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William Rivers Pitt: Please Don't Take the "2016" Bait

Thursday, 14 November 2013 09:02 By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed

Hillary 2016.Buttons at the Ready for Hillary office in Alexandria, Virginia, July 26, 2013. (Photo: Drew Angerer / The New York Times)

By now, pretty much everyone has heard about columnist Richard Cohen stepping on his meat (again) on the pages of the Washington Post. Bi-racial families make "conventional" Americans want to "gag," right, great, thanks, Rich. It's not as bad as that day in November of 2000 when he endorsed George W. Bush over Al Gore, him being the big "liberal" on the Post's editorial page and all, but it's pretty damn bad.

Given his long-standing track record for this kind of crap, any other civilized nation on the planet would have Richard Cohen gainfully employed shooing pigeons away from statues in the park instead of polluting the national discourse with his quaint racist drivel, but that's a complaint for another day.

Having said all that, what drove me absolutely nuts about this particular Cohen article was not his little nugget about conventional gaggers. What drove me nuts was the fact that he dropped it in the middle of a long, windy article about the challenges New Jersey's GOP Governor Chris Christie will face if he decides to run for president in 2016.

Let me be perfectly clear: screw Chris Christie. Furthermore, screw Hillary Clinton. And since we're on the subject of erstwhile 2016 candidates almost a thousand days away from the next presidential election, screw Elizabeth Warren, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, and everyone else who has been insinuated into this utterly idiotic topic.

If you happen to be among those who have spent the precious breath of life talking about any of these people, or anyone else allegedly running for president three years from now, please stop. You are part of the problem, and frankly, you're making me crazy. Get your priorities straight, and turn off the damned television "news."

One cannot swing one's dead cat by the tail without striking some "mainstream news" talking head holding forth on the chances for Hillary, Christie and whoever else in the 2016 election. It is the laziest, most insipid non-story these "journalists" could be reporting on, so of course they are flooding the airwaves with it ... and a lot of people who should know better are taking the bait.

I don't know what percentage of politically-minded people pride themselves on being "outside the mainstream" or "ahead of the game," but if what I'm seeing in real-world conversations as well as all over the internet is any evidence, a whole lot of people have the "mainstream news" fishhook buried through their lip and deep into their gumline.

The 2016 election is all they're talking about on TV, so of course, piles of people who pride themselves on being immune to that pestiferous influence are regurgitating the same crud, because irony is always awesome.

Why do I find all this so irritating? Because there is a tremendously important - dare I say historically pivotal - congressional midterm election happening less than a year from now, and nobody is talking about it. The "news" isn't covering it, which means turnout will be low again, so once more, the craziest 30 percent of yahoo right-wing gun-sucking Jesus-shouting woman-hating gay-bashing America will make this incredibly important decision for the rest of us, and we will get screwed as usual.

The election in 2014 will choose 100 percent of the House of Representatives and 33.3 percent of the Senate. It will choose legislators and governors and school board members and city councilors - the people who do most of the actual governing in America - from sea to shining sea. It will decide, to no small degree, whether President Obama can get anything done aside from rear-guard back-and-fill actions against avowed domestic terrorists in Congress.

The "mainstream" news people clearly don't give a wet fart about the 2014 election cycle. Maybe that's because "Hillary" and "Christie" are big names that drive ratings...and maybe it's because the seemingly-eternal low turnout that happens every midterm (because the importance of midterms is chronically under-reported) opens the barn doors for the kind of congressional maniacs who make it easier for the "mainstream" news people to do their jobs, because all they're good at is reporting on car wrecks.

Just a theory.

Instead of seeing this raw, basic fact for what it is, instead of focusing on the enormously important challenge less than a year away, what I see is a bunch of people who should know better buying into the mainstream-approved 2016 conversation model. If I'm talking about you, here's a hard fact: you're not "outside the mainstream" or "ahead of the game." You're not even interesting. You're a hooked fish, about to be jerked into the suffocating light and thrown into a bucket to drown in the air.

Again.

This obsession with presidential elections is a lot of the reason we are down in the ditch. People need to stop buying into the mainstream media's incessant starhumping urge to focus only on the race for the Oval Office, to the detriment of elections that actually decide who will be running the country. Midterm elections are by orders of magnitude more important than presidential elections on every meaningful level, and when they get ignored, we get the kind of congressional disaster zone we currently endure. As we have learned, a deranged Congress makes the presidency all but irrelevant, and harms us one and all.

The "Elizabeth Warren 2016" phenomenon is a perfect example of this. Senator Warren sits where Ted Kennedy once sat, and Ted Kennedy did more good for Americans than all the presidents he outlasted combined, and he did so without ever becoming president himself. Senator Warren has the potential, and the clear intention, of doing the same kind of good for the people. Because we are obsessed with the presidency and apparently wholly ignorant of the fact that most of the best governing that can happen in America needs to happen in Congress, people want to jerk her up by the roots before she's even been there a year, throw her into a presidential election three years away, and ignore all she can accomplish right where she is.

Presidential elections are big, shiny things that tend to suck all the oxygen out of the room. The next one is three full years away. In the meantime, it would be nice if people actually focused on the incredibly important elections happening less than a year from now. The future you save may be your own.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

William Rivers Pitt

William Rivers Pitt is Truthout's senior editor and lead columnist. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.


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William Rivers Pitt: Please Don't Take the "2016" Bait

Thursday, 14 November 2013 09:02 By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed

Hillary 2016.Buttons at the Ready for Hillary office in Alexandria, Virginia, July 26, 2013. (Photo: Drew Angerer / The New York Times)

By now, pretty much everyone has heard about columnist Richard Cohen stepping on his meat (again) on the pages of the Washington Post. Bi-racial families make "conventional" Americans want to "gag," right, great, thanks, Rich. It's not as bad as that day in November of 2000 when he endorsed George W. Bush over Al Gore, him being the big "liberal" on the Post's editorial page and all, but it's pretty damn bad.

Given his long-standing track record for this kind of crap, any other civilized nation on the planet would have Richard Cohen gainfully employed shooing pigeons away from statues in the park instead of polluting the national discourse with his quaint racist drivel, but that's a complaint for another day.

Having said all that, what drove me absolutely nuts about this particular Cohen article was not his little nugget about conventional gaggers. What drove me nuts was the fact that he dropped it in the middle of a long, windy article about the challenges New Jersey's GOP Governor Chris Christie will face if he decides to run for president in 2016.

Let me be perfectly clear: screw Chris Christie. Furthermore, screw Hillary Clinton. And since we're on the subject of erstwhile 2016 candidates almost a thousand days away from the next presidential election, screw Elizabeth Warren, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, and everyone else who has been insinuated into this utterly idiotic topic.

If you happen to be among those who have spent the precious breath of life talking about any of these people, or anyone else allegedly running for president three years from now, please stop. You are part of the problem, and frankly, you're making me crazy. Get your priorities straight, and turn off the damned television "news."

One cannot swing one's dead cat by the tail without striking some "mainstream news" talking head holding forth on the chances for Hillary, Christie and whoever else in the 2016 election. It is the laziest, most insipid non-story these "journalists" could be reporting on, so of course they are flooding the airwaves with it ... and a lot of people who should know better are taking the bait.

I don't know what percentage of politically-minded people pride themselves on being "outside the mainstream" or "ahead of the game," but if what I'm seeing in real-world conversations as well as all over the internet is any evidence, a whole lot of people have the "mainstream news" fishhook buried through their lip and deep into their gumline.

The 2016 election is all they're talking about on TV, so of course, piles of people who pride themselves on being immune to that pestiferous influence are regurgitating the same crud, because irony is always awesome.

Why do I find all this so irritating? Because there is a tremendously important - dare I say historically pivotal - congressional midterm election happening less than a year from now, and nobody is talking about it. The "news" isn't covering it, which means turnout will be low again, so once more, the craziest 30 percent of yahoo right-wing gun-sucking Jesus-shouting woman-hating gay-bashing America will make this incredibly important decision for the rest of us, and we will get screwed as usual.

The election in 2014 will choose 100 percent of the House of Representatives and 33.3 percent of the Senate. It will choose legislators and governors and school board members and city councilors - the people who do most of the actual governing in America - from sea to shining sea. It will decide, to no small degree, whether President Obama can get anything done aside from rear-guard back-and-fill actions against avowed domestic terrorists in Congress.

The "mainstream" news people clearly don't give a wet fart about the 2014 election cycle. Maybe that's because "Hillary" and "Christie" are big names that drive ratings...and maybe it's because the seemingly-eternal low turnout that happens every midterm (because the importance of midterms is chronically under-reported) opens the barn doors for the kind of congressional maniacs who make it easier for the "mainstream" news people to do their jobs, because all they're good at is reporting on car wrecks.

Just a theory.

Instead of seeing this raw, basic fact for what it is, instead of focusing on the enormously important challenge less than a year away, what I see is a bunch of people who should know better buying into the mainstream-approved 2016 conversation model. If I'm talking about you, here's a hard fact: you're not "outside the mainstream" or "ahead of the game." You're not even interesting. You're a hooked fish, about to be jerked into the suffocating light and thrown into a bucket to drown in the air.

Again.

This obsession with presidential elections is a lot of the reason we are down in the ditch. People need to stop buying into the mainstream media's incessant starhumping urge to focus only on the race for the Oval Office, to the detriment of elections that actually decide who will be running the country. Midterm elections are by orders of magnitude more important than presidential elections on every meaningful level, and when they get ignored, we get the kind of congressional disaster zone we currently endure. As we have learned, a deranged Congress makes the presidency all but irrelevant, and harms us one and all.

The "Elizabeth Warren 2016" phenomenon is a perfect example of this. Senator Warren sits where Ted Kennedy once sat, and Ted Kennedy did more good for Americans than all the presidents he outlasted combined, and he did so without ever becoming president himself. Senator Warren has the potential, and the clear intention, of doing the same kind of good for the people. Because we are obsessed with the presidency and apparently wholly ignorant of the fact that most of the best governing that can happen in America needs to happen in Congress, people want to jerk her up by the roots before she's even been there a year, throw her into a presidential election three years away, and ignore all she can accomplish right where she is.

Presidential elections are big, shiny things that tend to suck all the oxygen out of the room. The next one is three full years away. In the meantime, it would be nice if people actually focused on the incredibly important elections happening less than a year from now. The future you save may be your own.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

William Rivers Pitt

William Rivers Pitt is Truthout's senior editor and lead columnist. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.


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