Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater supporter in 1964 and embraced conservatism. In many ways she still does, even as her public statements pretend otherwise. As Secretary of State, she was far more hawkish than Obama, has never met an investment banker she didn’t like, cheerfully takes money from big banks while feigning populism, voted for the Iraq War, supported the disembowelment of welfare when Bill Clinton was president, and more. For a supposedly liberal, except for feminism, she fights for few liberal causes.
In My Turn, Doug Henwood succinctly and wittily chronicles her rise (with copious footnotes, to keep Clinton Opposition Research staffers busy!) There are no right-wing attack dogs here. Henwood is a confirmed leftist. Instead the focus is on how Hillary and Bill are masterful politicians, skilled at merging politics and business to provide lavish income streams for themselves and their friends. The Clinton Global Initiative is the poster child here, with any number of morally dubious initiatives, like in Honduras and especially Haiti, where large amounts of money went to elites to “build” prosperity” and precious little went to the poor. This is neo-liberalism with a healthy dollop of self-interest. There’s nothing transformative or even liberal about it.
Henwood’s primary point is Hillary Clinton is just another compromised politician. If elected, she will be no better that Obama and quite probably worse. Bernie Sanders is pushing hard from the left. However, Hillary will be the candidate. Among other things, she has the super delegates at the convention wired. And the current rise of Donald Trump is her best friend. Regardless of whether Trump gets the nomination, the ensuing internal fights will rip the Republican Party apart. A seasoned pol like Hillary will exploit that to the max. Also, unlike any of the Republicans, she has been through three bruising presidential campaigns and has built a big machine to support her. Plus, she’s ruthless. All of this may help win a campaign but will do little to address serious underlying problems in this country.
If people want to tell me that Hillary would be a less horrid option than whatever profound ghastliness the Republicans throw up, I’ll listen to them respectfully. If they try to tell me there’s something inspiring or transformative about her, I’ll have to wonder what planet they’re on.
Henwood hopes the waves of protest starting with Occupy Wall Street and now Black Lives Matter, no matter how jumbled they seem at times, are the harbingers of something genuinely new and progressive. Me too. Because Hillary isn’t.