The ballot will say I can vote for an idealist whose policies are closer to mine than his opponent's, but who had a plan only to wound the front-runner, not to defeat her -- he's certainly doing an excellent job of wounding her now -- and who has no path to victory now, much less in a general election in which a billion dollars of mud would be flung at him and he'd pride himself on being purely, artisanally underfunded relative to the super PACs arrayed against him.
Or I can vote for a woman whose principal surrogate is this idiot:
In a prolonged exchange Thursday afternoon, former President Bill Clinton forcefully defended his 1994 crime bill to Black Lives Matter protesters in the crowd at a Hillary Clinton campaign event.You can read defenses of what happened a generation ago, often from progressives of color -- read Propane Jane's tweetstorm on the subject at Storify, or this Slate interview with Michael Javen Fortner, a scholar who notes that there was considerable support for the crime bill in black neighborhoods, as well as among influential members of the black clergy who wrote a letter urging the Congressional Black Caucus to support the bill. And it's true that mass incarceration was already well under way in America when the crime bill was passed, largely because of get-tough-on-crime policies at the state level.
He said the bill lowered the country's crime rate, which benefited African-Americans, achieved bipartisan support, and diversified the police force. He then addressed a protester's sign, saying:
"I don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out onto the street to murder other African-American children," Clinton said, addressing a protester who appeared to interrupt him repeatedly. "Maybe you thought they were good citizens .... You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter. Tell the truth. You are defending the people who cause young people to go out and take guns."
And of course, crime really was far worse at the time than it is now.
Raise your hand if your Granny's house had burglar bars.✋🏾— Propane Jane (@docrocktex26) February 26, 2016
Seriously though, can we talk about how crime became that bad in the inner city that Black folk had to actually put bars on their own homes?— Propane Jane (@docrocktex26) February 26, 2016
Defenders of the Clintons say there was a clamor for crime legislation among both whites and blacks, and that Clinton got a bill that was less awful than Republicans wanted it to be:
But that doesn't take away from what happened:
Bill Clinton presided over the largest increase in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history.... He supported the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity for crack versus powder cocaine, which produced staggering racial injustice in sentencing and boosted funding for drug-law enforcement.The Clintons have distanced themselves from aspects of the bill, but clearly that was done reluctantly, at least on Bill's part. How do you go into a presidential campaign in 2016 -- a campaign in which you won't win unless there's significant black turnout in the general election -- and not examine the legacy of this bill with an eye toward addressing its consequences in a way that will make sense to your own voter base? The flaws in the bill are a huge moral issue -- but then, beyond that, failing to reckon with them fully on the verge of 2016 is political malpractice.
Clinton championed the idea of a federal “three strikes” law in his 1994 State of the Union address and, months later, signed a $30 billion crime bill that created dozens of new federal capital crimes, mandated life sentences for some three-time offenders, and authorized more than $16 billion for state prison grants and the expansion of police forces. The legislation was hailed by mainstream-media outlets as a victory for the Democrats, who “were able to wrest the crime issue from the Republicans and make it their own.”
When Clinton left office in 2001, the United States had the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Human Rights Watch reported that in seven states, African Americans constituted 80 to 90 percent of all drug offenders sent to prison, even though they were no more likely than whites to use or sell illegal drugs. Prison admissions for drug offenses reached a level in 2000 for African Americans more than 26 times the level in 1983. All of the presidents since 1980 have contributed to mass incarceration, but as Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson recently observed, “President Clinton’s tenure was the worst.”
Slate's Michelle Goldberg thinks Bill Clinton is a significant problem:
... it’s not the first mess he’s caused for his wife’s campaign. Just a couple of weeks ago, he decried “the awful legacy of the last eight years,” which sounded a lot like a condemnation of the Obama presidency -- a presidency that Hillary Clinton is doing her best to tie herself to. And in February, Clinton said that if the system is rigged, it’s because Americans “don’t have a president that’s a changemaker.”So Bill lost it a long time ago? Maybe not:
One might attribute this repeated clumsiness to the fact that Bill Clinton is getting old.... But let’s remember that Clinton caused similar problems for Hillary in 2008. There was the time he tried to diminish Obama’s victory in South Carolina by noting that Jesse Jackson won there as well. The time he described the idea that Obama had gotten the Iraq war right as “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” The time -- it hurts to remember it -- when he complained that the Obama campaign “played the race card on me.”
And yet ... once Hillary had lost and Bill Clinton was supporting Obama, the sloppiness ceased and he was back to performing superbly. (Witness, for example, his celebrated speech at the 2008 Democratic convention.) It is somehow only when he is working on his wife’s behalf that he veers into sabotage.Well, maybe that's true -- although I did find this in September 2008:
Via Ben Smith, Bill Clinton tells CNN's Larry King in an interview about his plans to help Obama win Florida:Ouch.
"You know, they think that because of who I am and where my politic[al] base has traditionally been, they may want me to go sort of hustle up what Lawton Chiles used to call the 'cracker vote' there."
That interview took place several weeks after the convention; Clinton was explaining to King why he hadn't been campaigning much for Obama. (He said he was waiting until the Jewish holidays were over.) He didn't make a joint appearance with Obama until five days before the election.
So he was less embarrassing to Obama because he was simply less of a surrogate for Obama than for his wife -- and he could be a loose cannon for Obama as well. But yes, he was more controlled on behalf of Obama -- however, maybe that's because Obama runs a tighter campaign ship and worked out ground rules with Clinton more thoroughly. It just might be harder to do that within a marriage.
But maybe Goldberg is right about the Clintons: "Either he doesn’t want her to overtake him, or he doesn’t want her to repudiate him." On the other hand, he seems to be trying to make a case for himself, as a great president and as a political sage. He doesn't think these pronouncements make him look bad; I suspect he thinks they don't look bad for his wife.
In any case, we're going into the general election with a weak, flawed, ideologically compromised nominee who can't even instill discipline in her top surrogate. And the Republicans are going into the the general election with, alomst certainly, a grotesquely awful nominee -- Cruz if not Trump. Can we please start over, with all new candidates?