I saw a headline yesterday that was so bizarre that I felt compelled to read the article. And it turned out that the article by H.A. Goodman was more bizarre than even the headline, which is saying a lot.
Consider, after all, the headline which was, "Bernie Sanders Just Made Jill Stein the Most Powerful Woman in American Politics."
Yes, you read that right. Hillary Clinton is about to become the first woman in the history of the United States to be nominated by a major party for president -- and is leading polls to become the president -- and H.A. Goodman apparently believes that Jill Stein is the most powerful.
One wonders if the "H.A." really just is supposed to be "HA" and the printer goofed.
I'm guessing that there are many people who aren't quite sure who Jill Stein is. Even many reading this. Maybe the name is sort of familiar, but you're scratching your head. Or you don't have a clue. For the record, Dr. Jill Stein is the nominee of the Green Party to be president. And H.A. Goodman believes, apparently, that with Bernie Sanders dropping out of the race, that makes Jill Stein far more powerful than Hillary Clinton because...well, okay, I'm not sure why the "because" (hey, I said it was a bizarre article), but I think it has to do with her being the one to carry on the mantle of progressive politics. Which, by definition, makes her the most powerful, since apparently according to H.A. Goodman, people with other points of view cannot be powerful. Nor can people with actual elective political power.
Mind you, it's not like Bernie Sanders is going away and is suddenly going to go silent and stop pushing progressive politics which therefore vaults Jill Stein over him and everyone else with progressive views who hold power. Or will he stop being a United States Senator, with a far-larger soap box than ever before, or more actual legislative power than before to actually accomplish his progressive goals. Or that if Hillary Clinton is elected President of the United States -- a position that people call the most power person in the world -- she will be in the best position of anyone (in the world...) to push any progressive laws that people like Bernie Sanders can convince her of.
No, to H.A. Goodman, it's Jill Stein who alone above them all is the most power woman in American politics. All because Bernie Sanders acknowledged that, looking at the vote totals, he wasn't going to get the Democratic Party nomination.
I's worth noting that H.A.Goodman is a writer with credentials. He's written for publications like Salon, the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and more. But his article, which you can read here, was really quite bizarre. And it wasn't because of his position, bizarre as it was.
Rather than spend the article to make a case (or at least try to make a case) why Dr. Jill Stein is the most powerful woman in American politics, instead he devotes a paragraph or so to stating his position, and then spends most of the rest of the piece defending why he isn't a nutcase.
No, I'm not saying that figuratively or hyperbolically, or even critically. I mean it literally. Really. For instance, he writes -- "The day Bernie Sanders endorsed Clinton, The Nation’s Joan Walsh called me a“lunatic,” and stated that “people should stop paying attention” to my thoughts." And H.A. Goodman notes that Ms. Walsh also called him "idiotic." Though that's not the only personal slam against him he dives into. Later in that same paragraph, he also writes, "Then of course, there’s The Daily Banter’s Bob Cesca who writes that I'm “dangerous” in a piece ironically titled Hillary Won’t Be Indicted, Proving Yet Again That H.A. Goodman is an Unapologetic Propagandist."
Mind you, why that title is "ironic," I'm not quite sure. Perhaps he thinks that this makes Bob Cesca a propagandist. Except that I'm not quite sure either why he thinks this makes him look good chastising someone who predicted Hillary Clinton wouldn't be indicted, when in fact she wasn't indicted. No matter. As I said, it was a bizarre article, and he spends most of it defending himself -- and not especially well... -- instead of trying to prove why Jill Stein is the most powerful woman in American politics, which is probably an unprovable point. So, maybe that's why he spent so little time trying to prove it. After all, if you've only got one water balloon, you want to take your time deciding when to drop it.
He does at least get back to Jill Stein at the end, explaining why he likes her. And that's swell. She may well be. But having good opinions doesn't make one inherently powerful. If it did, I'd be third in line for King of the World.
And then, as I started to write this piece, it hit me.
H.A. Goodman's article was so unfocused and defensive and rambling and loopy that it rang a bell. And so, I checked out the list of other of his articles. And I suddenly realized that I had written about H.A. Goodman before! It was when he'd had some other over-the-top rant against Hillary Clinton.and overflowing raving praise for Bernie Sanders. And pretty much all of his articles in that long list were the same. For a year, article after article after article after article after article after (okay, you get the point), raging in a hot fury against Sec. Clinton and heaping the most glorious hosannas upon the altar that is Bernie Sanders. He had one article in June -- yes, just a month ago -- explaining how Bernie Sanders can "Still Win." I don't think even Bernie Sanders believed that. (After all, no electoral votes changed in the last month, yet Sen. Sanders just dropped out.) His most recent article just before this latest on Jill Stein, written four days ago, was "Bernie Sanders, Please Stay in the Race/ America Needs You Now More Than Ever."
Okay, so, I think we've grasped his point of view. And I think it's admirable that I held back and did not describe that point of view as "fevered." It's his point of view, no matter the temperature. So be it.
You may agree with H.A. Goodman. Fair enough and godspeed. But the larger point here is that when someone claims that Jill Stein is the most powerful woman in American politics, never mind while on the heals of another woman leading to become President of the United States, and perhaps not even among the top 50 of most powerful women in American politics, or maybe top 100, perhaps below Taylor Swift, you'd better be prepared to keep defending why you're not nuts, which in the end makes the bulk of his article doing so at least somewhat understandable...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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