come_to_think (come_to_think) wrote,

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Right wing, left wing, same bird?

I am extremely skeptical of the notion that the individual whose ass occupies the president's chair makes much of a difference.  There are probably exceptions, and I am willing to consider evidence, but my null hypothesis is "no effect".  Political pressures overwhelmingly restrict what choices the president can make, and his sources of information & advice have their own politics, which limit even the president's power to know what he is doing.

I do think, tho, that what party is in power makes some difference, and what is more, that that difference is generally in favor of the Democrats.  As Stephen Gaskin observed in 1981,

I know that the difference between Democrats and Republicans is pretty slim.  But in Latin America, when they knew the Republicans were going to win, they started shooting Indians faster.    That's enough of a difference for me, for a start.

The Republicans, for most of my lifetime, have devoted far more of their energies than the Democrats to making mean people their constitutency.  Also, the right's market-worship is, for the time being, far more virulent than the left's state-worship.

So for me, in a Democratic primary, the main question is which candidate has the best chance of winning.  That, of course, is hard to tell at this stage.  It appears from polls that Sanders will make a better showing than Clinton against their likely opponent.  That is a surprise to me, but I gather than Clinton is widely hated, for reasons I have not bothered to find out.

Of course, the individuals have some symbolic significance, even to me.  I was sentimentally gratified that a black man could be elected president.  It showed that public opinion was a good deal less vile than it used to be.  In 2008 I baked a sweet-potato pie to celebrate.  Likewise, I  am sentimentally gratified that a woman --- or, on the other hand, a Jew who calls himself a socialist --- has a chance.

And, who knows, maybe the individual does matter in this case.  Hillary Clinton appears to have been bought, or at least paid for, by the financial industry, whose power I believe to be one of the greatest social evils in the recent world.  If she wins, she will owe Wall Street a lot, whereas Bernie Sanders feels free at least to make noises against it.  Good luck to him!

As to Trump, when he started getting whooped up, I said to myself:  It will be irritating to see my country impersonated by a goddamn realestatenik, but hell, a while ago it was impersonated by a goddamn movie star, and we survived.  And surely we cannot say that either of those slimy occupations is unAmerican, by a damn sight.  But I am afraid that by now I have to amend "irritating" to "sickening".  He already has a crack at being the worst American of the 21st century.
Tags: b_sanders, d_trump, h_clinton, politics
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