Out With the Old, In With the Younger Old
While driving Mrs. JP to the airport yesterday morning (she arrived safe and sound, btw, for anyone who's actually interested or concerned), we had one last face-to-face discussion about politics for a month. I didn't really feel like talking about politics any more than I feel about writing about it these days. But doing so as we were going through Providence, Rhode Island served as a necessary distraction from my having to spend the holidays alone. Eventually I even began to warm up to the subject matter.
Now, the Blogorati with a capital "B" has strenuously ignored what I've been saying for eight years and they'll continue doing so for the next eight if I ever entertained doing this for another eight years. Not one of them has front-paged me in years and exactly zero has blogrolled me because, heavens to Betsy, we can't just blogroll anybody! Think of the public relations fallout, the scandal, the drop off in ad revenue from Newsmax and Republican political campaigns! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to write another "Heh, indeedy"/orchid/late night music video post.
But from time to time, I do manage to sound like someone who doesn't paint murals of Saul Alinsky on the wall with his own fecal matter and yesterday's private prognostications are an example. Granted, this is largely speculation and 1st hour predictions with the 11th hour of the 2016 campaign season still nearly 4 years off. And I think they're well worth sharing. If I'm still doing this thankless shit by '16, it'll be interesting to see if my predictions this year panned out almost as perfectly as my predictions four years ago (in which I'd already pronounced President Obama a two term president as well my grave doubts that he'd divest himself of the fascist, wide-sweeping powers left to him by his "predecessor".).
Somehow, we'd gotten on the subject of Hillary Clinton and whether or not she'll make a run for the presidency since she's resigning as Secretary of State. I said I doubted it and this is why:
Secretary Clinton, by Election Day, will be 69 years old, just a few years younger than John McCain when he ran for the presidency in 2008. Plus, unless she decides to run for the Senate again (which is doubtful, since Chuck Schumer is more deeply entrenched in his seat than the shit stains embedded in Strom Thurmond's old seat, and Sen. Gillibrand just got re-elected to a second term), she'll be politically transparent. She may be a Clinton and may be married to the Big Dog but not having a public national office will severely handicap a bid for the highest elected office in the land.
Nevertheless, part of the Republican establishment fully recognizes what impact a Hillary Clinton campaign would have on whatever psychopath the GOP fields in three and a half years. Newt Gingrich said just recently that if Hillary throws her hat in the Big Ring, the Republicans might as well throw in the towel.
It's a strange 180 for a guy who was once her sworn enemy and seems to have gone in the complete opposite direction of the conspiracy theories regarding the Clintons and Whitewater and Vince Foster's death. Personally, I think Gingrich's already suspect prognostications are a bit premature and give Mrs. Clinton too much preemptive credit. She may have been a great Secretary of State but four years is an eternity in political terms and all that time out of the public eye aside from the scandal sheets can buy a lifetime of obscurity regardless of who her husband is.
So that leaves the question I'd begun asking during the election season: Who's going to succeed Obama? As I'd pointed out, Obama had severely decimated the Democratic ranks in the Senate when he got elected president in 2008 and anyone who thinks it was a mere brain drain ought to have their own brain examined. Obama is a shrewder opportunist than even many liberals give him credit for and, once he got the Oval Office, he immediately began thinking of the potential competition within the ranks in four years. That's why he tapped Clinton to be Secretary of State, Ken "I Cannot Fucking Believe How Much I Love Oil Companies" Salazar as Interior Secretary and, before any of them, longtime presidential aspirant and onetime rival Joe Biden who's already older than most igneous rock.
This essentially guaranteed no Democratic opposition and, in the shortterm, it worked out beautifully for Obama. In the longterm, however, it replaced the vacant seats in the Senate (including his own, the failed sale of which costing Blago his own seat in the Illinois Governor's mansion) with a bunch of seat-warmers who never had the slightest intention of running for actual re-election. While pursuing his own ravenous ambitions to be a corporate fuckstick for Wall Street, Obama could've severely weakened the Democrats' tenuous stronghold in the Senate by plucking out longtime incumbents such as Biden.
The other inevitable question we have to ask ourselves is, who will the Republicans field in three years as Obama's lame-duck final year in office begins and does it even matter?
It certainly does matter. I began asking to deafening silence who Obama will groom to be his successor, a process that isn't exactly a presidential tradition (witness Reagan's final doddering year in office and how oblivious he was to war criminal Poppy Bush's run to succeed him and Clinton's own coolness to Al Gore's campaign in 2000).
Now that Obama's gotten everything he ever wanted, not the least of which being a mandate that's based on the obvious rationale that he no longer has to even pretend to give a flying fuck what the American people want, my observation is that Obama will not care about who succeeds him any more than did All Hat and No Cattle in 2008. So who the Democrats will nominate at their convention is at least as important as who the Republicans will tap at their own.
Which brings us back to the lead picture and the opening sentence of this post. We've seen unmistakable signs of Republicans such as Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan and a few others jockeying for position while pretending the typical American's attention span isn't shorter than a brain-damaged goldfish. If we're to listen to guys like former FreedomWerx founder and ex House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who recently admitted the Republicans had only themselves to blame for losing big on Super Tuesday on account of all the stupid things the GOP establishment let them say and do, then we see the beginning of the GOP's strategy to reinvent itself for the 2016 races.
The 2012 bumper crop of Republican rivals for Obama's office, both in immediate and retrospective terms, was so surreal, it defied either explanation or belief. Between the hot-pricked, eternally clueless Herman Cain, the hot-pricked and virulently Islamophobic Newt Gingrich, 1000 yard-staring Tea Bagger lunatic Michele Bachmann, the 126 year-old racist Ron Paul, nonentity and not sufficiently crazy Jon Huntsman and, last but not least, a vinyl-swaddled game show host like Mitt Romney, who turned out to be the most appealing (or, at minimum, the least offensive) one of the bunch, we got an alternately fascinating yet horrifying year-long look at the mostly-white, racist, willfully ignorant, fear-stoking, exclusive country club underbelly of America.
Most of the DSM V subjects they'd fielded were in their 60's and 70's. It would be naive to think the Republican Party isn't agile enough to do a David Duke just in time for the 2016 race.
Why not? They already got the Brooks Brothers suits. Now all they need is some youth and some unwrinkled faces that aren't perched atop multiple chins and neck wattles. This is where guys like Rubio, Christie, Ryan and Jindal come in, the "young guns" of the GOP who will still have their relative youth working for them, a youth that had abandoned Hillary back when she was First Lady.
Conservative voters are notoriously stupid and willfully ignorant and misinformed. After all, many of them watch Fox "News" and despite a recent "study" by a conservative study group finding that Fox viewers have IQs that are 20 points below the national average of 100 (that would be 80, which is barely above borderline retarded) was exposed as satire, the reason why so many liberals believed it is, like all good satire, because it has at least a grain of truth in it.
And these same little southern strategists, finally free from the black guy who'd been lording his 24" phallus over them over the last eight years, will be only too glad to throw in their lot with some guy who doesn't look or sound crazy and is too young to have shaken hands with Lincoln. Such conservative voters are the same people who fall for the newly-rounded and graphic-designed packaging without once realizing that half gallon of ice cream is now 1.5 litres yet still costs as much, if not more.
And just like food companies who think we're all idiots and won't notice they're cheating the customer in new and creative ways, so conservative voters won't wake up and realize these abovementioned psychopaths who've declared war on their Social Security, their union pensions, their Medicaid and Medicare, everything they need to keep body and soul together will spell their doom. As long as they sound reasonable and don't spout conspiracy theories regarding flouride and light bulbs, tell women what they can or can't do with their bodies and make campaign ads that don't resemble something made by John Ford with an inoperable brain tumor, they'll fall for anything they say. They'd already displayed a breathtaking ignorance of the facts. A third of Republican voters last November still think Obama is a Muslim and in Mississippi (surprise, surprise), over half believed that. Just a little over a week ago, another poll showed that almost half of Republicans polled still think ACORN, which hasn't existed since 2010, stole the election for Obama.
This is in keeping with an entrenched, institutionalized, vehemently-defended ignorance even on the part of our elected officials such as John McCain, who persisted in thinking four years ago that Czechoslovakia hadn't split up into two nations in 1993 and Michele Bachmann claiming that our biggest threat is the Soviet Union that had ceased to exist over a year before that.
So is it really beyond the realm of possibility this ignorance would remain in full force in three or four years when Obama will finally be out of the way?
As with the election season in 2012, it'll all come to down to not who's the most presidential or the best qualified but whoever in the hide-bound Republican Party is the least embarrassing and looks and sounds the least stupid. They thought their Great White Hope was Romney before realizing, only after we'd begun listening to him and his elitist bullshit, that his white steed faithfully led them right into the ditch. And if presidential history teaches us one thing, it's that incompetent nonentities (look at #43) are still certainly capable of getting elected president and winning elections by default if the other party can't field a viable candidate.
Ergo, the question remains: Who will succeed Obama and does it even matter in this post-Citizen's United nation?