"I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat." Will Rogers
It must be awfully confusing being a registered Democrat these days. I used to be one and I do indeed recall being quite confused and quite often. This might sound like heresy to those of you who (like yours truly) lean a tad to the left, and I know that many of us dream of following the ear-shattering precedent of the first African American president being followed into office by the first woman president. It's a beautiful dream, and maybe it could possibly happen in 2016. My only problem with that little scenario is that Hillary Clinton is not that woman. The Democrats are making a huge mistake if they decide to go down that road. Too much is at stake in 2016 to risk handing the Executive Mansion over to a party that has lost is reason.
I don't mean to imply that she would not make a fine president. The fact is I just don't know the answer to that question. This much, however, I can say beyond a molecule of doubt: she's a lousy candidate. As far as the email/server scandal goes, while there may be little (if any) evidence of criminal intent, there is a whole lot of proof that she is reckless - arrogant even. The Democrats - professional and casual - may really want to think this through.
As has been noted previously on this site, the last time one Democratic administration succeeded another Democratic administration on Inauguration Day was on March the fourth, 1857 when Franklin Pierce tossed the keys to the White House to miserable old James Buchanan. It hasn't happened since. It could happen finally in 2016. In fact, given the quality of the of the current crop of circus clowns who are passing themselves off these days as Republican wannabes, the possibility of a Democratic victory next year is very good. If one or more of the losing candidates decides, in a furious hissy fit, to launch to launch a fourth (or even a fifth) party uprising (Donald Trump and Ted Cruz being likely possibilities) it won't matter whom the Democrats nominate. The election is in the bag in that case. That might very well happen; then again, it might not. Why risk it all on Hillary Clinton? If the Democrats are smart (the jury's still out on that one) they'll be very careful what they wish for.
Let's look at our options, shall we?
Martin O'Malley: Governor of my ancestral state of Maryland. You didn't even know he was running, right? Don't feel bad, most people don't. Although he doesn't seem to inspire much enthusiasm, that could possibly be because the media seems to be giving him the cold shoulder. He's an intelligent fellow and progressive where it counts. Besides, we haven't had a president named Martin since Van Buren in 1841. We're way overdue, don'cha think?
Lincoln Chafee: Again, a candidate that no one realizes is running (Even I forgot he was a candidate until I was reminded this morning - and I'm supposed to be on top of these things!) He was probably the last surviving "liberal" Republican before they became extinct. He got out of the GOP a number of years ago while the getting was good and became a Democrat. George W. Bush was apparently the last straw for this guy.
Bernie Sanders: What can I say about Bernie? The man had me at "hello". So far, his campaign appearances are drawing the biggest crowds. Is it because he's saying the things that need to be said - things that no other candidate is even thinking? I think that there might be something to that. Feel the Bern.
And it's not too late for Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren to throw their respective hats into the ring. Old Joe would probably not be a great candidate, but I've no doubt that he would make an excellent president. As for Liz, she leaves me speechless - the most inspiring progressive to come down the line since Eleanor Roosevelt.
I'm going to be profanely frank with you: If the Republicans ever again seize control of the executive and the legislative branches of our government, if they're allowed one more appointment to the Supreme Court - this country is completely fucked. Look what happened the last time. I just don't believe we need to go there again. I'm being understated, in case you haven't noticed. Hillary Clinton is quite beatable; all of the potential Democratic hopefuls are I suppose. The only hopeful news on the horizon is the non-ignorable fact that the GOP is in the progress of imploding. Thank heaven for these little silver linings.
Will the party of FDR start exploring their options? I wouldn't bet the farm on it. The Dems have this positive genius for taking a goblet of fine champagne, an turning it overnight into a worthless cup of donkey piss. Have you ever noticed that?
Pete, Jeff and Tom Degan
The painting at the top of this piece was done back in the Idiotic Eighties by my brother Jeff Degan. Every talent that I possess he can match and then some. I can barely draw a straight line. It is probably the one greatest regret of my life. I'd give anything to be able to paint.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
by William L. Shirer
If this isn't the longest thing I've ever read, it's damned-near close to it: 1,250 pages. William L. Shirer was an American print correspondent in Berlin in the late twenties and mid-thirties. In 1935 he was hired by Edward R. Murrow to cover Germany for CBS News, and remained at his post until December of 1941 when Hitler declared war on the United States. This book, published in 1960, was fifteen years in the making. It's a difficult read - not in one's ability to comprehend it - but in the meticulous way Shirer documents the atrocities inflicted upon this planet by these hideous bastards. Here is how I would summarize The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:
The "rise" part is pretty depressing, but that "fall" bit is just oodles of fun to read about.
Didn't It Rain
by Evelyn Freeman
I was driving home from Monticello, NY yesterday afternoon, having attended a funeral of a friend, when what has to be the most cranking, foot-stomping gospel recording I've ever heard in my life came over W-FMU. I damn-near lost control of the vehicle.
This was recorded in 1962. CAN I GET A WITNESS!!!