Incredibly, There Are Democrats Who Still Believe Schmoozing Is A Bi-Partisan Cure-All | Blog#42

Incredibly, six months into the Trump oligarchy,  there are Democrats who still believe that:

a) A failing of President Obama’s was aloofness,

b) That Clinton would have succeeded where Obama supposedly failed,

c) That Clinton would not have faced an obstructionist Congress and

d) that President Bernie Sanders would have been obstructed.

This intellectual exercise in revisionism took place in the comment section in reply to Maureen Dowd’s latest op-ed, President Trump’s Really Weak Week.

President Obama wasn’t aloof. Anyone who, in retrospect, still can’t see that it didn’t matter whether or not he drank with the enemy, the GOP’s orders from the oligarchy at-large were very precise and strict: there were to be no legislative achievements for the Black president. The GOP House and Senate leadership obliged, quite zealously, from beginning to end, bringing us to the brink of disaster more than a few times, including on the rare occasions when there had been meetings at the White House to try and negotiate. Members of Congress RSVP’d in the negative for White House invitations on more than one occasion when they were invited.

More objectionable than anything, however, is calling Obama aloof. Barack Obama didn’t get himself elected by shunning people or by behaving in a way that is not genuinely heartfelt. Besides, did we call George W. Bush aloof? How about Bill Clinton? Reagan? Nixon? Calling Obama aloof is tinged with racial double-entendre. It is the polite way for whites to designate Obama as “other” in behavior.

The notion that by schmoozing, Hillary Clinton would have charmed Republicans into giving her some slack is ridiculous. First, it is sexist. Second, it presupposes that Clinton would have won a majority in at least one house of Congress.  Given the level of excitement for Clinton’s candidacy for president, in either 2008 or 2016, that presupposition is out of whack with what we knew in real time during both election cycles. Moreover, that kind of view assumes that the oligarchy’s marching orders for McConnell and Ryan would have been less stringent than they were for Obama. Given the long-standing high level of antipathy for the Clintons, that assumption is completely illogical and rooted in an alternative remembrance of the Newt Gingrich years.

After a disaster of an attempt to repeal Obamacare, it appears that Democrats are jockeying for some bi-partisan fixes. Who is jockeying and what political bent will win out within the Democratic caucus? That remains to be seen, as The Hill reports:

“The entrenched position of Ryan and House Republicans presents a strategic dilemma for Democratic leaders, who have said they’ll come to the table with specific ACA fixes only if the Republicans discard their insistence on repeal.

Pelosi and other top Democrats have hailed a series of ACA reforms recently proposed by a small group of centrist New Democrats and conservative-leaning Blue Dogs, but they’ve stopped short of endorsing the package, hoping to keep the pressure on Republicans and highlight the GOP’s struggles as the 2018 elections grow closer.

“We have stood ready with ideas and thoughts about how we can mend or improve the Affordable Care Act,” Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Friday. “So it is really incumbent upon them to come join us and bring us to the table.”

But a growing chorus of Democrats say it’s time to take a more proactive approach and unite behind specific proposals.

“I think the time is now,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). “People are ready to hear about how much is working in the ACA … [and also] to say how we could fix it.”

On Thursday, Larson banded with Reps. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) and Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) to introduce legislation that would allow people ages 50 to 64 to buy in to Medicare — a proposal designed to help a group that’s been hit disproportionately by rising out-of-pocket costs under the ACA.

And the legislative dam appears ready to break.”

Then, with respect to the inclusion of Bernie Sanders in the argument, one can easily argue the inverse. How? The election of Sanders as the Democratic party’s presidential nominee, had the party allowed it, would have given voters a sense that real change is possible within our political system. Such a sense might have breathed new excitement and greater voter enfranchisement, if anything, because Sanders is the kind of candidate who speaks about the need to vote consistently and give candidates the legislative support needed to govern. Would voters have chosen Sanders and voted locally, statewide, and nationwide as they usually do? I am skeptical they would have. A Sanders candidacy would have been so out of the norm that it would have change voter behavior radically. Of course, this is conjecture on my part.

As for “trashing Clinton,” I will remind readers that there is a huge difference between bringing up and expressing dissent with legitimate policy positions as they were expressed by a candidate and their campaign, and making up untruths about what the candidate might have said or written. I engaged in the former – not the latter. I will further remind readers that while we are still engaged in intra-party recriminations while pointing to Russia as the reason for Mrs. Clinton’s loss of an election she should have won handily, the fact remains that whomever it was that supplied WikiLeaks with the DNC and Podesta emails, none of those involved ever claimed the emails were doctored or false in any way. The lack of defense by Clinton and her associates with respect to the material that was published on the one hand, and their refusal to address it head on, on the other hand, is what lost Hillary Clinton the election.

It is interesting to note, however, that this exercise in social media conversing happened in the context of my commentary on media coverage of the news and the level of news savvy the average American is achieving these days, and how there is a lack of uniformity across the media in ensuring that readers are aware of what the Trump administration has been doing quietly, outside of Congress. Politico is doing the nation a great service:

Afraid you are under-informed? Pew Research just published an easy quiz. Most of my readers will ace it, I am sure.

As I was writing my closing comments, an email came in through my blog.

From “Heckler John’s” email”

“If Hillary had been elected, we would have a majority of the Supreme Court, instead of a right-wing, activist Supreme Court for the next 25 years;  we would have a good chance of overturning Citizens United and leaving Ros v. Webb in place; we would be talking about improving healthcare coverage for millions of people, instead of taking it away; we would be on the way to increasing the minimum wage, increasing workers’ rights, civil rights, and voter rights; we would be working on student debt relief and student debt relief; we would be working on increasing taxes on the rich, instead of big tax cuts on the rich; it goes on and on.

I won’t argue on the choice of Supreme Court justices though, I’ve previously written about the dangers of having a neoliberal court, rather than a progressive one.

Overturning Citizens United by a Clinton administration is ignorant as comments go. Democrats have resisted moving left, even as their voters jump ship, precisely because they are unwilling to give up the money donors give them, for the fear of not getting elected. It hasn’t mattered to them that 1,000 legislative seats were lost as voters turned their backs…

Heckler John seems to have forgotten that the entire primary was about healthcare, the minimum wage and student debt. Hillary Clinton was unwilling to bend on those issues and even tried to tell a Brooklyn audience she was for $15 an hour all along.

One of the leaked emails was by one of her staffers quoting her as telling Wall Street bankers about student debt and healthcare that millennials and the progressive left want free stuff. On Social Security, her positions were as problematic. As far as student debt policy of her own, Clinton was proposing to reward only entrepreneurial college students by zeroing out their loans if they started a business.

“In “Clinton’s pledge to forgive student debt of entrepreneurs, not average workers, will benefit the elite,” Salon’s Ben Norton writes:

“”Clinton claims this entrepreneurship policy can benefit “millions of young Americans.” Yet one must ask: Does she really believe that millions of young people will start businesses?

Anyone who has tried starting a business knows it is very difficult, and it more often leads to failure than success. A staggering 90 percent of startups fail.

It defies reason to expect the more than 43 million Americans who have student loans to become entrepreneurs.””

After election 2016, it is patently clear that we need an electorate that is better informed than it is, so it can be more enfranchised than it is, and more picky and questioning when it comes to the candidates it elects or insists on seeing as a part of the parties’ lineups. A lot of people didn’t vote, to Trump’s advantage. The third parties had very little, if any impact.

The media’s constant harping on Russia these last six months is having a detrimental effect as voters don’t have any real sense of how dangerous the Trump administration is with its ability to roll back executive orders and cabinet-level rules, or the effect the regression to a status quo ante will have on all Americans in rather short order. SYMS and Filene’s Basement founder Sy Syms used to say, “an educated consumer is our best customer.” This is a motto the media would be well-advised to adopt as their own.

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