Clinton-Bush: Now and Forever

first published April 14

The stars are aligning for another Clinton – Bush presidential election campaign.  I’m not referring to Hillary vs. Jeb (or “Heb” as some are now calling him, since it was revealed he identified himself as Hispanic when registering to vote in 2009).  No, I’m thinking ahead to the 2028 campaign, when Chelsea Clinton will be primed to battle George Prescott Bush, Texas Land Commissioner, for the privilege of exercising their family’s timeshare rights to the White House.  Chelsea is the inheritor of the Bill & Hillary political franchise, and George P. Bush, the son of Jeb Bush, nephew of George Walker Bush, grandson of George Herbert Walker Bush, and great-grandson of Senator and Hitler enabler (it’s a long story) Prescott Bush, is the most prominent of the possible Bush dynasty President-electables.  Chelsea vs. George P. – I can feel the non-excitement building already!

The grooming process for the 2028 race for the White House is already underway.  Chelsea is playing an integral role in her mother’s campaign for president, formally announced this week.  Chelsea is now described by insiders (always nameless people when it comes to the Clintons) as a full and equal member in the family business, which has the public philanthropy part through the Clinton Foundation, and the not-so-public part involved in maintaining ties to the high and mighty who have access to a lot of money necessary to run a modern political campaign.  It’s this second part that is really important.  In 1996, when Bill Clinton was running for reelection, his campaign costs were $196 million.  Hillary’s campaign, according to unnamed sources, is expected to raise $2.5 billion in order to reclaim the White House.

How we got from $196 million to over ten times that amount as the price of entry for a White House campaign is very simple – a gradual erosion of the campaign finance laws, culminating in the triumph of Citizens United before the Supreme Court.  Now every billionaire can play a role in determining who will inherit the Oval Office – will it be Bush, will it be Clinton, or some placeholder like Obama who can keep the seat warm until the next dynastic generation is able to step into their inheritance.  Catering to billionaires, and a few multimillionaires along the way, is how one gets to be president these days.  Bill & Hillary understand that completely, which is why Chelsea was sent off to work for a hedge fund when she graduated from college.  She didn’t like that work very much, so instead she found a job with the Clinton Foundation and married a hedge fund manager – melding together the two components of the Clinton franchise.  Now she has the pretense of working on important economic, social, and political matters, while having direct access through her husband to the people who have the money to actually decide important economic, social, and political matters.

It was Chelsea’s hand, say insiders, which dictated that Hillary would launch her campaign this week not in front of a large crowd, not at some university where students are obligated to attend and cheer, but through social media, the go-to communication facility for people like Hillary who do not feel comfortable pressing the public’s flesh.  It was Chelsea who helped identify the basic themes of the Hillary campaign – something about climate change, and something about income inequality.  This last point is almost risible.  What do the Clintons care about income inequality, other than it polls well with the public?  The family is worth over $100 million.  Hillary charges at a minimum $100,000 to speak for 45 minutes in front of a group, which limits her speeches to trade groups and corporations.  Chelsea was photographed recently decked out in a $7,000 Cartier watch.  The three of them travel about in private planes, hobnobbing with the rich and powerful at Davos or at Beverly Hills cocktail parties.  Their knowledge of income inequality comes solely from reading about it – no one in their inner circle has any personal experience with poverty or the struggles of maintaining a middle class existence in an America slipping its way into a Third World existence for nearly half its population.

Besides, the presidency is less and less these days about policy.  Obama got his signature health care reform through the Congress, but only at the expense of solidifying the ability of insurance, hospital, and pharmaceutical companies to extract monopoly profits from everyone in the country needing health care.  Other than that, he dutifully enhanced the surveillance state, hounded whistle blowers into prison, kept his Wall Street funders from having to pay any personal price for their criminal behavior, gave a few extra $100 billion every year to the military-industrial complex, and turned two blind eyes to the way in which the war on drugs and the militarization of the police inflicted state-sponsored terrorism on the African-American community.  In short, Obama, the agent of hope and change, broadened the status quo.

Why should we expect anything different from the Clintons?  Who is going to believe Hillary when she starts making speeches about the need to address income inequality?  She’ll be mighty short on details – offering up a proposal to increase the minimum wage, and expand some tax credits for the poor.  But she won’t go to the meat of the matter.  She won’t have any daring proposals to remove money from politics, and she’ll never discuss the most important tool available to attack dynastic inheritance – the death tax.  The Republicans in the House just voted to eliminate the death tax altogether, which is no surprise, since Republicans have abandoned any public pretense that they work for the interests of anyone other than billionaires.  But the Democrats have been eerily quiet on the matter, especially since the putative leader of the party, Hillary, is not about to jeopardize Chelsea’s chance to inherit $100 million virtually intact.

Nor should we expect much in the way of policy initiatives out of George P. Bush, who is reportedly advising his father in his presidential campaign, and will work hard to bring in the Hispanic vote for his Dad.  Jeb likes to think of himself as Hispanic and closely tied to the Hispanic community, but in Florida when he was governor, the Hispanic community meant Cubans.  In the rest of the U.S., Hispanic means Mexican immigrants and their descendants, and increasingly immigrants from Central America.  Unlike his father, George P. is the authentic thing.  His mother was born in Mexico, and George P. is fluent in Spanish.  He mixes Spanish with English easily in his campaign talks, which were very infrequent during his campaign for Land Commissioner because, according to sources close to the family, George P. is dumb as a post.  He’s a Sarah Palin type without her intellectual coherence.

Fortunately for George P., by 2028 he won’t need any intellectual coherence.  Policy will be set quietly by a club of billionaires and millionaires, acting through their agents in Congress and the administration.  The only practical issue George P. and Chelsea will face in their 2028 campaigns will be how to get people to vote.  The problem is already going to be acute in the 2016 campaign, especially if it is a Hillary-Jeb matchup.  The American public is slowly coming to the conclusion that the comedian George Carlin was right 20 years ago when he said it made no difference whatever whether you voted Democratic or Republican.  Real power rests with the wealthy and the corporations who increasingly don’t even bother to hide their power, and who “own this country.”

Nothing could vindicate Carlin’s prediction more than a Hillary-Jeb choice for president in 2016.  How discouraging would that be for the American public?  At least up to now, the dynastic reality of American politics has been treated as a celebrity event, worthy of interest just as much as the Kardashians are worthy of a TV reality show.  But to force the public to vote once again for a Bush or a Clinton as the only possible political leadership a country of 315 million people could produce – that would be pushing everyone’s nose into the cow dung that constitutes national politics.  That is the whole point, though isn’t it, to this 2016 campaign?  While our noses are sunk into the muck, we should all take a deep breath and learn to appreciate the odor of manure, because it is what is going to be increasingly on the electoral menu from here on out.

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Numerian is a devoted author and poster on The Agonist, specializing in business, finance, the global economy, and politics. In real life he goes by the non-nom de plume of Garrett Glass and hides out in Oak Park, IL, where he spends time writing novels on early Christianity (and an occasional tract on God and religion). You can follow his writing career on his website,

11 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Numeriam points out that Obama’s “health care reform” can be defined as “solidifying the ability of insurance, hospital, and pharmaceutical companies to extract monopoly profits from everyone in the country needing health care,” which is completely accurate and points out that today’s Democratic paty has turned the meaning of “liberal” on its head.

    “Liberal” does not mean “preserving and solidifying the existing social order,” which is what today’s Democrat/progressive/liberal is all about, and is the very soul of the “health care reform” so idolized by those who call themselves liberal. Preserving the existing social order is the goal of the true conservative, which is all that we hear from the left side of the aisle. Preserve Social Security, preserve Medicare, preserve the existing economic model, etc.

    For what it’s worth, conservatives are not conservative, either. They want to restore the social order that existed before this one, which is the definition of “reactionary,” not conservative.

    So reality is that there are no liberals, who would be seeking to implement new ways of thinking if they existed. Today’s “liverals” are actually conservatives, and today’s “conservatives” are actually reactionaries.

  •    Some time ago I read an article stating that “the American experiment in liberty has failed”. Since the article was in Forbes, the view was that “Democracy had destroyed Liberty”. It was pretty much what the Libertarians have been spouting (without realizing the implications of their teenage misunderstanding of the world).
       The GOP hasn’t been small-C conservative in many decades or even big-C Conservative since Reagan. Today it’s just Reactionary.
       The Democrats have replaced the old GOP, being careful to adopt the worst aspects and avoid the few good aspects of the Old GOP. The Old Democrats have been replaced by a social, economic and politial vacuum.
       If the American Experiment has failed, it’s not for lack of good people. It’s because those people – like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of gaining power or reversing the decline.
       In the long run, it may not really matter, since while we frequently blame our woes on bad politics, I suspect it’s the other way ’round. Our dysfunctional politics merely reflect the social and economic dysfunction of a world running far ahead of its carrying capacity. Despite the best of intentions and declarations by the UN, the planet cannot secure the American Dream for everyone. To quote Dickens, “we are too menny”‘. In fact, given the accelerating pace of the Empire’s fall, we cannot even secure the American Dream for Americans. We will, however, consistently refuse to recognize that fact and will continue to blame everything on Them – whoever the ‘them-of-the-moment happens to be.

    • Very astute observation. We the people brought about this political disaster. And of course neither Sanders nor Warren has any chance of competing with Hillary. She has set the bar at $2.5 billion – probably not the amount she will ultimately need to raise – but an amount meant to intimidate any challengers, including Republicans. She doesn’t seem to care or understand that it intimidates the public even more, from wanting to participate in an electoral process that is utterly dictated by monied interests.

  •    This is what it looks like on the ground when an empire begins to unravel. And I’m not talking just about the American Empire, but about the worldwide Empire of abundance. The emperor is comprised of most of the human race who aspire to live more profligately than nature allows. And when the emperor is naked, we see the ugly warts. (And if you have a better definition of the current crop of ‘leaders’, I’d like to hear it. 😀 )
       When human history did not work out according to the high hopes of the Age of Exuberance, we began to suffer from the illusion that we could retreive the good old days by hating someone from stealing them from us.
       Parties, nationalities, races, classes and faiths have all served as targets for frustration-bred hatred.
       We urgently need to see that what has befallen mankind was no mere manifestation of some sinister conspiracy. Nor was it some chronic flaw in the national character of any of us. It was the natural outcome of a natural process.
       Man has been too arrogant in exaggerating the difference between himself and other creatures, between human history and natural history.

    Overshoot – Wm R Catton

  • The “American dream”, the “empire of abundance” and the like are creations of industrial capitalism. I’m not an economic puritan nor a fan of self-denial for the sake of my soul. I think the “we all need to live like subsistence farmers” approach is a loser, and an unnecessary one. Policy makers deliberately created desire for lots of things as a means of maintaining the economy and controlling the population. I keep recommending Adam Curtis’ The Century of the Self as the most focused and entertaining account of this. The point is that scarcity was ending, so we needed policies to make us desire more and more, forever and amen. When even that threatened to fail, we got endless wars to soak up productivity, outrageous so-called intellectual property laws to create monopolies, and now what’s effectively tax farming in universally required services (health insurance, for example).

    In relatively egalitarian societies without continuous propaganda, people reach “enough” goods far short of any ideologically constructed “American dream”.

  • Catton’s premise is that the environment – ecology in the broadest sense of the term – gave rise to particular cultural, societal and political forms which maximize the utilization of the environment for human purposes. For example, the ‘opening of the New World’ provided an environment hospitable to exploitation which could most easily occur when significant numbers of people were free to exploit it. Both democracy (small ‘d’) and elitism were responses to the new environment. The ‘abundance’ of land and its produce created the seedbed in which concepts of Liberty, Opportunity, Progress, Prosperity, etc. could develop and become expressed politically and culturally. In the crowded Old World with limited opportunity for growth and change, different beliefs and creeds were dominant.

  • No, I’m thinking ahead to the 2028 campaign, when Chelsea Clinton will be primed to battle George Prescott Bush, Texas Land Commissioner, for the privilege of exercising their family’s timeshare rights to the White House.
    If, in fact, that were a possibility, it would mean we were long gone as anything resembling the present. That said, I guess anything is possible; but why would anybody stay?
    It is very apparent the U.S. is failing badly; and many other possibilities are available; AIIB, ASEAN, BRICKS, PIIGS,; so, why would anybody with an operable brain stay in the U.S. with a literal world of possibilities? Hell, I got out over a decade ago, and the possibilities are continuing to grow…

    • Actually, what I meant to say; as long as we couch the discussion as Clinton/Bush or dem/repub, we’re evidencing that nothing has been learned; we’re stuck.
      If we got us here, and I’ve long held that’s true; then “we” have to find a new paradigm.
      And that is not happening; it just isn’t.
      There is an inertia that is not being overcome. A quick look around should make that obvious.
      I made my decision more than a decade ago and the present is exactly as I foresaw it; the stuckness a decade ago (farther back than that actually) is still here as I write this. If that simple fact cannot be acknowledged or seen, then what? On some level I see denial; rationalized, ignored, justified, not seen, or even encouraged by some.

  • All these are interesting points, but the one item which is the Black Swan event is Climate Change.

    I see the early states of Climate Change action as being extraordinarily oppressive, as the 1% tries to extract all the concessions to support their lifestyles from the 99%, and we see early indications of those programs today.

    This will progress, and there will be violent uprisings, suppressed by coalitions of the willing all over the globe (supporting by the worldwide network of US military bases), eventually leading to some form of collapse, as distribution systems fail and starvation becomes rampant.

    The rich may retreat to their mountaintop fortresses supplied by air, eventually they will fall, because the pyramid upon which they have built will collapse from the bottom up.

    There is no way a population reduction of 6 Billion or more can continue to support the current number of the 1%, and the logistics systems which currently exist to transport their goods, not to themselves but to their markets, will disappear, as do their markets and their wealth.

    The 1% will, as always, fight among themselves to preserve their wealth. Most will fail, taking millions of others into death along with them.

    What society, if any, emerges from the other side of the black swan event is unknowable, except it will exist on a planet where the major resources are obtained from picking through scrap and garbage, left by the ruins of the preceding civilization – this is the Clinton Bush legacy.

    •    I’m inclined to agree with your prognosis, but might point out it started long before Clinton or Bush.
         In the ’60s, pollution was identified but mostly only given lip service. In the ’70s, warnings of global warming were ignored. In the ’80s they were ridiculed. In the ’90s they alerted the .1% of the need to simultaneously deny in public while privately devising ways to preserve their dominance when the shit hits the fan. Since 2000, they have finalized their preparations: create an artificial threat (drugs, Muslims, etc) to justify police-state laws and tactics; militarize the police. suspend Constitutional rights, etc.
         All that’s left is to push the button when the time comes.
         In the end, all the draconian laws and practices and technology cannot protect the .1% but it may make them die off later than billions of others. We have already exceeded Earth’s carrying capacity for humans, particularly humans living our life style. I don’t personally want to live long enough to see the final act in this tragicomedy, but it would amusing to see karma catch up with the Koch brothers et al .

  • Real power rests with the wealthy and the corporations who increasingly don’t even bother to hide their power, and who “own this country.”

    Right on partner…, write on.

    CounterPunch re-ran three articles written by Jeffry St. Clair and the late Alexander Cockburn during the run-up to Hillary Clinton’s last presidential campaign…, links below…, just in case anyone needs a refresher course on how she and Billie Boy got where they are.

    The Making of Hillary Clinton

    The Seeds of Corruption

    Secrecy, Intransigence and War

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