Hillary is the real Republican candidate
Politics in America
When a politician sways with whichever wind blows hardest, it’s called triangulation. They try to find the combination of positions most likely to yield enough votes to win election. Those of us who don’t run for office call it being dishonest and unprincipled.
Americans have been told for years that such judgment is idealistic, that in real-world politics, there is no room for a person with principles. We are even happy to see our candidate doing what we interpret as “lying” because we know that our candidate is duping people for votes. Those people won’t get what they want. We will, though, because our candidate isn’t lying about the issues that we support. It all seems so clear, every single time. We get swept up every single time.
This time will be different.
He didn’t mean to hit me.
I love him or her.
Every damned time, right?
History of recent Presidents
How has this worked out for Americans? In no particular order and clearly not exhaustive:
- The “folks”—i.e. actual Americans—who voted for Bush only kind of got what they wanted, right? He promised small government, they elected him and he blew up the budget with prescription Medicare and the Department of Homeland Security, both giant gifts to his corporate donors/backers.
- Reagan blew up the budget too. Elected as a fiscal conservative and then throwing money to corporate friends in the form of SDI and taking credit for Gorbachev’s work to cement his legacy, at least in his own shattered and spongy mind and in American history books.
- Bill Clinton was elected as a capital-D Democrat—the first “black” president—and he put everybody in jail and killed federal welfare.
- Obama started off with a peace prize—he was supposed to usher in a new era of awesomeness and leftism—and he’s bombing shit with robots in a dozen countries, has boots on the ground in a half-dozen more, is threatening Russia and China with his Navy and missile batteries, is overthrowing governments, and never closed Guantánamo or reduced the nuclear arsenal—he actually restarted the suitcase-nuke program.
Types of politicians
The most honest politicians will not triangulate. They say what they mean. We reward them with a concession speech.
Slightly less honest politicians will triangulate only as much as needed in order to win office. Recognizing the ethical danger, they compromise their principles as little as possible, make as few promises that go against the grain of their ideals as possible and incur as little political debt as possible. They usually guess incorrectly and also get to pick up the phone at the end of a long evening on election day.
The true egomaniacs wants as many votes as they possible can. They want as many votes as they can get their greedy hands on. They want a mandate. What’s a mandate? A mandate is a gift a politician gives to themselves where they get to do anything they want because the strong wind of democracy is at their back. Only those willing to flout the will of the people would stand in their way. Who would be so corrupt? So undemocratic? So un-American?
These politicians realize that most people don’t really pay attention. They pick a horse based on a single reason—whether or not that reason is based on verifiable fact is irrelevant—and ride that sucker for all it’s worth. Nothing can coax them down from there once they’re saddled up. Even the smallest investment of time and effort is enough to trigger the sunken-cost fallacy.
Because their voters are so unquestioning, so strident and their faith so unshakable, the egomaniac politicians don’t have to worry about actually making sense or being consistent.
You can be both for and against abortion, for or against increasing the military, for or against big banks, for or against police violence, and so on and so forth.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both fall firmly into the camp of egomaniacs. I’ve already discussed Donald Trump’s shortcomings in other posts, but let’s take a look at who he’s up against.
Hillary vs. Bernie
Hillary will be the Democratic nominee. There is no way that Bernie Sanders can catch her in delegates. No-one who matters (read: Democratic party leadership) cares that the superdelegates are undemocratic. Their votes will count; they may even sway the nomination. It won’t matter.
Bernie was a schmuck and a traitor to his cause for even trying to get the Democratic nomination. The Democratic party would never have nominated him. They’re actively exhorting him to quit right now. He is clearly a viable candidate with a lot of support and a lot of votes. It doesn’t matter.
For those with their hopes pinned on Bernie, you can hold out a bit of hope because he hasn’t quite yet—as commanded by … wait, he’s not even a Democrat. Why does he care so much what they think? Now that he’s used his candidacy to drag the Democratic party machine our of the shadows and into the light, he should officially break from them and declare as Independent.
He won’t though. I don’t think he will, anyway. He’s already declared that he will support Hillary if he’s not nominated. His supporters are unlikely to go for that, they are unlikely to transfer their loyalty from his platform to Clinton’s. The platforms are so different.
But who do they vote for then? Jill Stein, of course. They won’t, though, because people don’t know who the Green candidate even is. They know who Sanders is now, though. He’s got momentum. It’s a mess if Sanders doesn’t continue.
Issues & Records
- Bernie Sanders has a long record of matching “doing” with “saying”. There is plenty to discuss about his positions. While there are issues, America has not seen such a strong left candidate in a long time. He’s not really a socialist, but far he’s more of one than Obama and Obama’s worn that label in the U.S. for eight years. Bernie has been a U.S. politician for too long not to have triangulated—look at your Israel policy, Bernie—but he keeps counter-principle issues to a minimum, I think. Bernie seems to have good principles and seems to care about them, even when they might lead to negative outcomes for himself personally.
- Hillary Clinton has held powerful offices and has a record we can look at. It does not really correspond to what she says she will do in her stated platform. She is a warhawk. She has never seen an intervention she didn’t like. She’s very much like her friends, Susan Rice and Samantha Power, both of whom are also women who act no different from all of the men stomping on poor people around the world. They like to dress it up in humanitarian terms, but this is dishonest. Elect Hillary and brown people are going to keep dying in droves. Unlike Bernie, Hillary doesn’t do anything on principle, is unlikely to do something that hurts her just because it’s the right thing to do.
- Donald Trump has no political record. He doesn’t even really have a consistent platform, though some things shine through. You have to choose selectively to get an overall rosy view of him as a politician. His business dealings have always been on the shady side of shady and simply plastered with lawsuits, bankruptcies and reorganizations that somehow leave Trump with billions to his name. This is the guy whose attitude causes a financial crash every ten years. Let’s reward that mindset with the presidency, shall we?
- Jill Stein has also never held political office (or nothing significant of which I’m aware). But she’s been running for president for a dozen years, always for the Green party and has been very consistent on her issues, very principled in her stances and very prescient in noting where problems would arise. Bernies platform is very similar to hers.
Where Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders seem to be more in touch with the majority of Americans, Hillary and Trump travel in circles so distant, they don’t even understand certain questions and concerns anymore. As comedian Bill Burr put it in an interview with Conan O’Brien last year, Bill Burr on Hilary Clintons Bilderberg connections, Republicans and Nestle. (YoutTube)
“Dude, Hillary Clinton goes to those Bilderberg Meetings, that’s like the illuminati stuff right? She probably hooked up with some guy with a goat’s head and then she goes out on TV and she’s talking to people who drive snowplows like she can relate to ‘em.”
The entire Clinton machine is now shitting their pants about potential cannibalization of votes, about Sanders being “Nader”, about how a vote for anyone but Clinton is a vote for Trump. If you don’t vote for Hillary, if you vote for Sanders anyway or for Jill Stein, it’s as good as voting for Trump. Sanders himself has bought into this terrible argument.
So we have Hillary running not as a candidate, but as an anti-candidate, as “not Trump”.
It’s such a relief for everyone because the election no longer has to be about tedious issues, even tangentially. Now we can get down to the business of issue-free politics.
So I’ve been following Clinton’s career since her days as “co-president” to her days as junior senator from New York to her years as Secretary of State—where she oversaw/orchestrated the destruction of Libya and could barely contain her joy in an interview when she declared “we came, we saw, he died!” She was talking about the democratically elected leader of Libya, whom her air force was instrumental in deposing, all without congressional approval.
I didn’t really need to know more about Clinton to know that I wouldn’t want her as president. Her physical gender seems not to matter in her decision-making, despite the fervent hopes of her most ardent and unquestioning supporters.
But we can also look at her contributions to the ACA, about which she’s so proud, which she thinks makes her look ultra-left? The article The Awful Lull by James Howard Kunstler (Clusterfuck Nation) describes it as follows,
“[…] as though it’s a great thing that Americans can shell out $10,000 a year for medical coverage that only kicks in after you rack up the first $6,000 in charges. (Forgetting for a moment that the costs are an hallucination of the “ChargeMaster” system designed to lavish six-figure salaries plus bonuses on the maestros in the hospital executive suites.)”
Enriching elites while with money sucked from the poor is policy that’s right in Hillary’s wheelhouse.
The article Feminism is Bigger Than Gender: Why I’ll be Happy in Hell Without Hillary by Barbara Maclean (CounterPunch) has a list of many more troublesome positions.
- Voted for the still ongoing Iraq War and an escalation of the Afghanistan war
- Voted to bail out Wall Street and the big banks
- Voted against splitting up the big banks
- Voted for the TPP which protects Wall Street banks and huge corporations from any regulations that would interfere with their profits
- Voted for the Keystone Pipeline – a pending environmental disaster
- Voted for border fence legislation
- Voted for off-shore drilling
- Supported raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour, even though the proposal is to raise it to $15 an hour, only after having her arm twisted – which will still leave people far below the standard of living
- Stated that she was for abortion only in “rare” circumstances
- Is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, the defender of the elites, with her daughter also recently installed as a member
- She has announced that she was “very flattered when Henry Kissinger said I ran the State Department better than anybody had run it in a long time” (The Nation, Feb. 5, 2016)
- Supported decimating the welfare system during her husband’s presidency and suggested women on welfare were “just sitting around the house doing nothing” – referred to “these people” as “deadbeats”
In the list above, some might be surprised that getting Henry Kissinger’s endorsement is a bad thing. Kissinger is an old-time
warhawkwar criminal, responsible for the deaths of millions in Asia, but also in possession of a Nobel Peace Prize. He’s not dead yet, so the establishment—which cares only about the promulgation of its own wealth, for which Kissinger is a good thing, and not little brown people, for which he’s very bad—continues to shower him with adulation. As mentioned in The Show Must Go On by Missy Comley Beattie (CounterPunch), “The Department of Defense presented Henry Kissinger the Distinguished Public Service Award on May 11.”
So Hillary’s choice of foreign-policy advisor seems to have been the best choice after all. That is, if you accept the official narrative that Kissinger was a boon to “public service”, then you don’t care about anyone but Americans and the official American narrative that puts them at the top of a hill, in a shining city. If you don’t care about non-Americans, then Hillary is your president, because neither does she. With extreme prejudice. She is an extremely hawkish policy-maker who’d never met a war or “intervention” she didn’t like.
Ditto for her membership in the Council on Foreign Relations. It’s a great thing if you think the current kings of this world should continue to be kings while the rest are serfs. And serfs are what we are to the Clinton machine, unless we can be proven to provide value. Hillary gives the impression that she hasn’t associated with anyone who couldn’t do something for her—money, influence, power—in decades. Trump gives the same impression.
However, instead of assuming I already knew everything I needed to know, I leavened my opinions with a helping of self-doubt and went to the Clinton home page to take a look at her platform.
Clinton Campaign Headquarters
The caption is mine, but the panic is hers. Or rather, it’s not panic, is it? The Clinton campaign knows that you don’t have anywhere else to go if you’re a Democrat. You’ll vote for Hillary or you’ll get Trump.
The “not Trump” role in her campaign will probably only grow stronger. Why campaign on issues when you can just try to terrify people with an orange-haired bogeyman into voting for you?
Sit down, shut your leftie mouth and do as you’re told. The grownups are doing their thing. Hillary will let you know when and where to place your vote.
You know how we talked about triangulation many paragraphs ago? Well, when Hillary was running against Sanders, she had to track left so she didn’t look like such a shitty Democrat vis à vis Bernie Sanders. Now? Not only can Hillary veer back to her wheelhouse of conservative warmongering, she can track right now.
The sunken-cost, choice-less Democrats will follow. And maybe a Republican or two will jump ship out of horror at Trump.
That’s her campaign’s hope anyway.
With the Democratic nomination locked up, Hillary no longer needs to run as a Democrat. This frees her up to run against Trump as an alternative Republican.
Why should any Democrat care what Laura Bush thinks? They’re not expected to, of course. They’re already sitting down, shutting up and waiting to be told when to vote.
That endorsement is for Republicans. There’s another endorsement citing one of the Koch brothers saying he’d be fine with Hillary. Does that warm the cockles of a Democrat’s heart? Of course not. But Hillary doesn’t have to care what they think anymore. It’s general-election time!
Is that really good politics? Plastering your opponent’s name all over your own campaign materials? It feels like Trump’s already getting to her and her campaign.
Hillary’s First Campaign Video as a Republican
Hillary’s campaign released a video that consists only of top Republican leaders denouncing Trump.
- Does this video mean to imply that these Republicans support Clinton?
- Or does it mean that she identifies with them?
- I.e. does she side with them and their ideas?
- If not, are we supposed to care about the opinions of those about whose opinions Hillary doesn’t otherwise care? I.e. we should listen to what they have to say about Trump but nothing else?
- If these guys are losers to whom no-one should listen, doesn’t the video support Trump because the video shows that these losers oppose him? I mean, Hillary opposes them too, doesn’t she? If not, why not?
- Does the Hillary campaign even care who supports her, or why?
- Is Hillary interested in Republican support because they know that she’ll continue the status quo of flattening the Middle East and antagonizing Russia, where Trump most likely would not?
The ad makes Trump look anti-establishment, whereas it suggests that Hillary is very much of the establishment. This is not a point in Hillary’s favor for many voters. The establishment has 9% support among Americans (although it is consistently re-elected at over 95%).
Anti-Hillary != Misognyny
Don’t buy that myth. It’s stupid and reductive. Just as there are many legitimate reasons to vote against Trump, there are many legitimate reasons to vote against Hillary. There are far fewer reasons to vote for either of them.
The article My Kind of Misogyny: I Don’t Care If They Call a Warhawk “Cankles” by Amber A'Lee Frost (The Baffler) provides a well-written summary of some of these anti-Hillary arguments (some of which I’ve already covered above).
“The left feminist critique of Hillary Clinton is being intentionally ignored by high-profile feminists because its very existence contradicts a thesis they hold dear: that criticism of Hillary Clinton—even from the left—is primarily the domain of misogynistic men who hate to see a strong woman succeed.”
Whereas there are many of these characters, they’re hating a bad candidate for the wrong reason. So you can’t say that they’re wrong for not voting for Hillary, but can say that they are utterly incapable of rationally choosing a candidate. If you vote against Hillary because she’s a woman, while it’s true that you’re the definition of a misogynist, the larger problem is that you’re an idiot.
If you vote against Hillary because she’s single-handedly responsible for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi rather than because she totaled the entire country of Libya (see bragging about it above), then you’re a deluded and misguided voter, but more savable than the misogynist (though, let’s be honest, probably not savable at all if you’re still babbling about Benghazi after almost four years).
Ms. Frost continues,
“Just as I don’t see Traister or Marcotte [pro-Hillary pundits, ed.] running to the aid of Sarah Palin or Ann Coulter when right-wing women are the targets of sexist derision (and boy are they ever), I’d have to tick pretty far down my prioritized list of feminist concerns before I got to “Pitying the politically powerful multi-millionaire poised to run the country.” (Emphasis added.)”
Nobody really cried “misogyny” when an uninformed fool like Sarah Palin tried to take the national stage and was rightly called a fool. However, when a warmongering power-hungry douche-nozzle like Hillary Clinton is called out for her past record, the hue and cry are raised stridently. Is that perhaps because these defenders just aren’t aware of Hillary’s record? That they don’t even bother to address the legitimate arguments against Clinton because reading is hard? And accusing someone of misogyny is easy? That, perhaps, they’ve taken just as facile an approach to choosing a candidate as the misogynists, but just in the opposite direction?
Then isn’t someone who’s voting for Hillary because she’s a woman just as unqualified an idiot voter as the one who isn’t voting for her for the same reason?
Class, not Gender
Ms. Frost continues,
“That so many established feminists appear to favor one exceptionally rich and powerful woman over the millions of women in dire need—many struggling as a direct result of horrifying policies of Bill’s that Hillary still supports to this day—is alarming to me.”
This is a strong point—and one that gets to the heart of the matter. Hillary is the 1% just as much as Trump is. Hillary is a multi-multi-millionaire and is raking it in ever-faster each year, making the most of her elite connections. When she’s had a chance to make policy, what’s shone through is that the concerns of poor people are at best secondary. She may claim the opposite now, but so does every politician while running for office.
Just as Obama being the great black hope was always a fantasy—because he was just as willing to lie about everything with his admittedly soaring oratory skills—so, too, is the great female hope, for the exact same reasons. It’s an utter fantasy to think any different, given the undisputed facts about Hillary’s record.
Speaking of Obama, Ms. Frost had this to say,
“Obama’s presidency has not yielded much in the way of material gains for black people in America, and it’s hard to imagine what a symbolic feminist victory like a female president would guarantee for all but the most privileged of women. As it stands, I’d no more vote for Hillary than I would for a Margaret Thatcher or a Sarah Palin.”
To cite the president who came before Obama who said in 2002,
“There’s an old saying in Tennessee − I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee − that says, fool me once, shame on − shame on you. Fool me − you can’t get fooled again.”
We have utterly failed to heed Mr. Bush’s sage advice. We failed to heed it in 2004, when America reëlected him. We failed to heed it in 2012 when America reëlected a proven warmonger who’d been elected as a peace president. We are heading full steam into making the exact same kind of choice again. I suppose that, once we’ve installed Hillary in the White House—as is her due—we can all get ready to be fooled again in 2020, when she runs for reëlection.
“And isn’t that the simpler explanation of left dissent from Team Clinton? It’s not that critics of Hillary are largely misogynist or even that they’re obsessed with political purity. It’s that she’s a proven neoliberal warhawk, a Wall Street sycophant, and a consistent enemy of the poor. (Emphasis added.)”
Why are Sanders supporters automatically labeled as misogynists, as so-called Bernie Bros? Is Bernie’s entire appeal really to be cataloged as not-Hillary/not-female? Or are the establishment democrats not willing or able to see the problems with their chosen candidate and how Bernie addresses many of those issues? The entire establishment doesn’t want Bernie—he’s bad for business. The most facile way to try to take the wind out of Bernie’s campaign’s sails is to call his supporters misogynists, painting with a broad brush. The media is utterly delighted to play along, because they’re happy to fiddle while the empire burns. The kickbacks generally aren’t bad, either.
Ms. Frost on Sanders,
“It’s a strange sort of “misogynist” who condemns Clinton for her endorsement of “welfare reform,” which eviscerated a social safety net that primarily benefited women and children. And who are these misogynists who question Clinton’s time on the board of Walmart, a company known for its mass exploitation, particularly of women? What a misogyny that decrees the women of Iraq deserve lives free of American war! There’s a misogyny that advocates for childcare, healthcare, free university parental leave?”
Being against Hillary doesn’t make you a misogynist. Hillary, simply by dint of being a female, doesn’t represent all women, nor should she. Despite being a woman, she’s disqualified by her class and her policies from doing so. If you want to support someone who has the right ideas to put America on a better track, try to keep Sanders in the race. If you really want to support a woman with the same values, support Jill Stein instead.
It probably won’t matter anyway. If Sanders doesn’t run, Hillary will try to bleed away Republicans frustrated with Trump. I think that strategy will backfire because it’s only elite Republicans who prefer Clinton to Trump; the majority of Republicans wouldn’t piss on her if she was on fire. Trump or Clinton: either way is going to suck. But we should be getting used to that.