Monday, June 15, 2015

The "Imaginary Hillary" - Dangerous Waters for Democrats?

The "Imaginary Obama" of 2008

We Have Been Here Before
Set the "way back" machine for 2007.

Recalling the mind set of the Democrats as the 2008 election was approaching, we can remember the almost intoxicating level of hope and relief as the Obama campaign marched into that fateful November. Adding to the natural rush of optimism for the success of a popular candidate was the added ebullience arising from the relief created by finally dislodging his very decidedly dangerous, painful and incompetently brutish predecessor.

However, something almost equally dangerous unfolded as the election drew close and to even greater degree immediately following Obama's first landslide victory.

On the left a flurry of un-examined expectations emerged, even from Americans with enough political maturity, common sense and awareness to know better. Across the electorate there was a breath taking rush to re-image the new President into an almost imaginary character with veins flowing with the inebriating blood of every past notable from Charlemagne to Trotsky. This mass disconnection from reality, while somewhat understandable after what the country had endured for eight years before, grew troublesome in no time. 

For those such as MeanMesa enjoying a bit more perspective from having watched this process for decades it seemed that some unseen force had -- quite unofficially, subconsciously and rather clumsily -- ripped away huge blocks of vital memory from the minds of the population. This would include the memories of American history, high school civics and even the content of speeches made by Obama during the campaign.

Chicago on election night 2008 [image Reuters]
Those still sober enough to read through the first chapters of the reality facing the nation on Inauguration Day encountered in blistering detail the chilling facts of the "depth and breadth" of the damage which had been inflicted. 

The "reasonably pragmatic" among the citizens could find few comforting misconceptions about just how long it would take to recover from the economic, political and reputation "salvage yard" left in the wake of the Bush crime family's destruction and looting, but the "not particularly pragmatic" on the liberal side seemed to be tuning their lutes while packing lunch baskets for the Celebration of Dionysus.

Importantly, however, during this victory speech, President-elect Obama spelled out in very clear terms that he intended to be the President for all Americans -- including the ones who did not vote for him. It turns out that this pledge even included those determined to undermine his Presidency without any regard of what damage their actions would cause the country.

Although this became increasingly awkward once the bone crushing degree of the obsessive racial hatred held by the Confederates in Congress became clearer, Obama largely continued along this path. Those on the far left had "blood in the mouth" appetites for vengeance after what the autocracy had done, while those only a little closer to "mainstream" center left were simply frustrated -- if not tacitly horrified -- with the price being inflicted on a nation already gravely wounded by years of the Bush schemes by the cheap Congressional obstruction.

On the right the meat handed antics ordered by the Owners of the Republican Party were embarrassingly amateurish, but the obstruction slowly began to gain the kind of trailer park traction that only hundreds of millions of oligarch dollars could accomplish. "Things" had happened during the brief Democratic control of the Congress -- "things" which appeared to be separate from the ACA, and "things" which sorely bothered all the billionaires, not just the fat cats whose dynastic fortunes had been so generously fed from the $6 Tn per year "hog trough" of the corporate health insurance racket.

You know, "things" like Dodd-Frank, bank stress testing, Wall Street regulation and a few DOJ excursions into the rancid pit of billionaire favorites: industrial polluting, stock market Ponzi schemes, bribery of Congressmen and regulators and so on.

Like a long festering pimple, the oligarchs' built up cynicism finally over topped the palpable fears which had tormented them temporarily amid the wreckage after George II. "Palpable fears?" Yes, the brighter ones in the looting gangs were quite concerned with the possibility of, shall we say, guillotines, while the simpler minded plutocrats -- those with even less foresight -- were simply pissed at the prospect of no longer being thousands of times richer than almost everyone else. Forever.

A few of "braver ones" among these billionaire "trust fund babies" scratched together enough boldness for a dully predictable "counter attack." Easily over shadowing the million dollars per week dedicated to denigrating the ACA, tens of millions more suddenly "became available" to inundate the basically universally right wing air waves with the dramatic fabrication that Obama had pronounced himself "the Messiah." The anti-Christ crowd experienced an embarrassing, nation wide premature ejaculation.

Although admittedly quite abbreviated, this quick review of recent "electoral history" will probably serve to introduce the next section of this post -- what to expect when Hillary gets "gnawed" by months of the same hundred million dollar treatment.

Hillary Clinton
Expectations, reality and dreaming.

The 2016 American electorate is definitely fractured into "parts." While the suffocatingly hypnotic purification of the reactionary right wing "part" has produced a thoroughly uninteresting monolith decked out in "wall to wall," soporific shades of beige, the varieties of voters inhabiting the "Democratic side" is so large and chaotic as to demand a number of "parts" to represent it.

All this is hardly an entirely academic indulgence, either. The Clinton campaign will need to ration pieces of itself very carefully to appeal to so many of these "parts." Meanwhile, the billionaires will be seeking any possible "issue fracture" large enough to "split off" any segment of this surprisingly diverse electoral demographic. We have already witnessed the "first rounds" being fired over Mrs. Clinton's bow.

After all, the Democrats have just, once again, demonstrated that the Party is anything but monolithic with their well attended defeat of the President's TPP dreams. [MeanMesa suspects that there may be significantly more to this than has, at first, been publicly revealed. It may well be a painful yet premeditated, self-inflicted Obama "strategic sacrifice" to bolster the image of Hillary's independence as perceived in the eyes of some of these Democratic "parts."]

Let's give Hillary's 2016 candidacy the same treatment we gave Obama's 2008 campaign.

Hillary Clinton [image]
On the left this time around we find the various "components" of the Democratic electoral demographic much more crystallized than was the case in 2008. While Barack Obama enjoyed the intoxicating thrust of "not being George Bush II," Hillary is entering a race as the potential successor of a quite successful Democratic predecessor even though millions of forlorn "propaganda victims" have been programmed to disagree.

Statistically, it has been rather dicey for a Presidential candidate to replace a predecessor of the same Party in a bid to take the White House. Although notable exceptions to this rule have occurred with the candidacy of Vice Presidents, even that trend hasn't shown anything like the prospect of being an automatic "shoo in" recently. [Bush I vs. Bill Clinton]

So, let's think about what "parts" of the Democratic Party Hillary will have to persuade, and while we're at it, let's think about what might be required for that persuasion.

The Idealists:

If the idealists in the Democratic Party actually agreed on what "ideal" meant, these voters could become the stalwart "ground troops" capable of hoisting Hillary to success almost by themselves. Instead, the Democratic "dreamers" are pursuing a myriad of "dreams." Most are impatient, wishing that the nation could return to one of its previous, imaginary states of imaginary prosperity over night.

Unhappily, considering the drumming and damage the US has already absorbed from the preliminary stages of the oligarch "coup d'etat," an unsettling certainty about the country's future has emerged: it will be unlike anything in the past.

Hillary will have to propose a credible new structure with credible new goals, albeit somewhat similar to the content of some of those dreams. Typically, idealists are not particularly interested in the "nuts and bolts" involved in accomplishing anything other than what the oligarchs want, and most of them are still presuming that the democracy, the economy and the culture have just been recovering from a "temporary hard time" when, in fact, all three are in intensive care.

The Purists:

The "purists" are a subset of the "idealists" who can be identified as having even more fantastic "dreams" with each "dream" requiring even more imaginary assistance from an imaginary Congress elected by an imaginary electorate. Still, the purists can, actually, be brought into the fold if Hillary can promote the idea that the current situation, although tough, is "temporary."

Purists, generally, are not particularly interested in the "lessons of history." A campaign strategy which occasionally "breaks the surly bonds of Earth" with just enough atmospheric rhetoric to provide an effortless "talking point" for this crowd should do the trick.

The Pragmatists:

Thankfully, very many Democrats are quite reasonable, brown shoe, "feet on the ground" types. In many cases this sensibility is the product of experience. Those who have watched this national political pendulum swing from classism and oligarchy to populism before understand that the speed of the process can be agonizingly slow, building over time with incremental advances even though none of these will appear to be a sufficiently shocking part of the remedy at the time.

It's quite challenging to conduct a political campaign with such slow paced promises.

Hillary's task will be to present the possibility of these small advances in a disciplined, credible manner as part of a political campaign. Her narrative must build an alternate world view when compared to the twisted monstrosity which has been flooding the American airwaves for the decades since Reagan.

There are still Americans -- although not many Democrats -- who, for example, consider "trickle down economics" as quite successful. Additionally, although the vilification of Bill Clinton has recently subsided in favor of attacks on Obama, there remains the matter's unavoidable history -- by 2001 he had managed to stop the free fall of the US economy in no uncertain terms.

Although it may be tricky to graciously "absorb the merits of the husband," this ingredient must become a part of Hillary's campaign recipe. The pragmatists among the Democrats remember this quite fondly.

The Terrified:

Regardless of which one of the GOP candidates the billionaires ultimately decide to bank roll, the Republican brand's "plan" for Social Security and Medicare should be striking terror into every senior in the country without a six digit retirement "nest egg." Likewise, veterans and families of veterans still recovering from the deceptions of the Bush "oil wars" should be shuddering with the daily blather of the bellicose Congressional "nobodies."

An even larger constituent, we must remember, lost 40% of their accrued "lifetime wealth" in a mere two month period under the last Republican President.

Some among these "walking wounded" are merely Stoically disgruntled, but others -- plenty of others -- are understandably terrified that "more of the same" is hanging like the Sword of Damocles on the far side of the 2016 election. The tattered remnants of the American middle class are painfully aware that they cannot withstand another dose of this.

Hillary's campaign must reach out to embrace and reassure every one of these grumbling, yet potentially quite exercised political supporters.

On the right we already see plenty of evidence of the raw beginnings of the usual "character assassination" conducted by a "thousand think tanker cuts" and thirty six barrels of "PR psych-trigger" innuendos. Although the laughably crude "biblical run up" inevitably forming the foundational "burning questions of the day" littering the GOP primaries will be set aside when its usefulness evaporates, Hillary can learn a political lesson from the methods Republicans use to keep these crazies in the fold once the campaign narrative returns to straight ideology and oligarchic looting.

She will need to do something similar to maintain the inertia of the Democratic Party "fringes."

As for the remainder of the very expensively manufactured "Hillary ghosts" so energetically propagated by the right wing's reactionary and curiously obedient, corporate, industrial media holdings, MeanMesa suggests that very little campaign effort need be directed at disputing many of them. Very few voters beyond the lunatic edges of the reactionary media audiences still take them seriously after years of callous repetition.

Presumably the think tank "experts" who talked the frightened billionaires into funding these on-going attacks have long ago received their pink slips. This list of tragically expensive media "near misses" includes pretty much what one would expect, but these days the "stock" scandals are slowly rotting on the shelf at FOX. The lefties were never particularly interested in them, and most of the righties, stumbling around utterly stupefied in the "ideology trance," can't really understand that well why anyone or everyone isn't upset about them.. The "D.O.A." talking points would include:

Hillary's totally legal, totally normal emails while Secretary of State
The second -- or third -- year of House Benghazi hearings
Monica Lewinski
 [Yes, she's still a hot item for the GOP's self-righteous, "saint-like" base.]
and so on.

However, there really are a few items Hillary will have to "neutralize" after the billionaires spend millions promoting them. Further, she should expect that every one of these will not only be crudely "embellished" with every trigger word from "Anti-Christ" to "American Communist," but these presentations themselves will offer very coarsely simplified claims and arguments palatable to the information challenged GOP base voters.

If these are to be countered by her campaign, the vocabulary and rhetoric will need to be "adjusted" to match the political capabilities of this demographic. Beyond the "death of America" levels, there are a few issues which could still hurt Mrs. Clinton's Presidential bid.

1. She can't be trusted.

Although there are never any particulars offered with this criticism, it still seems to generate an unusual political "traction" among the co-dependents, who obsessively fear being duped or humiliated, and who are loath to "place any bank" on their own opinions. [Seriously affected co-dependents easily comprise 50%-60% of the American electorate -- across the board.] The right wing think tanks are piling it on like paint, and aside from its tantalizing effect on the burping and grumbling tea partiers, it also seems to be gaining a troubling degree of traction on some independents and even a few "fickle" Democrats.

[In a conversation with one of MeanMesa's acquaintances, this sentiment was actually expressed as: "I can't trust her because of what she let Bill get away with." We must "open the window widely" to encompass all the incongruous versions of this sort of "justification/explanation" floating around in the country. So must Mrs. Clinton.]

2. She doesn't like the idea of anyone getting rich.

This is a "special" version of the class war narrative we have become so painfully accustomed to in the "rhetoric stream" belching out of the "horribly victimized" right. Mrs. Clinton's character attesting narrative about her humble beginnings will probably only go so far. It is common knowledge that the Clintons have "prospered" since Bill was in office. Their current wealth is estimated at somewhere around $130 Mn. [Washington Post]

While such a figure might seem to separate Mrs. Clinton from more middle class Americans, it actually does so far less than what is encountered on the Republican side. Look at it this way:

There are roughly 310 million Americans. To match the Clinton's estimated wealth of $130 Mn, each one would need to "donate" around forty cents. However, making the same calculation with the estimated" $80 Bn wealth of the Koch brothers, major Owners of the Republican Party, the amount of that "donation" would grow to a little more than $2,500 per man, woman and child. 

Forty cents.

Twenty-five hundred dollars.

That's the difference Hillary must find a way to express to average Americans who might vote for her.

3. She's too close to Wall Street [and other plutocrats -- i.e.  the Saudis]

It isn't possible to govern the country without paying a significant attention to the needs of the billionaires.

We might like to think that there is a way, We might even cite some essentially "imaginary" fundamental incorporated into the founding fathers' overall plan. Neither would particularly matter. This is 2015. The oligarchs have already accomplished 60%-70% of the tasks necessary for their complete take over of the country's economy and government. Outside the US boundaries the situation is even worse.

It's no time to find oneself lost in airy reminiscence about better times in the past.

Hillary will have to leave the part about demonizing stock brokers and bankers to Elizabeth Warren. Once elected, she can certainly help, but during her campaign, she shouldn't intentionally overly  intimidate or infuriate these "masters of the world" types.

As President Hillary will do fine in her dealings with the billionaires. It will be important for her to clearly convey this to voters. The country's voters will greet "Bill Clinton common sense" much more warmly that the screeching diatribe of Joan d' Arc.

MeanMesa is absolutely certain that Hillary's campaign strategists have been eagerly waiting for this analysis so they could get everything started "on the right foot."

No comments:

Post a Comment