The Clinton Conundrum

Two posts illustrate the problem for what passes for the left in the U.S. First, Charles Pierce (boldface mine):

If she is elected, she unequivocally will accept the science of anthropogenic climate change and treat it as a crisis. This cannot be said of any of the Republican candidates, real or potential.

If she is elected, she unequivocally will support marriage equality, and oppose discrimination against our fellow citizens based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This cannot be said of any of the Republican candidates, real or potential.

If she is elected, she will not destroy the Affordable Care Act, an article of faith among all the Republican candidates, real or potential.

If she is elected, and despite her closeness to certain Wall Street interests, she will not destroy the Dodd-Frank reforms, another article of faith among all the Republican candidates, real or potential.

If she is elected, the DREAMers will get to stay in the country.

If she is elected, she will not sign a bill to eliminate the estate tax. (More on this one later)

If she is elected, Janice Rogers Brown will stay right where she is in the judicial food chain.

To get elected, she does not have to wink at state’s rights, up to and including incidents of armed resistance.

To get elected, she does not have to equivocate on the science behind the theory of evolution as does any Republican candidate who seeks the votes of Republicans in Iowa.

To get elected, she does not have to peddle the snake oil of supply-side economics, nor does she have to peddle scare stories about the oncoming caliphate, nor does she have to create bogeymen about jackboots coming to steal your guns.

On the other hand (boldface mine):

It was Chelsea’s hand, say insiders, which dictated that Hillary would launch her campaign this week not in front of a large crowd, not at some university where students are obligated to attend and cheer, but through social media, the go-to communication facility for people like Hillary who do not feel comfortable pressing the public’s flesh. It was Chelsea who helped identify the basic themes of the Hillary campaign – something about climate change, and something about income inequality. This last point is almost risible. What do the Clintons care about income inequality, other than it polls well with the public? The family is worth over $100 million. Hillary charges at a minimum $100,000 to speak for 45 minutes in front of a group, which limits her speeches to trade groups and corporations. Chelsea was photographed recently decked out in a $7,000 Cartier watch. The three of them travel about in private planes, hobnobbing with the rich and powerful at Davos or at Beverly Hills cocktail parties. Their knowledge of income inequality comes solely from reading about it – no one in their inner circle has any personal experience with poverty or the struggles of maintaining a middle class existence in an America slipping its way into a Third World existence for nearly half its population….

Who is going to believe Hillary when she starts making speeches about the need to address income inequality? She’ll be mighty short on details – offering up a proposal to increase the minimum wage, and expand some tax credits for the poor. But she won’t go to the meat of the matter. She won’t have any daring proposals to remove money from politics, and she’ll never discuss the most important tool available to attack dynastic inheritance – the death tax.

I’ve heard many progressives and liberals say things like “I wish we lived in a more progressive country, but…” So let’s forget about Clinton Inc. for a moment–they’re rich, and they’ll be fine no matter what. If falling behind Clinton is the only option then how else do we create that more liberal country?

But what I would like to know O Great Pundit-ji, what is your plan for progress? Let say you think a twelve or fifteen dollar per hour minimum wage or a public healthcare option would be desirable outcomes. The goal, after all, is not to establish how fucking smart you are, but to achieve good policy outcomes. How do we get there? What things need to happen? After all, in 2009, Democrats controlled the Senate, the House, and the Presidency–and it wasn’t the professional pundit class that did it. What we got in return was Romneycare (remember: better than is not the same as good), no resolution of the housing crisis, an inadequate stimulus, and the fucking bankers walked. Never mind a lot of stupid slights–we’re looking forward, not back, to use a phrase.

I never hear their strategies–and I’m fine with long-term ones. Maybe we are doing it wrong by trying to hold our party leadership accountable. So tell us what would work better. But rather than treating this like Friday night football (GO TEAM!), give us your strategy for getting there. Because otherwise, you just being a pedantic dick. Don’t be that guy (even if it pays well)…

We need to figure out what the strategy should be. If nothing else, a contested primary would give a sense of what the Democratic rank-and-file are thinking.

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3 Responses to The Clinton Conundrum

  1. Idaho Falls Azure says:

    How do we build a more liberal country? Sure as fuck not by torpedoing the leftmost candidate in the general election.

    I suggest that we torpedo the rightmost candidate in the general election while rebuilding the party from the bottom up with candidates who owe their allegiance to the left rather than to the center.

    I am confident that we can do both of these things at the same time, just as I am confident sabotaging elections in a fit of pique has never led to a good outcome.

    • paintedjaguar says:

      Brothers and sisters, we’ve gathered here tonight to formulate a means of ousting from our midst those nasty so-called centrist/progressive carpetbaggers who’ve sold us and our future lock, stock, and party into the hands of corporate oligarchs. And I have a plan! Now then — first thing we need to do is cement their power, wealth and influence by once again confirming them in their current positions, along with all their friends, hangers-on and benefactors! No, no, you people in the back, please hear me out, this time it will work, I promise —

  2. hipparchia says:

    “What do the Clintons care about income inequality, other than it polls well with the public? The family is worth over $100 million.”

    meh.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Presidents_by_net_worth

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