Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Moving on to the General Election with Ken Starr as an Object Lesson

Hillary Clinton/Jonathan Alcorn/AFP/Getty Images
Presumptive Democratic Party Nominee 2016
The Democratic primary race is over and Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. It's sweet redemption for Hillary, who conceded to Barak Obama in 2008 three days after the last primary, trailing Obama by just 100 pledged delegates and 100 unpledged delegates. 

Today, Clinton has a commanding lead of 850 delegates over Bernie Sanders (324 in pledged delegates and 526 in Superdelegates). Superdelegates, of course, are those 719 current and former elected Democratic officials who may vote for anyone of their choosing at the national party convention, which will be held on July 25-28, 2016 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. 

Back in 2008, had she decided to contest the nomination at the convention, Clinton could have succeeded by peeling just over ~100 Superdelegates away from Obama. This year, Sanders would have to convince ~507 Superdelegates to abandon Clinton. With Clinton having secured 3.7 million more votes than Sanders in this primary and having won nine more contests than Sanders (32 vs. 23), Superdelegates will not switch their allegiance.

Still, in Santa Monica last night, Bernie vowed to fight on. “We understand that our mission is more than defeating Trump, it is transforming the country,” he said. “Next Tuesday we will continue the fight in the last primary in Washington D.C., and then we take our fight for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice to Philadelphia,” he said.

“You Have Already Won”

This morning on his Facebook page, Robert Reich, who has been a strong Bernie supporter, took stock of what Bernie has accomplished, and ever so gently, signaled that it's time to move on:
Dear Bernie: 
I don’t know what you’re going to do from here on, and I’m not going to advise you. You've earned the right to figure out the next steps for your campaign and the movement you have launched.  But let me tell you this: You’ve already succeeded.… [Y]ou won 22 states. And in almost every state – even in those you lost -- you won vast majorities of voters under 30....  You have helped shape the next generation.  ....You did it with small contributions from millions of us. You've shown it can be done without selling your soul or compromising your conviction.  You’ve also inspired millions to get involved in politics -- and to fight the most important and basic of all fights on which all else depends: to reclaim our economy and democracy from the moneyed interests. Your message – about the necessity of single-payer healthcare, free tuition at public universities, a $15 minimum wage, busting up the biggest Wall Street banks, taxing the financial speculation, expanding Social Security, imposing a tax on carbon, and getting big money out of politics – will shape the progressive agenda from here on.... Regardless of what you decide to do now, you have ignited a movement that will fight onward. We will fight to put more progressives into the House and Senate. We will fight at the state level. We will organize for the 2020 presidential election. We will not succumb to cynicism. We are in it for the long haul. We will never give up.
Thank you, Bernie.
It’s the gentlest and most positive of nudges directed at Bernie's supporters that it’s time to move on with the general election. 

Many of Bernie's supporters, however, are not ready to move on. In my Facebook feed people are saying that polling shows Sanders polls better against Trump than Hillary--suggesting that is reason for Superdelegates to switch their votes.  In my Facebook feed people are saying Hillary is corrupt, that she has cheated her way to the nomination, that she is a hawk and terrible for the environment. And her husband is a sexual predator. They embrace all the dirt that Republicans have thrown at the Clintons for 30 years now. They fantasize that maybe Hillary will be indicted and Bernie, even after losing the primary, will get to be the standard bearer.  

Don't hold your breath. Jim Schutze puts it all in context for us.

History Lesson: Ken Starr was a Hypocrite

A week ago Jim Schutze reflected on the irony come full circle that Ken Starr was just suspended from his post at Baylor University for mishandling a serial rape crisis involving the Baylor football team. It points to a lesson Bernie Supporter haters of Hillary should take to heart. 

Here is Jim Schutze at the Dallas Observer with the smackdown :
Up until last weekend, Starr was president of Baylor University, a conservative Baptist school in Waco with an enrollment just under 17,000. Starr was “demoted” by Baylor  regents in a messy, fumbled, panicky-seeming attempt to get rid of him as president.

His removal as president was the result of an independent audit by a law firm, just out, lambasting his regime at Baylor for the way it handled a serial rape crisis of several years duration. .... The regents also announced that Baylor football coach Art Briles has been “suspended with intention to terminate.”... Briles is a very big deal in the world of football. He took a losing, lackluster team and turned it into a powerhouse, at the cost (of) recruiting rapists to help get the job done....
The law firm hired by Baylor to investigate the serial rape crisis at Baylor produced a report that .... (earned) the university scorching condemnation from advocates for rape victims. Annette Burrhus-Clay, executive director of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Baylor had created a culture in which, “one can rape with impunity.” ....

And there you have it, really. Football is just in it. At Starr’s Baylor, the underlying question — the question no one was dumb enough to speak out loud — was whether having a winning football team may not have been almost worth a few rapes, and, if it was, didn’t Baylor have to cover up the rapes by persecuting the victims? For the football, you see.
And here, all you Bernie supporting Hillary haters, listen up:
Even this staggering enormity — this awful moral debacle taken on its own without any reference to Starr — would not have earned Baylor the special wrath that history must bring to it because Ken Starr is at the center. Starr, after all, was at the center and beginning of the entire cycle of American history that we find ourselves stuck in now. The trumped-up scandal, argument by vilification, staggering hypocrisy about private sexual conduct: all of this dreck we are drowning in today started with Starr.

... In 1993 a three-judge federal panel appointed Robert B. Fiske, a moderate Republican, to investigate "Whitewater,"an Arkansas real estate deal in which newly elected President Bill Clinton and his wife had invested a decade before taking office. Fiske investigated for six months, found no evidence of wrong-doing and closed the investigation.

Frustrated conservatives in Congress denounced the Fiske investigation and used special legislation to reopen it, this time with Starr at the helm as independent counsel. Starr found no wrongdoing in Whitewater, either, but made great hay politically by expanding the investigation into a running probe of President Clinton’s sex life, replete with strategically timed leaks of salacious details.

As an absolute hallmark and signature of this kind of sexual witch-hunting — the sort of thing we all know we must brace ourselves for if Trump gets elected — the campaign to take down Bill Clinton over his sex life was positively resplendent with hypocrisy on the part of his attackers. Of course.

Henry Hyde, Republican of Illinois, who as House Judiciary Committee chairman was a leader of the drive to impeach Clinton, was outted for his own philandering. Weeks before impeachment hearings were to begin, House speaker and conservative darling Newt Gingrich had to step down because he got caught in serial affairs.

Gingrich was replaced as speaker by Bob Livingstone, Republican of Louisiana, who later announced he was resigning from Congress because he, too, had been caught having an affair.

But, no worries. Livingstone was replaced by Dennis Hastert, Republican of Illinois, a good, solid, middle American type whom we now know to have been a serial child molester.

So what was the glue in all of this? Was this a string of wild coincidences that no Hollywood studio would have accepted as the plot for a movie? No. There were no coincidences. These were hard-wired consequences, the grand finale of which is what just happened to Starr.

Sexual witch-hunters always — always — turn out to have sexual skeletons in their own closets. The ranting homophobic preacher always gets caught taking rent-boys through the turnstiles in some airport. It is in their nature.

Sexual take-downs always proceed from some other take-down attempt that failed. Nobody even thinks of it — the light bulb does not come on — until after the attempt to take down the target on some legitimately public issue has failed. That’s when people think of this stuff, and the agents who come forward and volunteer for it, drawn like rats to carrion, are always people hiding their own secrets by attacking others for the same thing. How many times do we have to see this show?

What would we have lost had Bill Clinton stepped down from office because he was being investigated? We would have lost an entire decade of solid, sensible well-being in this country, an era that laid down the road-map for the solid commonsense recovery we have seen under President Obama. Taken together these two administrations point to a path for a better future based on moderation, mutual respect, tolerance and intelligence.

Who knew that would work? What a surprise, that the keys to the kingdom have turned out not to be accusation, invective and invasion of privacy.

In this long arc of history, the rape crisis at Baylor was almost an inevitability. The disregard for victims at Baylor wasn’t some kind of oversight. It wasn’t merely callous. It was sick. What kind of adult looks into the beseeching face of a young victim who could be his or her own daughter and decides that football is more important?

The Ken Starr kind. The same kind that went after the Clintons, first on trumped up public charges, then for sex. It’s this very cycle of history, coming back to take Starr down at last, that Baylor missed seeing over its shoulder and now is bumbling and stumbling in panic to evade.

Come on, Bernie supporters. You already knew all this. You didn’t miss school that day, I know. You know why Hillary won’t step down over the stupid ginned-up email thing. When they can’t get her for email, they’ll go straight to sex. Oh, well, come to think of it, they’re already doing that, are they not?

What kind of odds can you give me, if I want to bet that Trump will be outted in some gigantic, totally laughable act of hypocrisy? You won’t even take that bet? Yeah. See what I mean.
With respect to the email server, Clinton violated no law in setting up her server. Colin Powell maintained a private email account and received some classified information on it. Condoleezza Rice's senior staffers also received classified information on private email accounts. On emails there is no There there. The same is true for every other "scandal" Republican Hillary haters have trumped up over the years:  Whitewater, the Vince Foster Suicide, Travelgate, Filegate. Troopergate, Benghazigate, Humagate, Foundationgate. Here is Kevin Drum. I have taken exception to Hillary's tour on the speaker circuit. It's emblematic of an honorarium problem in politics, I said. But this is not a problem unique to Hillary, and there is nothing illegal about it, even if this activity should be regulated.

Hillary has been found to be more of a truth teller than Bernie. She is fundamentally honest and trustworthy says Jill Abramson.

It's time to get on the Hillary bus; it's time to dump Drumpf.

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