Thoughts of what might have been with Hillary Clinton, and what was with Ralph Nader ...
If only Hillary Clinton were not so notoriously, well, non-technosavvy. Had she carried two smartphones instead of one -- it's easy, I've got two in my pockets right now -- she could have turned over the one with emails devoted solely to her post as U.S. secretary of state and none of this would be happening.
With the curious development of new e-mails found by FBI agents investigating her closest aide's estranged husband and his alleged sexting with a 15-year old girl, an election that should be Hillary's (but of course never quite has been), given Donald Trump's manifold problems, is up in the air.
Instead of pivoting at long last as long promised to a positive campaign mode to close out this most odious of election seasons, laying out her vision of America's future -- silly me, I'm so old-fashioned I think that's what a campaign is supposed to be mainly about -- Hillary is instead upping the negative. She has gone from slagging Trump, and now FBI Director James Comey, as threats to democracy to hitting Trump for being an undoubtedly dangerous finger on the nuclear button.
The Clinton campaign has even rolled out an updated version of the legendary 'Daisy' ad used 52 years ago by Lyndon Johnson to cast Barry Goldwater as far too dangerous a figure to be in charge of nuclear weapons.
Hillary Clinton has just rolled out a reworked version of the 'Daisy' ad from 1964 to stir up fear, uncertainly and doubt about the prospect of a President Donald Trump in control of the nuclear button.
One hesitates to describe the deeply seasoned Clintons as panicking, yet this is obviously not something done at this late stage by a campaign in command of events.
LBJ only ran the 'Daisy' ad once, two months before the election, in order to frame what became a landslide choice for his leadership.
Of course, we don't know precisely what will come of the dramatic turn in the Hillary e-mail saga, which I discussed last Friday along with the Wikileaks/KGB revelation of how former President Bill Clinton leveraged the Clinton Foundation during his wife's term at the helm of the U.S. Department of State to gain an astounding fortune.
My view is there has to be something more to lose the election for Clinton, perhaps evidence of deleted classified e-mail turning up on the absurd Anthony Weiner's laptop. Certainly the Wikileaks revelations, as I discussed Friday, have not been timed for maximum effect against the Clintons.
Of course, the only reason the lack of optimum timing on the part of Russian intelligence (controlled by career KGB officer Vladimir Putin) and their useful cut-out Mr. Assange is an issue is because Trump is such a self-indulgent, self-destructive screw-up as a presidential candidate.
Although Trump is right a bit more often than a stopped clock, any sign that he is engaging, intelligent, reasonable, with a powerful populist message -- "hmm, I wonder if ..." -- is shot down by his repetitively obnoxious and erratic behavior. That and the fact that his too infrequent forays into substance are shot through with fascism, racism, and sexism makes it impossible to countenance Donald Trump as president. And the reality is that if it is not Hillary, it will be Trump.
In 2000, after I helped Arianna Huffington put on the Shadow Conventions opposite the Republican and Democratic national conventions in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, I met in LA with Ralph Nader, one of our speakers.
Nader, of course, was the Green candidate for president and wanted me to work with him on his campaign. I said I was flattered and felt he had important things to say, but was concerned he could pull votes from Al Gore and thus help elect George W. Bush. Who of course was not only nowhere near the environmentalist that future Nobel Peace Prize winner Gore was but was very much in the opposite direction.
Climate change, it seemed to me, was at an important stage in 2000 and was simply too important an issue to risk.
But Nader assured me that he could not be a spoiler in the presidential race because Gore would win comfortably.
Of course, the exact opposite proved to be the case.
The political and media cultures are so rancid and dysfunctional, the world scene so toxic and teetering on the verge of chaos, that our core political hopes in the present era must be quite basic.
1. Preserve the habitability of the planet, now very much under threat, much more so than in 2000, from the byproducts of an unsustainable industrial civilization and the threat of expanded wars.
2. Promote inquiry and exploration for a better time. This means the expansion of knowledge and responsible science, as well as the exploration of not only our own space and everything in it but of outer space.
Which brings us to those two cheers for Hillary Clinton. For with Hillary, we get both priorities.
Because, putting aside all the problematic characteristics of her candidacy, we know that it is Hillary Clinton who will move forward on those fundamental fronts. Her record and her advocacy make that clear. If she moves too slowly, we simply prod her to meet her public commitments and be the best she can be.
And we know that it is the preposterous Trump who will not only not take us forward, but take us backward.
It is Trump who is the preposterous climate change denier, he actually called it a Chinese hoax, Trump who promises to return to the coal-fired energy policy of a century ago that would actually accelerate the cooking of the planet.
And it is Trump, as aggressive a know-nothing as ever to come within hailing distance of the White House, who threatens the Enlightenment ethic of expanding knowledge and science revered by the founders of this Republic.
Let's hope America keeps its eyes on the prize.
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