The Nostalgia Tour I Won’t Be Attending

The Clintons

Hold on to your tin hats America, the Clintons are back. The dynamic duo that just won’t go away is going on tour – together! A 6-month speaking tour will launch soon, with the Clintons performing their usual shtick in 13 cities.

A description of the event says: “Attendees will have the opportunity to hear one-of-a-kind conversations with the two leaders as they tell their stories from some of the most impactful moments in modern history…” I can’t imagine these two getting up and telling folks across this country the hard truth about history.

It must have been an oversight that they didn’t call me for creative input. No matter. I’ve drawn up a list of anecdotes in a little hypothetical dialogue here. Topics I think the American people in all 13 cities would just love to hear about again and again.

Like, how about that time you tightened up those pesky mandatory sentencing laws for non-violent criminals? That was a hoot! And hey, I STILL crack up when I think about all the manufacturing jobs we sent to Mexico.

Ooh ooh! Please tell me we’re going to retell the financial fairy tales about the great dismantling of the Glass-Steagall Act (see the Riegle-Neal Act of 1994 and GLBA of 1999 for more).  I just get downright wistful when I look back on how well deregulating the banks worked out for the American people. And let’s see…they repaid us by bundling predatory mortgages into A+ rated financial instruments for the markets (A+ my ass but the sheeple don’t need to know that..), THEN pulled the ol’ one-two-magoo and short sold their own stock. Betting against themselves! That is rich, oh how we laughed.. those bankers are a wily bunch.

It was sheer genius how they stole everyone’s pensions and foreclosed on homes. And I’ll tell you, it’s because we respect these bankers’ game so much that the American taxpayer bailed them out. No one is complaining about the austerity and the wage stagnation – and if they are, bankers can’t hear them from the 35th floor anyway.

Now that we’re really talking – remind me, how many countries had regime leaders who toppled under your watch? Let’s see, Honduras, Columbia, Bosnia, Libya…we’re still working on Venezuela…I’m running out of fingers. But God damn those Che-lovers were stubborn. Venezuela is prime now though – Obama has been funding the minority opposition creating virtual havoc over there! They’re fired up! Gee, US hegemony is the greatest.

Another way to have fun whilst spreading the fertile seeds of democracy is by funding terrorists, right? Like Al Qaeda? Have any photos? Don’t be shy about putting up a little collage in the entry points at theaters. It will be a kicky conversation-starter.

Let’s not leave the African continent out. I’m sure the Sudanese people would love to discuss the bombing of the al-Shifa Pharmaceutical Factory, which completely obliterated medical stocks in this impoverished country. So what if they had to pay quadruple for outsourced drugs after that? Mr. C had faulty intelligence, it wasn’t his fault. Jeez, people are such complainers.

Ooh! You’ve got to tell attendees about Haiti. Tell the ticket-holders to your little 13-city circus: how did the Clinton Foundation manage to give $30 million in funds to contractor friends, and yet 70% of Haitians today still don’t have direct access to potable water!? That must be a hell of a yarn; hang on while I grab my tea.

I do have one question Billary – can I call you that? And you may not like this idea, but hear me out. Can you bill this as an apology tour? I think that’s the Christian thing to do. There’s a sub-story to all this historical “remembering when” that I think the both of you are uniquely qualified to share. The seeds of corporate fascism and today’s Trump presidency were sown on your watch. Neither of you strike me as the self-reflective type so I’ll explain:

Let’s hearken back to a time when Democrats were just sick of losing elections. It was a dark hour in liberal history.  Picture it: 1988. The Miracle of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis gets chided for being a “card carrying member of the ACLU” and was perceived as “soft” on defense. George Bush’s team was trying their best to get Dukakis’ mental health records out to the public and did a good job painting him as unstable. (Let’s face it: Kitty didn’t help.)

The Bush campaign struck political gold though, when an ad was run about Willie Horton, the first degree murderer from MA who committed another murder while out on a weekend furlough. Aye, twas the nail in Zorba’s coffin. It’s rather telling that in the era of the shoulder-pad, any whiff of sympathy for the plight of the oppressed the ACLU represented would read as a negative. The 80’s was a time of a glorified Wall Street, a time when women still expected to be sexually harassed in the workplace; a time of men being “tough” on defense and crime. Anything else was political suicide. God Bless the patriarchy, but I don’t miss the 80’s.

Vowing never to lose the Presidency of the United States again, Democrats became centrists, and led by the soundtrack of Fleetwood Mac, you crazy kids entered the 1993 presidential race. That shift to the middle seemed wise indeed at the time, and you, Mr. Bill, were as charming as Rhett Butler, a quality ol’ Bushy lacked. Sure, you took a hard line on crime, but you played the saxophone!

It was a glorious time. We Americans were transfixed by you Bill, and fair is fair: liberals co-signed your devilish ways like an abused spouse, making excuses for you any time you let us down. We even tolerated your cheatin’ on Hill’, mostly because she annoyed us, and didn’t let it get to us that you just might be a sexual predator.

The Clinton years gave America a deregulated SEC, FCC and ended consumer protections like Glass-Steagall, but most of us didn’t even know what those things were! How could the average American know that your irresponsible ways would sow the seeds for the 2008 financial crash, for the monopolization of the media which would eventually asphyxiate journalism, or for the over-policing that would fill American prisons to the brim with exploitable free labor for corporations? America’s love of identity politics and worship of symbol rather than substance is what greases the wheel of politics today.

But Bill, you got a little out of your depth with NAFTA. Voters may not be fiscally astute, but the de-industrialization of this country, that is etched on middle America’s memory. I know it must have been water under the bridge for America’s favorite power couple long ago, but I think it could have had a teensy hand in Hillary’s 2016 loss. Have you ever visited Camden, New Jersey? Pine Ridge, North Dakota? Anderson, Indiana? Probably not. Anyhoo, those Republican gerrymandering sons-of-bitches didn’t help either.

It turns out that pivoting to the middle sold out the working class people Democrats purportedly represented, but winning elections again was exciting, I’m not going to lie to you Billary. I was too young to vote but I instinctively disliked both Reagan and Bush. Even as a youngster, I had the makings of a solid future in giving the middle finger to authority. And though I knew absolutely nothing about policy, I was a big supporter of both of you. I even read a few of your books, and was especially inspired by you Hillary, back in the day.

The American people love a good show, and I was no different: I bet on my horse to WIN. I believed Hillary every time she went on the news and inferred conspiracy rather than take ownership. I knew those bad Republicans were just out to get you! Turns out that’s partially true but I was a blind devotee and like every other blowhard in America who seeks confirmation bias to validate my political ethos, I never questioned my loyalty. Looking back, it was an easier time: Google didn’t exist yet.

Do me a solid Hil’ and Bill: at least take some time, as I have, to reflect about this pivot to the center and take some ownership in front of American audiences rather than using this speaking gig to bolster your own demagogic images. Centrism has effectively pushed the entire Republican party to the right. Today’s establishment Democrats are entrenched in the middle, supported by the same corporate interests that polluted the once reasonable Republicans and ruined this country.

What happened? Liberals used to provide a much-needed balance to Capitalism, which inevitably grows like a cancer and devours everything in sight without some voice of reason. I know, I know, checks on power are soooo September 10th. What happened to the party of the working class? Equivocating and shifting to the center, saying certain measures of reform were impossible and thereby settling for the incremental, if anything at all. And all the while the Republican party never yielded an inch, and in fact has veered so far to the right that today’s Republican party bears no comparison to the Reagan years or anything before it. The fringe is running the asylum now, and they were birthed out of frustration to terrible mismanagement that has more to do with Democrats than Democrats would like to admit.

It’s easy to call today’s Republicans out: they do not conform to the PC. They are evangelical fighters who stick to their guns, pun intended. Yet Obama followed up after the Bush Jr. howdy-doody rodeo and continued to codify Bush’s damaging policies and policies in which our golden Clinton administration had previously firmly rooted itself. It was depressing. But few liberals called him out, perhaps out of relief to be rid of Bush, perhaps because of Obama’s chocolate charm. Yes, Obama possessed a gift for public speaking and charm that out-paced yours Billy boy, a terrific thing to watch.

Bush’s dismantling of the 4th Amendment with the Patriot Act got re-affirmed under Obama, with an additional burst of gusto from the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, a section of which was so invasive it prompted a group of investigative journalists to sue the Obama administration to take the section out lest the executive branch should unleash it’s power upon the American citizenry.

In the wake of criminal banking practices that crashed our economy in 08′, Obama’s bank bailout came immediately after his inauguration of “hope and change”, quickly dashing any hopes of change I may have held for justice. These bastards took bonuses from the taxpayers and did NOT reinvest the bailouts into helping mortgage holders or building back the economy.

I could go on ad nauseum but the point is, since the 90’s, Democrats have continued to sell themselves as the moral voice of our great nation while enacting the very policies that have brought us to our knees. That is some Ivy League level BS right there and yet the sheeple acolytes remain as devoted to the Red/Blue-two-party charade as we ever were. Good Republicans and Democrats alike still fight like cats and dogs over their favorite politicians, defending the honor of this country’s diluted, remorseless and dare I say criminal executive branch.

The American people do love their Clintons, oh yes they do. I suspect you two already know that, which is why you’re running this timely tour. You can probably guess, I’m not exactly an enthusiast but I clearly remember being proud and excited to vote for Bill in my youth. He was my first, and you know how that goes… I guess I saw both of you through rose colored glasses. Not so much now, but let’s face it – having the wool pulled over my eyes all those years was making my face itch. As they say in manufacturing plants in Mexico, no bueno.

I beg of you Billary, try to think of us when you’re out there on the road. You’ve both had your dances on the dark side. Somehow I doubt you’ll heed my creative counsel and go your own way though; the show must go on.

So America, if you’re still reading… I know you’re all pumped up from the adderall and  another round of Yankee-Doodle-Yackee from the King and Queen of foreign donor relations with oppressive regimes sounds like just the panacea for your Trumpian malaise. But I warn you: this myopic view of our current situation has a steep price. I ask you, Liberal, to repent your ways now. The hour is at hand. And if changing your mind about Democrats and political parties is not your thing, I get it. I hope you enjoy it, I really do, but I’m going to sit out the celebrational side show with the surprise guest appearance by Oprah. I’m tired.

And hey – if you miss out on the Clinton’s speaking tour, fear not. A Broadway play is in the works about the happy couple. It’s true! It’s too early to tell if this is meant to be historical or hysterical but stay tuned, my friends. Stay tuned.

The Clinton years…aah. Those were the days.

 

Bill and Hillary Clinton set to begin 6-month speaking tour – USA TODAY