First of all: ugh.
You have to love this headline: The British Are Frantically Googling What The E.U. Is, Hours After Voting To Leave It.
So maybe, once they see what they’ve done, there will be another, better informed referendum, overturning the first.
But maybe not.
So . . . ugh.
As a 27-year-old British friend texted this morning (bleeped to protect your sensibilities):
I’m livid. The vote was carried by a load of baby boomers who are secure in their pensions and it doesn’t really matter a flying f— to, other than they want to regain nostalgic feelings of 50-year-ago Briton viewed thru rose tinted backwards looking spectacles.
There was so little facts in this referendum it’s invalid. Democracy only works if the electorate can make an informed decision on their best interests based on the facts. If they’re fed a load of shit and vote as a result it’s not democracy, it’s fraud!
Never again will I hold a slightly smug sense of superiority when we talk about American partisan politics. Turns out we’re all fucked. Led by the lowest common denominator and peddled to with misinformation and barefaced lies and controlled by an unaccountable media.
I think I’ve aged a decade this morning and firmly arrived as a grumpy, cynical man.
(I watched a “leave” voter on the BBC this morning say she thought it was outrageous that Scotland were calling for another independence referendum and that this was a time for unity!! WHAT THE F— DID YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN YOU STUPID HYPOCRITICAL F—WIT?!)
But that is indeed too often how it works.
Texas Governor George W. Bush proclaimed, preposterously, that “by far the vast majority” of his proposed tax cuts would go to people “at the bottom of the economic ladder” and promised “a humble foreign policy” even as he was planning to invade Iraq. It’s hard to overstate how much harm his presidency did. But the second time, he even got a majority of the vote — with 70% of his voters believing, erroneously, that Iraq had played a role in the 9/11 attack.
And now Trump is promising ridiculous things — he’s going to bring millions of $1-an-hour jobs back from China? And somehow make their employers pay a good wage even though he opposes the minimum wage? And force consumers around the world to buy products made here with $20-an-hour labor instead of the same products made in China with $1-an-hour labor? Even though, as a businessman, he sources his own products from overseas? And this is all just going to magically happen because he’ll bring back torture and defeat ISIS in a matter of weeks and is the king of debt and will build a beautiful wall?
Trump’s main focus will be destroying his opponent. He will say anything that pops into his head — or even say outrageous things in prepared remarks. (E.g., she was “sleeping” during the Benghazi crisis. Challenged for proof, he explained to NBC News’ Lester Holt that she might have been sleeping — “how do you know she wasn’t?” — and that was, to his mind, basis enough for the charge.)
Jim Burt: “We know Trump is going to dig up and attempt to reanimate the corpse of every accusation and calumny that’s ever been directed at Hillary or Bill Clinton. That wouldn’t be so bad, since for people over 40 it’s all old news; but there’s a huge slice of the electorate who are too young to have heard most of these attacks and unaware how little there has ever been there. My suggestion is that the mantra of Hillary’s surrogates be words to this effect:”*
Every aspect of her public and private life — and Bill’s too — has been the subject of Republican attacks for more than 30 years. Like that they murdered Vince Foster — or that Obama wasn’t born here or Kerry shot himself to get a medal or Gore claimed to have invented the Internet — this is what Republicans do. Every one of the attacks on Hillary has been investigated to death. Seven congressional committees on Benghazi alone — concluding she did nothing wrong.
She has not in every case used perfect judgment. Taking George Bush at his word to invade Iraq only as a last resort — as so many progressive Democrats also did, like Joe Biden, John Kerry, and Tom Harkin — proved far too trusting. A mistake she admits. Setting up her email server at home — another. But balance that against her lifetime of fighting for working families, the poor, women, children, and the oppressed around the world?
Hillary is the most thoroughly vetted, investigated, and experienced presidential candidate in the history of this country. Trump is, according to almost every leading Republican, a con-man totally unfit to lead the country.
“That’s what I’m telling people,” Jim concludes. “That’s what we can all be telling people. That’s what younger voters and low-information voters need to hear to ‘clear the air.’ And then we can start talking about policy.”
☞ Which leads me, at last, to the Clinton Global Initiative. The truth is, far from a scandal or a fraud like Trump University, CGI has been an extraordinary catalyst for good around the world. When you encounter skeptics, perhaps offer this recent backgrounder from the Washington Post: The Inside Story Of How The Clintons Built A $2 Billion Global Empire.
. . . The evolution of the foundation, which began as a modest nonprofit focused largely on the ex-president’s library in Arkansas, is a nearly perfect reflection of the Clintons themselves. It was not designed as a master plan but rather has grown, one brainstorm at a time, in accordance with the ambitious, loyal, restless and often scattered nature of its primary namesake. Many programs were sparked by chance encounters in Bill Clinton’s life. A meeting with a Harlem shopkeeper. A friend’s plan to fight AIDS. The flight to Davos. Emergency heart surgery.
The foundation now includes 11 major initiatives, focused on issues as divergent as crop yields in Africa, earthquake relief in Haiti and the cost of AIDS drugs worldwide. In all, the Clintons’ constellation of related charities has raised $2 billion, employs more than 2,000 people and has a combined annual budget of more than $223 million.
In the middle of it all is Bill Clinton, a new kind of post-presidential celebrity: a convener who wrangles rich people’s money for poor people’s problems. . . .
Or he could have stayed at home and painted his dog.
*Which I have paraphrased liberally. — A.T.