2016... Here We Come

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TomDispatch.com

2016... Here We Come

It’s barely a month since Election 2012 put Barack Obama back in the White House and Mitt Romney in the Republican doghouse (or even perhaps on the roof of the GOP’s family car).  Still, TomDispatch is already behind the eight ball in its election coverage.  After all, we’re still thinking about the past election while the rest of the media didn't take a breath before launching campaign 2016.  And here’s the real question that, it turns out, should rivet us all: Will Hillary run?  Reporters and pundits were already asking even before Election Day.  Immediately after the votes were counted, the first Iowa poll came in.  (She was way ahead of Vice President Biden and New York Governor Cuomo.) Now you can hardly avoid the subject of how invincible she would be -- unless you care to jump off that “fiscal cliff.”

Last week, "will she or won't she?" hit the front page of the New York Times in a piece that highlighted all the truly crucial and confounding political conundrums of our moment.  Can Hillary, for instance, make piles of money working for law firms handling clients from the wrong -- i.e., rich -- side of the tracks or can she forge a new monumentally moneymaking life “advising foreign countries on geopolitical risk, or at an investment bank or a private equity firm”?  Yes, without a doubt is the answer in all cases, but not, it seems, if she wants to run for president.  The poor woman might have to rely on peddling (for multi-millions) a tell-nothing tome on her years traveling the world as secretary of state doing... well, whatever.  (Again, if she wants to run for president, it’s common wisdom in Washington and in the media that you can’t write a book with genuine content -- it might be used against you!)

Yes, folks, get ready for 2016 early and often.  In the supersized, never-ending American election season it’s going to be a meaty four years of media speculation.

At the moment, it seems that the only question outrunning Hillary & Co. is: Can we avoid that dreaded fiscal cliff (and all the mixed metaphors that go with it)?  You hear it intoned relentlessly on the nightly news, with accompanying countdowns (“only 20 days to...”) and everything but Jaws-style ominous music.  Of course, the tectonic political plates that raised that cliff we may “go over” and the river of money that gouged out the abyss into which we may “fall” were Washington-made and the cliff itself, like any fabulous stage set, is potentially moveable.  Still, let’s keep our eye on the ball.  And while we’re revving up for the ultimate Washington clash about cliffing it -- to jump, or not to jump: that is the question -- and preparing for the Democratic presidential race to 2016, let’s not forget those Republican’ts.  What’s the story there?

We at TomDispatch.com considered conducting a séance to get in touch with them, since these days they reportedly live in another world that may be located somewhere in the vicinity of planet Earth.  Instead, we decided to turn to Jeremiah Goulka, our resident “former Republican,” to fill us in on just what to make of the cliff -- fiscal, physical, or demographic -- that the Republican’ts are threatening to throw themselves off in the wake of Mitt Romney’s defeat.  His conclusion: wrong metaphor.  It’s the Titanic, the band’s already playing “Nearer My God to Thee,” and there’s a giant hunk of ice dead ahead.

Tom Engelhardt

Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. His latest book, co-authored with Nick Turse, is Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050. His other most recent book is The United States of Fear (Haymarket Books). Previous books include: The End of Victory Culture: a History of the Cold War and Beyond, The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's, as well as of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing.  To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com here.

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