Any regular reader of this post knows where I stand. I wish the first woman nominee for American president by a major political party had been someone different. Had been someone other than Hillary Clinton.
But… it would be churlish of me not to acknowledge – not to celebrate! – this milestone.
Additionally it would be remiss of me not to make my position clear. For given the essentially binary choice that I, like millions of other Americans, will face in November, even now I know where I stand.
Who knows what will happen between now and Election Day? What events will take place, malicious or benign? What secrets will be revealed, unsettling or embarrassing? What behaviors will be displayed, contemptible or curious? I certainly do not.
This however I do know. That I will vote. That I will vote for one of the two major party candidates. And that I will not vote for Donald Trump. Whatever my complaints about Clinton, intellectual, psychological, or temperamental unfitness is not among them. About her Republican opponent I cannot say the same.
You know that followership has arrived – followership as a conception as important as leadership – when the tail wags the dog.
That fact that Bernie Sanders has been unable so far to control many of his own followers at the Democratic Convention speaks volumes. This may soon change, even this evening, or it may not. At a minimum it is a reminder to Hillary Clinton that between now and November she is in abject thrall to “followers” on her left flank.
- After being booed off the stage earlier today in Philadelphia, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, leader of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), announced that she was withdrawing from all previously scheduled performances during this week’s Democratic convention. Why? Because her ostensible followers were so furious at her now amply documented partiality during the presidential primaries, that she could not appear in public without risking her own humiliation – and her party’s conflagration.
- After struggling for four years to save Yahoo as an independent corporate entity, Marissa Mayer finally threw in the towel – she agreed to have the company acquired by Verizon. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Yahoo might have been beyond saving when Mayer took over. Trouble is that one of our most visible women leaders has replicated the rapacious greed for which male executives are famously well known. Evidence is that some of the best paid CEOs run some of the worst companies. Mayer then is no exception. But let’s be clear here. According to the Wall Street Journal, for her labors over her four-year tenure, Mayer “stands to make more than $50 million in compensation if she is terminated as a result of the sale, after earning over $100 million in cash and equity.”
- After pooh-poohing charges made by Bernie Sanders for the better part of the year, that the supposedly neutral DNC was rigged against him and for her, Hillary Clinton has been caught red-handed. Yet again. If you believe that she knew nothing about how the DNC favored her during what turned out a series of stiffly fought primary contests, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.
When I first started blogging, I had regular posts titled, “Putin Patrol.” Long thought the snake bore watching for what he was doing at home – and abroad.
However, never thought it would come to this. Never thought there would be good evidence that he and one of our leading presidential candidates were in bed together.
A failure of my imagination.
Where did Theresa May go on her first overseas visit since becoming Prime Minister? To Berlin. Properly so, for by far her most important counterpart as head of state is Angela Merkel.
By all accounts their meeting went swimmingly. Merkel was conciliatory toward May, backpedaling from her earlier demand that the United Kingdom negotiate its exit from the European Union as soon as possible. By the time the visit was over, Merkel was conceding that it was “completely understandable” May needed more time to decide what Britain’s “future relationship with the EU” should look like.
Both women seemed bent on stressing the symbolism of their situation. According to the Financial Times, when May was asked her first impression of the German chancellor, she invoked gender. Her reply? “We are two women who get on with the job and want to deliver the best possible results for the people of Britain and Germany.”
Moreover, on the single issue of their greatest disagreement – immigration – they will inevitably be brought closer. May recently reiterated that Britain expected controls on the freedom of movement for EU citizens. And while up to now Merkel has taken the opposite tack – strongly supporting open borders within the EU – the events of the past week will oblige her to modify her position.
Earlier this week a young ax wielding Afghan refugee wounded four passengers on German train. (He was shot and killed by German police.) And yesterday the entire city of Munich went on lockdown until it was determined only one man murdered nine people in a large, local shopping mall and that he was now dead. The 18-year old perpetrator had dual citizenship – German and Iranian. (He died of his own hand.)
Whatever the short term consequences of this week’s events, over the longer term the pressure on Merkel to harden her stance both on freedom of movement and on immigration will grow. Put differently, the context within which Merkel and May are situated will increasingly unite them and decreasingly divide them.