Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Rematch Remix

Today is Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024. I was working on this before my life imploded. Maybe some of this will still make sense...

Now that we're almost done with January February with a few days left in Black History Month and you've barely heard from me in months (more on that later), why don't I try to keep some momentum going by wading into other people's politics? This year is sure to be a clusterfuck thanks to the inevitable rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. I mean, let's not pretend that either of the remaining candidates running on the GOP side have a snowball's chance in hell of prevailing against the avalanche that is The Donald; and let's accept the fact that we're not getting an alternative choice on the Democratic side either (we're riding in that station wagon with Ol' Joe). Thus, in the words of Aaron Burr to Alexander Hamilton in the Ten Duel Commandments, okay so we're doing this.

Now, I should admit that I started writing this piece last month before the New Hampshire primary when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was still in the mix. Well now that we know how that went for him, and that former Ambassador Nikki Haley is poised to continue her multi-state losing streak, including her home state of South Carolina, it won't matter if I don't finish this until March because I predict nothing will change. Back in January, there were still a few other Democratic challengers, namely Marianne Williamson and Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), as well as a couple of "independents" and explorers. I'm not sure what's going on with Dr. Cornel West, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) opted not to run, so we're left with Philips (who is an op) and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. whose own family refuses to endorse, so what's that about?

In the words of the late Yogi Berra, it's like deja vu all over again.

I don't really have many qualms about that because I'm one of those Democrats who never gets polled, and apparently my readership doesn't include any of the worried anonymous sources that have expressed private misgivings about the 2024 ticket. That doesn't mean that I'm not concerned about a rematch because I am, just not for the reasons that keep getting all of the oxygen in the news. I am not worried about Biden's age. I am not all that concerned that Trump is two years younger. Two old white guys duking it out for the hardest job in the world isn't must-see TV like a heavyweight prize fight, because nobody is paying to see George Forman fight Larry Holmes.

If anything, this will be like watching the Final Showcase on the Price is Right. We want to see which contestant will win: the old guy who's bidding on the RV and the cross-country vacation or the old guy who is bidding on a house-full of new appliances. If I had to bid on either of those showcases, I would have passed on one and intentionally overbid on the other. I'm sure that somebody out there needs a new Maytag dryer or a place to stay when they are driving through the desert. Just not me.

However, let's pretend that this a metaphorical choice between what might be a fantasy trip of a lifetime or the kind of practical stuff one needs at home. Described in that manner, I am going with the appliances because I imagine the third ring of Hell would be three weeks in a mobile home with my family. Surviving the pandemic with them was A LOT. I wouldn't want a repeat of that experience, not even if you paid me. Besides, upon further consideration, while all of my current household appliances work just fine right now, I could live with an upgrade. Or I could give something away. I can't imagine what I would do with an RV, where I would keep it, or how much it would cost to maintain. I live in the city, so a big motor home feels like it would become an attractive nuisance...a magnet for all kinds of untold foolishness.

Metaphorically speaking then, I think you know which candidate involves a new refrigerator and which one reminds me of Shazam.

Speaking of old childhood nostalgia, when I began drafting this piece (in January), I was thinking of The Wizard of Oz and how Nikki Haley kept giving me Cowardly Lion vibes. My initial thought was to write a Dear Nikki, put up your dukes and fight back pep talk because it felt like she was trying way too hard not to call Trump out on his racism. Well, I don't need to write that since it seems that she got a fake medal of courage from some GOP donors who seem content to keep burning money to keep this "fight" going for a few more weeks. She has taken some pointed jabs at Trump and maybe a few of them have landed. The problem is that he's not showing any signs of being hit (unless his increasingly bizarre rallies and rambling campaign speeches just happen to sound like he's an old punch-drunk fighter). 

However, to the extent that I am still a little frustrated on her behalf even as I remain deeply mistrustful of her, I wish she could have been more competitive. I wish that on both sides we had not fallen back into this pattern of placing our trust in the old white grandpa because they are the reason why we are in this mess. There is an undercurrent of thinking that the country (and the world) was better off when Big Daddy ran everything, and we all served at his beck and call. Think about it--we had the most diverse bench of candidates on the Democratic side in 2020 and still ended up with Uncle Joe who came out of retirement (but never left his basement) to run. Back in 2016, the Republicans also had a pretty diverse field until they coalesced around their Great White Hope. 

It's as if we're trying to decide between competing retro TV marathons of Father Knows Best or Leave It to Beaver.

If I were Haley, I would be pissed that in spite of her College Republican Corresponding Secretary perfectionism, they still don't trust her enough to do anything other than take notes or collect the money at the door. She can't win the election for President because, and this has to really cut deep, they would rather go with the convicted rapist who might be headed to jail. There isn't even the slightest chance that she would have been his Vice President because the Karens aren't going to allow that. So much for being the Model Minority...

Yeah, I said it because this is a multi-layered s/hit job that's happening here. Nikki Haley is more qualified than all of the other names on his short-list, yet she would be passed over for the it-girl Governor of South Dakota with her measly three electoral votes; an insurrectionist from New York who can't even help Trump win his home state; an overly ambitious two-term Congressman from Florida; the guy Haley hand-picked to serve South Carolina in the Senate; the Hydra from Hawaii; and a charismatic idiot who is an obsequious kiss-ass. I even saw where Sarah Palin's name was in the mix. And given how much more qualified than the others she is for the Vice Presidency, she's right to refuse to step-aside to clear the path for the self-anointed wannabe Dictator for Day One "only". Theoretically, her goal to save the GOP carries the same urgency as the Democrats wanting to save America.

Then what I don't understand is how the Former Trumpers seem to be disinclined to publicly endorse her. She has some voter support; just not enough to stop him nor enough to slow him down. I don't know if she hasn't asked (and why they would need to be asked) or if they just don't like her Gretchen Weiners trying to make fetch happen by running for Spring Fling Queen candidacy. Where are Chris Christie, Liz Cheney, the Bush Family, Mitt Romney, and especially former Vice President Mike Pence??? Not that it is any of my business, but...

I know, not my flying monkeys so not my circus. However, it does suggest that it isn't just Haley's disingenuousness that's so off-putting. There is definitely some other reason, and the answer can be found on the other party ticket.

Joe Biden may be old, moving slower, and taking the shorter stairs to board Air Force One, but he's still a sharp and consummate politician. In spite of the ageist mockery of his lifelong speech impediment as evidence of cognitive decline (which it isn't), I suspect Dark Brandon's super powers are finely attuned to the political pragmatism of the American electorate. You see, a person doesn't stay in Washington for 40 years and not garner an intricate understanding of how everything works. And remember that his last job was to serve as the Vice President to the first Black President.

When some of y'all lost confidence in Obama before the end of his first term--sometime between Henry Louis Gates getting arrested on his porch and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it is my belief that it was Biden who helped to save the day behind the scenes. Biden knew that without a big policy win the grand Obama experiment would fail, so they put everything on the line and took the shot to pass the Affordable Care Act. Then his son Beau died in 2015, so Biden opted to step aside to allow history to have its way...but Hillary Clinton lost. After watching one of the most qualified candidates lose to the most dangerous person as backlash for the election of a Black man (and in rejection of the prospect of electing the first woman), Uncle Joe read the political tea leaves. And despite his effort to ease the country into the idea of the first woman President via his Vice President, y'all are cutting up again. All of this talk about Kamala Harris being a disappointment even as she has been the most visible partner than any other Vice President in history. 

Given how he supported Obama, did you expect that Biden would have shown a scintilla of disloyalty by replacing Harris? Not only would that have been disrespectful to her, as she has single-handedly ensured the success of his agenda as the tie-breaker vote in the Senate, but also to his base. And knowing how fickle and ferocious the opposition has been to seeing Black women in positions of power, he's not taking any chances. He's not setting Harris up to lose to Donald Trump given the way y'all didn't show up for Stacey Abrams against Brian Kemp in Georgia; for Val Demings against Marco Rubio in Florida; nor for Cheri Beasley against Ted Budd in North Carolina. And trust, he's watching how the Republicans enthusiastically are NOT showing up for Nikki Haley as well.

Therefore America, these are your choices: two grumpier older men.

Anyone still nervous about Biden's age or his mental acuity must not have thought this through when they voted for him back in 2020, because he was old then. So was Trump and so was Bernie Sanders (who is older than both of the other two). Either Biden was going to get older or die in office, and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to refute the probability of the latter. First of all, his mother lived into her 90s, so he's got some genetic assistance. Second, all of the modern American Presidents since Gerald Ford have lived into their 90s, and that includes Ronald Reagan who lived with Alzheimer's disease for at least the last ten years of his life. Jimmy Carter, who is the current record-holder for post-Presidential longevity has spent this last year in hospice and he is 99! The last President to die in office was John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated. If age truly is a concern for you, then your alternative choices (other than Harris and Haley) are RFK, Jr. who is 70, Cornel West is also 70, and spoiler Jill Stein who is 74.

Furthermore, if all of the former Presidents can expect to live long and prosper, the care provided to the current officeholder ensures Wolverinesque healing capabilities. How do you think Trump's comorbid ass survived COVID in 2020? Because he received the best medical treatment on the planet! Considering how everyone in the military is vaccinated to the hilt, and they are responsible for the President's medical health, there is NO WAY they would allow anything to happen to the Commander in Chief and Leader of the Free World on their watch.

So what are the real concerns? America, it's time To Tell the Truth...

And that is, y'all ain't ready for a woman, especially not a woman of color, in the Oval Office. I don't have to personally like Nikki Haley to recognize that she is qualified for the job. But y'all don't like her, just as there are folks on my side who don't like Kamala Harris, who is also qualified. You didn't like Hillary Clinton either, which might be a debatable point since she won the popular vote; however, she lost the popular vote in enough smaller states where she should have won. There is a pattern where women who run for President might generate some momentary enthusiasm such as Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Bachmann, Carly Fiorina, but they don't close the deal. 

That is, of course, the voters' prerogative. The rest of the world has made more progress in that direction, including our cousins across the pond in the UK and down under in New Zealand. My hope is that this will be the last election where this is the case, not just because we need to move on from the old white guys, but yeah, we do. We took one small step for women in 2022, but still aren't ready to make that giant leap. But there is glass on the ground, so watch your step.

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