Primarily Speaking

[Content Note: Racism; misogyny.]

image of Senator Bernie Sanders smiling, to which I've added text reading: 'I'm in!'

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has officially announced he's running for president as a Democrat, and he came out rhetorically swinging with a promise to address "obscene levels" of class disparity: "This is a rigged economy, which works for the rich and the powerful, and is not working for ordinary Americans. ...You know, this country just does not belong to a handful of billionaires." BOOM.

I will note that I'm not thrilled Sanders brought up Hillary Clinton's Iraq war vote, for which (again) she's since apologized and said she was wrong. Very bluntly: "As the war dragged on, with every letter I sent to a family in New York who had lost a son or daughter, a father or mother, my mistake [became] more painful. I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn't alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple."

Progressives always say that we want Democrats to get more progressive, to admit their failures, to meaningfully apologize when they fuck up, to embrace better policies when shitty policies they endorsed fail, to progress. But when Clinton does precisely that, instead of being commended for doing exactly what progressives ostensibly want Democratic politicians to do, she's just a terrible harpy who only "evolves" for political expediency.

See also: Many of the reactions to Clinton's speech about criminal justice reform. People have (rightly) pointed out that she once supported and endorsed then-President Clinton's terrible policies that contributed mightily to the era of mass incarceration. And now she's saying that shit didn't work and we need reforms.

Even though I believe her proposed reforms don't go far enough, I'm still glad that Clinton has moved in the right direction on this issue. I trust and respect politicians who hold themselves accountable for policy failures. Because, the thing is, I expect that, if elected, Clinton will make mistakes as president, as all presidents do. And I want someone who can and will admit when they're fucking wrong and pivot to try something better.

And, you know, on a personal level, as someone who has publicly learned and changed her mind dramatically about a number of issues over the decade I've been doing this, I just find it really obnoxious when people are held to positions they've changed and mistakes they've made, for which they've apologized. Progressives are meant to progress.

One of the things I've really liked about President Obama's presidency—and what I like about President Obama—is that he makes changes when necessary. Now, sometimes that's been out of political expediency (same-sex marriage), and sometimes it's been because he's learned something doesn't work (reflexive bipartisanship). I don't agree with all of his policies, but I trust and respect him for being someone who grows.

And then there's this: Holding the same views for decades is antithetical to progressivism. The world changes; views and policies need to change. Consistency isn't always a positive, when circumstances demand otherwise.

I mean, do I wish President Obama and Hillary Clinton had supported same-sex marriage much sooner? Yes. Do I think both of them prioritized politics over decency on that issue? Yes. Do I think those choices were a problem? Yes. Do I value Republican candidates' consistent opposition to same-sex marriage more than I value Obama's and Clinton's delayed support and "flip-flop" on the issue? NOPE.

Anyway. Let's deal with today's issues, shall we, candidates? Thanks.

Postscript: Let's also stop pretending that Hillary and Bill Clinton are the same fucking person or have identical brains and positions. And if we're going the "well, she endorsed those policies!" route, then let's hold Jeb Bush to the same standard and write fully one million articles about how he has to distance himself from the policies of his father's presidency which he supported, and the policies of his brother's presidency which he supported. None of this "Bush legacy" marshmallow fluff: Let's see reams of digital ink spilled over precisely which policies he supported, as long as two decades ago, and then hold him accountable for them.

What? That's never going to happen, because we don't treat men the same way we treat women, especially when they're wives? HUH!

I also wonder if Martin O'Malley will be held as responsible for his tenure as mayor of Baltimore, during which his policing policies were fucking horrendous, as Clinton has been for endorsing her husband's policies. Ha ha just kidding! I don't wonder that! I know for sure that he will not be, because nothing any male candidate actually did is ever as terrible as something Hillary Clinton endorsed once upon a time.

But none of this is uninterrogated misogyny. Nothing to see here. Move along.

In other news...

Whooooooooops your primary! "The rapid growth of the GOP presidential field is causing major headaches for party bosses ahead of a primary debate season that begins this summer. The dilemma for Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman, is stark: If the declared field grows to 18 or 20 candidates, as now looks plausible, how can those numbers be winnowed in a way that seems fair and reasonable rather than arbitrary and undemocratic? 'You've got to prevent it from becoming a WWE SmackDown event on national television,' said GOP strategist Ford O'Connell." LOL.

Senator Ted Cruz is awful: "As Baltimore residents continue to protest the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Wednesday accused President Obama of worsening racial tensions in the country. 'President Obama, when he was elected, he could have been a unifying figure,' Cruz said at a U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event, according to Politico. 'He could have chosen to be a leader on race relations and bring us together. And he hasn't done that; he's made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions that have divided us rather than bringing us together.'"

If one more fucking Republican accuses the President of being divisive when they've done nothing for six years but dog whistle racist shit at him, I am going to explode from rage into a shower of tiny stars.

[Video may autoplay at link] Mike Huckabee just keeps saying words that I cannot believe an adult human being says in the year of our lord Jesus Jones two thousand and fifteen: "I respect the courts, but the Supreme Court is only that—the supreme of the courts. It is not the supreme being. It cannot overrule God. When it comes to prayer, when it comes to life, and when it comes to the sanctity of marriage, the court cannot change what God has created."

Again, I will point out that for those of us who don't believe our marriages are sacred, insisting that they are changes the definition of our marriages more than same-sex marriage ever could. (Which is: Not at all.)

Welp, I'm sure Marco Rubio and Rand Paul and Rick Perry and Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson and the rest of the Clown Car Club are up to lots of fun stuff today, too, but who cares. Not me!

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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