US Needs More Than Another Bush-Clinton Presidential Matchup


Journalist and author David Swanson recently shared an exchange he had with the Washington journal Politico about its trivializing treatment of presidential election coverage. Swanson also lamented the shallow, misdirected coverage of serious Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders—the independent Vermont senator who’s by far the best orator on Capitol Hill and a man of conviction.

This writer may not agree with all of those convictions, but for someone to even have solid convictions these days is rather remarkable.

That Bernie is far more interesting and dedicated to public good than Hillary Clinton is beyond dispute, however. Both Mrs. and Bill Clinton have had their day in the sun. Their countless capers and corruptions are much worse than the political average, and if they won’t walk into the political sunset willingly, the voters need to nudge them along.

And given the still-disappointing Republican alternatives in an over-crowded field, Mr. Trump’s colorful candor notwithstanding, perhaps the best option to not voting at all is Mr. Sanders—a progressive socialist that some conservatives and libertarians could learn to like.

But the muzzled, myopic mainstream media is a barrier to reform.

Swanson, under the heading, “Corporate Media Crap Coverage of Sanders is the Norm,” noted: “There are now articles about the predictable ‘fluff BS horserace personality lifestyle crap coverage’ by the corporate media of the Bernie Sanders for president campaign (and articles about the predictable non-coverage of the Jill Stein for president campaign).”

Swanson added: “I wish it would all go away, as I think having no election would be preferable to holding such a broken one ...”

In an exchange about the current presidential race, a Politico reporter asked Swanson about his past position (as press secretary) for former Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s campaign: “Hi David ... I’m working on a story about the presidential candidates and how they can stay fit and stay on their diets ... I know that Rep. Kucinich was a vegan when he ran for office and I was hoping you could share your experiences on what it was like on the trail for him. As the Iowa fair heats up candidates will be offered lots of fried food and I just wanted to know how candidates are able to ... keep fit.”

This writer had his own exchange with the McAllen, Texas, Monitor about the daily paper’s superficial treatment of big money in politics, outlined in an Aug. 16 house editorial. Simply put, Hillary once again “panhandled” Texas’ Rio Grande Valley in early August and soon fled with $500,000, partly because she’s been cozy for years with the Cantu family, whose fortune comes from construction and being restaurateurs.

A column I wrote was intended to rebut the Monitor on its naïve assumption that the Valley would see some kind of return (at least in the form of recognition down the road) on this Hillary investment, was flatly rejected for publication because I played “loose with the facts.”

But actually I wanted to “loosen up” the facts, along a certain perspective, so they could flow. My article also noted that Jeb Bush was about to visit Texas Aug. 24 for a luncheon. I complained that no one could even learn the location unless they ponied up from $1,000 to $15,000 a plate. I also had intended to tell voters, via the Monitor, “Big donors are giving similar sums of money to both Jeb and Hillary because they know it makes painfully little difference who wins. A great example is John Tyson, the chicken tycoon and longtime backer of the Clintons. He has given $25,000 to Hillary’s 2016 campaign—and $27,700 to Jeb’s 2016 operation.”

I added: “Tyson, a major employer from the Clintons’ old Arkansas stomping grounds, clearly doesn’t care much which of the two get elected. He knows either one will support more free trade deals which export jobs and harm local town economies (and help his chicken empire); either will support the endless unwinnable “war on terror” [and] either will support more spying on people’s [electronic] communications . . . ”

And Jeb “would be the third Bush in the Oval Office, from a dynastic family with CIA and big business ties that present major conflicts of interest. The Clintons are a would-be dynasty as well.”

Besides, the Clintons’ almost forgotten past—as the media never mention Chinagate, Filegate, and the strange death of former White House counsel Vince Foster (to name just a few capers never totally resolved invariably involving both Bill and Hill)—is just too tarnished to limit America’s choices to Hillary and Jeb.

Other two-fisted donors include: David Stevens, CEO of Mortgage Bankers Association: $2,700 to Hillary, $2,250 to Jeb; and Richard Parsons, former chairman of Citigroup and of Time Warner, $2,700 to both candidates. Some 17 major donors have sugar-coated the accounts of both candidates.

Former President Jimmy Carter said, “Now America is just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nomination for president.” Instead of tolerating big-money politics in exchange for future table crumbs, we could correct it with equal airtime for all candidates from all parties, sufficient public financing for all on a completely level playing field so personal wealth is less of a factor, equal ballot access for all parties, and paper ballots openly hand-counted at the local precinct on camera.

Mark Anderson is a veteran journalist who divides his time between Texas and Michigan. Email him at

From The Progressive Populist, September 15, 2015

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