Friday, December 19, 2014

A Bird in the Hand

So Jeb Bush wants to be President. Can't say I'm surprised - I'm pretty sure he believes wholeheartedly that it is his turn. I'm not terribly excited about a Hillary Clinton Presidency, and for the same reason (times a million) I'm really not interested in another Bush. Now let's be very clear - in this potential 90s re-run I would unhesitatingly cast my vote for Ms. Clinton. From a policy standpoint she's no worse than Obama, with a strong likelihood to be more progressive on domestic social and economic justice issues and more hawkish on foreign policy issues, which would make her infinitely preferable to any possible Republican nominee, even Jeb Bush.

And while there's very little standing between Hillary Clinton and the Democratic nomination, I'm quite a bit less sanguine when it comes to Jeb's chances. I know there's talk about Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but I can't see either of them seeing any value in a hopeless and quixotic challenge to the National Democratic Establishment's preference. Even if Hillary fell ill, or was otherwise deterred from making a run, it would very likely be Joe Biden before it would be Elizabeth Warren, and let's be honest, nobody who identifies as a 'Socialist' is ever going to a US Presidential nominee.

But Jeb Bush has a problems at both ends of the political spectrum. The extremist right, represented by Ted Cruz and the Tea Party, have seen the Republican establishment work hard to marginalize far-right candidates in order to ensure the nominee - John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 - was at least something approximating 'electable'. But they both lost, and to the loathed Barak Obama. You can be assured that they will be advancing the case that a 'moderate' Republican can't win (very likely true) so it's time to nominate a right-wing extremist. At the same time, the stench asociated with the 'Bush' political brand on the left end of the political spectrum is not to be underestimated - however you attribute it, the so-called "Bush Derangement Syndrome" is alive and well, just as is its mirror image vs. Obama. There was a time when this situation would have been an advantage for the next Bush, as the conventional wisdom was that national elections were won in the center. But today, there really is no center, and if you have no support from either political wing, you will find in today's polarized political environment, you have very little support at all.

As a personal matter, I find myself deeply uncomfortable with the dynastic evolution of American democracy. It isn't credible that the people best suited to head the American government are once again named either 'Clinton' or 'Bush'. And while it's inarguably true that the '90s were a great time in the US, it's hard to credit the President for the dot com bubble. But the political parties have become as risk-averse as the movie studios, and releasing sequel after sequel seems to them to be the safest path.

Now, outside of a health problem, there is really very little doubt that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. And if I had to bet today, I'd expect Paul Ryan to be the Republican's choice at the convention. He's the right combination of establishment credibility and extremist flim-flam, and the media loves him. And barring something overwhelmingly unexpected - another economic crash or a major war or terrorist attack - we'll have another President Clinton for the next eight years. And, of course, with the Republicans holding a hammerlock on the House of Representatives, we're looking at continued divided government and more of the same kind of non-productive partisan bickering and maneuvering through 2024 - unless the whole creaking edifice collapses under its own unsustainability sometime between now and then.


  1. I hope we at least see a primary challenge from someone...maybe Ohio Senator Sherrod.

    So we might have a discussion about our militaristic foreign policy and bankster-owned domestic policy.

    1. Indeed. Why I would like to see Bernie run. Not because I believe he would have a snowball's chance (he dosen't) but because it might push the Overton Window slightly to the left.

  2. Not to support Mme. Clinton (Hell, my Calif. vote won't matter, I can write in Mickey Mouse.) but the contrast in dynasties is interesting, the Bushes Prescotts & Pierces (Babs' family) having been wealthy, powerful & breeding indiscriminately since the 19th century, & the Clinton dynasty so far only an effed-up once-poor Southern boy & his pseudo-liberal wife from the Chicago suburbs. They are no Kennedys!

    And I don't see Chelsea C. continuing the family biz. (Does she, 'though?)