The pre-primary project of reinvention

The pre-primary project of reinvention

Evolution of the adult character, persona and political credentials is a fascinating phenomenon.  The value of education is that it affords enlightened minds an opportunity to change opinions and embrace new values based on established evidence and reason.  Experience likewise allows for the releasing of viewpoints, doctrines and policies that fail more than they succeed or outright do not work and the formation and/or grasping of ones that do.  A person who evolved such that they no longer resemble who or what they were thirty years ago has likely had much education and experience.  I personally can vouch for that statement as I am one individual who is 180 degrees opposite what I was thirty years ago.  Change for me came slow over time as a result of intense personal research and study.  The more defining changes in my worldview and values came about from abrupt cataclysmic events in my life.  Looking back thirty years from where I am now I truly have evolved 180 degrees on most political issues.


Reinventing oneself is usually not an exercise in evil obfuscation or deception.  As one transitions through life reinvention is often actually necessary.  Indeed, if someone is running for President of the United States it helps to reinvent yourself to appeal to the broadest segment of voters possible.  That said, the candidate who has to reinvent themselves the least will likely have the broadest appeal to the American electorate in 2016.

The first Democratic Party Presidential Debate in Las Vegas last Tuesday evening featured an array of reinvented candidates as well as one in particular whose reinvention is still in process.


Former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee is a former Republican and reinvented Democrat as of 2013.  To be fair, Mr. Chafee was by Republican and even Independent standards liberal in his governance.  His evolution and subsequent reinvention as a Democrat likely says less about him and more about his former party.  By all media and blogosphere accounts, Mr. Chafee is a distant also-ran for the Democratic nomination at this point in the campaign.  His deer-in-the-headlights display during last Tuesday’s debate apparently did not win him very many followers.  Even still, he presented himself in a more appealing fashion than anyone running for the GOP nomination has to date.


Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb is also a former Republican.  He is the Vietnam Veteran in the race and served as Secretary of the Navy for President Reagan.  It was after his tenure as SECNAV that he reinvented himself as a Democrat.  He did support the 2000 campaign of Republican Senator George Allen, the man he opposed and defeated as a Democrat in 2006.  Mr. Webb is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and former Marine Corps infantry officer.  His reinvention as a moderate Democrat certainly qualifies him to vie for the nomination although he has a limited appeal, mostly to Democratic military veterans.  Same as Mr. Chafee, Mr. Webb has far more appeal than any serious contender for the nomination of the other party.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has had to do very little reinvention of himself as a Democrat.  His credentials are solid but his broad support does not appear to be commensurate outside of his home state region.  He may not prevail long into primary season but his administrative capability will be something to consider when it comes time to assemble a cabinet.


The candidate who by far is reinventing herself the most is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Yes, as a senator she voted for the Iraq war, was against marriage equality, supported the Keystone XL pipeline, supported immigration policies she now claims are too harsh and until recently supported President Obama’s trans-Pacific Partnership.  After previously describing herself as a moderate she is now attempting to make the case that she is a progressive, but “a progressive who likes to get things done!”  She was held to account for her former positions by debate moderator Anderson Cooper.  In spite of her ostensible support of the majority of Democrats, the issue of her political expediency, at least the perception that she will say anything to anyone to get their vote, is a huge concern to enough of the party base to matter.  Her reinvention is still in progress.

The candidate on that Las Vegas stage last Tuesday evening who simply does not have to do any reinvention of himself or his policy positions is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.  Yes, he describes himself as a Democratic Socialist.  Let it be known, regardless if they call themselves “capitalists” or not, any other candidate who advocates the continuation of an economic system that imposes financial risk on the taxpayers but is okay with private profits from imposing that risk is themselves a corporate socialist.  Senator Sanders had the best line of the night:


Senator Sanders has evolved very little from his political values of fifty years ago.  He voted against launching the invasion of Iraq in 2002.  Yes, he was right about that and his prediction as to what would occur by destabilizing the region was eerily prophetic.  The corporate media pundits give little chance of winning the nomination to this candidate.  By all accounts of corporate media, Mrs. Clinton won in terms of post-debate polling data.  I have had party line Democrats as well as party line GOP people tell me that Mr. Sanders in unelectable.  I also noted that both those Dems and those GOPers were Clinton supporters for vastly different reasons.  All this bluster has not seemed to hinder fundraising for either candidate, especially after the debate.  My observations are purely anecdotal but all I seem to see is more people stepping up to support Senator Sanders.


The most important thing at the end of the debate last Tuesday evening was that all of us Democrats are on the same side.  In fact, when the person operating the AV gear stepped up after the debate and asked the assembled crowd, “So, who do you all think won?”  I piped up and said “The Democrats!”  My statement was followed by thunderous applause.  As I said in the beginning, the candidate who has to do the least reinvention will likely be able to have the broadest appeal.  All candidates last Tuesday should be commended for sticking to the issues.  At this point, nobody gives two spits about Secretary Clinton’s emails!  We should have a better idea as to who has made the case for candidacy after the second debate.  Until then my friends, let the evolution and reinvention continue.  We are still two and a half months away from primary season!