Type to search

Welcome To The New Normal

Memo Pad Politics

Welcome To The New Normal


President Clinton?

Maybe, if Democratic voters have their way. While the Republican faithful are split between a number of contenders and not particularly enthusiastic about any of them, a new poll finds Democrats overwhelmingly united behind a Hillary Clinton candidacy for 2016. A commanding 82 percent of the party, according to the CBS News/New York Times poll, wants to see her run.

It is, of course, way too early to be taking polls seriously. But perhaps an observer can nevertheless be forgiven for being heartened at the prospect of a Clinton campaign, much less a Clinton victory. Either would send a much-needed message to those who are still waiting for America to get back to normal.

You know the definition of “normal,” right? A world wherein straight, white Christian men still call all the shots. That world has been under assault for the last 50 years and the pressure has only increased in the last 10 as gay people roll back restrictions of their human rights, as a black man with an exotic name makes an improbable ascent to the presidency, as a woman positions herself to make the same climb.

The political right has responded with apoplexy, a temper tantrum of epic proportions:

On gay rights, for instance, we are seeing attempts to reinstitute honest-to-Bull Connor Jim Crow, laws legalizing discrimination against gay men and lesbians.

Meantime, the aforementioned black president has endured a nearly unprecedented barrage of resistance and name-calling from right-wingers who long ago decided to render the country ungovernable rather than let him govern it. Indeed, just the other day, GOP spokesman Ted Nugent called the president a “subhuman mongrel” and one was only surprised that one was not surprised.

Which brings us to the woman who would be president. Given what we’ve seen thus far, you have to wonder, albeit with sickened fascination, what they will do to her — especially since she’s already one of the more polarizing political figures of the last quarter-century.

If she sheds a tear, will they say she is too emotional for such a tough job? Or that she’s using femininity for political gain? Will she be allowed to have an opinion on reproductive rights, domestic violence or income inequality or will they say she’s playing the “gender card”? Who will be the first pundit to use the “B-word,” comment upon her figure or crack a rape joke?

Leonard Pitts Jr.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a nationally syndicated commentator, journalist, and novelist. Pitts' column for the Miami Herald deals with the intersection between race, politics, and culture, and has won him multiple awards including a Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

The highly regarded novel, Freeman (2009), is his most recent book.

  • 1

You Might also Like


  1. disqus_ivSI3ByGmh March 3, 2014

    Like you said, Leonard. It’s a bunch of rich, old, white guys lamenting a past where they thought the were in charge.

  2. docb March 3, 2014

    How about we use that energy to displace the old white guys that dream of what NEVER was IN 2014…Leave 2016 to the future…GOTV NOW!

  3. Jimmy Cahill March 3, 2014

    I am a democrat, however I do not support Hillary for election in ’16. She is a DC insider, more of the same, politics as usual. Her husband signed NAFTA which has been horrible for the US people. My vote in the primaries will be for Elizabeth Warren, assuming she is on the ballot come voting time. She may not have what it takes to win a national election, but I honestly believe she will be the breath of fresh air that the presidency needs. She WILL be tough on Wall St. and will work for the average American

    1. Independent1 March 3, 2014

      I would certainly like to see Elizabeth run for president in a future election, but I don’t personally feel 2016 is the time for several reasons;

      1) We need Elizabeth in the Senate – without her there would only be two strong progressive Senators really willing to extend themselves for the American people: Bernie Sanders and Angus King – two independents.

      2) There are currently too many domestic/economic issues which really need to be addressed and Elizabeth along with Sanders and King are the only two Senators really fighting for them – I’d hate to see Elizabeth’s focus on many of the issues she’s raising today be detered by her starting to focus on running for president in 2016.
      If progressives can, in fact, win a few more Congressional seats this election, it’s possible some of what Elizabeth is pushing for could be enacted in 2015.

      3) Elizabeth obviously has a very strong accumen and desire to correct a lot of financially oriented issues facing America today. I’m not sure she currently has the interest nor the background at the moment to focus on many of the other issues facing America outside those related to the financial sector.

      If we take Elizabeth out of the 2016 equation, what other progressive do you see as having better qualifications for President than Hillary? (Someone who has been First Lady, a Senator and Secretary of State.)

      And by the way, just because she was First Lady, I’m not absolutely sure that Hillary was always in full agreement with some of the legislation Bill signed when he was president. I think you may be doing her a disservice by judging her based on legislation you don’t favor which Bill signed.

      1. Mark Schmidt March 3, 2014

        I really want Warren to stay in the Senate. I think Hillary is far to conservative, even to the right of Obama. I’d love to see Biden as President.

    2. Oarboar March 3, 2014

      As delightful a prospect as President Warren would be, what we really need is five or ten or fifty more senators like her.

      If Hillary faces a challenge, it’s going to be from the left. Who that would be beyond Warren, though, I have no idea. The seriously best thing that Hillary could do both for her campaign and for America would be to sit down in private with Warren and take notes, then evolve on those positions over the the next two years. This will have to be like Obama on gay marriage — the people are going to have to take the lead, and then the leaders will follow.

  4. charleo1 March 3, 2014

    Who was that Russian comedian that said, “Is this a great County, or what?” Well, it is a great Country. Where one political Party can throw one humongous, or is it, humungous, fit, and the other Party, seems sane by comparison. I heard one AZ. Congressman before Governor Brewer vetoed the piece of anti-Gay, Legislation he had helped pass, say, “We made a mistake, and now we have to fix it.” And, I thought, where is the adult that is responsible for this poor person? Or, how did it come to be, that he came to represent the collective wisdom of the ruling Party, in the great State of Arizona, in the Country, supposedly leading the free world? Just yesterday I heard Secretary of State John kerry say, with a straight face. Deadpan. That we can’t have Countries just invading other sovereign Countries, on false pretenses. To protect, what they perceive as their National interests. Now we wouldn’t want to get that kind of stuff started.~Would we? I wonder how that translates in Iraqi? They’re probably rolling in the isles! Those Americans! What kidders!

    1. dtgraham March 3, 2014

      Your last few sentences are exactly what I’ve been thinking since last week. At a time when much of the rest of the world is looking to the United States, Bush Jr. left America with a terrible credibility gap on that whole ‘countries invading sovereign countries on false pretences’ thing.

      Worse yet, he gave possible future analogous justifications to the bad actors of the world on same. After all, if the good guys can do it…

      At any rate I can think of two, and possibly 3, EU member states who would give Putin one heck of a scare militarily—and perhaps more than that. A combined EU force would overwhelm Russia. It shouldn’t always fall on American shoulders.

  5. LasloPratt March 3, 2014

    “…name-calling from right-wingers who long ago decided to render the country ungovernable rather than let him govern it. ”

    To be fair, they did the same thing to Bill Clinton. Any Democratic president is treated as illegitimate by our “conservative” friends. There is, of course, that extra layer of vitriol in Obama’s case that is purely a matter of racism.

  6. paganheart March 3, 2014

    “This temper tantrum, this screaming and crying and stamping of feet
    that now passes for dialogue on the political right, springs from
    nothing more or less than a denial of change, a refusal to accept the
    fact that you cannot squeeze the paste back into the tube, and that
    those who were once stuck in the closet, relegated to the back of the
    bus or kept in the kitchen have freed themselves from those constraints
    and will not go back again.”

    “There could be no better way to make the point than to follow the
    first African-American president with the first woman president. And who
    knows? Maybe the president after that will be gay — and a Republican.”

    YES!!! This!!! 1,000 times THIS!!! Thank you, Leonard Pitts. I could kiss you. 🙂

    I have felt this all along, that what you have in the GOP is a bunch of old, white, wealthy (even not-so-wealthy), hetero, christian men who come from the generation where they got to run everything unquestioned…..basically for no other reason than the fact that they were old, white, wealthy, hetero, christian men, and old, white, wealthy, hetero, christian men always got to run everything, and no one questioned why. They never had to prove themselves worthy to be leaders, and many of them, frankly, are/were not worthy.

    Now women, non-whites, non-heteros, and those of other religions (or no religion at all) are rising to positions of power and equality and becoming leaders. Yes, some of them, too, may not be truly worthy. But many are worthy to be in positions of power and leadership, but were denied them in the past, because they were not old, white, wealthy, hetero, christian men. In some cases they are even better leaders than the old, white, wealthy, hetero, christian men. Many of these same old, white, wealthy, hetero, christian men can’t handle it. They are finding out that no longer can they get ahead in life just by being old, white, wealthy, hetero, christian men; they have to prove that they are worthy, they have to earn it. And this is a new thing for them. They have to grow, adapt, evolve, and change. And this scares the crap out of them. No one likes change, but it is especially hard to adapt to change when you have always had things handed to you, just because of who you were and what god you believed in, rather than having to earn them through your talents, skills, and intelligence.

    Memo to the old, white, wealthy (and not so wealthy), hetero, christian men: Welcome to what everyone else’s reality has been for centuries. Ain’t life a bitch?

    The smarter and more self-aware members of the old, white, wealthy, christian men club will grow, adapt and change. The rest, I am afraid, are stuck somewhere between the “denial” and “anger” stages of grief as they mourn for a society that is dead, gone, and never coming back. The ridiculous “birther” movement; odious anti-gay laws like the one Arizona almost passed; and the legions of anti-women’s health laws that have passed in various state legislatures, supported by (mostly male) politicians who believe that women are baby-carrying vessels and nothing more; all are symptoms of this grief.

    Eventually, like all temper tantrums, it will pass. But like a tantrum-throwing two-year-old hurling his toys around the room, it could get ugly and destructive before it’s over.

    1. wjca March 3, 2014

      The question has to be asked: Is there any reason, any reason at all, to believe that having a woman win would successfully get the point across to them that the world is not (if it ever was) the way they think? I, for one, think it wildly unlike that the election of Hilary Clinton (or any other woman) would do anything but spawn another 4 or 8 years of hysteria.

  7. gmccpa March 3, 2014

    Who will be the first pundit to use the “B-word,” comment upon her figure or crack a rape joke?
    Who knows what they’ll come up with? Maybe something as ludicrous as to blame her for her husband’s marital indiscretions.

  8. wjca March 3, 2014

    Just to provide a little nuance, here is one over 65, moderately well off, straight, white guy who would not be enthused about a President Hilary Clinton. But sees no sign of anyone at all that might have a prayer of wining the Republican nomination and would be better. Even someone who is mildly conservative (but sane) has to come to that conclusion.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.