Own It: Things That are Uncomfortably True

I’ve not written a Cranky Notions column in a while because I’ve grown weary of the Internet “noise” level. I wish Trump was the only fact-challenged voice out there, but confirmation bias is everywhere, that is, the selective interpretation of  detail designed to "prove" a preconceived belief.

Here are eight things folks need to own, whether they like them or not.

1. To Trump Supporters: One of these statements must be false: Unemployment levels are at historic lows. Illegal immigrants are stealing American jobs.  I’m suspicious of both statements, but the two assertions are clearly contradictory. Either immigrants (legal and illegal) are being hired because labor is in high demand, or Trump’s rosy economic rap is an utter lie. I’ll add for nothing that I’ve yet to discover a native-born “American” whose job was taken by an undocumented worker. Decide which statement you believe and own it.

2. To Liberals: Wall Street ate your values. There is a world of difference between what’s good for the Stock Market and what’s good for society. If you’ve grown wealthy from your 401k and other investments, you’ve probably cooperated in a robber baron economy of off-shoring, union bashing, dirty energy, runaway capital, and funding for the Republican Party. The only way to prevent such a thing is to shift all your investments to a socially responsible portfolio (and even then you have to be diligent). Ignoring what companies do could be viewed as less ethically defensible than the antics of rapacious capitalists; at least the latter own their behavior.  

3. To Republicans: It’s not fake news; you need to admit that Trump is the Wizard of Oz. He always has been. His greatest trick was to get working stiffs to believe that he cares about them. Message: Trump cares about himself and his economic interests; he’d gladly sell you down the river to enhance his profile and wealth. He did a good job of deflecting that, but the Michael Cohen plea and Paul Manafort convictions remove all doubt. Own it and repeat after me: “Crooked Donald.” 

4. To Clintonites: It’s going to be a helluva lot harder to seize high moral ground on election tampering now that we know that President Bill Clinton interfered in the 1996 Russian reelection of Boris Yeltsin. Clinton’s meddling—including collusion with the International Monetary Fund—vaulted an unpopular and severely alcoholic Yeltsin from 8% support in the primaries to a 54.4% majority in a matter of months. Guess who Yeltsin appointed as his prime minister? That would be the guy who followed him as president: Vladimir Putin.
Bill's role was speculative at the time, but now the evidence is in. Do you think future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, knew nothing about this? Other troubling things: Is anyone impressed by Bill’s recent non-defense of his dallies with Monica Lewinsky? Or Hillary’s silence on those statements, followed by backpedaling? Are you shocked by the fact that Arkansas tops the charts as the nation’s most sexist state and has been a sinkhole for women since the 1970s?  That’s from the Washington Post by the way, not the rightwing Washington Times. Own it: The Clintons are toxic. 

5. To Red Sox Fans:  The Red Sox are the new Evil Empire. Their $227.8 million payroll is more than $20 million more than the #2 Giants, and a whopping $50 million more than the New York Yankees (6th highest). I wonder why we’ve not heard the phrase “trying to buy a championship” lately? I doubt many outside of New England will weep if the Sox are knocked out of the postseason early. Own it: The Sox are just as bad as the Yankees, or STFU next year when Hal Steinbrenner opens the vault to buy Manny Machado and a new pitching staff headed by Clayton Kershaw.

6. To Democrats Post-2018: Current numbers are looking better and the party has a chance to win at least one of the houses of Congress. I never underestimate the Democrats’ ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but I hope they capture both. The danger comes thereafter. Own it: Democratic leaders are too old—this coming from a graying Baby Boomer. The Democrats must encourage young folks like Alexandria Ocasio-Ortiz, or the party’s fortunes are headed for the boneyard. In 2020, Nancy Pelosi will be 80, Joe Biden 79, Michael Bloomberg 78, and Hillary Clinton 73. Even the admirable Liz Warren would be 71.

Kristin Gillibrand has a better profile; she’d be 53. Ditto Kamala Harris (55 in 2020), or even Deval Patrick at 64. Chris Murphy (47) is probably not ready yet. I doubt that any of these folks are electable in our current political climate. In my estimation, they should be looking for a bilingual populist—from where is the question.
7. To Bernie Supporters: Bernie’s my favorite politician, but it would be very wrong for him to make another bid. He’ll be 79 in 2020 and all good things must, inevitably, come to an end. He needs to step back and let his Our Revolution organization be his lasting legacy. Own it; Bernie’s moment has passed.

8. To Massachusetts Democrats: Own it: Governor Charlie Baker will be easily reelected in November. He’s earned it. I’ve not voted for a Republican since Silvio Conte, but unless some serious dirt peeps out from the carpet, I’ll cast one for Baker. He hasn’t done much harm, which would normally be small potatoes,  but it seems pretty huge these days. Write a check for charity, not the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. It would take a miracle to unseat Baker.

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