By Eustace C. Jackson.
June 19, 2016.
On election night in November of 2008, as the results began to pour in, it became increasingly apparent that then Senator Barack Obama was having a better-than-good night in an election in which the democratic flag bearer was to win a state as unlikely as the Hoosier state of Indiana. State after state, with win after win, the electoral college tally continued to accumulate aggressively toward the 270 magic number finish line. And then came 8pm EST, when the Pennsylvania polls closed and was shortly after called for Senator Obama. The minutes between the Pennsylvania polls’ closure and the projection/declaration of the results, were the longest and the most hair-raising, goosebumpy minutes of the entire season for Obama’s teeming backers and supporters who were watching an epoch unfold before their very own eyes. Now gals and boys, Pennsylvania didn’t push Obama across the finish line and there were indeed still 2-3 hours of voting left in the later time zones of the mountai n and western states. What Pennsylvania did instead was to propel Obama across the Rubicon and there no turning back for the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and our 44th president. We only needed to wait a couple hours to go through the motions and make it official.
A few months earlier, something not unusual but yet remarkable had happened on the trail. Then Senator Hillary Clinton, former FLOTUS, serving a second term as junior senator from New York, was the overwhelming odds-on-favorite to win the democratic nomination for the presidential elections. And it wasn’t for a lack of credible competition – among the contestants were Senators Joe Biden, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, the perennial Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Governor Bill Richardson and then Senator Evan Bayh and Governor Tom Vislak, both of who threw in their white towels before the first vote was cast.
These and of course Senator Barack Obama, were legitimate contenders. And then something happened, something stranger than political fiction, something a livid President Clinton referred to as a fairy tale. A rookie junior senator from Illinois, who only a few years earlier was a rookie state senator and a few years prior, was a community organizer on the streets of Chicago, took the political universe by storm when he won the Iowa caucuses. The vaunted presumptive Hillary came in a distant 3rd behind Senator John Edwards. However, much like her husband, the original “comeback kid” 16 years earlier, Hillary came back and took New Hampshire after shedding a few tears in a rare display of emotion. When Obama won South Carolina, the die was cast. In a race that was supposed to have ended before She (Super Tuesday 1), the presumptive Hillary was instead fighting for her campaign life.
At this juncture, the powerful congressman from South Carolina, Jim Clyburn told the Clintons to “just chill”, an allusion to the viewpoint that Hillary was thenceforth engaged in a futile effort. You see, Obama’s surprise Iowa win and Eustace might add, his awe-inspiring winner’s speech, had dramatically changed the face and hue of the race irreversibly.
First, the African-American block,
which hitherto had been solidly behind Hillary, whose husband is fondly regarded in African-American circles as our nation’s first “Black President”, began to shift en masse to align lockstep behind a “real” black contestant, whose longshot candidacy suddenly looked promising. The son of a Kenyan father and a Kansan mother, Obama was born in Hawaii and raised in Hawaii and Indonesia and who knows whereever else. Raised in part by his WWII veteran grandpa and grandma, he is as white as he is black. We caucasians however know that if you’re tainted by any measure of black, that makes you black and we black folks say Word! And for those of you that said he ain’t black enough, Eustace says to you: stick it!
Anyway, as Obama continued his ascent, with Hillary fighting on ferociously, three things began to occur, almost simultaneously. First came the early endorsements. Eustace recalls a giddy Claire McCaskill, senator from Missouri, declaring for Obama in part because her “girls” told her this Obama guy was “cool”!
Other early endorsements poured in, but the one that stood out to Eustace was the early endorsement of Obama by the patriarch of the Kennedy clan, daddy, Senator Teddy Kennedy aka “Uncle Teddy”. This one surprised and shocked Eustace for a variety of reasons. President Clinton was an adoring fan of JFK (there’s an iconic picture of a wide-eyed Clinton shaking hands with JFK at some White House event). Although JFK’s life was to be nipped at its prime, both presidents proved to be effective despite their extramarital indiscretions. Both presidents were to cross paths again in an unfortunate tragedy.
On July 16, 1999, JFK Jnr., the son of Camelot, an accomplished publisher of acclaim, (George magazine) and a licenced pilot, was flying a small airplane to Martha’s Vineyard for his cousin’s wedding. Alongside him were his wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren Bessette. They never made it. After an anxiety-filled harrowing night, the world arose to the grim realization that yet another Kennedy had met with an untimely demise. Search and rescue in the Atlantic, quickly gave way to search and recovery. President Clinton ordered the US Navy to stay on it and not relent. After the first day of searching, the gen pop became privy to the fact that the search came at a cost to we the taxpayers, of over $1 million/day. And the murmurs began. “Would they do this for the beloved son of Mr. Joe Blow”? “Why not have them pay for it? “How long will this go on for”? And on and on. All legitimate questions btw. And what did Clinton do? He addressed the nation and made a passionate c ase, reminding the nation of how this one family, clearly dedicated to public service, had suffered great grievious losses over the years. He then ordered the Navy to stay on it for as long as it took to recover the bodies. And recover they did, giving the Kennedy clan and the Bessettes some measure of closure. Nine odd years later, Senator Kennedy’s earlier than normal endorsement went to Obama, not Clinton, in part because according to him and reminiscent of his brother JFK, it was time for the old guard to give way to the next generation of leaders. Were he alive today, Eustace wonders how he’d react to the fact that of the two major party nominees, the younger is 68! To say that wasn’t deeply hurtful to Eustace would be to tell an untruth. This, in Eustace’s humble mind, was one race in which Teddy should’ve lent his influential endorsement to the more experienced Senator Clinton and at the very worst, to be neutral, but what does Eustace know anymore!
Moving on, be that as it may, Hillary fought on with the ever so increasing head wind pushing against her. And then Super Delegates began to cross-carpet slowly but steadily. And then the third leg of the trifecta of political homicide set in. It started with whispers and pointing that grew increasingly louder and bolder until it became loud and clear. Hillary was strongly pushed to drop her lost cause campaign to allow the party coalesce behind her competitor, because according to them, the math had become impossible for Hillary. One of the loudest voices calling for Hillary’s immediate exit from the race was none other than the gentleman senator from Vermont. Yes, the senator from Vermont, but not who you’re thinking. You see, even Vermont has two senators. Eustace is talking about the one the heartless Dick Cheney cussed out while saluting him with his middle finger. That’s right, Eustace is talking about Vermont’s senior senator, Patrick Leahy. He eloquently and persisten tly made the case against Hillary’s continued participation in the race for the nomination. On June 7, 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton finally succumbed and dropped out with impassioned speech in which she profusely thanked her grossly disappointed campaign staff and volunteers for their hardwork and dedication and unflinching loyalty. Within a few days, she became herself a very loyal and dedicated supporter and surrogate of the one who had just vanquished her.
So Eustace, is there a point to be made in there somewhere or are you just blabbing away? Indeed, there’s a point to be made, a huge one at that, thanks for asking. And here it is.. Our very own sage, poet and philosopher of blessed memory, Yogi Bera did enlighten us by admonishing that we not be presumptuous, warning that “it’s not over till it’s over”. The accounts of Obama’s election night victory and Hillary’s exit from the primaries indicate otherwise. In reality, many things are over before they’re over, even when one chooses to shy away from reality. Facts are facts and numbers don’t lie.
Women have been running for POTUS since 1872 when Victoria Woodhull ran on the platform of the Equal Rights party. That was about a half century before women’s suffrage! In modern times, Senator Margaret Chase Smith in 1964, became the first woman to run on a major party platform when she ran in the republican primaries. In Hillary’s 2008 concession speech, she firmly established her place in history, referring to her 18 million primaries votes as 18 million cracks on the glass ceiling of the exclusive all-boys boys only presidential club. Then she predicted that her solid performance would make it easier for women to aspire and serve in any capacity, including the very highest office in the land. How prophetic those words turned out to be!
Exactly 8 years to the day, Secretary Clinton was speaking to affirm her position as the clearcut unequivocal presumptive Democratic Party nominee for POTUS. Girls and boys, you can’t make this up. And that is where it starts to get interesting.
The Democratic party primaries kicked off with Hillary and 4 would-be also-rans. Or were they? This was yet another race Hillary was supposed to win handily. She however wisely turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to those projections and hit the ground running hard like she was an unknown underdog. Two candidates – Senators Webb and Chaffe, quickly dropped off like ripened jojoba seeds. Governor O’Malley stayed on a few more futile weeks. And then there were two. Senator Bernie Sanders, 74, is the former mayor of Burlington, VT, former congressman from Vermont and current Independent junior senator from Vermont. He unexpectedly found an adoring audience for his democratic socialist message of social injustice and economic inequality. Buoyed by the youth vote, he battled Hillary to a standstill in Iowa (Hillary won by a tenth of a whisker) and ate her New Hampshire lunch. Then came the first-in-the-south Palmetto state of South Carolina. With the Black vote solidly behind her, H illary unleashed the blitz that would be replicated all over the south. Girls and boys, that is how the south was won! And the race never quite looked the same again the rest of the way. Yes he snatched Michigan from left field and pulled Wisconsin from a hat, these were essentially of no consequence.
Much has been made of Bernie’s support among the youthful voters as evidenced by his huge rallies. What he proved by his losses in Illinois, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and California, (other than that you can’t lose those states and still win the nomination) is that large exuberant rallies do not necessarily an election victory make.
On May 3, the ubiquitous Donald Trump defeated Senator Ted Cruz forcing Cruz, who in a politically unprecedented act of desperation had named his running mate, to exit the race even though he had repeatedly vowed and sworn to take his gig to Cleveland. He unexpectedly dropped out because Trump had become inevitable. Eustace repeats, Trump had become inevitable. Girls and boys, let him who have ear, let him hear. Eustace argues that Hillary, after the first Super Tuesday (ST1), was inevitable. Bernie, who should’ve gone with the Ides of March, stayed on and relentlessly lambasted the DNC for allegedly anointing Hillary even before the first ballot was cast, by way of super delegates. He demanded of super delegates that they reconsider their allegiances, in light of his unanticipated better-than-expected performance in the nomination contests.
As Bernie was winning Wisconsin and Wyoming in April, Hillary was running up the delegate score with victories in Maryland, Pennsylvania and of course the Big Apple, New York. After his May 3 loss in Indiana, Bernie’s chances had became even more remote but he vowed to fight on, pitching his tent in the delegate-rich California. And so sayeth Senator McCaskill? Nada! Congressman Clyburn? Zilch! The Kennedy clan? Zero! Senator from Vermont Patrick Leahy? Chakam! Where are all the early and consequential endorsements that rushed in for Obama? Where are all the dog whistles that called for alignment behind the inevitable front-runner?
May 3 turned to May 10 and then May 17 and election after election, Eustace saw no siesmic shift that would be necessary to alter the outcome of the race. In fact, while Clinton needed a measly 35% of the rest of the vote. Bernie needed 118% of them. And so sayeth Senator McCaskill? Nada! Congressman Clyburn? Zilch! The Kennedy clan? Zero! Senator from Vermont Patrick Leahy? Chakam! Where are all the early and consequential endorsements that rushed in for Obama? Where are all the dog whistles that called for alignment behind the inevitable front-runner?
Sanders launched a full-fledged frontal assault on the DNC, decrying the “rigged” system that purpotedly subverted the will and intentions of his supporters. He pointed to his campaign’s projections of a robust victory in California as proof that he, not Hillary would have the momentum going into the crucial fall campaign season. That was not to be. Not only had Hillary secured the requisite number of delegates to clinch, she went on to trounce Bernie not only in California, but also in New Jersey and even in South Dakota as well. And what did Bernie do? He vowed to fight on, demanded for and had a one-on-one with President Obama, after which two things happened: President Obama officially endorsed Hillary and Bernie vowed to fight on yet again. Then came his summit with Hillary, after which he scheduled a webcast which btw was drowned by the coverage of the dastardly massacre in Orlando, as well it should. A bastard hellbound imbecilic loser had shot over a hundred innocent people, 49 of them fatally. Rest in peace good fellows!
The multi-attentive Eustace however didn’t miss a beat and can confidently report to you girls and boys, my esteemed matrons and patrons, that it wasn’t a whole lot more than a campaign speech ramblings of a grumpy old bloke. Oh, and you guessed right, Bernie fights on!
Indeed, some major Hillary endorsements started trickling in, but were after the fact! On the matter of Bernie’s exit however, radio silence! All Eustace hears is “oh, it’s not an easy decision to make”, “oh, Bernie needs time”, “oh, Bernie mustn’t be pushed out, because he has earned the right to exit on his own volition”, “oh, we must nudge him carefully”, etc. Where were these considerations just 8 years ago for Hillary? And where are the considerations for the presumptive Hillary today? Congressman Clyburn, where is your “Bernie chill” comment? Shame on you! Senator Claire McCaskill, where is your “my girls like Hillary” button? Shame on you! The Kennedy clan, where is your “hand the torch to the next generation” calculus? It is true, both are seniors, but Hillary is the youth of the two! Shame on you! And you mathematician senator from Vermont, Patrick Leahy, did you lose your basic arithmetic abilities? Shame on you! And a collective shame to all you early and public a nd persistent endorsers of ’08 Obama who suddenly fell dumb this time around!
Why? What do you call this boys and girls? Eustace thinks this whole thing is a gargantuan fairy tale! Ok, just kidding, that was President Clinton in 2008. Girls and boys, you’ve always relied on Eustace to call things as they are and he’s not about shirk now! Eustace makes bold to declare without equivocation that this whole phenomenon reeks of bias. Of a gender nature. Aka sexism! Yes, sexism. And yes, oftentimes women are the WORST sexists against other women. They all had no compunction about telling Hillary to basically shut the f*c* up, get the *u*k out of a man’s race and crawl back to the kitchen. There, Eustace said it! If you don’t believe, then channelling his inner Mr. Chiege says to you to check it and prove him wrong. And then stick it!
Eustace however reserves the biggest shame for senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. Yes you Bernie. You say you’re fighting on and Eustace asks, who or what are you fighting? You started your effort o the fringe and gained traction by bamboozling your impressionable supporters with your socialist wishlist. But you failed to educate them about a couple republican-controlled bodies that comprise the congress, a black hole where great ideas meet their ruin. They’re so compromised, they can’t even pass a law that would bar known terrorists and known would-be and apprentice terrorists from purchasing firearms! You disparage the reputation of the super-talented DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, with impunity and you openly align with her primary opponent. Her crime? She’s carried out her duties with unbridled neutrality, although she backs Hillary. You lambast the super delegates for allegedly anointing Hillary, yet you lobby them to break towards you, because according to you, their allegiances need to align with the will of the electorate. Touche Bernie! Facts are facts. Facts are stubborn. Numbers don’t lie. And here they are.
Bernie, Hillary beat you by almost 4 million popular votes and beat you in 15 states by a higher percentage margin than you beat her in any one state. Your arguement about having the momentum coming out of the primaries is eviscerated by your abysmal 2-4 showing on the final Super Tuesday, including your colossal loss in CA, your self-designated Alamo!
Bernie, this race IS over! It’s been over a long time and it’s been over several times. At a time when you should end this nonsense and join Hillary on the stump, you seem to be reveling in the comfort of your tax-payer sponsored security detail and your treatment by the Democrat party with Donald Trump-sized kid gloves. Why? Because you supposedly have the calling card to the youth vote, to which Eustace calls B.S! You see, the youth have a much higher propensity to attend a rally in May than to line up on a chilly November day. They are notoriously unreliable, although they do turn out every now and again. Eustace’s boss pointed out that they came out in droves for Ronald Reagan, the Republican patron saint. Obama brought them out a couple times and Eustace believes a surrogate Obama can drag them out a third time, with or without Bernie. It is true that leverage is like a muscle – use it or lose it and Eustace might add that if you overstretch it, you may tear it and rende r it useless. Eustace isn’t sure what path you’re treading but he knows that if you don’t course correct quickly, you may be speedwalking your way to the boneyards of political destitution. The good thing is the Grand Old People have gifted us with perhaps the biggest political mulligan ever with the Trump nomination. So Madam President-to-be may not need the elusive youth vote.
But if we happen to need the youth vote and the youth voting block allows itself to be manipulated or misled by a 74 year-old rebel without a cause, then by God, perhaps they’ll get the president they deserve. Eustace has spoken!
And the people said:
Bernie: I didn’t have a super pac or an ordinary pac, but I have a lunch pac and a pacman and i’m sick and tired of the damn polls because it’s not over till after it’s over. Long after it’s over!
Trump: The system is rigged. Believe me! They treated Bernie badly, that I must tell you and I think Bernie must run as an Independent so he can win. Bigly!
Hillary: Only one nominee and her name is Hillary. No Benghazi, emailgate or “crooked” Hillary can stop me now. Ha ha ha ha ha grunt ha ha ha!
Koboko: Madam President, we hail thee. Willie Jeff, our First Bloke, we hail thee too. Chelsea, our next female president, we hail thee!
Nice and tidy.