Presidential, House speaker races rife with drama

So, the presidential race is closing fast. It is quite clear that the Republicans fear Hillary Clinton more than any other potential candidate.

They have been doing their best to decimate her and at least one of their leaders, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, really blew it when he publicly declared that the war on Hillary was intended to lower her popularity.

He actually took credit for damaging her, perhaps thinking that fellow Republicans would thank him for that. Well, it backfired and blew up in his face and while he was expected to be the new speaker, he’s now out of the race.

The Republicans continue to act like Slim Pickens riding the bomb down in Dr. Strangelove with their attacks on people of color and women. The whole problem is that a small segment of the Republicans in the House has been calling the tune because their committed voters are the ones who show up in the primaries.

The more moderate Republicans who know better are scared to death that if they show any compassion or willingness to compromise, they will be primaried and might lose their precious seats. Eric Cantor, the former majority leader, is a good example of what can happen when you offer compromises. There’s always someone more conservative than you. He got his butt kicked when virtually no one expected that to happen.

Things have been made worse by the evil gerrymander that put the 50 or so uber-conservatives into the House. They don’t seem to give a hoot about what’s right, all they care about it their political careers. Their views on issues like climate control prove that their congressional seats are more important to them than the very existence of humanity.

In the meantime, the Democratic debate is over and the philosophically middle of the road press like the New York Times was quick to declare Hillary Clinton the winner. I watched and I have to say, I thought Hillary was great but I don’t think she won anything.

I thought Bernie Sanders was extraordinary and while his position on guns is not to my liking, his positions on just about everything else were inspirational. When he talks about “too big to fail” banks or a living wage or an improved health care system, he makes great sense.

People have been counting Bernie out for many years. They said that since he is a declared socialist from Vermont who is Jewish and speaks with a Brooklyn accent, he couldn’t possibly be city councilman or mayor or congressman or U.S. senator.

Well, “they” were wrong. That’s because people in this country know truth when they hear it. Also, we are on the “precipice of disgust.” They don’t want more of the same-old-same-old. They are looking for bold leadership. They want someone who comes along and says, “I can make a big difference.”

That’s why we got Ronald Reagan for president. While I am unprepared to say whether Bernie Sanders can be president, I am also not prepared to suggest that he can’t win. He has too much history defying the odds.

Of course, there is the looming presence of Vice President Joe Biden. I think that if Hillary gets herself into big trouble, Biden is in. If that doesn’t happen, Biden stays out.

On the face of it, this looks like a good Democratic year assuming that any of the Republican presidential hopefuls gets the nomination. In dumbed down America, a television personality like Donald Trump might be their best hope but it is important to remember that Trump and his big mouth are always at risk.

He has a lot of history and you had better bet that there are journalists out there looking for the stinkos that will get him in trouble. Such enterprise will certainly turn something up. It’s all getting interesting.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 10/16/15

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