Sunday, May 29, 2016

We go home now iv

Getting through California on the way
to political stardom costs, in the es-
timation of the State's junior Senator,
four million a week, minimum. How times
have changed, since the Senator rented
offices on Polk Street, for less than an
hour per month of that price. But Calif-
ornia is not just a price, it's a green
card to inhabit the public consciousness.

Shall we let her get away with it, is
now the occupation of the mind of the
Bear Republic. It is a tribute to her
magnificence, that her name is super-
fluous; and to her ambition, that the
Bear is so bemused. Californians hold
no such ambition, to arbitrate fates;
they live for the pleasure of carrying
out their lives with the least distaste.
The only difference is, they are many.

The preposterous certainty, now, that the Republican Party will present an inconceivable candidate for the Presidency, has naturally excited the liveliest aspiration to justify her candidacy for that Office in his place. If it would not be good for the United States, could it be justified on any grounds other than the possibly greater menace presented by this Republican?

I have not discovered such a justification, and I continue to believe that the Democratic Party, which has failed flagrantly to administer a plausibly fair contest for the nomination - fair to candidates, to Democrats, to those who would be Democrats, much less to the dignity of the offices being sought - might be awakened by a revulsion gathering daily more vertiginously toward her candidacy. I can't conclude, preemptively, that the Party will intentionally deprive itself of a candidate acceptable by these standards, on the grounds of having no choice. On the other hand, the other Party has done so, and by buying up its own remorseless souls.

In explaining her now officially condemned compulsion to conceal the sound and substance of her official conduct from lawful requirements of this nation, her adherents explain this is simply an honest self-protection in a world of personal enemies. It may be, but it is certainly an insupportable risk to security, a revolting affront to history, and a flouting of laws compelling accountability, which disqualifies anyone from holding office. In explaining that this was "permitted," she has simply been lying. It is true, lying is to be expected; but staggering cowardice as a defense to disclosure, is not "permitted." Staggering cowardice as a mode of conducting debate, campaigning for office, addressing the public and responding to a free press, unrelieved by any excuse but that people don't like one, is the classically cyclical abyss drilled for us by Richard Nixon. In lieu of blaming a hurling of kitchen sinks against him, he merely scolded that he'd been "kicked around," a distinction of stereotypes, in a common exculpation.

We have only slightly discussed her simultaneous operation of two Departments of State from a single official sinecure, one for the United States and one for the family Foundation. We have not addressed her cultivation of massive capital transfers to the one, during her administration of the other; we have not addressed obligations and moral hazards elevated outside of American foreign policy, irreconcilably with that policy, to fatten her speaking fees, her trustee fees, accelerate her family's enrichment, and market her fund for "good works" -- and all upon a database concealed from the government of the United States. We are, however, allowed to marvel, how "permitted" this was. Even Andrew Mellon, Treasury Secretary for several terms, never pretended to be guarding the hen-house. He merely raided it the old-fashioned way.

We have not addressed her signature mix of term-paper flurries of policy prescriptions and somnolent complacency, until chided by Progressivism. They leave intact the irrelevance of her commitment to any policy, which is now generally understood as the fluctuating tidepool that it is; and apart from her fondness for war, her prejudice against neutrality, her attachment to dictators on her family's guest list, there is little to mark her as less appealing than any political figure who's built a career on ill-chosen contemporaries and illusions that have expired. We don't elect Presidents to judge character, only to possess it; we don't ask them to be visionaries, only to be current. Possibly she will catch up, for California. But she is slow, to part with her cheat sheets.

She still hasn't advanced a single vision of what to expect of her - "fighting," for what it's worth from her, aside -- apart from resplendent seniority as an observer of the Executive, as if to say, a seasoned voyeur might make a lover. Can we name a thing that she wants to do? We know, she wants to be seen to be able, as if applying for admission to grad school; and, to do what, but - well - to do "the work." How infinitely naïve this spelling-bee assessment of the Presidency is, we have Michael Dukakis to remind us.

She has now revoked her promise to debate her only rival in the race. Her inherent polling advantage has disappeared, although her control of the Party certainly has not. Like chickens with their necks to be wrung, was how Governor Scranton put it at the Cow Palace, in 1964. An absolute caravan of Canterbury Tale-spinning pundits stands ready to cover her trackless flight from exposure with petals of pragmatism -- "hasn't she already won, hasn't she already been gracious enough?" She has just lost one's adopted State, Virginia, by ensnaring a decent Governor in the conflicts of interest of her Foundation. California is more expensive. Cui bono? 

v  Wynn Bullock
    Point Lobos, 1951
    High Museum of Art

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