Friday, March 31, 2023

There Are Two Americas

     When John Edwards was running for president in his 2004 presidential bid, he'd delivered a famous speech called, "2 Americas". The then-South Carolina Senator was running for president against Kerry and others and this December 29 speech in Des Moines propelled him to the top of the polls. The effect was similar to Hubert Humphrey's speech in Utah in 1968 (.pdf file) in which he came out against the Vietnam War. He had found just the right words at just the right time and people responded.
     But Kerry won the nomination in Boston and Edwards, who was seen as an instrument to help Kerry in the South where Democrats fare poorly, wound up on the underside of that ticket. It didn't matter much to people at the time that Edwards had shamelessly cribbed the phrase and concept of "Two Americas" from Dr. Martin Luther King. Edwards said it, people believed it, that settled it.
     But then a funny thing happened on the way to the White House. The story broke that Edwards had engaged in a hush money scheme regarding an affair he'd had. He was eventually indicted on six charges. The grand jury found him innocent of one and couldn't reach a decision on the other five. The judge declared a hung jury and the DOJ refused to relitigate it.
     Edwards could've faced up to 30 years in prison and hit with a $1.5 fine. It's not clear if the six count indictment sank Kerry's campaign. Kerry lost the popular vote but he was running against an incumbent. Well, that and the Swiftboat Veterans for "Truth".
     But the plain fact was, Edwards very likely committed campaign finance violations in paying off his own paramour with hush money and, back then, Republicans were feigning apoplexy that this man could wind up in the Naval Observatory. It was one of the most stunning falls of grace in the annals of American political history. Edwards hasn't ventured into politics since.
     The Republican hypocrisy in light of Donald Trump's own indictment on similar charges is astounding but not unexpected or shocking. Both men committed their moral transgressions at very inopportune times. Melania was carrying Trump's child and Elizabeth Edwards was dying of cancer. But to hear Republicans talk these days, what's going on with Trump in the Manhattan DA's office is nothing short of a political hatchet job or, to use Trump's preferred phrase, "a witch hint".
     And there's your Two Americas. The kind that comes down like a ton of bricks on people like Joe Biden for plagiarism (1988), Gary Hart for an extramarital affair (also 1988) or any other Democrat who ever got railroaded on chickenshit charges. So, if you're wondering how a political nonentity like George HW Bush got elected president and why the Democrats couldn't find anyone better than Michael Dukakis, wonder no more. And Dukakis got crushed like a used Dixie cup because he climbed into that tank.
     When you consider how Republicans succeed, in heavily gerrymandered Congressional districts and the usual vote caging and other dirty tricks used by Republicans in Senate and presidential races, when you see the vast inferiority of the Republicans who, somehow, prevail, it all starts to make sense. Nothing about 2004 made sense. Draft dodger vs Vietnam War vet. The draft dodger "wins" when the veteran's courage and valor was called into question. There was a hue and a cry and that was it. No one went down for it. No one seriously challenged the strangeness of J. Kenneth Blackwell and, before him, Katherine Harris being allowed to press their thumbs on the scales.
     But Joe Biden in 2020? No, he didn't win. He stole it. It was the Italians and their satellites. It was the Venezuelans and the rotting corpse of Hugo Chavez. It was two black women in Atlanta and food trucks!
     And the media are equally complicit. The media seem to think it's simply sexier when Democrats get mired in scandals, especially when they're sex scandals. All we ever hear about is JFK's peccadilloes while hearing far less about the equal moral and sexual turpitude of the Eisenhower administration. That's why the media made such a big deal about Biden's plagiarism and Hart's affair while shrugging and having no appetite to seriously investigate the strangeness of George W. Bush's "elections" in 2000 and 2004.
     However, this time around, it's different. The press is absolutely breathless in the wake of Trump's indictment because it marks the first time in American history that a former Commander in Chief has been indicted on criminal charges. Not only that, but 34 of them. But it's more than just the historical uniqueness.
     Unlike Edwards, who was never accused of rape or insurrection or stealing government documents, there's a sense that the fat man is finally going to fall after being essentially a one man crime wave since he was in his 20s. From the time he and his father were found 1973 to have discriminated against African Americans seeking to rent their properties to the Trump Org being found guilty of 17 counts of fraud, Trump has always seemed to be made of Teflon.
     But the walls are closing in and he knows it as well as us. When he's arraigned on Tuesday, he'll, of course, try to control the optics of walking into the police station for booking and walking into the court house. He'll mug for the cameras, ball up his tiny little hands into tiny little fists of defiance and smile for whatever few supporters that would be bothered to show up.
     Alvin Bragg's grand jury's 34 charges may or may not bear fruit. But this is just the beginning and, with Trump's indictment, others could quickly follow in a judicial avalanche. There's Jack Smith's investigation in DC, Fani Willis' own in Fulton County, Georgia and Letitia James, as always, looms in the wings.
     Yet, the bias remains. No, no one should be above the law. But we and the MSM need to get over this persistent, pernicious bias that says Democrats should be lower hanging fruit than Republicans, especially in light of the fact that Republicans are far more susceptible to crime than Democrats.


At April 1, 2023 at 11:24 PM, Anonymous CC said...

So Dukakis got blasted for putting on a helmet and riding a tank, while Bush the Lesser somehow looked like a commander-in-chief 15 years later for hopping out of a jet in a jump suit and helmet, as if he'd just returned from combat, before signaling, "Mission Accomplished!"

One of these guys actually served in the military, while the other got a cushy "air militia" position from which he went AWOL much of the time.

Two Americas indeed.

At April 3, 2023 at 12:16 AM, Blogger Stan B. said...

And let's not forget the Howard Dean Scream!

That said, just hope to god this true- The Wooden Stake To The Heart:


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