Mr. Cope's Cave: Do As I Do, Not As I Did 

So, Mr. Cope, are you having any doubts about Hillary?

Why would I be having doubts about Hillary, Junior?

Because she lost In New Hampshire. Pretty badly, too.

Uh-huh, that's a shame. But there are many states to go.

She was supposed to be a sure thing. 

Well, that was before Bernie beat her in New Hampshire, wasn't it?

Uh... but that's my point. Bernie beat her and now she's not a sure thing anymore.

That's right. I'm happy to see you've learned something about politics, Huey.

Huh? I don't get what you're saying, Mr. Cope. What did I learn about politics?

That there are no sure things in politics.

Well I know that. What do you think I am?... some kind of... of...

No, no. I do not think you're some kind of idiot doofus.

I wasn't going to say "idiot doofus." I was going to say "baby."

Oh. Well then, yes. I do think you're some kind of baby.

I resent that, Mr. Cope. Just because I'm young doesn't make me a baby.

Don't be offended, Dewey. I understand you can't help it that you're young. But don't worry. You'll get older. In the meantime, you'll have all these wonderful opportunities to learn new things. Like... for instance... that there are no sure things in politics. And some day... soon, I hope... you will learn that young people often get all lathered up over a political candidate, and that it's a mistake, even though it might be years before they realize their mistake.

This is about how millennials are congregating around Bernie, isn't it?

Oh, not necessarily. There have been other candidates that young people got lathered up over. Believe me. I know. I was young once. But in time, I came to realize that when I and several hundred thousand other young people chose ideological purity over pragmatic electability, it was a dreadful mistake. It resulted in years of darkness descending on our land. But it was only when I grew older that I recognized what we'd done. Alas!... if only we could go back in time and vote for Hubert Humphrey rather than Gene McCarthy, we could spare the country the curse of Nixon and perhaps...

Mr. Cope. It's absolutely not fair that you're dredging up some old history from a hundred years ago. Just because voting for your dream candidate way back when resulted in a nightmare for the country, doesn't mean it will happen again. Besides, weren't you a Hillary supporter last time? Eight years ago?

Yes. I'm proud to say I've been a Hillary supporter all along.

And eight years ago, weren't you worrying about the same thing?... that if young people went for Obama and he won the nomination, that he couldn't possibly be elected president?

Why, yes. I do vaguely remember thinking something like that.

And didn't you use the McCarthy/Humphrey/Nixon example to make your argument in that election, too?

Uh, probably. I could go look, but it wouldn't be surprising that I mentioned it.

But you made a mistake then, too, didn't you? Obama won the nomination and then went on to win the presidency. As it turns out, he was just as electable as Hillary.

Yes, I was mistaken then, too. But it was a different kind of mistake. The mistake I made eight years ago was in thinking Obama was as ideologically pure as young people believed him to be. But he wasn't, and he never said he was. He made it very clear from the beginning that he intended to seek out compromise and consensus. He is, and always was, every bit as pragmatic as Hillary. I was wrong about him, yes, but the same thing can't be said about Bernie. He's attracting young people precisely because of his ideological purity, and if he were to start talking like a pragmatist who would seek out compromise and consensus, he would probably lose them.

You're making it sound like you don't believe young people can be pragmatic, Mr. Cope.

Louie, is it pragmatic to think a socialist could be elected president?

Was it pragmatic to think a black man could be elected president?

At the time, I thought it wasn't.

And you were wrong.

I've already said it. Yes, I was wrong.

So can you still deny the possibility that you might be wrong now when you say a socialist can't be elected president?

Junior, one thing you haven't learned yet, it seems, is that just because a person was wrong before doesn't mean he's going to be wrong again.

But it's not impossible that a socialist could be elected, right? Just because you were wrong before doesn't mean you can't be wrong again.

OK, if I admit I might be wrong about whether a socialist can be elected president, will you admit that even if he's electable, electing a socialist president might not be such a good idea in the first place?

But you've said you were a socialist, yourself, Mr. Cope. I've heard you say it. 

Yes. I am a socialist. Or at least, three-quarters socialist, give or take a percentage point here and there.

So... if you're a socialist, why wouldn't you want a socialist as president?

Maybe it's because I've learned that getting everything you would ever want... in politics as with eating ice cream... can be even more disappointing than having something left to look forward to.

I don't get it.

No. I don't imagine you do... at your age.

TO BE CONTINUED, no doubt.
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