I dread the coming Hillary Clinton presidency. Just what we need, another corporate sell-out “centrist” Democrat. Pinch me, I must be dreaming. I find the prospect about as alluring as discussing term life or looking at someone’s stamp collection. I’ve always thought her supporters overrate her popularity with the American people. If the Republicans weren’t as grotesque as syphilis I’m not so sure she could win. If Jeb Bush runs she loses. And doesn’t that sound like a swell race? Bush v. Clinton? Pass the morphine please.
But wait, Jeb can’t win! No sane person wants another Bush in the White House, right? Wrong. This is Amurrica, baby. We are a nation of infantilized ignoramuses. Give us our flatscreens, iPhones, cheese-filled pizza crusts and a tub full of buffalo wings and you can do what ever you want with us. Vidal was dead right when he labelled us “The United States of Amnesia.” George W. Bush is already fading from memory, and Poppy may as well have fought in the Thirty Years War for all most people know. The establishment would throw all their money, weight and power into Jeb’s candidacy. After Oprah and The View work their dark magic and show his warm and fuzzy side — He’s nice to Hispanics, don’t you know? — the fix will be in. Mr. and Mrs. America will obediently accept whatever they are given.
In other words, the game is rigged, but you already knew that. But there’s also a certain symmetry to it. There has to be a third Bush. It is written. It’s like stopping the world wars at two: It creates this nagging sense of incompleteness that cries out for some final consummation. There simply must be a third to complete the cycle.
There is nothing to be hopeful about in a Clinton presidency. Nothing fundamental will change. The establishment can sleep tight. Goldman Sachs will still own the country and we’ll still have lots and lots of bombings and wars. Hillary will say all the most wonderfully progressive things on trivial social issues that don’t pose a politico risk (like another president I know). Big oil will be just as big. Construction on the Keystone XL pipeline will be well under way. The ten people in West Virginia who aren’t yet poisoned will be. It will be business as usual in the oligopoly.
Her supporters will become grating and blame all criticism of her as being sexist. Just wait for it. It’ an M.O. There is a strong possibility that such unappetizing figures as Robert Rubin will reenter our lives. Wouldn’t that be lovely? Egads, the horror, the horror (although I would warmly welcome Robert Reich and Jocelyn Elders back into the fold). Expect stale and cheesy campaign gimmicks. Remember the Conversation and the Kitchen Sink Campaign? May as well get a bucket now.
I fear that Hillary’s campaign will just have this sort of dull, unimaginative, back to the nineties vibe. It will be just as annoying as Republican eighties worship. We’ll be confronted with the spectacle of both major political parties having nothing to run on but nostalgia.
Now, I miss the nineties as much as the next guy. The late nineties were my glorious salad years. Colors were brighter. Love was more intense. Hangovers only lasted one day. The world was was young with me and all that, you know. But they are never coming back, and in retrospect they might not have been all that hot in the first place. A lot of the cancer that is now killing us took root then, and our boy Bill had a big hand in it.
So goodbye to the nineties. They were a brief, blessed Indian summer that preceded a dark age from which we still haven’t emerged. They are like 1929 or July 1914, the last rays of autumn sun before the longest and bleakest winter of our lives. Good times, to be sure, but there were serpents coiled in the basement.
So why am I talking about this? Pure spleen. Nothing more. But what got me started was stumbling upon one of the most dreadful headlines I’ve ever seen. No, I don’t mean “Is Oprah Gay?” or “Bob Costas Will Return To The Anchor Desk Monday” though they do be dreadful. I mean this: “Where is Monica Lewinsky Now?”
Until today, it had been several years since I heard that name, which for me was just peachy. I daresay I had forgotten all about that person. Nothing against her, but her name just conjures so many unpleasant associations —: Henry Hyde, Bob Livingston, the birth of Fox News and Drudge. Who was her confederate? Tripp? Sigh. That headline brought it all vividly back to life. And then I realized what we’re going to be in for should Hillary run. Drudge is already dusting off all the old Clinton sex stuff. The right wing noise machine is going to be insufferable. Why, oh Lord, must you punish us so? My spirit sank. I haven’t felt that desolate since the day I learned the Millard Fillmore Appreciation Society had disbanded. For the love of all that is holy, Mrs. Clinton, please don’t run. Spare your nation the trauma. Let Joe Biden do it. Let Elizabeth Warren do it!