What does Hillary Clinton stand for? It’s a serious question. Sure, she’s given a lot of speeches, but without saying much. I’ve watched the debates and have listened to her speak, and the best I can come up with is this:
- She’s continuing the legacy of Obama. For example, Obamacare will be extended to cover all Americans.
- She’s going to break the glass ceiling that has blocked a woman from being president.
- She loves Israel and will support whatever the Israeli government wants.
- She’s going to work to raise the minimum wage for workers — $12.00 is the goal.
- She’s going to work against the TPP (after she was initially for it).
- She’s against the Keystone Pipeline (after initially supporting it).
- She’s fully for equality for the LGBT community (after initially being against it).
- She’s for an aggressive U.S. military posture and fully supports enormous defense budgets.
- She’s not going to do dumb things like that scary Donald Trump.
- She’s got a lot of experience in government. The length of her resume alone qualifies her to be president.
That’s the gist of her message as far as I’ve been able to discern. Of course, there are other messages for her followers. Surely Hillary will support reproductive rights, to include access to abortion. Surely she will appoint justices to the Supreme Court that are somewhere to the left of Antonin Scalia. Such considerations shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.
But a new path for our country? Fresh ideas? They’re not coming from Hillary. Important issues like campaign finance reform, reforming banks and other powerful financial institutions, reducing income inequality in the United States, and similar issues of reform and fairness are dead on arrival if she’s elected president.
Also, Hillary’s embrace of Henry Kissinger as well as neo-conservative principles in foreign policy ensures a continuation of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and locations throughout the Greater Middle East. (When I first typed that, I unconsciously wrote, Greater Military East, because America’s engagement with the region is almost exclusively conducted in military terms, via bombing, drone strikes, and special ops raids).
The Clinton Campaign’s strategy of being fuzzy about specifics while vilifying her chief opponent (admittedly not difficult to do if your opponent is Trump) reminds me of a book I read many, many moons ago: “The Selling of the President 1968,” by Joe McGinniss. What I recall from that book was the cynical process of triangulation and secrecy as well as the tight control of “the message” by Candidate Nixon and his cronies, the cagey and sleazy way Nixon and his campaign refused to engage honestly with the American people. His campaign in 1968 foreshadowed the crimes of Nixon and his administration to come, most infamously Watergate. At the root was an attitude of privilege, superiority, and entitlement, a sense that Nixon had paid his dues and deserved to be president. Dammit, it was HIS turn. And look at the length of his resume!
Much can be said about comparing Hillary to “Tricky Dick.” Long political careers tainted by scandal. High negative ratings. A tendency by each to see vast right wing (or left wing) conspiracies, and therefore to compensate by surrounding themselves with trusted operatives, sycophants, and strap-hangers. A desire to appear tough, whether it’s about standing up to terrorists or communists.
After eight years of “No drama Obama,” perhaps the American people prefer a return to the paranoid style of politics of Richard Nixon — and Hillary Clinton. A style that’s economical with the truth, led by a person who believes himself — or herself — to be the smartest and toughest person in the room.
But I already saw how that ended in 1974; I’m not voting for a repeat, even if the dramatic lead this time around is female.