Soon-to-be-former President Barack Obama has been busy. He sprints through the final days of his term like a bargain basement, determined to have something significant Trump can’t undo. To that end, the president has devoted last week to bridge-burning with our allies.
It began when a UN resolution was passed that condemned Israeli settlements on the West Bank. The U.S. historically vetoed anti-Israeli bills like these but they didn’t this time. No explanation for the about-face on U.S. policy was given to the public, but Secretary of State John Kerry gave Israel a patronizing lecture that contained a few clues. “You can be Democratic or you can be Jewish, but you cannot be both,” he said. Note: This is the only documented instance of John Kerry saying anything interesting on record. Who cares if it’s nonsense?
Planned talks for a 2-state solution collapsed two years ago, and it didn’t trouble Obama until last week. His refusal to stand by Israel is more likely a byproduct of his icy relationship with Netanyahu.
No bromance here
Trump sent a tweet calling Kerry a traitor and inexplicably referring to him as “the worst import from Vietnam”. He appeared with Don King for a mini-press conference (because why not?), and the boxing promoter waved small U.S. and Israeli flags. Trump said relatively little about Kerry except his speech “spoke for itself.”
The Israeli government responded quickly: “We have ironclad information that the Obama administration really helped push this resolution and helped craft it.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Secretary Kerry of supporting terrorism, which was unfairly harsh. Kerry doesn’t originate ideas or map out strategies. His only skill is reading in grave, statesman-like tones; he probably thinks the West Bank settlement is a condo community in Georgetown.
Seriously, I don’t know anything, but I look a lot like Andrew Jackson.
Grab your smelling salts, everyone. There is no Hillary Clinton campaign. There is, however, a Clintons campaign. Plural. As far as the media is concerned, it’s Bill and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket this year.
I’ve wondered if this is deliberate language on the part of the pro-Clinton forces or the anti-Clinton forces, and I have come to the conclusion it’s both. The pro-Clinton forces (including Mr. and Mrs. Clinton) want to associate Hillary with good approval ratings, a pre-9/11 world, and a budget surplus. The anti-Clinton forces are also down with the pluralization. They think it associates Hillary with lying under oath, renting out the Lincoln bedroom, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
This strategy appears to be pretty darn effective for both parties, with Democrats fondly reminiscing about the swell Days of Bill, while Republicans fume over past hijinx. The problem is that Democrats and Republicans were going to fall in line anyway. They always do. It just cements their feelings.
Independents and undecideds are the only voters who really count. How does Hillary’s transformation into “the Clintons” impact their vote? This is less certain.
What if we detach Hillary from Bill, to the extent possible? It seems to be the fairest way. Why should she be blamed for NAFTA and Monica Lewinsky? Why should she garner credit for the economy of the 1990s?
We should judge her based on her record in the Senate, and moreover as Secretary of State and co-founder of the Clinton Foundation, as these are her most recent roles. If Hillary is judged exclusively on her own words and actions, does that help her or hurt her?
Is Bernie Sanders the Democratic voters’ choice? It’s looking more and more like that might be the case. At minimum, he is tied with Hillary Clinton.
Yet, barring an Act of God, Sanders will not be the Democratic nominee. But how can that be?
The short answer is the Democratic party elites and the media already chose their candidate, even though it means disenfranchising millions of Democratic voters. Democratic Party chair (and long-time Clinton supporter) Debbie Wasserman Schultz was confronted about this. Here she is with an attempted justification:
Forcing a candidate on the public isn’t that hard. The Democratic Party simply came up with the superdelegate system, which is a squirrelly way of ensuring a tiny minority of people outweigh the votes of millions of Democrats.
There are 712 Democratic superdelegates who are just your average former and current U.S. presidents, senators, governors, and the like. They differ from you and me only in that they have more power than the combined total of every voting Democrat in the North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Connecticut, Virginia, and Georgia primaries (approximately 3 million people, per 2012 primary voter turnout data). Put another way:
1 superdelegate vote = 4,073 Democratic votes
The Democratic Establishment claims superdelegates like Senator Harry Reid, Governor Jerry Brown, and Al Gore are totally representative of the average Democrat. And no one knows how superdelegate Bill Clinton will vote. Check out how the superdelegates have voted so far in 2016: