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

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: americans, congress, candidates, democrats, dishonesty, elections, freedoms, Govtfearmongering, healthcare, lies, media, politics, propaganda, republicans )

- 1648 days ago -
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.

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Kit B (276)
Thursday November 14, 2013, 2:39 pm
Photo Credit: Drew Angerer / The New York Times -- Buttons at the Ready for Hillary office in Alexandria, Virginia, July 26, 2013

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.


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.

By: William Rivers Pitt | Truth-out |


Kit B (276)
Thursday November 14, 2013, 2:53 pm

I absolutely agree, first that Richard Cohen needs be shooing pigeons in a park or at least feeding them.

Oh, I am tired of hearing over and over again about who will or will not run 2016. I think this began within minutes of the election results as it has for some many years now. If the news really has nothing else to talk about then maybe one of those "pundits" that always know so much about, ummm.....actually they don't seem to know much. Maybe they could give up their jobs so we could again have that job filled by a reporter, you remember those folks, they went out and reported on things happening and told us about what was going on.

It's good thing there are no major storms to report on, or a significant problem with radiation in Japan, a hunger problem of epic proportions here in the United States. If those things were happening it might be the news would focus on real news and not just guess about unknown candidates for a race three years in the future. Sure if any of these people want to make that run, they must get prepared, but we do not have get prepared while they do, I'm almost bored with the 2016 election.

Say, is it possible there is a real election in 2014? Ummm, and who will be running? All of the House you say?

Well now, what if those highly over paid "talking heads" on the endless news(?) cable channels talked about that. If they must devote so much time to politics. Though it would be great to turn on the news and just hear about the news.

Past Member (0)
Thursday November 14, 2013, 3:15 pm
Excellent story. Noted. Far too many people don't vote at all, but just as significantly far too many people only vote once every four years. Neglecting mid-term elections is the surest formula for losing ground and getting more gridlock and more gov't for corporate interests. Anyone that cares at all about the quality of life in these United States needs to show up at the polls and vote every single time that a vote is being held. Even in an "off year" such as 2013, there can be important local and state elections and ballot initiatives that directly impact the lives of people. As a people, we complain so much about the gov't and the policies that we get, but it's up to us to do our part. We can change this nation simply by changing how we vote...which means we need to vote every single time that we have the opportunity.

JL A (281)
Friday November 15, 2013, 11:49 am
The message people should be hearing, I agree, is:
" 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. "

Terrie Williams (798)
Friday November 15, 2013, 11:54 am
It's apparently their (talking baboons on media)(no offense to real baboons babbling because they actually make sense) job is to purposely mislead, misdirect, misinform and generally infotain the general puplic to the point of braindeath. All to the profit/benefit of the Corporate overlords and general Rethuglicant Fascists desire. That is why they will continue to feed the human mushrooms their daily dose of bullsh*t and they mushrooms will lap it up. If one wants real news.....go to the internet or rss feeds for real news of what the hell is happening in the world that really frikken MATTERS.
Yes, there ARE reputable news feeds out there like AP/UPI or (gasp!) Al Jazeera That are not given with the usual BS opinions of talking heads. Just straight news. It's out there -- go get it.

Roseann d (178)
Friday November 15, 2013, 11:54 am
So true JL. A. It's a waste of taxpayer dollars and a do-nothing Congress skating free on the public dole. They're down to "working" only 113 Days in 2014. Three less days than 2013...probably less since they weren't working during the Gov. Shutdown. Talk about a cushy job and scamming the US taxpayer, paying for their lavish lifestyles.

SuSanne P (193)
Friday November 15, 2013, 12:07 pm
Thank you Kit and I appreciate and respect each post as I agree with the content 100%. I say SCREW Pitt! I have to comment on this quote:
"..... screw Elizabeth Warren,Marco Rubiio, Bernie Sanders, and everyone else..." THE THOUGHT OF BERNIE SANDERS or Elizabeth Warren running is something I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT. On a daily basis I would LOVE TO HEAR BERNIE SANDERS on the news.
I have too much vile in my mouth to speak of the obstructionist Congress.

Kit B (276)
Friday November 15, 2013, 12:48 pm

The problem with that SuSanne is after the pundits and bloggers have talked and talked, in three years no one will be interested, the excitement and luster is off the candidate. As for the other suggestion, I think that would be cradle robbing, I'm a bit too old for him. Though I would love to have a few hours and glass of wine to just listen to him talk.

Diane O (194)
Friday November 15, 2013, 2:59 pm
This is an opinion piece. In other words, one person's "opinion." We have stupid opinions written by both liberals and conservatives and intelligent people never take them seriously. No one I know would ever make a comment like that because it is not how they think or feel. Bi-racial couples are all over the world, normal people who love each other and bring beautiful children into the world.

It's better to pay attention to our lying, fallen from the pedestal, president who has a real problem....lying.
The tide has turned. Republicans always knew it would and it has. Don't waste your time placing any importance on comments made by Richard Cohen. He doesn't speak for the people.

Kit B (276)
Friday November 15, 2013, 3:52 pm

You almost made it, Diane. Almost is much better than usual. Richard Cohen speaks to some people, but if you read the piece you might know that those who think like him, do not belong in a major newspaper. Like WRP said, and I repeated, maybe he should be feeding the pigeons.

Of course it's an opinion piece, from some one with a well informed opinion. Again, as I said, whether it's Hilary Clinton or Rand Paul, I don't want to hear about their possible bid for the 2016 contest. We still have three years and in politics that's a long time.

Angelika R (143)
Friday November 15, 2013, 4:54 pm
Better than excellent, in my view! thx Kit! If only ALL would read it-and get the message. Why are even all the familiar advocacy groups and progressive orgs. bringing us this topic almost daily to our email? At least THEY could highlight the real importance, now that 2014 is just around the corner!

JL A (281)
Friday November 15, 2013, 5:12 pm
Cohen exemplifies much that is wrong with the major media, the primary topic of this post, and the media ignoring the news that is important to speculate about 2016. Pitt did a good job of summarizing why the media should be far more focused on 2014 and why Congress makes a bigger impact on the country than any POTUS could.

Suzanne O (33)
Friday November 15, 2013, 9:00 pm
I agree that it is part of the problem that these elections and discussions start far before they should. I prefer to deal with matters at hand.

The whole election process causes major division amongst Americans. Years and years of discussing the if's and who's serves no one well. There will always be another election and I think we spend far to much time on the what if's. Let's deal with the realities of it all when the proper time comes. I really am not thinking to much about 2016. Let's get through tomorrow.

It feels as if nothing is accomplished these days because everyone worries about elections to come. It has become all about the race and not about substance and accomplishment while serving.

With regard to his opinion on mixed families. This man's opinion and those who feel that way are entitled to their opinion. I don't agree with it. That is my right.

SuSanne P (193)
Saturday November 16, 2013, 12:25 pm
Thank you Kit. To clarify why I took such offense was due to the terminology that was used by Pitt among many possible candidates who may or may not run in 2016. I was far from the topic indeed. To my understanding Senator Bernie Sanders has no interest in doing anything other then he is doing right now. Lecturing and writing books. Forgive me for loosing track of the intended topic.

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday November 16, 2013, 3:25 pm
Noted. Thanks, Kit.
Well, I agree 100% with Pitt. That's one big reason why I quit watching most all of cable news, and only occasionally peek in on network news....just to see what they're reporting. I've found that The Daily Show (& Colbert Report, too), gives me a nice overview of the garbage spewn over the day. While I am appreciative of Warren's role in the Senate, and would vote for her over Hillary, I don't want to even think about 2016 yet--we just had a big vote a year ago! Yes, they should be concentrating on ISSUES, bills in Congress and what's coming up in 2014.

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday November 16, 2013, 3:32 pm
BTW, I took the 113 days Congress will be working (as Roseann commented above), and divided it by the $174,000 yearly salary they make, which comes out to (rounded) $1540.00 per day. Not sure if I got the $174,000 figure exactly correct....but it's close. This doesn't count all their perks & benefits courtesy of us taxpayers.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday November 16, 2013, 3:38 pm
Merely 1 or 2 hours after I read and commented this there they go again: " I think Christie would make a great Sec of state under president H.Clinton" (Weinstein on Piers Morgan) I'm sick of it.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Sunday November 17, 2013, 2:44 pm
Anyone who ever reads my comments will know (and may already be sick of reading) that 2014 may be the most important election since 2000, and that we as progressives need to do everything we can to convince people to vote, get them pre-certified to vote (since so many states are trying to take their votes away), remind them over and over that them need to vote, drive them to the polls if necessary, make sure they obtain mail ballots if necessary, and get those votes counted. Do Americans even realize that every single member of the House of Representatives has to stand for election in every even numbered year? Some people talk as if we should throw out everyone in Congress and start over. Well, in 2014 you could. I hope it won't be quite that drastic because I would hate to lose Alan Grayson, and I'm happy with Tulsi Gabbard and Tammy Duckworth. But it COULD happen. It could happen every two years. I guarantee the angry crazy people will vote. God forbid they take even one Congressional election.

Kit B (276)
Sunday November 17, 2013, 3:02 pm

I absolutely agree with you Joanne. We need to get some B-12 into the voters and pay attention to who is running for what office in your area.
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