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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Bill Maher re: BO: "At this point I think they need Hillary Clinton." 
20th-Aug-2008 04:13 pm
Accordion
Bill Maher showed up on Larry King the other night and complained about the presidential race. Here's an excerpt of the transcript:
MAHER: I mean, this is the Democrats' problem. Is that they never do anything bold once they get the nomination. You know, I'm still for Obama, but I have to tell you, he's trying my patience.

KING: Really?

MAHER: Well, moving to the center on so many issues and just doing what I saw Kerry do, what I saw Al Gore do. I thought he was going to be different. He didn't have that "I'm going to blow it" look on his face like those two did. But he's doing sort of the same thing: moving to the center, moving to be a kind of a lighter version of the Republican candidate.

KING: So who do you--who do you handicap? Do you think it's going to be one of these three boring white guys?

MAHER: I do, but I think that's, again, the wrong--the wrong sort of strategy. At this point I think they need Hillary Clinton.

KING: Really?

MAHER: Yes. Look, I may change my mind tomorrow. I've been thinking this way a long time, but I swear to God. Not just because it's bold and they need to show bold, but you know what? I think they need the Clinton ruthlessness onboard. I really do.

I'm beginning to think Bill Clinton is still the only guy in that party who really knows how to do this, as far as talking to the American people, making the counter argument to the Republican arguments that, again, Obama just seems to be cozying up to their way of thinking. "Oil drilling? Yes sure. I'm for that. Wiretapping? Like that, too. Religious nut? I can get onboard there." I'm telling you, I like this guy but...
Bill, Bill, Bill, you seem so surprised that you're so disappointed. When anyone who wasn't caught up in Obamania could have told you all this stuff back in January. The way he attacked Edwards' and Clinton's health care plan from the right was omen enough. Voting for telecom immunity just closes the deal on Obama's sell-out credentials.

And you'd think the Democrats would have learned by now that tacking to the center does not win them elections. *grr* I mean, look at Gore. When his name has become synonymous with tree planet hugger, it won him a Nobel and an Oscar. (Oh, and by the way, all you old school lefties who opted out of the 2000 election because there was "no difference" between the two candidates--I hope all of you committed harakiri at least two years ago.)

I agree that adding Clinton to the ticket, as opposed to "some boring white guy," would be a bold move. (Where's all that "transformative politics" BO was yelling about when it really counts?) I mean, can you imagine going to the voting booth and casting your ballot against that ticket? The weight of the shame of your descendants alone would be stupefying. Not to mention that the entire world would be inspired by the election. This country is has been in desperate need of some face-saving for a long time.

And that's even more important than the Clinton "ruthlessness." But, interestingly, the recent Atlantic article reveals that her campaign was not actually as ruthless as it could have been when going up against Obama. Mark Penn had some truly nasty ideas for anti-Obama attack ads that would indeed have been the "game ender" that he said they would.
Comments 
21st-Aug-2008 12:35 am (UTC)
He may have attacked the Clinton/Edwards health care plans from the right, but he attacked their (especially Clinton's) Iraq war records from the left. It's really not as if he was to the right of them in general; he was just to the right of them on health care.

And I do wish that Obama could make a bold choice for vice president, but at this point I think it would be impossible for him to persuade the media to frame choosing Clinton as anything other than a desperate cry for help that would get him labeled as hopelessly unable to win the election. A somewhat less impossible bold choice would be for him to choose Sebelius. But I don't think there's any real hope of him doing that either. I think he's going to choose Kaine, and I'm very unhappy about it. However, I don't think Obama has a whole lot of choice, either. Sebelius would be a wonderful vice president, far better than Kaine or any of the other white men being discussed as possibilities, but adding sexism to racism in the list of things that will prevent prejudiced idiots from voting for Obama might in fact be enough to cost him the election. I hate that it is that way, but unfortunately, it is.
21st-Aug-2008 01:45 am (UTC)
I agree with you--I think Hillary would kill the ticket for a lot of reasons, and one of the reasons is adding sexism to the racism. I think one of the reasons (although definitely not the entire reason!) Obama beat Hillary is because it's easier for the common voter to be sexist rather than racist. I know that's REALLY arguable, but I really think that prejudice against black people in the US is not as pervasive as prejudice against women.

As a small, small facet of this argument, it's "not cool" to dislike someone black for no reason, and it's "not cool" to dislike a woman for no reason. But it's "cool" to think of a girl as "hot," and a girl's image and worth being tied into her sexuality and "hotness" is so unbelievably pervasive that it's terrifying. Judging a girl based on her appearance--pretty, ugly, thin, fat, sexual, asexual--is objectifying her, and it's hard to take an object seriously. The average person isn't going to "dislike" women, but s/he will think of her sexuality as a big, public part of her, and that leads to objectification. This insidious, subtle objectification is why, I think, sexism is a huge threat to women succeeding. Racism is more black and white (excuse the pun): you either treat someone differently because his/her skin is different from yours, or you don't. The latter is logical, the second is truly batshit. (And I'm talking racism, not cultural prejudice. That's a WHOOOOOLE 'nother story.)

You know what sucks? Being a black woman! Or even worse? A fat, old, Mexican, lesbian, Muslim woman with a mustache! She could cure cancer and I'd bet half the Internet would still be making fun of her.

What was I talking about again?
21st-Aug-2008 02:16 am (UTC)
I honestly don't think anyone knows for certain whether an Obama/Clinton ticket would be a net positive (excitement about history-making) or negative (sexism plus racism). And if you do, tell me which deity is talking to you. And can he/she give me a ring, too? ^_~

I definitely agree with you that sexism is more socially acceptable than racism in this country, but again, whether that's an automatic game ender nobody knows. Certainly, very patriarchal countries (i.e. India) have had female leaders, though. The election has definitely shown us how ugly we can be. (Not that I think Obama is black, due to the conflation of appearance and culture/ethnicity...but that's a whole 'nother story.)

Most of all, though, I'm terrified Obama is gonna lose. My head says, "No way can he lose!" but my gut...urk.

A fat, old, Mexican, lesbian, Muslim woman with a mustache!

Mexican, muslim, and lesbian? The stories she could tell! I wanna meet this person! XD
21st-Aug-2008 02:00 am (UTC)
Health care is far more important to me than Iraq. And I guarantee you that the people most eager to fry Clinton on Iraq are all rich liberals who aren't staring their own uninsured mortality directly in the face at the moment. It's a luxury to worry about the rest of the world that you just don't have when you're splayed out and dying in agony. (And I say this from experience, alas. Experience made me a health care radical.) Besides, I see no evidence that between Obama and Clinton Iraq would be handled differently in the future, but health care, well, the distinctions were clear, and I was never convinced by Obama's "justifications" for why his proposal was better. ("I don't see those folks," MY ASS.)
21st-Aug-2008 02:25 am (UTC)
I do recognize that when one's own life or death is at stake, that probably has to take precedence in one's voting decisions over other people's lives or deaths. A year and a half ago I was having to buy my own health insurance because my employer didn't provide me with any, so I do have some experience (lasting several years) with that. But I have employer-provided health care now, and I have a hard time reasoning that Iraqis' lives are less important than Americans' lives, just due to their having been born farther away from me and speaking a different language from me, thus unable to get to know me the way that Americans without health insurance are able to do. So I can't give less weight to Iraq than to health insurance unless I have evidence showing that more people are dying of lack of health insurance in the United States than are dying of war complications in Iraq. And I haven't seen evidence indicating that.
21st-Aug-2008 02:55 am (UTC)
You have health insurance now (as do I, thank you NYU), but what about tomorrow? What if, God forbid, you lose your job? It's also hard to stand on principle and punish someone for what they did in the past (as opposed to what they say they will or won't do in the future) when the possibility of total ruin is shadowing you your entire life is what you get in exchange. How can we help other people if we can't even help ourselves? In light of that question, talking about the hypothetical lives of people I've never even met (whether American or Iraqi) seems tawdry and over-intellectualizing.

Both Clinton and Obama are centrist Democrats. I don't care how much yelling Obama does about "change" 'cause I see nothing in his proposals that blows me away with its transformative potential. He also sold us all out to get in bed with the telecoms. (So they'd continue to make him look good on TV? Because he actually believed it was the right thing to vote for? Either way, I'm not impressed. This was about the *Constitution.* I'm proud to say that neither of my senators--who I helped elect--voted for immunity.) The health care issue is the one thing I'm genuinely passionate about; I'm deeply bitter that the one major candidate of the three frontrunners with the weakest plan was the one that is gonna get nominated.
21st-Aug-2008 01:33 am (UTC)
I can pretty much guarantee you that Clinton will not be the VP. Pretty much the only person suggesting that combination is Ralph Nader and he definitely doesn't have the Dems best interests in mind. Bill Clinton was the master of moving to the center. He passed NAFTA. He passed welfare reform. He passed Don't Ask Don't Tell for God's sake. Nominating Hillary would be nothing but an admission of defeat and would undermine his "change" agenda. I like her but she can do far more good in the Senate (or perhaps Ambassador to Antarctica).
21st-Aug-2008 02:05 am (UTC)
Please, I know he won't. But that "change" agenda is still striking me as a load of bullshit; his policies have always been quite middle of the road for a Democrat (which is a synonym for "Clinton-esque").

If Obama becomes president and our lives don't get better in profound and practical ways, I hope you'll be eating your hat. But if he does manage to truly transform this country, I'll be eating mine. And gladly. ^_~
23rd-Aug-2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
I certainly hope the change agenda works out, only he knows for sure what's in his heart. I choose to trust him. There was no greater guarantee that Hillary was going to follow through with her grand agenda. She already failed at universal health care once, and did nothing to eke out a victory when things got tough. Unfortunately, middle-left is the best we can hope for. Hillary isn't a wild and crazy hippie chick either. Bill led from the center, sometimes even the center-right as I illustrated earlier, he was no liberal. There's no sign that Hillary is somehow different from her husband.

Nobody can guarantee that things will change for the better. There are a lot of things that were damaged and destroyed in this country during the last 8 years. It's going to take time to fix them. Hopefully he'll have enough of a majority in Congress to get his agenda through. If he doesn't, or if his caucus bails on him like Joe Lieberman did, that's not entirely his fault.
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