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Bucky

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Name: Mister Rea
Gender: Male
Hometown: Houston
Home country: Moon
Current location: afk
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 48,808

About Me

mostly harmless

Journal Archives

It's official: I like NO ONE for president this time.

When I was a kid I got excited about some candidate early on all the time. Gary Hart in 84, Al Gore in 88, Clinton in 92... Being a Democrat was fun. But then I turned 30.

As a young adult I still found the occasional candidate who chugged my engines... Wes Clark in 04, Joe Biden briefly in 08. I like the smart ones. Oh, hell, they're all smart--smarter than me at least. Being a Democrat was a chore, but a pleasant one; a rewarding one. I came to see our party's role was to clean up whatever mess the Republicans caused when they got into office. Like how nature turns poop into mulch.

I was happy with Obama. I mean, I was demographically pleased. It validated something in my patriotism to see race matter just a little bit less in America--at least on that one level--even as racial and class distinctions got steadily worse. The years of Democratic operation of the Executive Branch has eased the crush of the middle class a bit, but hasn't really reversed the horrible trend. Politics seems less joyful, less fun, when it's reduced to a bloodsport to protect the interests of cynical international oligarchs.

I was surprised at how many Democrats and fellow DUers fell for the Barack Obama in their heads instead of the one their eyes should have seen. He was an establishment candidate from the get-go. Don't get me wrong: I don't use the word "establishment" pejoratively. I like moderates, I admire compromisers. History teaches that they get the most lasting reforms done... when they're able to. Affordable Healthcare, like. I approved his middle of the roadness, but only because I hoped that meant he'd do sensible reforms rather that repeat two years of Clinton first term mistakes and end up checkmated by the knuckledraggers for six years. I smugly chortled to myself as I watched liberaler liberals than I convince themselves he was an Illinois Jim Hightower, a 21st century Lincolnvelt. Call me cynical, but he smelled of Eisenhower to me. And he has governed as such. I have no regrets, but in 2016 I don't want to vote for more of the same.

So Mr. Obama was my last lover, the last guy I found I could get that twinkle in my eye while I voted for him. I'm a liberaler liberal than I was seven years ago. Watching moderation fail to reverse decay does that to a rational mind. I want change--real change. I want election reform and lobbying reform and security state reform. I study enough history to know that level of change has to come from the grass roots--democracies usually stumble when they march behind messiahs. And I'm pragmatic enough that I know both that only a Democratic president will work for that kind of reform and that only a certain kind of Democrat is going to get elected. But there's structurally unsound political infrastructure creaking under our nation's floorboards. And I want a candidate with the eyeballs and the elbow grease and the salemany charm to get in there and fix it.

And I see no one running or might-be-running who offers me something that is neither status quo dynastics nor unelectable iconoclastism. I mean no disrespect to Hillary or Bernie fans. If there's an O'Malley fan out there, I mean no disrespect to your husband or son, whichever he is, either. I would like to get that old fire going again, see that candlelight, taste that red wine of liberal excitement one more time. My inner psychologist tells me my loins ache for a new Bobby, but we've been waiting for a new Bobby since 1968 and every one of those whom we've tried in my lifetime has fallen a little more short and then a little more shorter each go round. We'll never have another Bobby. Angels never touch the ground.

But though my cynical old liberal hearthead knows the ideal is unattainable, still, I look around for some candidate to mount a plucky can-do campaign, storm the bridge, and right this listing, rust-bottomed ship of state. But who? Mark Dayton seems like a good mix of liberal and pragmatic. Cory Booker looks like a potential game changer. Of course Elizabeth Warren would win my valentines no matter what deals she'd have to cut to win the nomination. But none of them are running.

What bothers me more than the lack of alternative to the heir apparent and the Philadelphia Eagles-designate who opposes her is that knowledge that there probably is someone out there who really could come out and set the grass roots on fire--but that they're all acquiescing to the dynastic coronation. Now, this is not an anti-Hillary rant. I'd probably vote for her over Mr Sanders. I won't cry if she sits in the Oval. But even the most fervid of her liberal supporters, if they are truly liberal, should be worried just a bit of what it means is going on behind the scenery of public debate if not a single one of her potential mainstream challengers is willing to step onto the stage and match wits with her.

As Sherlock Holmes might observe, there is the evidence of the hounds that do not bark. What does it mean to our democracy, not in conspiratorial terms but in sociological forces, if the "democratic" party of a widely diverse nation has an effectively uncontested nomination process. How can we call that democracy? And maybe this is why I feel this funk, this lack of romantic ardor for any candidate in the field. A generation ago the Democrats were the ones with the crowded stage of would-bes vying for the title of Bobby du jour. The Republicans have a whole clown car full of jackanapes to pick from. Where are our Lancelots? Where are our contenders? Why don't new and sexy politicians come a-calling for my vote anymore? Why can't we get it up?

But my narrative is drifting now. I will try and address some of my fears about whys in a later essay. I have a job to go do now.
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