One of the things that has become pretty clear in this election cycle is how much people hate traditional “politicians.” We’ve seen that especially on the Republican side, with the ascendancy in the polls of Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson and, of course, that poster-child for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the Donald. But even on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders, who has been making huge inroads into Hillary Clinton’s popularity, is basically the anti-politician’s politician.
And I understand. I get why people really hate politicians. For example, I hate it when during a debate a politician ignores the question that was asked and just launches into their talking points.
Just answer the fucking question first!, I always want to scream at the television.
John Kerry, Mitt Romney and now Hillary Clinton provide us with stark reminders of why people really do hate politicians:
Massachusetts Senator and current Secretary of State John Kerry basically did himself in back in 2004 when he voted for the war in Iraq and then tried to find a way to explain it away in nuanced and unconvincing ways that made the flip-flop label stick. This is, of course, the same John Kerry that made his name by his principled opposition to the Vietnam War, where he famously testified in front of a congressional committee and asked, “who should be the last man who die for a mistake?”
Another “Massachusetts” politician reversed course on two issues in a way that completely undercut his 2012 presidential election campaign: abortion and his own health care bill (aka “Romneycare”).
On abortion – and I detailed this in a previous article – Romney was “firmly” pro-choice both in 1994 and 2002 when he was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy and later against Shannon O’Brien for Governor. Romney famously indicated in a televised debate that he thought it was “unbecoming” of her that Shannon would question his bona-fides on abortion. It’s all on YouTube, and you can see it here. Then, in 2008 and 2012, when he was running for President, he claimed to be firmly opposed to abortion, and explained away his transparently politically motivated reversal has having had a revelation of some kind.
Next, he threw the signature accomplishment of his Gubernatorial administration – his 2006 universal health care law – right under a bus. That health care law, of course, pioneered the individual mandate – an idea he took from a Heritage Foundation position paper – the same idea which was later incorporated as the signature reform in the Affordable Care Act. Romney tried to explain this away as a matter of “state’s rights,” which is like arguing that Social Security should not be a federal program, there should be a different social security act in all of the 50 states, so that it can become one giant legal clusterfuck, instead of a coherent federal program.
Not surprisingly, no intelligent person bought this line of argumentation.
Now we have Hillary Clinton coming out against the Transpacific Partnership, even though she is apparently on record as having supported it 45 times during her tenure as Secretary of State and thereafter.
Hillary, this is not going to work!
Everybody knows that she wants to separate herself from Obama before tonight’s debate – and let’s face it, the TPP is not very popular with most Democratic voters – but this simply isn’t going to work.
Hillary, you have seen Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, correct? I mean you appeared on the show, so you must be aware of it! They have tape! Things people say are recorded on tape, and then, when they reverse themselves, the tape of them reversing themselves is played against the original tape. Back to back!
Joe Biden, the Gaffe Machine
Contrast this with Joe Biden, the “gaffe machine.” One of the things that people either love or hate about Joe Biden is that he really does make a lot of gaffes. Because he’s human. Because we all make gaffes, and if we had cameras following us 24 hours a day, we would all be horrified by the many idiotic things we say every day. Where people like Hillary and Mitt are always so carefully calibrated in their responses – which is why everybody thinks of them as politicians – Joe Biden just says what’s on his mind.
And it’s gotten him into trouble.
But at least he appears to be a human being.
 Romney is really from Utah, but he did own a house in Belmont Massachusetts and somehow managed to get himself elected Governor here.
 For those of you who don’t know, Massachusetts is solidly pro-choice, and Romney would have had great difficulty getting elected Governor as a pro-life candidate.