Of Bernie Hernie, Hillary Hooch & Trump Tonic (Washington Diary)

Washington, July 16 (IANS) Those feeling the ‘Bern’ were willing to go to the end of the earth for Bernie Sanders, but not for Hillary Clinton.

“Bernie or bust” was the chant of the “betrayed” as a still smouldering Democratic Socialist gave a tepid nod to his rival a month after she doused his fiery revolution.

Now feeling the burn, many a Sanders supporter declined to fall for Democratic “Unite Blue,” or “Vote Blue No Matter Who” as Bernie went ‘Hernie’ standing “Stronger Together” with Hillary, the Democratic presidential nominee to be.

But others were willing to go the distance and beyond. Throwing judicial caution to the winds, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 83, elevated to the Supreme Court by then President Bill Clinton, gave an emphatic thumbs down to Republican Donald Trump.

She labelled Trump an egotistic “faker” lacking in intellectual rigour, leaving legal eagles aghast with the Manhattan mogul demanding that she quit over her “inappropriate” comments, saying her “mind was shot”.

“Mr Trump is right,” said the venerable New York Times, which has endorsed the former first lady even as it suggested the billionaire would be a disaster in the White House.

In the midst of a Twitter war, Ginsburg offered an apology of sorts, admitting her remarks were “ill-advised” and regrettable and promised to “be more circumspect” in the future.

It was a familiar “sorry, never again” refrain like the one from the former secretary of state for using a private email server while in office or her husband and Attorney General Loretta Lynch for their “chance” chat on her plane about their grandkids in the midst of an FBI probe.

After quickly dittoing FBI Director James Comey’s decision to upbraid but not prosecute Hillary Clinton for her “extreme carelessness” in handling classified information, Lynch again stonewalled all questions from House Republicans about “abdication of her duty”.

But all the President’s men and women could not save the lady in Democratic blue. “Wounded” by the email saga, as the Times put it, Clinton saw her lead in the polls evaporating with a NYT/CBS News Poll finding her and Trump in dead heat at 40 percent.

As the White House race tightened, Trump scored another triumph with the rules committee of next week’s Republican National Convention asking the “Dump Trump” movement to put up or shut up with a ruling against a “conscience vote”.

Building bridges with the Republican establishment ahead of the July 18-21 Cleveland, Ohio, convention that would anoint him as the party’s new standard bearer, he let the draft party platform tilt to his right on social issues like abortion and LGBT rights.

But the author of “The Art of the Deal”, had his way on his pet wall on the border with Mexico and a call for “special scrutiny” of immigrants from “terror sponsoring countries” – though a far cry from a temporary ban on all Muslims.

Then he picked up Indiana Governor Mike Pence, 57, a soft-spoken and seasoned conservative who had endorsed his closest rival Ted Cruz during the primaries as his running mate in a bid to help unify the divided party.

“I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate,” tweeted the unconventional candidate about his fairly conventional pick in a very unconventional fashion.

Meanwhile, in keeping with its tradition, a 112-year-old Connecticut soft drink company released two specialty sodas named for the two most unpopular candidates — Hillary Hooch for Clinton and Trump Tonic for ‘The Donald’.

With a bolder flavour than traditional grape soda and a bit more acidic, Republican red Trump Tonic comes with the slogan, “Make America Grape Again”.

Hillary Hooch, a berry soda is stamped “CLASSFIED” in bold red. But like the contents of her emails, the ingredients are not all that secret to any hacker.

“It’s not sure exactly what it wants to be,” jokes general manager Rob Metz. “So we’ve got some strawberry in there, we’ve got some blue raspberry in there and we added a bunch of lemon for bitterness.”

In a bit of a twist this year, both sodas are also available with blank labels so people can write in candidates if they wish. Some customers have penned in Bernie Sanders’ name. Others have put ‘None of the Above’ on their labels.

As Barack O’Berry outsold both John McCream in 2008 and Cream de Mitt in 2012, the company will also be conducting a highly unscientific straw poll to track the presidential race giving crystal gazers a new pastime — bottle watching.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

–IANS

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