At the time of this writing, the results of the New Hampshire primaries have yet to be tallied. While it’s generally predicated that they’ll reflect a sweeping win for Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, following weeks will see the battle carried on to Nevada and South Carolina, where Sander’s rival Hillary Clinton is polling much stronger.
The war for the White House is far, far from over, but in the Democrat’s camp it’s still surprising that there’d be such a struggle to begin with.
After all, it was supposed to be a cakewalk.
Former first lady, former New York senator, former Secretary of State, former presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton was supposed to have this in the bag. With her extensive political career, her chosen-one status among the party establishment, her global reputation, her nomination was so certain many had dubbed it a “coronation“.
Months into the campaign, and barely scraping by after a virtual tie in Iowa, Clinton’s hopes for an easy win have been obliterated- and yours truly couldn’t be happier about it.
Am I a Sanders fan?
I’m not sure yet.
Certainly, the prospect of having a self-proclaimed “socialist” as the next president is tempting, but with Sander’s flirtation with the Scandinavian welfare state, I’d have to cite myself as cautious. But while the jury might still be out on Sanders, the verdict for Clinton has been long-since handed in, and let me tell you, readers-
-It ain’t good.
Here’s why Hillary Clinton should not be president.
Because Machiavelli Isn’t Supposed To Be An Instruction Manual
To say that candidate Clinton has been a bit underhanded and opportunistic in her pursuit of political advancement would be an understatement. While no politician is blameless here, when it comes to playing to the worst qualities of the electorate Clinton is especially egregious.
Her 2008 presidential bid, for example, saw the circulation of photos and rumors by her campaign staff, suggesting that then-Senator Obama was a “secret Muslim.”
Or there’s her habit of changing her accent in some patronizing attempt to connect with her audience…
And we could point to her recent attempt to cover up her involvement in the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), a law which essentially prohibited gay marriage and resulted in a decades-long struggle for marriage equality. Rather than own up to her errors and admit she made a terrible mistake, Clinton has instead claimed that she helped pass this law to protect gay marriage from being constitutionally outlawed.
And while we’re on the subject of deception, we might make mention of her claim that she left the White House “in debt”, forced to subside on modest means– another ****ing lie. The truth of the matter is that both Hillary and Bill Clinton are immensely wealthy, have been for a long, long time, and continue to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees (a hundred and fifty three million combined).
And most recently, there’s candidate Clinton sending in her daughter to openly smear her rival’s healthcare plan, claiming “Sen. Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare…”Another lie- and a lazy one, at that. And this is all pretty par for the course for Clinton. Sacrifice some powerless group (be it the LGBTQ community in the 90s or the Iraqi population in the 2000s) on the altar of public fear. When the hens come home to roost, either act the martyr or shift blame to the folks doing the dirty work at her behest. She’s flipped on NAFTA, flipped on the War on Drugs, flipped on the 4th Amendment, flipped on immigration– you name it. And all of that’s not even including the absurd policies she does cling to, such as an active support for fracking, die-hard support for Israel, or the some 700 miles of fence on the US-Mexican border. I could go on here, but I’m sure you’ve got the picture. And y’know what else?
Because Power Is A Means, Not An End
I could forgive a lot of that.
Ok, not a lot of that- but some of it. As I said, I don’t think anyone’s perfect, I don’t expect any politician to have voted exclusively my way, or to not change with the times. Heck, I don’t even mind a politician knowing how to play the system- the universally beloved “Honest Abe” Lincoln was a master at using parliamentary hocus-pocus to aid his cause.
But there does have to be a cause.
Not so much with candidate Clinton.
I don’t think I’d be too far off base in likening former Secretary Clinton to Game of Thrones‘ scheming monarch Cersei Lannister.
Both are women with long-standing political careers, both have had issues with their husband’s romantic indiscretions, both are (credit where it’s due) pretty tough in their own right, and both are familiar with “playing the game” to get what they want- including using ill-advised invocations of religion.
More than anything though, the comparison seems to driven home by their use of power in the cause of-
-well, maintaining power.
Neither Clinton or her fictional counterpart seem to have much of a vision in play here. Even if we take Clinton’s proclamations as sincere (which I don’t), there really isn’t much in the way of sweeping changes. Reading her stance on the issues, there’s not exactly anything much that could be called seismic in scope or ambition. A whole lot of “defend this, defend that“, but not anything that you wouldn’t see on the platform of any democrat or progressive candidate. And assuming that I believe her (which I absolutely don’t), it begs the question of why it’s so vital that Clinton be chosen? If there’s no particular design beyond small reforms, why not back candidate with greater intentions? If these little reforms are the only advances that can be made (Hillary has cast herself as the “realist” in this campaign), well- why bother?
If that’s the best that’s on the table, I’d just as soon give my vote to Frank Underwood. He might be an equally two-faced Democrat, but even he has the guts to throw his weight behind the “America Works” program.
Again, if there’s nothing that can be done, then why is Clinton so utterly and wholly dead-set on the presidency? Is it so far-fetched to suspect that candidate Clinton’s designs have less to do with power than do with control?
I think not.
Because We Do Need Solutions
What is, perhaps, most frustrating about this- beyond the litany of deceit and the apparent megalomania-is that it’s so utterly patronizing.
I am tired of being told by both Clinton and her supporters that sweeping change isn’t feasible. I truly couldn’t care less if sweeping change is feasible- change is a necessity. Simply put, neither I nor (it would seem) my compatriots are particularly happy with the state of affairs. I certainly don’t want someone to tell me that their goal is to keep things the way they are- the way things are suck so ****ing much.
Wages remain low, unemployment is daunting, and for those fortunate enough to have a job (no matter how badly paying), there’s rampant instability and the threat of being laid-off. Student loan debt is at critical mass. Many in my generation are forced to put off starting families of their own. Owning a home is simply not going to happen for plenty of us, and the effects of that are going to reverberate on an already fragile economy. And the influence of the extremely wealthy continues to grow while the environment decays and civil liberties are pummelled. At this point, I would literally vote for a candidate whose platform rested on finding buried treasure than a candidate who promised more of the same.
And I don’t want someone to tell me that they’re here to save some Middle Class that neither I nor anyone I know is a part of. I don’t want someone to tell me that we have to be pragmatic and reasonable- we’re in a free-fall. We can’t wait for gradual reforms, and we’d rather try anything than maintain. We can’t wait- we literally cannot wait- for better education, a fairer economy, a more just and free society. The luxury of time and patience has been lost, and we’re on borrowed time as it is.
Because I Don’t Owe Clinton My Support…
…Hillary Clinton owes me hers.
And yet, there are folks who seem to have actual, honest-to-god hurt feelings that their favored candidate is being asked to provide more than her presence in the primaries.
I’m tempted to go line-by-line in response to that post, but allow me to summarize just how infuriating it is to suggest that Hillary would be some pantsuit messiah were it not for misogyny. Yes, misogynists are out there and yes, Hillary Clinton has borne the brunt of their attacks time and time again. But you don’t get to claim Clinton as some liberal or feminist icon while simultaneously defending her lack of liberal feminism because of the meanies at FOX news.
Again, misogynists are absolutely out there, and again, Hillary Clinton has been repeatedly attacked by them for being nothing other than a woman. But that hardly explains, much less excuses, her lax political ethics and lackluster campaign promises. To do so would be unconscionably dismissive of the very real nightmare that many Americans are subjected to.
Here’s the honest truth: I find it difficult to pity the real or supposed misogyny directed at Hillary- I pity the Iraqi widow who lost her husband and children in the war Hillary voted for. I pity the Palestinian woman whose child died at the hands of the apartheid state Hillary supports. I pity the gay folks who suffered humiliation under the Defense of Marriage Act Hillary helped create.
Frank Underwood states that we get the leaders we deserve.
I hope we deserve better than this.
[By the way, good ol’ Glenn Greenwald has done an excellent piece addressing the alleged sexism directed at Hillary Clinton. Read on here