The Race To Save America

McGrath Turtle

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — If Amy McGrath were running for public office in more liberal parts of the country, she would only be able to keep a straight face by a being a right of center Republican.

Sane-minded Republicans, the few that have yet to be tarred and feathered for thinking for themselves, will eat up her unprecedented military service. Free of bone spurs, McGrath flew 89 combat missions during her 20 years in the Marines, breaking the that branch’s gender barrier.

Heavily decorated for her service, Lt. Col McGrath, a Naval Academy graduate, then entered politics – as a Democrat – in 2017 (even though her husband is a Republican).

Her stances on key issues – like supporting the second amendment with some baby steps with background checks — place put her firmly into the center lane, where she is careful not to make a dangerous move, lest she commit career suicide in home state of Kentucky.

Concerning your president (not mine), McGrath has stated: “I want to do what’s best for Kentucky,” adding she will support him when he has good ideas. “To me it’s not about your political party, it’s not about wearing a red jersey or blue jersey.”

In a state where it would be a shock if a referendum on going back to white and colored water fountains would not shock me, she has to walk that tightrope like a Wallenda.

She accepts climate change as fact, but with a keen eye toward what substantial legislation would mean for the coal regions of eastern Kentucky.

Not to be confused with Bernie Sanders, she is firmly behind Obamacare as is and against free college tuition.

And yet, Amy McGrath is my favorite politician right now.

Of her combat missions, what she faces now may be her most important.

With no more need to donate my $27 to the Sanders campaign for mugs and bumper stickers, I may just send some that way.

And, if you want to save the Union, you should feel the same.

She is running for senate in Kentucky against none other than Mitch McConnell, who struggles for a 20 percent approval rating nationally but is around 50 percent in the home state he rarely even graces with his presence (and allows for eastern Kentucky to remain in squalor while overwhelmingly grabbing votes there).

Your president (not mine) can’t help the fact that he is who he is, as we all knew he was who was before too many of you (not me) gave a sociopath his ultimate playroom.

It is his enablers, both in the House (before the 2018 midterms) and still in the Senate, that have collectively failed to give him his rabies vaccine.

Some know better, speaking in hushed tones under condition anonymity about how they’d like to vote for sanity, if they only could, on draconian policies.

But they fear retribution so much that they follow the lead of McConnell, the Senate majority leader, who would probably block aid to starving kittens if his lord and master – not to mention special interest groups – told him so.

I have engaged with many other concerned lefties about other contests — from Arizona and Colorado to Maine and Iowa — that could help tilt the Senate back to a place of sanity and humanity.

McGrath is currently being given a 45 percent chance of winning, suggesting a waste of money and effort, as compared to those. I get it, but the whole landscape could continue to change with what is going on currently with the coronavirus and the economy.

My argument with throwing unmitigated support behind McGrath is that a victory, seen as difficult but not impossible, would kill the proverbial two birds with one stone.

It would knock McConnell off his perch of power, and send his butt bhome.

The fact that she has built a nice war chest already, which is driving McConnell bonkers, shows that I am not alone.

Why is this so important?

Let’s recount the ways, using the book “Un-Trumping America: A Plan to make America a Democracy Again” by Dan Pfeiffer, the cohost of the podcast “Pod Save America.”

Quickly establishing that your president (not mine) is nothing but a petulant child who can’t help himself, he begins getting to root of the matter, with the scourge he calls “McConnellism” by page 13.

It boils down, as he breaks it down, to a cultural Civil War between Yes We Can vs. Because We Can.

In his position of power, he led blockades against President Barack Obama without showing any willingness to compromise, as he lone stated agenda was for him to be a single-term president

As much as the Russians and the poor timing of James Comey, he set the table for your president (not mine) to place our democracy in peril.

McConnell does nothing because it is or is not the right thing to do in his mind. That would mean he has a belief system and a moral compass in the first place.

He will hold up a stop sign simply because he can.

Pfeiffer flat-out dubs McConnell as “the worst person in American politics.”

And that’s saying something, since we have the worst president in modern American history in the Oval Office.

So here we are, with Amy McGrath.  Her bid to unseat McConnell, and turn McConnellism to ash, may be just as important – if not more so – than the presidential race.

She’s all we have, and the best we can hope for in a state like Kentucky, so let’s do all we can to make it happen.

 

 

History Will Reveal The True Winner

Bernie4Blog

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Stop asking, will ya?

Yes, I’ve accepted the sad fact that Bernie Sanders will not be president of the United States.

Some of that is on him, I must admit. He was fantastic with laying out the broad strokes of all that ails our ailing nation, he had a hard time when quizzed on the minutiae.

What a pity.

The details were there. They just could not be captured in a sound bite on the debate stage or even in an interview with Rachel Maddow.

And saying “go to the website,” while helpful for we the diligent few, amounts to bad optics.

In both 2015-16, and again in 2019-20, Sanders was grilled on how he was going to pay for his ambitious plans to level the playing field and he could never quite get a piece of that hittable curve ball.

And here we are. It took a pandemic on the level of the Black Plague and the 1918 Spanish Flu (even though Spain had nothing to do with it) to prove him right.

Locked up in our homes like the “Man in the Iron Mask,” with the economy at a standstill – an irony of all ironies, since your president (not mine) is like a savant who only sees life in dollars and cents without any common sense – the House and Senate voted on a stimulus package in an attempt to do an end run around a pending depression.

The price tag? Try $2 trillion.

For all those who asked Sanders how he was going to pay for it, guess what? You just did.

And at an amount well above his wildest dreams of free college tuition, health care and combat against climate change.

You can argue that it took a so-called act of God – coronavirus — to create the need for the elected leaders, grudgingly in a troubling number of cases, to meet the need in a one-time payment.

Sanders, and backers like myself, will respond that the human crisis was always there. It was just always neatly tucked away, out of view, while the mainstream media didn’t venture too far from the center lane to unearth the underlying issues that made us more prone to a scourge. It was a storm without a name.

People were dying of hunger, because of lack of health care and going broke just to keep roof over their heads.

The coronavirus is easy to talk about in its own narrow context, but not in a broader one. People are going to work, defying orders, because they have no choice. They have preexisting conditions, weakening their immune systems, making them more susceptible. This are issues all in Sanders’ longstanding, and unwavering, wheelhouse.

They are most vulnerable, and the most vulnerable now to the threat of a spread of the virus. It might interest some of you to note that, while I still get e-mails from the Sanders campaign, they are no longer asking for donations to it.

Instead, they are asking for donations to several organizations seeking to help working families, whether it is restaurant workers or Amazon workers or those who won’t be able to make their next month’s rent.

That’s what he has been all about for decades, and that’s what he is all about today.  How and why he didn’t receive more black support (other than from, maybe, those in the middle class) and from seniors will keep historians occupied for decades.

I can’t help but mention that polls suggested Sanders might have fared better in the 2016 general election than did Hillary Clinton, who was more palatable for dyed in the wool Democrats but not enough with swayable people in the street.

What would that have meant now? It would have not have stopped the coronavirus, and no one should suggest anyone would, but a less archaic and nearly criminal healthcare system would have been in place to provide resistance.

Proactive testing — like in Iceland or Germany – would have happened sooner. People would have been able to shelter in place by late February or early March without fear of surviving, as a President Sanders (or Clinton, to be fair) would not have been in a state of denial.

But, while reality has now endorsed Bernie Sanders for president after all, he was a victim of his own inability to full articulate what he wanted to implement.

We – the so-called Bernie Bros. – always got it, but doubters needed more and never got enough candy in their trick-or-trick bags to wipe the masked smirks off their faces.

When they cried socialism – conveniently dropping “Democratic” from in front of it – he should have said “Nordic Model.” Instead, he repeatedly just copped to the charge and threw himself at the mercy of the court of common opinion.

And he never realized that the term “Medicare for All” scared the bleep out of too many people, especially seniors. He should have just said “universal health care” and left it at that.

As I age – I just reached a new demographic of “55 and over” – I have come to reach the conclusion that your legacy is all you have.

It equates to the fairy tale of ascending to heaven, just as a negative legacy equates to going to hell and no legacy to speak of equates to purgatory.

And Bernie Sanders, when history is written, will have a legacy that will prove him to have been a man a good decade ahead of his time. He will go down as the father of the modern progressive movement that may save this country from itself.

And one day, when someone like Alexendaria Ocasio-Cortez becomes president, his name will be fondly evoked.

Because of his age, he may or may not be alive to see it.

Let’s hope that we are.

Mock Draft 1.0: Love The GM You’re With

Roseman

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – Healthier than quitting smoking is quitting Eagles fan pages on Facebook, where vitriol for Howie Roseman for not getting every single superstar on the open market – regardless of who is on the roster and the salary ramifications – runs amok.

While Disneyland is closed due to coronavirus. Dingusland is open for business, as it is clear that as soon as Roseman descended from the podium after the Super Bowl parade in February of 2018 that went right back onto the hot seat in the eyes of too many.

The City of Brotherly Love, at least in some segments of the Eagle Nation, remains the City of Brotherly Howie Hate.

The largest concern among the unwashed masses is at wide receiver, but it is not as if Roseman is wearing blinders.

The situation is this: DeSean Jackson returns as the deep threat with health questions after fans took his jersey out of moth balls only to see him limited to three games (9 catches for a 17.7 average, 2 TDs).

Alshon Jeffery, in addition to not being best buds with franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, finished last season on the shelf with a foot injury after 10 games (43 catches for an underwhelming 11.4 average, 4 TDs) and may not be ready for the start of this season.

If anyone is disliked and mistrusted more than Roseman, it is Jeffery — despite his name being spelled about 22 different ways in Facebook diatribes.

The slot receiver looks to be Greg Ward (28 catches down the stretch), the converted quarterback who broke out of the bondage of the practice squad to be more than productive. For this team, in the short term, he fits. With the double threat of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert at tight end (a combined 146 catches, 11 TDs), Ward can be a more cost-effective option than the dearly departed Nelson Agholor (signed with the Raiders for way too much money). Additionally, Ward provides the peace of mind as an emergency quarterback.

The only other receiver the brass will feel obliged to keep on the payroll is J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (10 catches, 16.9 averages, 1 TD, several bad drops at key times), as he cost a second-round pick out of Stanford. The reality is that Arega-Whiteside could surprise as a sophomore. He was not a reach when drafted and had an promising preseason (12 catches, TD) before not being able to adjust to the speed of the game once the regular season began. While he wouldn’t be the first bust at receiver in team history (Kenny Jackson, Mike Bellamy), he wouldn’t be the first to blossom after a tough initial transition to the NFL (Harold Carmichael, Mike Quick).

Nonetheless, I’ve heard the cries of the Iggles Idiots on the Facebook pages. As such, I’ve gone into overkill with the following mock draft. You want receivers? You got them here. There have been no projected trades, although we all know there will be. I also did something you know the Eagles won’t do, and drafted two players out of Temple.

OK, here we go:

Round 1 (pick 21) – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU, 6-3, 192

Rationale: As tempting as it is to think about trading up for one of the top three receivers – Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, both of Alabama, or Oklahoma’s CeDee Lamb – in a loaded class, the wildly productive Jefferson (111 catches, 1,540 yards, 18 TDs just last season) could be the most shovel-ready of the crop. Not a burner, he uses every bit of his 4.53 speed without wasting motion and can line up anywhere — outside, inside and in motion. He is compared by scouts to Michael Thomas of the Saints. We’d take that, right? What’s more, I’ll put forward another theory. Jefferson was productive at LSU before projected No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow “came out of nowhere.” Perhaps, it was a case of the receiver – Jefferson – making the quarterback look better than he was, as opposed to the other way around.

Justin Jefferson

Round 2 (pick 53) – K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State, 5-9, 176

Rationale: The Nittany Lion with 4.37 speed and electrifying athletic ability will immediately add juice to w moribund return game. Talent-wise, he would go in the late first or early second round if not for his stature. Will size matter in the NFL? If used properly, perhaps as a Desean Jackson protégé, it shouldn’t. High end? Think Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs.

Round 3 (pick 103) – Collin Johnson, WR, Texas, 6-6, 220

Rationale: If the draft  were not a virtual event this year, the Eagles would run this card to the podium (and may not have taken Hamler in the second round if they had known he’d be there). Johnson’s family tree is made out of pigskin. His father (Johnnie) and uncle (Ron) played in the NFL, while his brother played college football. His speed (4.55) won’t wow anyone, but he brings precise in his routes and has good hands – especially on contested catches. Johnson doesn’t just have impressive size and an insane wingspan,  as he knows how to use it. Some scouts see, with time, another Kenny Golladay in the making.

Round 4 (pick 127): Matt Hennessey, C, Temple, 6-3, 295

Rationale: While we are not rushing Jason Kelce out the door, he has hinted at retirement the last few years. Eventually, he will say what he said at the Super Bowl parade and retire with his body intact. A replacement needs to be groomed. Hennessey has all the tools as a natural scheme fit, as he has the light feet (4.95 speed) – like Kelce – to get to the second level. Only issue is that the Eagles seem to have a strict policy against drafting Temple players (the last was safety Jaiquawn Jarrett in the second round in 2011). The last undrafted Owl they had in camp was Adam DiMechele, a fourth quarterback, in … 2009. This is of note because ratings on Hennessey, largely because of medical issues, are all over the map. Another team without an allergy to Owls might jump on him as early as the second round.

Round 4 (pick 145): Joe Bachie, Michigan State, MLB, 6-1, 238

Rationale: Eagles fans will love this guy, if only because his last name is pronounced “Bocce,” like the sport. A tackling machine in college, he would likely have been drafted higher if not for a failed PED test, which may give him a chip on his shoulder entering the league. Although a two-down linebacker at the NFL level,  the Birds rotate linebackers, based on situaton, anyway. At the least, he will also add much-needed grit to a special teams unit that hasn’t been special for a while. Pro comparison? How about a guy the Eagles should have drafted in 2016 — Temple’s Tyler Matakevich  (instead of Joe Walker, who is out of football).

Round 4 (Pick 146): Harrison Hand, Temple, 6-0, 192

Rationale: Two Temple guys? The NovaCare Comlex might have to be fumigated. The brass can at least cajole themselves with Hand, since he transferred to Temple for his final year after following Matt Rhule to Baylor (after being recruited to Temple originally). The Cherry Hill West alum is considered by some the best tackling corner in the draft, which may be attributed to him having some safety experience (and he could end up there in the NFL). Hand also has been timed at 4.40. With recent acquisitions on the back end, he can be eased into the secondary while joining Bachie in immediately bolstering the coverage units.

Harrison Hand

Round 5 (pick 168) – Ben Bartch, G, St. John’s, 6-6, 308

Rationale: The Eagles will likely be looking for interior line help – while likely opting for a street veteran that shakes loose from another pro roster to be the third tackle – and this class is seen as slightly above average. With that being the case, why not cast their line in a small pond to pull out a big fish with raw potential. A converted tight end, Bartch lined up in a two-point stance at left tackle in a spread offense at the Division III level. He projects to guard in the big leagues, but that is not assured (he won’t be on the active roster as a rookie anyway, so there would be time to figure it out).

Ben Bartch

Round 6 (pick 190): Kalija Lipscomb, WR, Vanderbilt, 6-1, 201

Rationale: His average size is not helped by average speed, but he was productive – particularly as a junior (87 catches, 9 TDs). As a senior, in a difficult situation with the 3-9 Commodores his production dipped (47 catches, 3 TDs). Why would the Eagles draft a fourth receiver who may slip out of the draft entirely? Because new wide receivers coach Aaron Moorhead coached him at Vanderbilt, and he likely vouched for his ability to pick up the playbook quickly, which is considered his greatest asset.

Summary: This is somewhat fantasy, I admit. While multiple receivers are likely, two may be the actual limit. There would be no way they take four, but this was an exercise to show it could be done and the corps would be well-fortified for the future. There were no trades here. At No. 21, the Eagles are in a bit of a No Man’s Land at receiver. The brass could easily opt to go back, maybe to Miami at 26 or Green By 30, but they would likely lose Jefferson to New Orleans at No. 24. That would still leave tempting options like Denzel Mims (Baylor), Laviska Shenault, Jr. (Colorado) or Jealon Reagor (TCU) and an extra second round pick with which to work. I didn’t take an edge rusher, which is an annual rite of passage – usually with middling results – for the Birds. I also didn’t take a running back, although the third spot behind Miles Sanders and Boston Scott is likely to go to a familiar face (LeSean McCoy or Corey Clement), with an undrafted guy or two – i.e. Antonio Gibson (Memphis), JaMychal Hasty (Baylor), Tony Jones, Jr. (Notre Dame, picture below), Rodney Smith (Minnesota) — brought in to battle it out for the fourth spot. And, of course, there is no way they would draft two Temple guys.

Tony Jones

 

 

 

 

Dying With The Consequences

Coronavirus

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — So there I was, a nice (well, sometimes) Jewish boy from Northeast Philly, sitting at a Catholic Mass while Sofia (raised Catholic, in deference to her mother) did her altar service.

The priest went through that portion of the Mass (I’m getting to know the routine) where the assembled flock is asked to pray for certain specific people and situations.

Included was a plea to pray for those – patients, medical professionals, etc. – dealing with coronavirus.

Given the fact that this was several weeks back, you have to give the priest props for being well in front of the curve on what has quickly turned into a pandemic that has left us sheltering in place until further notice.

Which brings me to the point of my Sunday sermon: You can’t pray this away.

This is basically what your president (not mine) was doing when he put your vice president (not mine) in charge of combating and containing it before it invaded our “great again” shores.

But it came anyway, like the invasion on the beaches of Normandy.

No, we can’t blame them for the disease itself, but we can for the sheer lack of leadership that has been clear since before this administration was selected.

Those of us with foresight asked real questions about how a circus master and his lackey would handle any crisis, and we were told to stop being such “snowflakes.”

As you battle for half-cartons of eggs and loaves of bread at the store, and then sit inside your home, scared literally to death of something we can’t see, we are all snowflakes now, are we not?

There are silver linings to almost anything, and there are here.

Families are spending time together. I have learned to live without sports on TV. Sofia, as I type in this mad fury, is taking her guitar lesson via Skype or Zoom or some such thing.

School districts have developed extensive learning plans that will come in handy on snow days or in other unforeseen scenarios.

We have all had sudden graduate-level lessons in hygiene.

The list goes on.

And topping it is that enough people – maybe, hopefully, finally — see that your president (not mine) is unfit to serve.

If Charlottesville and Puerto Rico weren’t horrifying enough, they were harbingers of what was to come.

It’s no longer about politics, to vote him out. It’s about the future health and well-being of your children and your children’s children.

Right-wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh and politicians like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R, Fla.) led the propaganda parade against coronavirus.

Ironically, Gaetz donned a gas mask to mock the hysteria before having to self-quarantine after a constituent died. Now, he is asking for the same paid sick leave he voted against as a dutiful Mitch McConnell stooge.

Limbaugh, the racist talk-show host who got a Medal of Freedom from your president (not mine) during Black History Month – and with a Tuskegee Airman in attendance – is dying of cancer and among the most vulnerable to coronavirus.

Pundits are public figures, and have an extra sense of responsibility with medals around their necks.

Politicians are, by definition, leaders.

At times such as these, we need responsibility and leadership.

The failure to take it seriously – and leaving an immediate science-based crisis to a second banana who doesn’t believe that cigarettes cause cancer or that climate change is real – put every single one of us at risk.

The bitter irony here is that many of of the respiratory issues relating to smoking  put people more at risk for coronavirus, not the mention that global warming is a mother ship for infectious diseases.

Pence

It was done while keeping one eye on the stock market and the other on the golf course. That left no hands on the wheel, and a serious crash on the side of the road.

The attitude from the top went from predicting we will have “zero” cases of coronavirus to that it is no worse than the flu to being summoned from some Fantasy Island to chopper back to the real world.

You wonder why he is not my president? This is why.

And, after this fiasco, there is no reason why he should be yours, either.

As fate would have it, there is a decent chance that coronavirus will be handled – not conquered, but handled – by the fall.

Again, it will still be there – just like AIDS, the threat of terrorism, etc. — but not to the point where we can’t live our daily lives.

This will be fodder for your president (not mine) to spike the ball in the end zone and do a touchdown dance at a red state rally.

He will pound his chest at debates and claim that he, like Neanderthals before him, hit coronavirus over the head with a rock and dragged it back to his cave to be cooked and devoured over an open fire he started by rubbing two sticks together.

Be on guard for such talk. While it is the fuel of a classic sociopath/narcissist, you don’t have to let it fill your tank.

You know it’s not true.

You know better.

I don’t say this lightly, but it is a matter of life and death.

And we need – we deserve – a president we can all call our own (even if he is not from same political party or supports all the same policies.)

And if you need to pray on it before reaching the same obvious conclusion, please do.

This column ran in The Times Herald on March 22, 2020

It’s About Time (to end DST)

driving-with-headlights

The following column ran in The Times Herald on March 8, before coronavirus put us on all lockdown and matter that now seem more trivial were more in the mainstream:

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — It doesn’t take much to move me to tears, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Tears of sadness. Tears of joy. Tears from a harsh March wind blowing so fierce in my face that they can’t be avoided.

Since getting a new used car last January, I have been able to cry tears of relief when we fall back and spring forward on the clock.

My new used car, which is a 2018 Ford Edge, came equipped with all the computerized bells and whistles. It’s so easy to change the time that, yeah, it makes me want to cry. I almost want to reset it and do it all over again.

While that makes today’s spring back drill easier to take, I’m not off the hook.

While the time automatically changes on our computers and phones, I still have to go from clock to clock around the house and reset them all.

Then there’s my wife’s near-antique car, a Honda that historians believe was used to transport troops to the front in the War of 1812. It requires a degree in nuclear physics to figure out.

Then, when we visit my mother at her assisted living place, it gets to the point that the best option for trying to figure out changing the time on a cheap clock radio is to just go get a new one.

Turns out, that this source of tears and frustration is needless.

I’m talking on the A-List scale of needlessness – with the likes of the Iowa caucuses, hockey shootouts, chop sticks, the running of the bulls, overusing the word “very” and playing games at carnivals that are impossible to win.

When we fall back, we gain an hour of sleep but lose an hour of daylight for months. We lose the hour of sleep by springing forward, but the days are longer.

You really need to be in another part of the country, in another time zone, to completely understand the extremes of it all.

A few summers back, we were in South Dakota, enjoying the indoor pool of a hotel with the worst excuse for a continental breakfast ever (Fig Newtons instead of donuts and no decaf coffee). The sun was still up at 10 p.m. Sounds cool, but the only view was of a trailer park across the street in a town where the hot place to eat was a Dairy Queen.

Really no need, in that time zone, for the sun to catch you crying.

It is more than some annoyance that costs me my beauty sleep in the spring and makes me take out the trash and walk Rex in the dark in the fall and winter.

This raises the deeper question: Why do we do this drill, Daylight Saving/Savings Time (DST) as if we were marching around like zombies at a military academy?

Turns out, falling back and springing forward are acts – like the creation of the electoral college – that have far outlived their usefulness.

While the concept dates back eons, and Benjamin Franklin pontificated about it as a way to preserve candle light, DST first became a “thing” in America during World War I to conserve coal.

That made sense at the time, but my history books seem to indicate that World War I ended more than a century ago.

While your president (not mine) lies to the faces of coal miners to get their votes, we know that industry is pretty much a shadow of its former self.

Repealed after World War I, Franklin Delano Roosevelt put the action back into play during World War II.

Following the war, it was more of a state by state thing until Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1966, set into law that DST should begin the last Sunday in April and end the last Sunday in October.

And so we sit, hearing some vague arguments for the status quo (mostly economic) but others against it (mostly health-related, such at workplace injuries).

According to those who have studied it, it would mean a lot to make a change – certainly a lot more than we think, beyond anguish over remembering how to change clocks and watches that do it on their own, to stop the needless madness of springing back and forward.

They suggest it would reduce headaches – fatal car crashes — especially to pedestrians — and heart attacks.

Consider two studies by the University of Colorado. One found a spike in car accidents the first week after the DST change (with the apparent cause being drivers less sharp with one hour less of sleep).

The other found the heart attack risk spiking 25 percent the following Monday after the “spring forward” but fell to almost normal when the clocks fell back in the Fall.

In this era of partisan politics, this surely sounds like one issue we can all get behind.

And it’s about time.

Middle of the Road Leads Nowhere

Middle of the Road

The following is a modified version of  a column that ran in The Times Herald on March 1, 2020:

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — There once was this girl. For whatever reason, she batted her eyes at me twice in French class (either for the sport of it or because she had something stuck in her eye).

I was hooked, hopping the one-way train to Swoonsville, and not catching the return trip for a few years.

Even though there were other girls who entered and exited the picture back then, she ranked in a category of her own (and I have the pile of songs written about her to show for it).

I would try to shake the status of being the low man on her depth chart to no avail. On numerous occasions, I would ask her to meet me — the mall, the pizza place, bowling alley, etc. — only to have her never show up (she would usually giggle and say she forgot, and I found the airhead act endearing).

I couldn’t help but take this bumpy road down memory lane when listening to those bemoaning that Bernie Sanders was not the best choice to unseat your president (not mine) in the general election because we need a more centrist candidate who will meet the other side in the middle.

It exemplifies an extreme naïve attitude, the same as the one I had as a teenager (without a fully developed brain), and it tells you all need to know about this waltz wherein Democrats dance with two left feet and end up tripping over themselves.

A review: Your president (not mine) made a hard right turn back in the 2015-16 campaign season, and took a lot of supporters — including plenty that didn’t see themselves as being what they became — with him.

More than a few right of center Republicans worried about it costing the White House after it had been, well, a little too black for their taste for eight years.

Pundits, with their degrees from places tucked far away from the real world, concurred that not moving to the middle helped him in the primary but would cost him the ultimate prize in the general election.

Logic may have been the immovable object, but the whole Make America Great Again (eye roll) thing was the unstoppable force.

Because of this recent history, one wonders if there is even a real middle for left of center Democrats to go to anyway.

And now, we have a separate but equal scenario heading into the 2020 election, with so jeers and fears toward and about a progressive candidate, Bernie Sanders, that his candidacy is on life support.

What your president (not mine) and Sanders have in common, while not agreeing on the time of day on policies, are flocks so loyal that the opinions of so-experts may no longer hold up.

 

Even as voters flowed in with the tide in recent primaries and went with “Status Quo” Joe Biden, exit polls showed they were thinking more progressively, and in line with Sanders.

The message, the takeway: There is no need to fold like a house of cards on a speed boat.

There is something happening in this country, albeit at street level, and only those willing to get down and dirty need to put their ears down to the ground can hear it.

The voters outside the base want more than just change from what your president (not mine) wrought upon us. The need change. If you want to mock it, calling it a revolution, go ahead. You don’t defeat a dictatorship without one.

If you think that meeting the other side in the middle is the way to go, you are conceding defeat before the coin flip.

Just take a hard look at the crowd at the next rally for your president (not mine) and ask yourself if anyone there, even with the help of GPS, would know their way to the theoretical middle if Ted Nugent was playing a concert there.

I would postulate that since Biden as wrestled the driver’s seat from Sanders, his views — – or lack thereof — will only be taken as a sign of weakness and he will be incessantly mocked for it by the right.

Rachel Bitecofer, a 42-year-old professor from a small college in Virginia (and recent guest on Real Time With Bill Maher), agrees. And it just so happens she rattled the cages of traditional political science thought when she nailed the 2018 midterms like Nostradamus.

Her theory is that there really is no such animal as a swing voter, and no such a black hole as a center. They both still exist, she concedes, but not to the extent that her colleagues think.

In a recent article in Politico, she described it as “flipping giant paradigms of electoral theory upside down.”

So, fellow lefties, it’s time to eat your Wheaties and grow spines. Stop worrying about meeting and greeting anyone in a Ghost Town once known as the middle.

You are just asking to be stood up, the same way I was on those windswept streets of 1980s Northeast Philly.

 

Another Open Wound

Sanders

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — There is one thing about a bitter loser, which I freely admit I am: We dwell on our setbacks, keeping us up nights for decades after a defeat, more than our victories.

The writing is on the wall with my man, Bernie Sanders, and I am one heck of a sourpuss right now.

Don’t expect me to “just get over it” anytime soon.

The mainstream media took for what seemed like fiendish joy in its 24/7 hatchet jobs on the man who I consider the only candidate who tried to give a voice to the voiceless.

There was no other end game for Sanders beyond seeing people put roofs over their heads, food on their tables, send their kids to college, breathe cleaner air and have the same kind of health care as the rest of the civilized world.

Oddly, exit polls around the country show that most voters support this progressive (not socialist) agenda.

And yet, mostly out of concocted fear – and younger voters not putting down their iPhones long enough to vote – Sanders is slip sliding away.

The party establishment has dutifully lined itself up behind Joe Biden, a nice enough chap who has been running for president, unsuccessfully, since I was in college (that’s a long time ago, as I turn 55 March 23).

To put it in perspective, “The Simpsons” was not yet a series (having only appeared on an episode of “The Tracey Ullman Show”) when he first ran in 1987-88.

I have nothing against Biden, really, but I’d like to know what he stands for – on anything – in terms of the issues.

And, it seems, no one really cares.

Me, I care. If you seek substantive change, so should you.

I fear he’s like the knife you bring to a gunfight, the spray can you use on a raging forest fire or the whiffle ball bat you bring to a game of hardball.

What really galls me the most is that Pennsylvania is identified as a battleground state (along with Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Florida).

By the time this horrendously flawed primary/caucus season gets to us (not to mention New York state) in late April, we will have zero say in choosing the nominee.

It is particularly irksome when you consider that the Philadelphia suburbs are circled as a major hot spot in the presidential general election.

And yet, red states that will never go blue in the general election got to sign and seal the deal for Biden (with the help of his on-air campaign workers in supposedly neutral media).

For a sore loser such as I, this will never sit right.

After Sanders rolled in Nevada, a winnable state in November with a diverse population, he was dubiously dubbed as the frontrunner.

In what appeared to be telegraphed through their teleprompters, the talking heads on the all-news networks were playing “Taps” for Biden when, in fact, they all knew he was going to win South Carolina, after which they could call him the “comeback kid” and drone on and on and on about how he cornered the market on the black vote.

The problem with the whole flawed process, the one that leaves Pennsylvanians (and others) with zero say, is the difference between how white and black voters are viewed by alleged experts.

White voters are sliced and diced up a million different ways – by age, by income, by education level, by geography, etc. – while black voters are unscientifically culled together and tossed into one voting bloc for analysis.

But who says that a rural black voter in South Carolina or Alabama has the same wants and needs as, say, a black voter with whom he or she has nothing in common (other than skin color) in Detroit, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh or Cleveland?

This mindset has a real chance to cost the Democrats – those of us with noble ideals but new and improved ways to lose – the ultimate prize.

Plain and simple, Biden – like Hillary Clinton before him – will be christened as the nominee on a false positive.

Consider that no Democratic presidential candidate has won a state in what is considered the heart of the Deep South (Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana) in the New Millennium.

States along its rim/outer core (Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky) have similar outcomes (Oklahoma, like Mississippi, not gone for a Democrat in the general election since before the signing of the Civil Rights Act).

The only exceptions, in terms of rim states with different demographics (transplanted residents), are Florida (won by Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012) and North Carolina (won by Obama in 2008, but not 2012).

And, in both of those states, Hillary Clinton lost in 2016.

What does this tell you? All these states have significant black populations, but their collective vote gets magnified in the primary season only to be trapped in the presidential election, making one wonder two things:

1) Is the electoral college flat-out racist?

2) Is the way the Democrats anoint their champion a wise one, strategically?

Biden got around 60 percent of the black vote in the Deep South, and that is put in a context as being the ultimate difference between himself and Sanders, and yet it will likely add up to zero – in terms of electoral votes – when it matters most.

The onus will be on swing states such as our own, and yet we didn’t even get to choose in the primary because of the horrendous scheduling.

Yeah, I’m bitter that Sanders is all but done, but not just because he was my candidate.

It’s the how and why he was systematically marginalized that will be keeping me up nights.

This column rain in The Times Herald on March 15.