Thursday, November 03, 2016

If Clinton could do better, she would - but for lack of certain skills, she can't

Today, I'd like to try to apply to politics what I've shared in my article, Plan B for humanity. Here, I will attempt to analyze the capacity of just one of our presidential candidates to do better. I'm going to start with Clinton, but don't worry. I have some ideas about Trump, too. I'm just not sure if I can do it in one article, let alone this one. I believe in the fairness doctrine and will try to do my best to cover Trump the same way, in another article.

If you haven't read Plan B for humanity, you might want to, for it adds context to this article. In that article, I reviewed a book by Dr. Ross W. Greene, The Explosive Child, a parenting book about how to create a collaborative partnership with your kids to solve problems that give rise to challenging behavior. I believe that Plan B is not just for kids, it's for all of us, and it can be used in politics. In this article, I'd like to review some of the behavior we've witnessed in this election and frame it in an entirely different context. This article is not offered as criticism of anyone, rather, it is merely offered as a set of observations observed with a different lens.

The reason I'm taking this direction in my blog is simple and this article is a start. I've seen so much criticism and baiting in social and mainstream media, but very little action. I've learned some difficult lessons lately and I've come to this conclusion: every second spent criticizing anyone, even politicians, is a second lost, a second that could have been used towards the solution to the problems we need to solve, as a species. I am done with placing blame and only want to keep the focus on the solution as an existential directive. We need to focus on solutions and collaborate on them for the survival of the human race.

Focusing on the solution rather than the problem is very, very hard. Most of us have been trained to respond to criticism by our parents and have not been trained very well on finding solutions with our parents. The reason for that is that our parents did the best they could with what they had: Plan A - the imposition of their will upon us as a solution to our inability to comply with their demands.

We have better tools now, more scientific evident to support the solution, and perhaps a bit more maturity at hand. As you'll read below, sticking to the solution rather than the problem is very, very hard. This is my first attempt at it, so you'll probably see me slipping back into blaming and criticizing here and here. Moving the focus from the problem to the solution is a work in progress and I accept that I'm going to hit a few bumps in the road.

As some long time readers of this blog may well be aware, I've been covering the presidential election since Bernie Sanders started his campaign. I was fascinated with his character, his rhetoric and his positive campaign approach. Sanders offered an incredible breath of fresh air relative to the other candidates, particularly with respect to Hillary Clinton. Sanders appeared to be far more focused on the solution than the problem.

As the campaign unfolded, I discovered several things about the way Hillary ran her campaign that, at the time I learned of them, infuriated me and only confirmed my bias against her. I'm still biased against her, but now, for entirely different reasons. I offer the following examples for your consideration.

The first issue was how Hillary Clinton managed to have more than 400 Democratic superdelegates lined up for her support at the start of her campaign with most of those commitments secured long before she announced her candidacy. This is unprecedented. Counterpunch ran an article by Margot Kidder (yes, that Margot Kidder) to describe how this was done with some speculation as to why. It doesn't really matter to me as to why, but when I read Kidder's article, I was already asking the question: aren't the superdelegates supposed to wait until later to decide who is the most likely candidate to win the general election? And why all the secrecy before she even announced that she was going to run? Oh, we already knew she was going to run? Who knew?

Then there is the concern about widespread suspicion of election fraud. Hundreds of polling stations were closed, hundreds of thousands of voters were purged from the rolls, exit poll discrepancies, and the complicity of the mainstream media in announcing Hillary as the winner of the nomination a day before the last set of primary elections, let alone the Democratic National Convention event.

Finally, there is the collusion between the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign and the mainstream media. This is well documented in email releases from Wikileaks and FOIA litigation, and they just keep coming. What we see in the emails is a non-stop locomotive en route to the convention, rolling over Bernie Sanders, his supporters and anyone else who might get in their way. It would have been nice if the DNC would have been a neutral forum for selecting a nominee as their bylaws require, but the temptation to use this organization as a unseen hand in support of Hillary Clinton was apparently too great for her elite supporters to resist.

The latest release shows that Donna Brazile, temporary chair of the DNC, was a go-between to ferry questions in advance of at least one of the election debates. If Hillary has the skills to be president, why all the advance notice of questions?

While I was surprised at first at the candor and hostility in the emails, after I calmed down, I had to ask a simple question: How long has this been going on? How long has the DNC failed to be a neutral forum as advertised? And why does Hillary need all that help if she's so competent to be president?

But now I can look back with a different lens. This lens is not one to be used to cast about for someone to blame and someone to punish. This lens permits me and hopefully you too, to see errant or challenging behavior as resulting from a lack of skills to work through unsolved problems. The latest release of emails authored and/or received by Clinton campaign manager, John Podesta, show that a lack of confidence in Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as Hillary's campaign staff, was widespread. Here is one example where we see Podesta and Brent Budowsky, a Clinton surrogate, collaborating on how to deal with the shortcomings of her campaign and their candidate.

While reading the emails, I saw a lot of criticism, even condescension, of Hillary Clinton, her Clinton campaign and her staff. I saw observations of Hillary's lack of skills and judgement as a politician. I saw that there isn't a whole lot of problem solving going on, just a lot of hand wringing and criticism of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and their staff, people that Podesta and Budowsky had little control over.

What I see from the emails is collusion and secrecy, and an almost complete lack of transparency save for the leaks from Wikileaks and emails released due to the Freedom of Information Act litigation that is still ongoing. I see a group of elites intent on forcing everyone else to accept Hillary Clinton as the nominee, and eventually as president, with very little input from the public.

Now, without making any character assessments, can we see that the people exerting all of this clandestine effort to guide Hillary to the nomination and perhaps to the White House simply lacked the skills to be more transparent to be more forthcoming? We don't even need to guess at motives. All we need to know is that Hillary Clinton, her campaign staff and her surrogates in the press lacked the skills to run a fair campaign and they are still slugging it out. They seemed to sincerely believe that they could not win a fair contest, and they acted upon that belief.

Gone are the issues that we need to talk about (perhaps that was part of the plan). Instead, we are being treated to a scandal buffet. Take a look at the headlines and you will see that the narrative is not about the issues, it's boiled down to a betting pool to see who will be indicted first, Trump or Clinton. Winner takes all.

So before we get too sure of ourselves, we need to remember that it takes two to tango. Donald Trump and the Clintons (all three of them), need adult supervision, but there is no one really big enough to stop them, or at the very least, there is no one big enough that is willing to stop them. Not then, during the primaries, and most certainly not now. We the people need to step in. We need to show up at the polls, or at least get our mail-in ballots mailed (I did). We need to participate in our own governance.

Voters of our nation are being asked to vote for one of two people who probably don't have the skills we need to get out country out of the mud. I'm not even sure that even Jill Stein or Gary Johnson have those skills, either. But I can say this about Jill Stein: Her campaign has been far more transparent than either Trump or Clinton have been running theirs. I haven't studied much about Gary Johnson, but I'm mostly opposed to the libertarians for a number of reasons, which I've cited here.

If we were to reduce our national political conflict down to two parties, we have the oligarchs who are foisting two very unpalatable candidates upon the voters, and the rest of us. Both sides lack the skills to work out the political conflict between us. The oligarchs are feeding us Plan A. The rest of us are not getting what we really want, which is Plan B, so we pursue challenging behavior. You know, stuff like Occupy Wall Street, #NODAPL and not watching TV like we're supposed to.

What is Plan A, again? The imposition of oligarch will upon the rest of us. Plan B? A collaboration between the oligarchs and the rest of us regarding the problems that need to be solved that will produce solutions that are durable, mutually beneficial, with duties and responsibilities that both parties are capable of and willing to perform.

Is that too much to ask?
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