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Explaining American Politics: From Clinton to Fossella

Jerry Krase (May 13, 2008)
Explaining American politics to foreigners is not easy especially in this Presidential Campaign Season when you can't tell the pachyderms from the jackasses and vice versa. Ironic reflections are made on Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Vito Fossella


A few weeks ago I was giving a tour of multicultural Brooklyn to two journalists of sorts from France and was asked “Is America ready to elect a Black President?” I replied that America wasn’t ready but “America” doesn’t elect the President -- the electorate (a much smaller group) does. For example in 2004 about 60% of eligible voters voted and George W. Bush got half of that or about 30% of eligible voters; only 62 millions votes from a population of about 300 million; about 20% of the total population. So if only a fifth of America wasn’t racist Obama could win.

Then there is the issue of American Political Parties. Most Europeans think of parties as ideological in nature which are left, right and center of something or other. The normal way of thinking of the Left versus Right axis in the US is in terms of the level of Federal Government involvement in things like “The” market and ones personal life. In a gist: Leftists in The States want the government into the market and out of the bedroom and the Rightists wants the reverse… that is unless rich people need money from the rest of us.

Most people think of America as having only two major parties, and that having only two results in stability. Stability at the national level exists because there is virtually no difference in the political platforms of the two parties when it comes to Presidential elections. Actually, this Presidential Campaign Season there are three major political parties. They are The Democratic Party, The Republican Party, and the Clintonpublicratic Party. Given their similarities, it is not surprising that Both The Democrats and The Republicans trace their roots to the same party, The Democratic-Republicans founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and other Federalists in the 1790s. The Clintonpublicratic Party is a relatively recent addition and goes back its founder Bill who with the support of the Democratic Leadership Council (which is not the Democratic National Committee) became the 42nd President of the United States in 1993.

It is interesting to note that it was claimed by some that President Clinton I (William Jefferson) was America’s “First Black President.” It is even more interesting to note that the current aspirant to become President Clinton II (Hillary Rodham) is having none of that. At times it even appears as though Bill’s spouse prefers that he was America’s “Last Black President.” As the remaining, increasingly Whitish, contender in Democratic Presidential primaries, she has been arguing that America is so racist that even a person of so little color as Obama could never be elected. Hillary, as well as Republican Party nominee John McCain can’t help reminding people of Obama’s black bits. Of course it hurts the Democrats but neither the Clintonpublicrats nor the Republicans. Some say the damage to Obama will ensure that, should Herself lose the nomination, Obama will lose in the general election and Hil becomes the preferred candidate in 2012.

In my opinion, Bob Herbert is America’s best op-ed columnist. In his May 10, 2008, New York Times, column “Seeds of Destruction” he reflected on the Clintonpublicrats’ in this way:

“So there was Hillary Clinton cold-bloodedly asserting to USA Today that she was the candidate favored by “hard-working Americans, white Americans,” and that her opponent, Barack Obama, the black candidate, just can’t cut it with that crowd.

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