Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hillary Clinton Epitomizes Government: A Train Wreck

I've been reading Niall Ferguson's 2004 book about American empire: Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire.

Yes, he was saying that the whole thing was a mess, back in 2004 before the real mess began in Iraq and before the Surge, and before the clueless eight years of Obama stupidity.

The thing is: the message of the book is that the American empire has always been a train wreck, even back in the 19th century when the US started getting into messes in Texas, Mexico, Cuba, the Philippines.

But the rulers always have tame operatives with bylines to concoct a pretty story, a narrative, out of the chaos of events.

This pretty-story thing is not really a scandal, because the only thing that government does is war. It can be war on the Nazis, or the Russkies. Or it can be back at home, making war on greedy bankers and homophobic racists.

Now the thing about war is that it is always going wrong, and the leaders have to buck up  the spirits of their followers to keep them "down for the struggle," as we now say.

In more conventional speech, we are talking about the need to maintain morale among the troops, so they will continue to march and fight in the government's latest war. The one thing a government must avoid is for people to lose heart and start to desert from its latest project.

Thus it may be a mistake for President Trump to run a government where he doesn't seem to care whether he is giving the impression of running a 24-7 train-wreck. It may be that people really do need to be constantly reassured that things are completely under control. It may be that a government that does not lie its head off, assuring everyone that the train wreck they can see right  in front of their eyes is not really a train wreck but merely a very brief setback, is not long for this world.

Now we have a ordinary Democratic operative with a byline, Doyle McManus at the LA Times, doing a puff piece on Hillary Clinton's reemergence into public life after her defeat in November 2016's presidential election. He writes about how she has a "right" to return to public life, but maybe she shouldn't.
Hillary Clinton has more than earned her right to be a major voice in American politics. She’s smart and forceful on a raft of issues, from working-class job creation to foreign policy. But she’s not great at running a presidential campaign. She’s tried twice, in races where she began as the presumptive front-runner, and lost both times. That’s enough.
Oh please. "Smart and forceful?" "Working-class job creation?" "Foreign policy?" The fact is that Hillary has been a train wreck on policy, ever since the late lamented Hillarycare. That is why it is always best for defeated candidates to get the heck out of public life. Indeed that is why it is a good idea for former presidents to get out of public life, Presidents Carter, Clinton, Obama. It is best for people to be able to forget the train wreck of your presidencies. And I don't mean that in a partisan way. Every presidency is a mess, when you look back at it. Hillary Clinton is the poster girl for government and political train-wreck.

Why is that? The reason is simple. In Colossus Niall Ferguson has a long chapter on the European Union. It is pathetic. The EU is a high-class bureaucrat's wet dream. It has committees and councils and initiatives left, right, and center, all run by high-born scions of the ruling class or retired members of the ruling class: Hillary Clintons every one. And what is the good of them? What have they ever accomplished? Nothing, except to make things worse.

Just as the foreign policy of the US for the last century or so is a miserable story of stupidity followed by foolishness, so domestic policy is the graveyard of failed programs that are still on life support because they are supported by powerful interests that can make a lot of trouble for a politician.

Let's take the travails of the working class, now replicating throughout the West, about which Doyle McManus writes that Hillary Clinton has some expertise. Really? Who knew?

Look, pal, the working class is toast, and the reason is politics. In the service of noble ideals like compassion and justice, the governments of the western world meddled in the cultural and economic turmoil of the Industrial Revolution to regulate work and pay. It put its thumb on the scale of justice to "help" the workers. It enacted social insurance programs. It validated the tribal, class-bound culture of the working class, and discouraged the working class from getting into the middle class and its culture of responsibility. And so the working class assumed that government would always be there to help it.

Golly GeeWillikins! The day came when the kind Hillary Clintons of the world left the working class by the side of the road to die of despair! Who could have seen that coming?

Look, government does not care about people like you; the ruling class only cares about how it can use you in its power politics. If it can get you to vote for it on the promise of free stuff, Yay! If it can get gays to hate straights and vote 85-15 for Democrats, Yay! If it can angry-up blacks with Black Lives Matter, Yay! If it can wean women off husbands and children and instead work for taxable wages and decline into single parenthood and start to look to government for support, Yay!

But the rulers don't care about people like you. Hillary Clinton doesn't care about you. All they care about is their court politics of who is up and who is down, and how they can use political power to strut their hour upon the stage of power.

And so the whirligig of time spins on, from one train wreck to the next. And you and I are the folks that will pay the price. Every time.

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