Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Bern

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Hey Bernie Bros!

What’s up, fellas? First, I feel you. To a certain extent, I am you. I love me some Bernie, and, to establish some obligatory street-cred, actually knew who he was (and admired him) many years before he decided to run for president.

Secondly, I get it. Check this out.

I have to say, you younger dudes are reminding many of us of the obdurate blowhards who claimed, in 2000, that their only choice was Nader since (as Nader himself said, to his eternal shame) Bush and Gore were essentially two sides of the same soiled coin.

Here’s the thing: quite a few folks knew not only that this was bullshit, but that the feckless and untested Bush wasn’t remotely up to the job. Yes, it was infuriating to witness some of the most irresponsible media negligence of our lifetimes (little did we know it was a test run for the run-up to Iraq), but at least, without the literal benefit of hindsight, it was impossible to prove Bush would be incompetent in ways that made even our most cynical suspicions seem…naïve. Here’s the other thing: we already know, without even the slightest iota of uncertainty, that Trump is not merely a reckless, obscene and ignorant buffoon, but that his election will put the very concept of American democracy in jeopardy. Speaking of Iraq, imagine Trump…no, let’s not even go there.

So, with condolences and admonition, let me toss fifty well-intended turds into your oh-so-pure punch bowl before your precious, but increasingly nihilistic “Bernie or Bust” antics do our nation irreparable harm.

Joan Gage Photo Donald Trump
1. Donald Trump.

2. Trump’s VP? Google “Pence. Abortion bill”.

3. Take a quick gander at the GOP platform. And read this.

4. Imagine, for one moment, that you’re not white, or had a vagina. Or were gay. Or, if that’s too frightening and uncomfortable, what our country will be like for any and all of these folks.

5. Pretend (and this is probably the biggest stretch of all) that you ever, under any circumstances had to work a blue collar job.

6. Contemplate Newt Gingrich as Secretary of State.


  1. Contemplate Chris Christie. (Not even necessarily in any position of power; just contemplate him.)
  2. Imagine, for one second, this idiot feeling vindicated.
  3. The fact that the cowardly and cretinous Rudy Giuliani has recently inserted himself into the public eye with the typical grace of a rabid ferret in a crowded train, and could easily be named Attorney General, should be enough to make you not only vote for Hillary, but get excited about canvassing for her.
  4. If you seriously believe, for one second, that living under a Trump regime will be in any way cathartic or cleansing, do us all a favor: go live in North Korea for a few months and let us know what you’ve learned.
  5. Have you actually ever read anything by Orwell or Kafka or even the pre-9/11 Christopher Hitchens? Didn’t think so.
  6. “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, right? Trump’s another word for it, too — for people who’ve never lost anything, or have excellent jobs or benevolent parents to shelter them from shit when it gets real. Speaking of freedom: everything this concept conveys is something Trump had handed to him or has fought to obstruct his entire life.
  7. Hillary a tad egocentric for your tastes? Fair enough. Think she puts herself first too much for comfort? Okay. Compared to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa and June Cleaver rolled into one.
  8. Think of Hillary Clinton as the pâté of politics: overvalued by the wrong type of people, appalling in its pretensions, bought by well-connected sorts, but undeniably created through expertise and time-tested processes. It, in short, might not be especially appetizing for all kinds of reasons, but fast food it ain’t. Think of Trump, on the other hand, as a worn out chicken breast raised on a chemical and steroid mash inside a rank, concrete factory that is months past its inflated expiration date, then had bleach poured on it for coloration before hitting the meat aisle at Food Lion.
  9. Everyone who really wants Trump to win really hates everything about you.
  10. And they would not hesitate to harm you, physically, if they could get away with it.
  11. And they would be encouraged (and, perhaps, exonerated) by Trump, if he had the power.
  12. Read the short story “Mario and the Magician” by Thomas Mann.
  13. Read something by any writer who lived through a dictatorship.
  14. Read this excellent piece from founding Weeklings editor Greg Olear.
  15. Imagine all the right wing radio listening, bigoted and elderly dunces who detest Obama (because he’s black) and fantasize about them spending their miserable last years ranting in their futons because a woman just became president for two terms.
  16. I would say, imagine Secretary of Defense John McCain, but The Donald prefers Secretaries of State who didn’t get captured. You know who definitely never gets captured? Short-fingered cheese-dicks whose daddy helped them avoid military service in the first place.
  17. At a certain point you just have to grow up. There are few things more appalling than the way sausage is made (literally and figuratively). There are also few things more enjoyable, or American.
  18. You know how you love Bill Clinton despite the ways he drives you crazy because he’s such a gifted natural politician with such cripplingly poor judgment? Hillary Clinton, in virtually every regard, is his opposite.
  19. Read this.
  20. Read this, too.
  21. More knowledge dropped by Mr. Olear.
  22. Put this in your pipe and smoke it.
  23. Donald Trump is the tragi-comic apotheosis of the GOP successfully, for decades, side-stepping all reality-based criticism by insisting the media is liberal. (The only way that story ends happily, and appropriately, is if Trump loses in spectacular, historically humiliating fashion.)
  24. Also, the Fox News-enabled transition from low information voters to no information voters has been deliberate, if cynical, and will have one of two results: epic comeuppance that will rend the GOP into several desperate, greedy and angry (always angry) factions, or the utter collapse of democracy, assuming Trump wins.
  25. Seriously, the distance between Hillary and Bernie, though profound in some regards, is like the gap between Starbucks franchises in any major city. The distance between Hillary and Trump, on the other hand, is not even calculable by man-made means; we’re talking quantum physics black hole time space continuum type shit.
  26. See how long you can make it through this:

33. Am I the only person who, whenever Donald Trump is speaking (invariably about himself), thinks he is a much dumber and more dangerous realization of this classic character?

34. You notice how the Republican Establishment has, of late, tripled-down on calling itself “the party of Lincoln”? That’s not accidental. This election needs to ensure that for the indefinite future they are, correctly, known as “the party of Trump”.

35. Getting back to that Republican platform. Did you know they’re against medical marijuana?

36. And that they are still shamelessly anti-gay marriage, anti-gay adoption and for the farcical “conversion therapy” snake oil? (Follow the money, opportunism and denial, always the GOP Unholy Trinity.) It’s one thing to be unrepentantly bigoted and call yourself “traditional”; it’s another to essentially fly your flag of intolerance and dare people with their hearts and minds on the moral side of history to do something. Now’s the time to ensure you do something.

37. Hey, smart guy: can’t be bothered to be appalled by anti-abortion (even in the cases of rape and incest!) laws? How about when your online porn habits start being monitored and persecuted?

38. Still unmoved? Get a load of this exhaustive (and yes, epic) takedown of all-things Trump by our own Brother Sean Beaudoin.

39. You’ve got your panties in a pretzel over Hillary’s emails, but you don’t realize Trump University alone should be enough to ensure Trump is doing the hardest possible time at Rikers Island?

40. Ever seen Dr. Strangelove? Donald Trump is Buck Turgidson, General Jack D. Ripper, Colonel Bat Guano and Ambassador Alexei de Sadeski, all in one. Only dumber and more dangerous. And much less amusing.

41. Remember this?

42. Just vote for Hillary and then complain and whine as much as you want. That’s what blogs are made for.

43. For the sake of the country, be the one saying “I told you so” each time the media, on rinse, wash, repeat, blasts out the latest manufactured Hillary-related outrage. We can take it; we’re prepared for it. Don’t be the person being told “I told you so” by the rest of us, as our collective future flatlines.

44. Ensure another essential Democratic win just to see if it finally causes this evil motherfucker to implode.

45. Just because Batman had some megalomaniacal tendencies doesn’t mean you rooted for The Joker. (If you did root for The Joker, it’s time, at long last, to move out of your parent’s house. Also, too: see #9.)

46. Every great leader, including FDR, had personal foibles that, if scrutinized the way Hillary’s have been for decades, would prevent them from being elected to their home owners association, much less president of the United States.

47. Imagine the good Bernie can continue to do in support of a (grateful, and accommodating) Clinton administration.

48. Visualize every hero who has fought for social justice in the history of the world. Who do you think they’d want you to vote for? (Hint: not Trump, never.)

49. Have the courage of your convictions: go light your house on fire and send every penny you have to Donald Trump. That will allow you to get it out of your system and repent before you help usher in the apocalypse. Win/Win.

50. Seriously. President Trump? You’re better than that. We’re better than this.

Final words from the man himself.


Epitaph for The Decider: Another Angle on the Bush Years

One more day.

Yes we did, yes we will, et cetera. It happened, and it’s happening (Obama is in, Bush is out), so I’ve felt less compelled to absorb every piece deconstructing the Bush debacle. Who needs to read several dozen of the same stories, especially for anyone who has watched the story unfold, in real time? Of course, it’s enlightening, and infuriating (and above all, amusing), to read the tepid apologies and especially the face-saving salvos reminding us of all the good things that happened on The Decider’s watch.

Needless to say, most of the opportunistic armchair commentators denouncing Dubya happen to be the same ones who endorsed him in 2000. Accordingly, something struck me–not for the first time–while reading The Economist’s farewell to the man-child they dub the “frat boy president” (here). Not that they are assessing him as a frat boy, now, which is correct, if somewhat innocuous considering the damage he’s done (it is sort of like calling an arsonist responsible for burning down a city block a man who “liked to play with matches”); it is that they called him that, then, and still felt it was acceptable (preferable?) to have this admittedly dimwitted, unspectacular in every aspect, incurious ne’er- do-well from a patrician political dynasty (yeah, giving the family black sheep with daddy issues the key to the kingdom was never a powder-puff keg waiting to implode) in charge.

Here is the quote that brings me back to 2000 (literally and figuratively): “He came across as an affable chap, particularly when compared with his uptight rival.” Yup, that was the type of intellectual refuse that passed for political analysis at the time. Perhaps not the prevailing view (Gore did, after all, win that ultimately unpersuasive popular vote), but resonant enough that it gained significant traction. And while not nearly enough time has been spent rehashing the collective apathy and willful ignorance (one might call it the complacency from the Clinton years–a time of peace and prosperity not only taken for granted, but one that seems increasingly conspicuous in hindsight), even less time has been devoted to grappling with the perverse perspective that allowed the Gore/Bush contest to be close in the first place: we all know the tired and unfortunate balderdash about Americans having a preference for the guy they’d rather have a beer (or, in Bush’s case, a near-beer) with.

This is the same type of sentiment that informs the creation (and success) of reality TV and spectacles like the red carpet walk before the Academy awards, or the Academy awards period. As Americans, we’ll always have our lamentable lack of intellectual integrity working against us, but 2000 was a low-water mark for presumption mating with unwarranted optimism to create the imperfect beast that has been Bush. Optimism in the sense that, despite all of Clinton’s (mostly self-inflicted) flaws, the man oversaw a period of time that put the vast majority of Americans in a better place than they’d been during the papa Bush (not to mention patron saint of rose-colored conservatism Ronald Reagan) era. Americans made the mistake of assuming we were on cruise control, and heading into the 21st century, it didn’t particularly matter who was behind the wheel, our car was never running out of gas or off the tracks. And this is the crux of the dilemma: how many Americans would allow (much less prefer) a non-credentialed, but good-natured stranger to fix their car? Or do their taxes? Or sell their house? Or manage their funds? (Oops). But somehow, when it came to choosing the person who would run the affairs of the most powerful nation in the world, enough (and entirely too many) of us said “Hey, what’s the worst thing that can happen?”

The answer: 2001-2008.

The point being, it’s woefully inadequate for all of the typically, predictably unaccountable journalists to castigate, in hindsight—and now that the country is burning—all of the ways Bush’s cronyism and incompetence set us back. He remains, and always was, the same man we beheld during the 2000 campaign (did anyone actually watch the debates vs. Gore? Did anyone come away from a single debate reassured that Bush was up to the task?) Again, this is not to let Gore off the hook for his myriad shortcomings and tactical blunders: against all probability, Kerry (and even McCain) tried to make it close, but Gore’s 2000 campaign must ultimately rank as the single-most self destructive and useless of all time: to invoke a lame, but unavoidable cliché, he truly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. From his sighs to his naïve reliance on obtuse consultants to his tone-deaf insistence on keeping Clinton (who, despite the Lewinsky debacle, was still by far the most popular person in the country) away from his operation, he became a cat that, in a bewildering mix of confidence and confusion, declawed itself only to watch the mockingbird chirp at him with relative impunity. It was unbearable to behold, one can only imagine how insufferable Gore finds those memories–even now–when he hits his pillow at night.

And so, none of this is to excuse Gore, or to lose focus on how much responsibility master of muppets Cheney actually bears, but the most culpable individual for the Bush disaster is the American voter who (with no help from a typically supine media) pulled the lever for a man who should only have inspired  bad fiction instead of engineering implausible reality.

Of course, many of these individuals are the same ones who, chastened or inspired, pulled the lever for Obama. And that, in the end, might be the truly enduring legacy of George W. Bush: he failed so spectacularly, his incompetence was so colossal, his influence so poisonous, that he—more than anyone or anything—set the stage for the previously unthinkable: a relatively untested, young African American (Democrat!) winning the presidency. In a landslide. Turning states that had voted reliably red for 40 years blue. With all due respect to Obama’s considerable skills, charisma, and promise, the cult of personality he has inspired might owe as much to a Bush backlash as any sudden shift in the American sensibility. Things have been so bad for so long that the thought of “more of the same” (sorry McCain) was simply repugnant and inconceivable for way too many Americans. So, while wars, failure abroad and at home, the economy, torture and inadequacy will all be part of the sordid Bush story, he might have exceeded even his most virulent detractors’  predictions and done the impossible, after all: he made it possible to imagine a new, better era dominated by Democrats, and democracy.

Only in America.

Bush gets "the boot" in Dupont Circle: 1-19-09

Bush gets "the boot" in Dupont Circle, 1-19-2009