The clip above is Mark Ruffalo on his iPhone, sending a message from a movie set in London to a group of Hollywood figures urging Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for President in 2016. It is so easy to make fun of this group. Last month several members of what you might call this liberal elite gathered, according to Vanity Fair, in a Chinatown loft in New York City, where the food included charred broccoli with roasted eggplant and a meatless burger, to encourage the progressive former Harvard Law School professor and consumer protection advocate to jump into the 2016 fray. It’s a bit like watching Tea Partyers assemble to maybe cook a few cows and burn a few crosses while discussing how to throw that uppity Obama out of the White House. Neither fringe is likely to get what they want.
If Warren does decide to challenge Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primaries (and so far she is the only one who could do so in an interesting way), she has the initial backing of Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Edward Norton, Darren Aronofsky, Chloë Sevigny and Peter Coyote among many other Hollywood figures (read their open letter here). Of course, that support is carefully worded. A key part of the letter says:
“There’s too much at stake to have anything other than our best candidates taking part in the debate; everyone is better off with a contested primary.”
That does not mean an automatic, long-term support for Warren’s presidential candidacy; only that these celebrities think there should be a contest and not a coronation of Hillary Clinton. I can certainly agree with that – a former Republican, Clinton needs a challenge from the left because she can easily swat her conservative critics.
So, the Democrats may need to shake things up a bit, if only to challenge and strengthen Clinton. The Republicans, on the other hand, are in for another tough election cycle. They may have triumphed in the midterms, but a presidential election is another beast. They’ve lost the last two and are not looking good now either. A few days ago, Mitt Romney decided not to run for a third time, giving the impression that he’s finally come to his senses. Sarah Palin may want another go, but has spent the last years bucking the GOP establishment; her recent incoherent appearance in Iowa became a viral sensation (the whole tragic speech is in the clip above) and was sort of a final nail in the coffin of her political career, unless she comes up with a smart way to mend ties with her party and build a serious operation.
It was argued in a recent Politico article, that the NRC under Reince Priebus’s leadership desperately wants to avoid the clown show of 2012. They will do everything they can to keep the fringe candidates from appearing in debates alongside those who actually have a shot at the GOP candidacy. Polls suggest that Jeb Bush is the frontrunner by far, followed by Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson. It would be good for the GOP to take Paul seriously; that would be a beneficial debate for them.
However, Huckabee and Carson need to go away as soon as possible. The former is a dinosaur, representing an oppressive Christian culture that hurts women, gays and the young; there was even a recent report that Huckabee as a teenager regarded dancing as something Christians shouldn’t do (shades of Footloose!). It would be another thing if Huckabee showed any signs of having matured since then, but he rarely does. As for Carson, he constantly seems to be struggling with what he knows best; in the clip above, we hear him correctly arguing in favor of vaccinating children after a measles outbreak – only to then avoid clashing with the moronic conservative argument that parents should have a choice, and he ends up blaming immigrants! Not smooth at all, doctor.