Every Wednesday evening at 10 ET, ABC broadcasts its last prime time show, a one hour country soaper called Nashville. It has a barrel of convoluted scripts, a zigzag story line and actors and actresses who are good at what they do and can sing to boot. And nobody watches. Nashville has rented permanent space in the basement of TV’s overall network ratings and the precious 18-49 demographic. Most weeks, all other network offerings, clean Nashville’s clock.
The political version of Nashville is Martin O’Malley. His script is consistent, intelligent and would be good for America, a country that politically has declined to fourth-world status. If you watched CNN’s somewhat bizarre Tuesday night debate, you know of what I speak.
“Moderator” Anderson Cooper asked virtually all the questions. The “panelists”, highly experienced Dana Bash and Juan Carlos Lopez, might as well have gone out for pizza for all the input they had into the debate. They were rarely called upon. CNN made a big deal of questions from the average Joe and Jill submitted to CNN Facebook…you know, Main Street voters, suddenly thrust into the limelight with inquiries of the candidates. Over a two-hour period, there were 3 or 4 such questions from representatives of the entire population.
It was odd.
Hillary Clinton was defensive and privileged, extending just about all of her answers. On occasion she took what seemed twice the allotted time for responses, over Cooper’s entreaties to stop robbing the other candidates, who basically followed the rules of the time provided to explain and, where appropriate, defend themselves. Though Clinton is one of my final two choices, it was unfair and annoying.
Bernie Sanders was energetic and assertive, and, as much as I hate to say it, looking old. If elected for two full terms, he’ll be well over 80. He was born September 8, 1941. There were signs of the aging process taking hold as he spoke. No question he’s got plenty left in the tank, but sudden catastrophic health events often arise within Bernie’s biological time frame.
I’d have no problem voting for Bernie, I’d just hope his VP choice would be intensely vetted, experienced and at least slightly younger.
There’s really little to say about Virginia’s Jim Webb’s debate appearance. A Naval Academy grad, he’s an oft-decorated retired Marine, still longing for the life. Along with certain family members, he has served his country bravely and well. He still seems to want to suit up for battle, as evidenced in his response to the question of which enemy he was proudest to have. Without hesitation it was the combatant who injured him with a grenade in Viet Nam. He made it clear that the guy wasn’t around to talk to as Webb did what you do in war. There still seemed to be plenty of bloodlust in the old boy yet. Just the guy we need to make decisions on war as opposed to negotiations.
I expected much more from an author of ten books and Emmy winner, among his other non-military accomplishments.
In terms of foreign policy, Webb, also a former U.S. Senator, would be a much better fit in the Republican debates. Many of his bona fides track back to the military as Reagan’s Navy Secretary and as the author of the laudable post-9/11 GI Bill. He rightfully beefed about being left as an ignored island, on the right flank of the debate podium line. Webb then took up much of his time when occasionally called upon, complaining about it. He did affectionately reference his latest wife. Third time’s a charm, I guess.
Lincoln Chafee, another former senator and most recently, governor of Rhode Island, was once a Republican, but clearly liberal enough to decide the Democrats would provide a more comfortable and appropriate home. He’s a pleasant guy with little of the charisma demanded of today’s high-profile candidates for the office of president.
Chafee once challenged credibility of an issue with Clinton. When asked if she wanted to respond, she gave a chilly response of “no.” That seemed just fine with an approving audience. Chafee’s core issue was that over a nearly 30-year public service span, he’s never had a scandal. He means it when he says, “I am not a crook.” Not a president either, I fear, though he assured the audience in his opening statement that he had experience, character and a vision for the future.
You could easily tell the Anderson Cooper pecking order of importance. It was far and away a Hillary-centric debate, followed by Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Chafee and Webb. And that’s probably where they’ll stand in subsequent national polls, though I’d like to give Webb one more chance. That is not to say that I agree with the national pundits, most of them awarding the debate win to Clinton like good little pundits. I give Clinton a statistical tie with O’Malley.
Bernie is a wonderful, feel-good populist who abhors corruption, Wall Street and the “Citizens United” obscenity. He’s convinced that the country is in the midst of an “unprecedented crisis.” He also pointed out that he takes no big PAC money, but already has 650,000 citizen contributors. He prefers $30 in clean money as opposed to the billions of dirty dollars out there. And that sells, especially with young people.
O’Malley pointed out that 70% of workers are earning the same or less than a dozen years ago. O’Malley is big on climate change as well and brought a number of progressive changes to his Maryland governorship. He was also the former mayor of Baltimore.
Barring the discovery of emails to the devil, Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for president. Here’s what you’ll get policy-wise: A President Hillary will push investments in infrastructure, clean energy, an increase in the minimum wage and profit-sharing between companies and workers. She’ll make the tax system “fair” meaning tax cuts for the middle-class while the wealthy pay their “fair share.” I would have liked more details of her definition of “fair share.” She’s always wanted equal pay for women and paid family leave will be an important plank in her platform. She closed her opening remarks by visualizing a father saying to a daughter, “You too can grow up to be president.”
Her first question was a challenge to explain why she changed her strong support of the Trans Pacific Partnership to opposition to TPP. She was asked if she made the move simply to get elected. Her response was “I absorb your information and listen to you. I finally negotiated the agreement last week and it didn’t meet my standards.” To imagine, for even a second, Clinton wasn’t privy to every step of the Multi-national corporate rubbish of TPP with its destructive intellectual property, arbitration, medical costs and environmental provisions, among others, is ludicrous. The core of TPP was negotiated while she was Secretary of State. Her pitiful TPP pivot was purely political.
But Hillary Clinton is the only hope for a viable Democratic Party, warts and all.
Raised rural & small town, then lived in N.Y., Chicago & LA. Widely traveled. Returned from world wandering to pursue media life of anchorman/reporter and major, medium and small market talk radio. Highly active in politics. Once worked as orderly & security in Mens Lock Ward for the Criminally Insane at a state institution. Much more rational population than current Teapublicans. Great concern for country run by and for the extreme wealthy. The inhumane current running through this country has no precedent in modern history.
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