• author
    • Tom McMasters-Stone

    • February 5, 2016 in Columnists

    Gut check time may be looming…

    And so it begins…

    Iowa has spoken — loudly perhaps, perhaps not. We shall see…

    The other primaries and caucuses are approaching. Hillary and Bernie were neck-and-neck in Iowa and Bernie is leading in New Hampshire. The Canadian won the GOP nod, but The Trumpeter is still amongst the leaders of the gaggle of sheep running to represent the Grand Old Party.

    A Democratic Socialist establishing a juggernaut and getting the attention of the country? Who’da thunk?

    However, the road ahead is treacherous, lest we turn over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to the Draconians.

    Eight years ago, senators were persona non grata amongst the Republican aspirants — Senator Obama wasn’t qualified, we needed somebody with executive experience in order to hit the ground running from Day One — ultimately, of course, in the form of Mitt Romney.

    The governors and “executives” are being shunned this time around, in favor of “new ideas”and “fresh leadership” — the maverick Trump, Senators Cruz and Rubio.

    Jeb Bush has been shortchanged horribly by his handlers and the heir apparent has run a horrendous campaign — to the point where one has to question for whom he was running — himself or the family?

    Chris Christie, particularly post-bridgegate (Thank you, Rachel!) has mostly been an asterisk.

    And Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina have had some brief blips on the radar, but nothing of consequence.

    I have been “watching” Bernie for years, weekly, on the Thom Hartmann radio show, and I love him to death — he, too, has tapped into the search for fresh leadership and new ideas, and has been coming on strong.

    His quest for single-payer healthcare and his indignation over not even having that on the table during the formulation of the ACA are legendary. Yes, it is an uphill battle, with no less than Nancy Pelosi announcing this week that the whole idea is a non-starter.

    Not so fast. If the “Medicaid For All” plan gains no cumulative traction, maybe with some persuasio and perhaps some inducements, might not a President Sanders divide and conquer, and get individual states to take the plunge?


    He wants to break up the banks and is likewise being ridiculed for likely not having the necessary clout in the Congress with which he will be confronted.

    Again, not so fast. Even though Reagan stopped enforcing it, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act is still in effect. That’s right. Remember the Baby Bells after they broke up AT&T? So, what’s a non-starter here is that he does not even need Congress — just a resolute Justice Department.

    Could he pull it off and find a permanent solution, outlasting his presidency? Perhaps. Methinks that the subsequent solution during the break-ups can be found in the construction of the Charters of the new banks. Clause or clauses within that would limit their scope and/or size in perpetuity?

    As I said, Sanders is running on the “change” platform, Hillary as the battle-hardened, progressive pragmatist who will continue parts of the last 8 years, and tweak and/or go beyond when necessary — and suddenly a fan of continuing the fight for “universal healthcare”.

    So, Bernie or Hillary?

    New Hampshire feels the problem acutely right now, because it can be and often has been, pivotal in making or breaking campaigns. It is early, second place, and it is a primary, not a caucus, state. They can change the course, or set it in place more firmly.

    You may be asking, “What exactly is the problem?” and perhaps commenting, “Just vote your conscience!”

    And maybe lose the White House…

    The problem is that Hillary can beat every one of the long list of GOP wannabes — Bernie probably cannot.

    Once alone at the top, Hillary will capture the female vote, and her lagging support amongst young people will increase and solidify — many people see what’s real about her and what’s not, and recognize the character assassination that has dogged the Clintons for years. Many people will want to be a part of electing the first woman POTUS, as they did 8 years ago with the first African-American. I believe it will become a juggernaut and unless there are serious missteps along the way, cannot be stopped.

    And we don’t hate Hillary, stop giving us that bullshit. Many of us just think she is not as good for the country as Bernie would be. She is like Dianne Feinstein, has forgotten from whence she came, her roots, but we will work hard for her if she is the nominee.

    It is clear though, that right now, she is in panic mode to some extent.

    Bernie can beat Trump easily, but it becomes murky after that — Cruz and Rubio will go toe-to-toe with him, and he’s vulnerable among too many shallow voters to their methods — the socialism, the subtle but clever attacks on his age, his dreaming the “impossible” dream.

    The important thing is that one does not destroy the other during this Democratic process, creating cannon fodder for the GOP. It may become critical at some point that the voters recognize the inevitable, if/when when it becomes so, set their consciences aside and vote for the country and not themselves.

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