any sexual act that is not between a man and a woman. There will be no more national parks preserving land and habitat for the good of the people and the planet so the Bundy’s of this world will win the day, along with the Koch’s (I still find these two groups to be very strange bedfellows).

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There will be no benefit programs. If you don’t work you will do what you must to survive. There will be no unions to fight on behalf of less wealthy people (workers) and there will be no regulations on business. There will be no health care except what private companies chose to sell; there will be no retirement unless you save; education will be a matter for each state. There will be a draft to fill the ranks of the giant (perhaps huge) and improved Armed Forces. We will be the bruisers, the bouncers of the planet.

I don’t know how either Hillary or Bernie will fare against this energetic and obnoxious crew but I know we must have one of them to hold the line against the GOP for a while longer, until they calm down. Would Hillary do better with her insistence that she understands how to get folks to compromise, or would Bernie, who would not try to work with the GOP and would put forth left ideology against right ideology until he simply made compromise seem like a right wing win? I don’t know which approach will stop the nonsense.

How much will Hillary compromise? What will she give in on that we won’t mind losing ground on? Can we afford to lose ground right now? How tough is Hillary? Nancy Pelosi has managed to still have influence in Congress even though she lost her majority position. She is still formidable. I have a hard time wanting to bend to the Republican agenda on any point whatsoever. Give us some examples of compromises both sides might find somewhat agreeable.

Although I believe that it does not matter if the President is a man or a woman – and although I believe that America will not know that until we have our first woman in the office, I want a real Valkyrie, an Amazon woman. How strong is Hillary? Can Hillary move further left before the election? Will we want “war” in Washington or détente and diplomacy which Washington has seemed to sneer at? I need more answers but they are not answers I am likely to get unless I consult a top-notch psychic. Nothing to do but keep watching and listening for a while – talk among ourselves and put our hands to our temples and say, “my brain hurts”!

By Nancy Brisson

 

The Democratic Ticket

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Single payer health care, expanded Social Security, paid family leave, free quality public colleges, lowered tuitions at private colleges, cheaper college loans that don’t hound you all the way to the grave, equal pay for equal work, $15 minimum wage – I want these things, however unreasonably expensive they sound. We are the people of America and these things would make our lives easier. Only one candidate offers to fight for these things and that is Bernie Sanders.

This is problematic because, although I like Bernie Sanders and feel he would make a fine President, he is not a woman (and this is only the first problem with Mr. Sanders.) It is high time we had a woman President in the U.S. and as fate would have it we have an experienced female, Hillary Clinton, who would also make a fine President. She, of course, has a problem because so many men want this job and they don’t like to see it opened up to women. They (men) keep trying to weigh Hillary down with responsibility for political upheavals that occurred when she was Secretary of State.

Here Ted Cruz gave us the most apt logical fallacy in this blame game. ‘Just because an arsonist and a fireman are both at the scene of a fire does not make them equally to blame for the fire.’ Hillary may have been Madame Secretary when Libya (the new cry now that Benghazi is not as effective) looked ready to emerge from a totalitarian state to a fledgling Democracy during that much touted “Arab Spring”, but I doubt that she caused these earth-shaking events or that she caused the “Arab Spring” to fail. She was guilty, perhaps of celebrating Libyan freedom prematurely as did many other people at the time who were ahead of the actual pace of historical change. We have forgiven many, many such misapprehensions in our male leaders.

Hillary is, on the other hand, not as progressive as I would like her to be. She is much more towards the center of the left. She will not try for single payer health care, I am betting, nor will she fight against income inequality through reforms to the tax code with the passion of Bernie Sanders, or even Elizabeth Warren for that matter. I doubt that she will make the fight to expand Social Security a high priority and she is not inclined towards free quality public college degrees. She is pragmatic which is both good and bad. She knows the make-up of our current Congress. She suspects that each of these laws that must be passed to help Middle Class Americans will be hard fought in this Congress, if they are brought up for a vote at all.

Bernie Sander’s goals are audacious given the fact that Congress is so “red” right now, so Republican. Hillary will not go for audacity. She will approach her agenda more mildly and in a spirit of compromise. Would she perhaps accomplish more if she went after an ideal middle class agenda with great passion? I don’t know the answer to that. Perhaps passion will be made to look foolish by those who currently inhabit our government houses and who are diametrically opposed to the Progressive agenda.

We have the further problem that our elected representatives seem to be using public office as a road to riches. If you can make a career in Congress and get elected over and over again you will be worth a fortune by the time you leave (and have a great pension to boot). Clearly it is not your government salary that will make you rich; it is your ability to wheel and deal while you “serve”. The people can see that this happens but we are not sure how to change it or even if it is advisable.

Do people who are lining their pockets serve us better than less greedy people would? If greed no longer motivates public service will talented people choose to serve? If there isn’t as much non tax-payer money in government will there be less to “trickle down” to us in the form of “earmarks”? Will frugal pay make our tax dollars serve us better?

Hillary is unlikely to tackle the issue of career politics or the fat proceeds to be had in a Congressional career. She, again, is too pragmatic. She is not a revolutionary in this sense. She herself is a career politician and turned a tidy profit within the system (no wrong-doing suggested). Bernie Sanders is far more likely to try to find ways to stop the political plundering that has become de rigueur in Washington. But I do not believe that Bernie can win the Presidency or that he could achieve much of his agenda even if he did win. And I want a woman in the Presidency before I am too old to appreciate it.

I therefore recommend that if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic primary she should choose Bernie Sanders as her Vice President. If anyone can nudge Hillary further left it would be Bernie. So that’s my choice for the Democratic ticket; Hillary Clinton for President, Bernie Sander for VP. Soon I will see if anyone else agrees with me.

By Nancy Brisson

Refugee Reality Check

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We keep thinking about what might happen if we do accept Syrian refugees. But perhaps we need to think about what will happen if we don’t accept Syrian refugees.

If we do accept refugees from Syria we are nervous that terrorists may make it to America. I am a true chicken. I understand fear. It feels scary to host people who could harbor hate against us. We are assured that we screen refugees with such care that it is highly unlikely anyone could get through the process but we remember Boston and those Tsarnaev brothers who came in as refugees and were radicalized once they were here. Our fears are not baseless but we must admit that the number of refugees that might become bad actors will be very small. We live almost daily with shootings. These threats hardly seem different from the many mass shootings we have experienced. As for enabling an enormous influx of rabid terrorists – only a full scale invasion could do that and I don’t think our enemies have that capability yet.

The reasons, beyond the humanitarian ones, in favor of accepting Syrian refugees are much more compelling. First, we cannot afford to let the Republicans, who want to get elected in 2016, play us. If they make us frightened enough and then offer to save us with their toughness they believe this fear will drive us to put a Republican in the White House. Please prove to the GOP that you are not that easily manipulated.

An even greater reason why we have to fight our fears and accept Syrian refugees is because we owe it to our allies in Europe and elsewhere. We have hung back in two world wars because they did not begin in America, but we eventually fought with our allies when we understood that if our friends lost we would only have enemies left.

This time the “war” began with us, very dramatically, on 9/11. This attack was a game changer and our old friends stood with us once more. Now we must not try to isolate ourselves even though our fears may prove real (although, I suspect, not on the scale GOP candidates warn of). We must stand with the friends we have forged as we have battled to keep the free world free. We must even accept old opponents as allies for as long as they prove true to our common goals. We cannot expect Europe to deal all alone with people fleeing terrorists. Even though there is a big ocean between us we cannot afford to use this geographical advantage to remain relatively safe and aloof. I doubt it will work for long and, in the end, we will wish we had stuck with our alliances.

More selfishly, flooding Europe with refugees could put Europe’s economy in jeopardy. Our economic fates are tied together and are just one aspect of the ways in which our individual existences as powerful political entities are closely connected.

We are Americans. We need to suck it up and stand with our friends.

Note: (According to an article in the NYT on 11/25/15 the Tsarnaev brothers were not in America as refugees. They were granted political asylum.)

By Nancy Brisson

Becoming Kansas Because Democrats are Clueless

When Matt Bevin, Tea Party extremist, won the position of Governor of Kentucky last week the Democrats acted, there is really no good American English word for it, gobsmacked. Have they not been paying attention? What was the strategy of the Democrats (and not just the ones in Kentucky) that led them to believe that there should have been a different outcome?

It is not as if the internet isn’t teeming with articles about the way Republicans have been playing deep – using Koch money to influence local elections. Even here, in the middle of Northeastern NYS, my city is rapidly turning red. Republicans got a virtual unknown elected to replace Dan Maffei in the House even though he was supported by both Bill Clinton and Joe Biden at local rallies (not very well advertised rallies). The tables were turned by a massive TV ad campaign, the new “red state” skew of the local newspaper, and because Americans will not stop listening to FOX News.

I have written at least 10 blog posts on this Republican strategy to win at the state and local level. Here are the particulars:

Still Manipulating the National Agenda, 3/17/2013

Behind the Curtain: Exposing Oz, 5/31/2013

Who’s Zoomin’ Who?, 4/15/2014

Democrats: Wusses or Saviors of our Nation?, 6/19/2014

Heavenly Peace in Washington, DC, 8/31/2014

Will the Left Lose in 2014 Midterms-Most Say Yes, 10/16/2014

No Politics are Local – Republican Mantras, 10/31/2014

One Election Bought and Paid For, 11/2/2014

Divide and Conquer, 12/7/2014

The 2016 Election Conspiracy of the GOP, 2/26/2015

Democrats have never taken the data seriously until now. It may be too late. We might win the Presidency, although with all the tinkering Republicans have done with voter suppression and district lines and polling places and voter ID’s, we might not. Even if we do, however, it will take decades to win back the states.

I don’t condone the ways the Republicans have played the game (with our lives in the balance) and I don’t think the Democrats should try to pay more to buy the 2016 election than the GOP, or that they should suppress Republican votes. These tactics are un-American, un-Democratic, and they treat the American people like pawns. But we certainly needed to put more passion behind our policies and our beliefs. Now it looks like we will have to watch every “red state” turn into Kansas before the American people understand the profound derangement of the right wing in America. The Democrats could start now with a unified strategy to at least try to save us from a decade of “wrongness”.

Bu Nancy Brisson

Should Conservative Talk Radio Hosts Moderate the Next GOP Debate?

Friday, 10/30/2015 the RNC cancelled the next debate with the mainstream media – this time, NBC – relative of CNBC, moderators of the previous debate. The candidates were very unhappy with the way the debate was run contending that they were not taken seriously. The questions, they said, were ‘gotcha’ questions, meant to demean the candidates by suggesting that they were jokes.

While I do not like the policies these extreme Republicans espouse I do think that these debates are meant to help voters hear what each candidate intends to do if they win the way to the White House. Asking someone if they are a cartoon figure is a question that should have no place in a serious debate.

Ted Cruz, who the media claims won the debate by calling attention to the tone of the moderators, said in an interview following the debate that he thinks the next debate should be moderated by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Mark Levin. I find this quite interesting. Whenever I hear guests on news shows mention that Talk Radio might play a role in the voices of the Tea Party and the partisan divide in Congress the media backs off from this topic and waves a hand to indicate ‘erase that’, move on. Of course, not all Talk Radio is right wing so perhaps the term is just inaccurate. At any rate it would be difficult to have these moderators because they have no TV network giving them access to such an expensive undertaking.

And so, although we don’t talk about it much, we all know that Conservative Talk Radio has been stoking white fear, anger, and hate for decades now. Although they moved from radio to TV they did not get to stay on TV for long. Telling white people that they are the true patriots, that America was intended to be a white, Christian nation, that liberal Democrats are actually socialists, or communists who are turning the Federal government into a 1984-style dictatorship controlling every aspect of human behavior has not helped the American dialogue one bit.

These Talk Radio guys had some right on their side. It seems true that Washington, in its supposed zeal to keep Americans safe, was starting to hem people in with some pretty invasive regulations. But these guys blew the dangers of mind control way out of proportion. It would be quite easy to back off on some of the more invasive of the constraints and intrusions like those of the NSA (which actually grew out of the Patriot Acts of the Republican Presidency of George W. Bush).

However, once white people were injected with the fear of obsolescence, the specter of a brown-skinned majority holding sway over the white folks who had perhaps mistreated folks who were not white, many Americas decided that they were not looking forward to changing places and moving to an ‘inferior’ position. These fears may be well-founded or not, but such a cultural flip may not be avoidable and may not entail the retribution people fear. It would take decades of extreme repression and some rabbit-like reproductive moves on the part of white people to keep this change in check, but people used to exploitation and then freedom would not easily allow themselves to suffer a new round of repression. Maybe making nice would be a better approach and since we all have the same DNA would represent a useful leap in cultural evolution.

Anyway, here we are with all these decades of propaganda catching up with the nation and on display every time the giant panel of GOP candidates takes the stage. Did Talk Radio create the Republican base that these Republicans must now answer to or did Tea Party politicians prime the harangues of Talk Radio to create this base which now holds their feet to the fire. Did they create their own Frankenstein monster which they now fear or are they quite happy with their monstrous creation? While income inequality and the lack of rights that help women and the middle class at work seem like much more germane issues for all but the richest Americans we are instead caught up in all these false cultural straw men that cannot be solved in any ways that fit the American Democratic ideals.

Still, it might be informative to watch a Republican debate moderated by the Talk Radio hosts who have gotten very wealthy by peddling their fear and hate. In many rather monstrous ways they personify the American Dream because Americans have never minded scamming their way to the top.

By Nancy Brisson

On Megalomania, America, and the World

It seems that a portion of America is having a crisis of confidence, a self-image slippage. When we see these candidates with huge egos (adjective deliberately chosen) running at the top of the polls it’s a sign. We know what happens to teens with low self-esteem. They are vulnerable to con men and users of every stripe.

These demoralized Americans believe that diplomacy is wimpy and that the only proper role for America is astride a nuke (á la Dr. Strangelove) pointed at anyone who causes trouble. What did that guy say – yahoo, yipee-yi-oh-ki-ay? This could be about pride but it comes off as more about fear – fear that America will be overrun by Muslims, by the Chinese, by the North Koreans, by the Russians (wow, we are beset, aren’t we – it is a little paranoid-making). Surely, looking at this, someone who advocates trying to take a diplomatic approach to calm everyone down makes good sense to some of us and, seemingly, no sense to the rest of us.

Opponents of diplomacy want America to come out large, guns blasting and make sure that other nations know who is in charge, to pistol whip them into some kind of dazed submission that puts star spangled flags in their eyes when they even think of America. Well, to many Americans, this looks more like an Armageddon-WW III scenario that may rage for a century, as opposed to what we have right now, just the small conflagrations that pop up now and then, have to be put out, but are confined to specific areas, so that life in the rest of the world goes on.

There will always be people who get drunk on power and stomp around uncaring about who they stomp on. And they will always raise the ire of people who love freedom because they are enemies of freedom. But after all these centuries of human interaction and after being taunted by power- sick individuals over and over again, after endless wars to subdue men who want to rule the world you would think we would have come up with some better strategies for these megalomaniacs than to drive a few tanks over them (they get back up). People with these personality disorders should not ever be allowed to assume a role of power. They should be defused and their talents redirected early on before it takes half a world to defeat one madman.

People in America, Conservatives, seem to believe that the best way to defeat one megalomaniac is with another. So we have a lineup of egomaniacs running on the Republican side (D. Trump, B. Carson, T. Cruz, C. Christie) and we have free Americans on fire to put themselves under the control of these nuts. But there is no “we” in ego. These guys sound more like they are running for King than for President.

America, because it is a nation run by flawed humans cannot be perfect. We have sometimes done what we thought would be right and we have sometimes done wrong in order to protect our might (although that didn’t always end up well). Right now our President is trying to walk closer to the line of doing what is right – and many Americans are afraid that this will lead us to lose our might. Boots on the ground or be a squish? Are those really our only choices? Yikes! (Stop watching FOX News!)

By Nancy Brisson

On Authenticity, Hillary Clinton, and Ben Carson

I do understand how people question Hillary’s authenticity. Her answers do not sound like they come from a marriage of her heart and her head. They sound like answers from her head only, her political head, which weighs expediency and poll numbers and produces a well-rehearsed sound bite. She is an authentic person who seems phony.

In order to appreciate Hillary you have to review what she has tried to do, what she has done, and what she wants to do. She is a person whose actions speak louder than her words. I saw how nervous she was when she went to China to speak about women’s rights. She entered the jaws of the authoritarian dragon, a society dominated by men for centuries and she spoke to Chinese women. Everyone at that meeting must have felt that there could be repercussions. She has met with women and girls on almost every continent trying to raise awareness of antiquated misogynistic traditions that keep women powerless. She has worked with groups offering micro loans to women who turn a small business into progress, family by family.

If Hillary has done all of this without being President it is fairly easy to believe that, whatever problems she has with sounding authentic, she will faithfully strive to determine what the American people need, to listen to what the American people want, and to make sure to accomplish as much of her agenda, an agenda that while it is somewhat left of center is in no way extreme, and which she believes is our agenda. She tells us that she would like to win bipartisan support, but I am certain that if she cannot move the other party, she will still work to make a strong America.

On the other hand, everyone talks about how authentic Ben Carson sounds. He talks in a calm manner and argues persuasively, if laconically, offering statements that seem both rational and heartfelt. Even when he says outrageous things he quietly and pedantically accuses us of misunderstanding him and of giving his words more drama then intended.

Sunday (10/25/15) on Meet the Press he was questioned about his statement that if the Jews had guns then Hitler would not have been able to round them up and kill them. He, without changing his laid back tone, blows off those who see this as anti-Semitic and says there is no double meaning. (Somehow I cannot see Hillary ever making such a comparison to begin with and I have difficulty seeing that as a bad thing.)

Ben Carson also said that he sees those who fight abortion as being brave activists like the abolitionists who fought slavery. Yet I cannot agree to this analogy. Slaves were snatched from their families as adults and turned into the property of a usually white owner. They were fully formed people with lives and rituals and wives and children. Unborn babies begin as clumps of cells. They have no foothold yet in the world. I believe that those who defend the rights of women to control their own reproductive health are much more similar to those who fought against slavery. And why does Ben Carson go to these extreme analogies except to get attention and display his contempt for our petty powers of reasoning.

The problem is that when Ben Carson tells what he wants to do as President, the American people do not seem to enter into the equation anywhere. He says that he believes all abortion is wrong. He will be the final arbiter. He will overturn Roe v Wade. We could assume that he is a moral authority but there is no proof of that. He does not speak of our government as a democracy. He does not mention the wishes or the needs of the people. He may sound authentic to some but to me he sounds arrogant, a leader for a much more authoritarian nation than ours.

Perhaps Hillary has some areas where her own values will not permit her to follow the majority but I am guessing that Hillary mostly wants an America that offers all its people a comfortable life with opportunities for individual growth and for our nation to prosper. So while she may strike some as phony, her actions and her hopes make her anything but inauthentic.

I would say that exactly the opposite is true of Ben Carson, who speaks softly but has a burning desire to teach the bad, bad American people a lesson, which, one on one, might involve a switch from a willow and a closed room. What good is it to be authentic, if you are authentically wrong?

By Nancy Brisson

What If?

We will never get to see what the results of Obama and the Democratic Party’s liberal agenda would have been if the obstructionists in the Republican Party did not hold the Democrats back. One area where this is true is in the health of America’s economy. We will never see if loosening up on the budget a bit would have allowed business to come back even better than it has since the recession, because the Republicans insisted that the budget needed to be cut and threatened to shut down government unless it was cut. So we see what semi-austerity allowed, but we can’t go back and take that other pathway and see what would have resulted from a little spending, not go-wild spending but careful injections of cash. They might have acted like those cortisone shots people get for their arthritis, but we will never know. Instead we got The Sequester, which as far as I can see has had no positive effects on our economy.

We could have experimented with raising taxes on the wealthiest people and, since corporations are now people, on corporations, and although we did get rid of the Bush tax cuts this just brought back the status quo and was not enough to cause a change in our economy. Would higher taxes have been a shot in the arm our economy needed or would these taxes have made the business climate in America worse as the GOP informed us they would. Since these things are predictions and since the variables we might have examined never included any appreciable tax increases we will never know if America might have done even better in the Obama years than it did.

We could have experimented with some basic gun regulations like registrations of all gun sales with records retained for use by law enforcement. We could have done this for perhaps five years and we would already know the results by now. Did shooters still continue to target people who are either captive in public spaces as in the case of schools or are congregating socially in public places as malls, movie theaters, and churches? But an obdurate group of extremists has managed to convince Americans that President Obama is just waiting to take away all their guns and turn himself into President-for-Life Obama, crushing our 2nd Amendment rights forever. We will be the new Cuba. This is nonsense. Are the perpetrators really frightened (I doubt it) or are they just trying to have their way with the American people regardless of who the President is. (Much more likely)

What about infrastructure? If Obama had been allowed to begin a few infrastructure projects (not Keystone) would that have brought up the employment numbers? Would it have helped move more people into a comfortable financial condition? We have no idea. We did not get to find out.

So when you hear the Republicans blame Obama for America’s slow economic recovery, unless you are totally hypnotized by FOX News and have to get your right wing fix every day, then you must admit that there is some truth to the things I have just talked about. Perhaps instead of saving America by refusing to give Obama (and the American people) a decent allowance the Republicans are actually responsible for some of the atrophy in the America economy. Why would you trust people who want to get rid of the Federal government to mess with the Federal Budget? How small do you want your government to be? These folks still want to end all social programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and they have already made a start on this in their home states. So why would we elect a Republican President and hand them the whole kit and caboodle when we have already been following their policies by default and they have not been working. Think it through and you might agree with some of this.

By Nancy Brisson