Can Bernie help Hillary rediscover what Bill’s White House tried to hide in her Saul Alinsky thesis?

Apr 28th, 2016 | By | Category: In Brief

A northbound Amtrak Acela Express passing through Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

This past Tuesday’s “Acela primaries” (after the Amtrak train that connects the five northeast states of Connec-ticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island ) have stiffened the prospect that it really is going to be a Donald vs Hillary sideshow in the US presidential election this fall.

There is some excitement in some quarters about Indiana this coming Tuesday. And Bill Whalen at Stanford’s Hoover Institution is still arguing that: “California [June 7] matters more with each passing week: Trump can’t win without taking a gluttonous portion of the Golden State’s 172 GOP delegates (to get to 1,237 on June 7, I’m guessing he’ll have to score 140 delegates); as such, it’s the #nevertrump movement’s last chance to derail him.”

Donald Trump’s daughter Tiffany with boyfriend Ross Mechanic as of this past December. Mr. Mechanic is “a registered Democrat with a liking for Hillary Clinton.”

The feeling you get closely watching US TV, however, is that a conviction about the inevitability of Trump as the Republican candidate really is starting to settle in among the biggest brains in American politics – as crazy a prospect as that still does seem even to many Republicans.

Meanwhile, even though Bernie did manage to take Rhode Island, even he seems to be accepting that (as one African American young lady in the street explained on I think CNN last night) “Hillary is going to be president.”

(To me Bernie remains the only seriously interesting thing about the 2016 Democratic race. But I also think Bill Maher deftly summarized his ultimate liabilities last Friday night. Bernie looks like a guy who “has two suits and a 1993 Buick Regal” – and that just won’t fly in the White House.)

Route map for Amtrak’s Acela Express : thick red line = main route.

I was talking to one very wise guy at an event a few weeks back, who felt that some Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump showdown at the OK corral could only be good for Democrats. I only wish I felt that way myself right now. But I remain underwhelmed by what I’ve seen of Hillary on TV these days. And I wonder. Maybe an electorate that gave George W. Bush a second mandate in 2004 actually could elect Donald Trump once in 2016, by mistake

* * * *

It is certainly true that the Clintons managed to prevent what Hillary used to call the right-wing conspiracy from doing as much damage as it might have back in the 1990s.

But Hillary blew the health care fix Obama finally managed to put together (as crazy as that still is to we habitants in the most northern North America). And it was Bill (not Ronald Reagan) who finally “reformed” the old US welfare state.

Senator Hillary voted for George W. Bush’s Iraq War. And she still seems to me (judging from such altogether inadequate things as US TV) to exude too much of the upper middle class girl from the north who had a brief flirtation with the 1964 Barry Goldwater campaign –  and then finally married the really bright white-trash progressive Rhodes Scholar from the south, with destiny written all over his face.

Hillary’s current Wikipedia article reports that at Wellesley College she “wrote her senior thesis, a critique of the tactics of radical community organizer Saul Alinsky …(Years later, while she was first lady, access to her thesis was restricted at the request of the White House and it became the subject of some speculation.)”

Saul Alinsky in New Orleans 1968, around the time he met Hillary Clinton.

I have never seen this thesis. But I do know that Alinsky (from Chicago, like Hillary) offered her a job. And she turned it down to go to Yale Law School. (And guess who she met there?)

To me, at any rate, the one hopeful sign in the early spring of 2016 is that Bernie Sanders may finally help Hillary rediscover whatever it is in her old thesis on Saul Alinsky that her husband’s White House wanted to restrict access to.

Anyway, I’m encouraged by Bernie’s latest remarks : “We are in this campaign to win, but if we do not win, we intend to win every delegate that we can, so that when we go to Philadelphia in July, we’re going to have the votes to put together the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.” (Well … enough to put more fire and brimstone into Hillary … )

And (having never seen either of them in person) I think it’s arguable that Bernie Sanders from Brooklyn (and Vermont) almost looks like Saul Alinsky from Chicago (and Carmel, California).

Mr. And Mrs. Clinton at Mr. Trump’s most recent wedding.

I should finally concede that I may be taking a too harsh (and of course wrong) view of Hillary here  – as I concede almost every day to my TV-watching partner, who has been an ardent supporter of Hillary for President since the day Bill Clinton left office. And perhaps that’s what it’s finally come down to.

The girls have decided NOW really is the time for the first woman president of the USA, USA, at last. And the rest of us just have to go along to get along, or there will be no more peace in the valley, forever. So if I could legally vote this fall, I certainly would confirm the stereotype that Canadians always vote Democratic in American elections, and vote for Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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