FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bad News from New Hampshire

 

The news from the “Live Free or Die” state was bad. It was bad for peace and the anti-war movement (such as it is), and it was bad for progressives and progressive issues in general.

The two candidates who won, John McCain on the Republican side, and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, are both fervent supporters of the Iraq War and of American militarism. Clinton talks of permanent US bases in Iraq. McCain says the US will be in Iraq for a century. What could the voters in New Hampshire be thinking?

As for progressives and progressive issues, there are two problems. One is that Hillary Clinton is no progressive. Like her wayward husband Bill, she is a “triangulator” who will betray every item on the liberal Democratic agenda, in the unlikely event that she ends up in the White House. The whole Clintonian project has been to talk like a liberal while cutting deals with Republicans that destroy any prospects for progressive change. Healthcare reform? Keep it in the hands of the insurance industry. Crime? Build more prisons, keep the death penalty machine running, and make it harder for criminals to appeal their railroaded convictions. Abortion rights? Only if you have money and can pay for one yourself. Global warming? Tokenism and nuclear power. Jobs? Go back to school and retrain-we need free trade. International crisis? Bomb it.

Fortunately, there is little or no chance that Hillary Clinton will ever be president. She may succeed through massive spending of her corporate dowry of campaign bribes to win the nomination, but she will never manage to win over the necessary independents to beat whoever the Republicans manage to put up as their presidential candidate-probably John McCain or Mike Huckabee. That means we won’t have to endure more progressive betrayal, but it does mean four, or even eight more years of a Republican White House.

Almost just as depressing is the fact that we are now going to have to endure almost two months, at least, of truly inane campaigning on the empty themes of “hope” and “change.”

I thought we’d seen the nadir of empty campaign sloganeering when I heard Gen. Wesley Clark announce his candidacy for the presidency back in 2003 in what sounded for all the world like a parody of a stupid candidate speech: We need to “move this country forward, not back”, “we’re going to march forward,” and “we’re moving out.”). But between Clinton and Obama, with their “change” and “hope” themes, we’ve reached an even greater depth of vacuity.

And yet the crowds cheer and the voters vote.

I actually heard one young voter tell a TV reporter that she had decided on her primary choice by going to an on-line site where she could select her positions on various issues, and be told which candidate best matched her preferences. On-line presidential candidate dating.

` The New Hampshire primary took place in unseasonable 65-degree heat, a reminder that there is a huge issue facing us, which the candidates aren’t even talking about. There’s also a brutal war on, but that, according to exit polls, wasn’t on New Hampshire primary voters’ minds either. Never mind that the $2 trillion already committed to that stupid and criminal conflict, and the trillions of dollars that is spent annually around the world on war and planning for war.

What was on their minds apparently was Hillary’s probably carefully scripted tearful moment and John McCain’s artfully manufactured and illusory image as a “straight talker.” (Listen to McCain snuggling up to Bush at the 2004 GOP Convention and say “straight talker” with a straight face.)

A fellow from Vermont, Dennis Morrisseau, wrote me yesterday to suggest that we should rewrite the Constitution (why not? It’s being ignored almost completely now anyhow) to make members of Congress, not elected, but rather drafted at random the way we choose juries. This sounds like a great idea to me. Juries are highly regarded for giving us good results and for exhibiting the wisdom of the common people. We could use some of that these days, and it’s painfully obvious that a random selection of 435 average American citizens would be a damn sight better at running the country than the group we elect through our current process of corporate-funded campaigns. But I’d go Morrisseau one further. We should also choose our presidents by random lottery. Those who are selected for all of these federal offices should be paid handsomely, and then, at the end of one term, whether in Congress or in the White House, they should be sent back home, maybe with a small pension, or with unemployment compensation that could run for a few years to let them put their old lives back together.

For now, we’re stuck with this dreadful election process, where the ability to raise corporate cash (private money, as Ron Paul has discovered, doesn’t count) determines whether you get corporate media coverage, and where voters seem to think they’re casting ballots for an American Idol winner, not someone to rule them and the country for the next four years.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail