In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a huge push to crown Hillary Clinton as President Obama’s successor. Loads of liberals, especially women, have rallied to the cause in the hope of sweeping her into office. While it’s important for a woman to gain the highest office in the land, it can’t be just any woman and there are many who question whether Hillary is the one.
The next three years are going to be quite a test of Clinton’s appeal now that she doesn’t hold public office. That test is likely to show, more and more, that liberals are not united on her possible candidacy as her total record is examined. In fact, there are plenty of obvious reasons why many liberals won’t be supporting her in 2016. Here are 12 of them:
1. As a senator in 2003, she voted to go to war with Iraq. The fact that the Democratic leadership did so in the face of warnings about falsification of the evidence was extremely disappointing, but Hillary took it a step further. According to Truthout, she “insisted that Iraq’s possession of such weapons was ‘not in doubt’ and was ‘undisputed’.” While other Democrats, like John Kerry, have since apologized, Hillary insisted, during her 2008 campaign for president, that she had no regrets.
2. She flopped on healthcare, and then flip-flopped. In 2007, when then-Senator Clinton rolled out a plan for universal healthcare coverage during a speech at George Washington University, she focused on cutting costs. She said, “More than one in four health care dollars goes to administration,” and added that the U.S. government spends many more times the amount on administrative costs than do other countries, saying that those costs have “nothing to do with delivering good health care.” Interesting comment from a woman whose signature effort as First Lady was to propose, in 1993, that the country institute a system of nationwide managed care that would primarily add a layer of administrative bureaucracy between medical providers and patients. Some might see the switch at that time as political maneuvering for the run she was making in the upcoming Presidential election of 2008. In any case, the original position was characteristically pro-business, not pro-patient.
3. As Secretary of State, Clinton racked up a huge number of miles, but actual, substantial accomplishments were few and far between. She did zilch to resolve the biggest thorn in the Middle East’s side: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, even though she pushed President Obama to become involved in other conflicts. As a matter-of-fact, Clinton opposed the U.N.’s symbolic vote for Palestinian statehood–as did the administration–while giving lip-service to the idea that Israel’s settlements on Palestinian land are “illegitimate.” However, appearing at a forum last December where Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said ?settlements are not an obstacle to peace. The opposite is true,? Clinton said nothing to correct him–just one of many lost opportunities. The following week, Israel put a thumb in the administration’s eye by announcing an expansion of its settlements.
4. Hillary’s political prominence can be viewed as nepotism or, put another way, that she has achieved positions of power by riding on Bill’s coattails. The country has barely recovered from one political dynasty. The whole idea of passing the highest political office from one family member to another is repugnant–witness the reaction to the possible candidacy of Jeb Bush, whose own mother doesn’t want him to run.
5. She has refused to accept the mantle of ‘liberalism.’ Again, in an indication of her impulse for political expediency, Hillary declared during a CNN debate?in 2007:
You know, (liberal) is a word that originally meant that you were for freedom ? that you were willing to stand against big power and on behalf of the individual. Unfortunately, in the last 30, 40 years, it has been turned up on its head, and it’s been made to seem as though it is a word that describes big government… I prefer the word ‘progressive,’ which has a real American meaning.
Well, most liberals still think that being liberal means standing up against big power on behalf of the individual and they never abandoned the label as a dirty word. They would like a president they can count on to stick by them.
6. Clinton voted for the Patriot Act, twice. First she voted for its original incarnation, then she voted for its renewal. The effects of that are in full view with the current revelations about the National Security Agency spying on American citizens.
7. She has shown herself to be a political opportunist many times, willing to embrace ‘popular’ positions that aren’t liberal. One of the most egregious examples occurred in 2002, after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional (since overturned). Clinton posted a response on her Senate website:
I am surprised and offended by the decision of the Appeals Court of the 9th Circuit and hope that it will be promptly appealed and overturned.
Offended? So much for atheists, so much for the separation of church and state, and so much for tradition, even–since that phrase was only added to the pledge in the 1950s. But score one for the religious right!
8. During the 2008 Presidential run, Clinton significantly distorted her record by claiming she had 35 years experience in public service. But she graduated from law school in 1973 and spent the years between 1975 and 1993 working in corporate law for Arkansas’ Rose Law Firm. Even during her tenure as First Lady, she took some time out of the public eye after the managed healthcare debacle. You do the math and see if there’s a way to come up with that 35 years.
9. Marriage equality hasn’t been on her radar screen; she came out in favor of it only in March of this year. When her husband was president, she supported the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA)–now before the Supreme Court–which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Some of her Democratic rivals supported marriage equality as much as seven years ago. The Huffington Post says her recent conversion may have to do with a possible run in 2016. Ya think?
10. She has a record of being pro-business and pro-lobbyist. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is in her support for the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s Hillary’s State Department that issued a decision that the pipeline’s environmental impact would be minimal. It’s one of her top campaign aides, Paul Elliott, who is a chief lobbyist for the company building the pipeline, TransCanada. As a matter of fact, there’s a whole complicated web of pipeline lobbyists who have ties to Hillary. You can see an Infographic of all the connections here.
11. She’s not a young person’s candidate. That’s not a comment on her age; it’s a comment on her stodginess, her slowness to adopt positions favored by young liberals, and the fact that the young haven’t been steeped in the philosophy that it’s ‘her turn,’ or she’s the natural heir to the presidency. Young liberals today cut their teeth on activist movements, like Occupy Wall Street and protests against the XL pipeline and fracking. They want action on issues like the environment and they want it yesterday. They want jobs, they want fair taxation, they want to see economic justice and the breaking up of both great wealth and great corporate control.
Hillary just isn’t ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ enough for the young activists who are making their voices heard. Democrats supposedly recognize what the Republicans don’t–that our youth will play a pivotal role in the elections of the future. The candidates they support are the ones who have seized on the issues and pushed for reform. It doesn’t matter that she would be the first woman President and they don’t see that they owe her anything. They do see that there are other women rising through the ranks and some of those women are a lot more liberal and a lot more involved in activist causes than Hillary Clinton.
12. The shroud of ‘inevitability’ will be Hillary’s undoing. Again, many liberals don’t like dynasties, they don’t like being told who the appropriate candidate is, they often don’t conform to expectations. They believe in the power of the people over the power of established interests–and guess which one Hillary represents?
The election of 2016 is three years away. Three years is a long, long time in the world of political fortunes. Barack Obama seemed to emerge out of nowhere, as did Bill Clinton. Someone new is no doubt already warming up in the wings, just waiting for her chance.
Edited/Published By: SB