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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Let's talk veep

Let's say that the November race will be a Clinton-v-Trump matchup. That's not an unreasonable prediction at this point. Who should they pick as running mates?

Traditionally, the veep slot should go to a candidate liked by those voters who normally don't gravitate toward the main candidate. Since Trump and Clinton appeal to such radically different segments of the population, the solution is obvious: They should pick each other. Trump/Clinton versus Clinton/Trump. I see no Constitutional problems with this arrangement. This idea aligns with the overall theme of this election season: Let's make America insane again.

Perhaps the candidates are not ready for this sort of creative thinking. Very well. Who should they choose for the vice presidency?

Clinton. The big news here is this open letter signed by many of the heavy hitters in the GOP national security establishment. They've all more-or-less pledged to support Hillary if Trump nabs the nomination. Some of the names are pretty frightening -- Max Boot (whom I detest), Robert Kagan (wasn't he pro-Hillary anyways?), Philip Zelikow (the guy who wrote that weirdly prophetic pre-9/11 piece about the toppling of the World Trade Center), Michael Chertoff (Patriot Act co-author), Niall Ferguson (wants to replace Social Security and Medicare with something more libertarian-friendly), Eliot Cohen (PNAC, smearer of Mearsheimer and Walt, opponent of Chuck Hagel). I could go on, but you get the drift.

The point is: Hillary doesn't have to choose someone who will appeal to the foreign policy Establishment. She has them already. She has, God help us, the Establishment of both parties. And she'll keep their support as long as she keeps finding liberal-ish ways to say things that the neocons want her to say.

(What she will actually do in office may be a different story, but what she must say during the next six months is horrifyingly clear.)

So her veep pick should not be someone approved by the folks who signed that letter. She needs to choose someone who will placate the many Democrats who despise people like Boot, Chertoff, and company. She needs someone who will appeal strongly to the Bernie-ites. She needs to veer left.

The obvious pick: Elizabeth Warren. The obvious drawback: She doesn't want the gig.

Allow this oddball blogger to offer four oddball suggestions: Al Franken, Russ Feingold, Chuck Hagel and Jim Webb.

The case for Franken: He has been a damned good senator, he would do well in a debate, and he could energize the liberal base. Plus, he endorsed Hillary early on, in a characteristically charming fashion.

Feingold is, of course, embroiled in a race to regain his senate seat, and I doubt that he would give up that effort to run on the national ticket. (Technically, he could do both.) So why do I mention Feingold? Because he's a good man, and I've long thought he would make a good president.

Chuck Hagel is a Republican who served in the Obama administration as Secretary of Defense. Okay, I realize that choosing a Republican would be insane, but let's face it: This whole election is a nuthouse. Hagel would further encourage disaffected Republicans to cross over. It's sort of like installing two case fans in your computer system: Donald pushes 'em out, and Chuck would pull 'em in.

But Hagel also appeals to anti-war liberals, precisely because he pisses off guys like Eliot Cohen. The neocons despise Hagel: See here and here. As Robert Reich wrote when Hagel was nominated for the DoD position:
If the neocons in the GOP who brought us the Iraqi war and conjured up “weapons of mass destruction” to justify it are against Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary, Hagel gets bonus points in my book.
Jim Webb: I get the sense that he and Hillary don't like each other all that much. But he has made some noises about running as an independent; offering him the second-tier spot would put the kibosh on that idea. Webb is to Hillary's right on domestic policy, but well to her left on foreign policy. Balance.

As noted above, those are all the wild ideas of a self-confessed oddball. More conventional writers have suggested:

1. Julian Castro, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who would lock up the Latino vote.

2. Freshman Virginia senator Tim Kaine. Personally, I think that the Dems want to keep him where he is, since Virginia is a purple state and Kaine hasn't been in his position very long.

3. Tom Perez has strong liberal credentials. He's the guy best positioned to appeal to the Elizabeth Warren crowd.

4. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is a classic liberal who voted "the right way" on the Authorization of Military Force and on DOMA. Most of all: He would assure the blue-ness of his must-win native state. The problem: Like Warren, he doesn't yearn for the job.

The likeliest pick? Brown, if he can be talked into it.

Trump: When it comes to His Trumpitude's Second Banana -- the Marshall Ney to Trump's Napoleon, the Darth Vader to Trump's Palapatine, the Renfield to Trump's Dracula -- I have a conspiracy theory.

(I've been accused of belittling all conspiracy theories that I did not come up with myself. Guilty as charged! Why should I allow myself to be hornswoggled by some other paranoid doofus when I can just as easily hornswoggle myself?)

Chris Christie has positioned himself to be Trump's inevitable choice for Number Two. Christie may not be the first choice of the Establishmentarians, but they can definitely live with anyone who says -- as Christie has said -- that Iran is a bigger threat than ISIS.

He's also a tough-talking guy from New Jersey -- a state where people understand that sometimes you gotta play rough. 

So that's why you will continue to see Chris Christie -- looking like he just ate a sandwich filled with month-old sardines and year-old mayo -- standing behind Herr Drumpf. Bite your tongue, Chris. Bite it until a thin trickle of blood runs down your chin. Do what it takes, say whatever you need to say, until you get that nomination.

After that, the GOP Powers-That-Be need only find some patsy with three first names.

Yes, it's been a while since anyone had to make a play like that. But I think they remember how to do it. In fact, I'm sure that they now have better ways to do it.

(Note to anyone from the Secret Service who may be reading these words: I'm sure that you understand the difference between speculation and advocacy. I would never advocate violence.)

To the predictable people who insist on writing very predictable comments: Yes, I know that this post contains trigger words. Yes, I know full well how you are programmed to respond when you see those trigger words. Yes, I already know what you will say in response to the suggestion that Hillary may govern in ways not indicated by her present stances (a suggestion I will flesh out in a future post). But don't expect your predictable commentary to be published unless you can find some UNpredictable way to express yourself.

There's only one way I can be sure that you are not a paid troll: Show some creativity.

ADDED NOTE: Do you have any idea how many predictable comments I have had to toss into the garbage can? C'mon, folks. I asked for one small thing: Creativity. I won't print the same-old same-old on the topic of Why Hillary Is Evil. But I will print you if you can manage to give me something original and novel.

For example, you could phrase your Hill-hate in the form of a limerick:

There once was a man-hating shrew
And the thing that she most loved to do
Was to order mass killing
(which she found quite thrilling)
And Bill soiled a dress that was blue.

See? I can do your job better than you can. C'mon, you well-recompensed Hill-hating trolls: Put some EFFORT into it!
I believe the original way the American electoral system worked was that the vice president was the one with the second most votes in the electoral college.

Does that make you a strict constructionist?
Now, this was a fun political post.
I agree with you on all points, specially about Christie.
Stockman. Since I am not Winston Smith, I can not be deleted on non-inventive troll criteria.

WinstonSmith2015 3 hours ago
@Michael Hardesty "The whole current GOP and Buckleyite Conservative establishment needs to go."

BOTH party machines, nothing more than candidate vetting machines which produce an endless series of oligarchy status quo perpetuating candidates that promise everything and deliver nothing, need to go.

People complain that nothing much ever changes no matter who they vote for. Those machines are the reason why. It's absolutely hilarious how the Rep machine is going apoplectic over losing control. The more they scream, the more it's obvious what they're ALL ABOUT. As one commentator on CNN said: "You have the establishment of the Republican party leading an insurrection against their own base voters. It's crazy."

IF Bernie was more of a threat, the Dem machine would be doing the same, but since the Dems are unfortunately voting for the continue-to-get-screwed, status quo machine candidate, that isn't happening.
Chuck Hagel? Interesting.
OK, for the creativity award... Donald "Art of the Deal" Trump, talks Bernie Sanders into a Trump-Sanders ticket, and the two anti-establishment candidates ride a tidal wave of anti-establishment sentiment into the White House.

This is pretty close to Joe's Clinton/Trump or Trump/Clinton ticket, but much more plausible. Trump has said that he and Bernie agree on the problems that face the United States, but only differ on the solutions, and 2016 is probably Bernie's last shot at a job in the executive branch.


Brown would be the obvious choice if it wasn't for the domestic violence accusation in his past. It was almost certainly bogus, but Trump would have a field day with it anytime Hillary tried to "play the woman card." I want Feingold to stay in Wisconsin and win back his seat so that, on the off chance Trump pulls off the unthinkable, he'll be in position to win the 2020 Democratic nomination. Hagel's an excellent suggestion but ain't gonna happen. My money's on either Perez, Castro, or possibly Webb. As for Trump, I'd say his three most likely running mates are Jeff Sessions, Jeff Sessions, and Jeff Sessions.
Christie as Trump's # 2: too fat, not white enough, no regional oomph (NY and NJ next door; no kick for Trumpster).
My pick: Sessions for Trump: pulls southern cracker vote for northeastern billionaire asshole New Yorker FTW.

Hillary: all her obvious running mates (Franken, Kagan, Zielkow, Boot, Chertoff, etc are all way too Hebraic, and she already is identified with billionaire Zionists who have financed her campaign for Israel's interests. She needs an American person of color for running mate in order to pretend that she will represent American citizens: my choice is Russell Means (no wait; he's dead) or former congressperson Cynthia McKinney.

Where were the "Zionists for Hillary" in 2008?
Did Sarah Palin get fired? Her inability to take any responsibility for blaming Obama for her son's behavior in follow up interviews with reporters was stunning to watch. If you haven't seen her arrogant smarm while denying she blamed Obama its worth seeing for anyone who still had doubts about her narcissism and complete lack of humility.
The thing you have to understand about the Clinton's is history. They do remember, and they do not forget. So, if they were strong Obama, forget it.

Of the people you name... none of them. They sound interesting, especially Hagel, but they do not have her back. The Clinton's, and this is dual, don't forget, will not side with someone who does have a history opposite their side. Not on, but opposite. A neutral is OK.

And no, she will not go after the Sanders base candidate, like Warren. They will get behind her because of Trump. That's given. So who?


I can't think of anyone else off hand, but that is the template. A 'purple-state' democrat that appeals to Appalachia Dems & Indys, but who also has cred with the State neocon establishment.

If you can think of this as a quadrant election, Clinton vs Trump. Clinton has the Identity crowd, who are always on the lookout for new Rights for some group of oppressed, selfies included. Trump has the base who want to relive their youth by throwing an anarchist bomb into the establishment by electing an anarchist. That's their bases.

What's left are the spaces held by The Bern and the GOP establishment, the economic screw-job of the middle-class, and the Locke-Neocon-State way of Pentagon-WallSt doing business on a global scale.

Clinton is actually very vulnerable on this market/capital side of things. She is a 1%er that does not have the Trumpian ability to sound like she sides with the pissed off middle class. Plus, she is all about giving voice to grievances and adhering to non-majority political correctness, which white people (the majority still) are sick of hearing about, and would rather hear about economic equality on the global scale (this scales from anti-immigration to anti-freetrade).

Trump is very exposed on the issue of State. Compare him with McCain or Romney or Bush. He's just a disaster. So he has to cede the globalist, and go for the populist instead. Clinton has to cede the populist and go for the globalist state-managed position.

In the end, the only way I see Trump winning is if he reverses a well-established trend, and that would be the expectation that 52-54% of the electorate are women. If Trump gets that to 50-50, he can win; highly doubtful. He would need the states, out of the blue column, of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and possibly New York. On the flip side, I think Clinton might be able to flip Texas.

I have high doubts still that Trump is the nominee. He's not well-positioned going forward.

That link is no longer active. This one should be. Palin Denial about Track and President Obama
Off topic, Joseph, but I hope you don't mind since the factoid is fun. The Syrian Violations Documentation Centre (SVDC) is in Australia, selling the story that Assad (and Assad alone!) has committed human rights abuses. Their website is supposedly managed by one Razan Zeitouna, a human rights lawyer. The LOL bit is Wikipedia records that Ms Razan Zaitouneh (note spelling) was captured by the Army of Islam in Dec 2013, and has not been seen since, presumably dead.

Yet SVDC website mentions nothing of this, nor any atrocities or murders committed by jihadist forces. It mentions only the "victims" of the Assad government and records death statistics on "The Revolution's Martyrs" and "The Regime's Casualties".

"[The victims] also includes all other armed elements of brigades and battalions that do not directly affiliate to the Free Syrian Army's command, and the foreign fighters that are fighting against the regime forces."

Get that. They are recording al Qaeda and other jihadist monsters killed in Syria as "victims" of the Assad regime.

And this group, backed by Amnesty, is in Australia seeking government acceptance of Syrian refugees.

But really.... a political organization whose web manager has been dead for two years, killed by the very jihadists her web site endorses. I've got a feeling Ms Zaitouneh is being used.
So it looks like we may see Jim Webb for Vice President after all.
One of your best Joe. Trust the folks at MoA like it too.
Clinton is a "working 1%" as opposed to the "inherited 1%" like Trump and Mittens. The distinction should be obvious to even us low-information voters. I'll nearly always go with the worker rather than the inheritor, FDR and JFK excepted. Anyway, any of the four candidates proposed will work. I especially like Franken; the only out of state candidate I ever sent money to, but Webb would be the best at pulling in disaffected GOPers and right-wing Hillary Haters, which is how you grow the party. Warren has many supporters but I'm not sure she is the fairy godmother many people think she is. (Uppity Woman has affected my inclinations in that regard.) I would hate to lose Al out of Congress after his landslide victory. Hagel, I'm not sure about, though another name in his vein springs to mind-- Hayden. I like what he said about the military and lawful orders.
Well it definitely won't be Clinton/Webb
So what's wrong with Jon Tester?
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