How the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Made Hillary Clinton Invincible

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Democratic Party, Sanders and Clinton

Andrew O’Hehir:

By the time you read this votes will already have been cast in 11 states (and American Samoa!) that in all likelihood will doom us to an eight-month campaign between a vacuous, proto-fascist huckster with no accomplishments or principles and an unregenerate war hawk who represents the neoliberal global elite. Thanks, America!

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. The nominations are not sewn up yet, but you wouldn’t know that by reading news media this morning.

If Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes President, she will have the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy to thank. She represents everything about the Democratic Party that progressives have been bitching about for years — she’s too accommodating to the Right; too reluctant to push for anything beyond incremental baby steps; too compromised by ties to big money donors; and, for whatever reason, way too hawkish. Yet if you point that out to people, you get reactions like this

I am sick up to my fucking eyeballs of listening to supposed Dems call HRC corrupt. If you want to be a TeaBagger and push GOP talking points, at least be honest enough to declare yourself one of them. She’s been slandered, smeared and vilified by the Right for 30+ years. If there was dirt there to uncover it would have been found, but nothing, NOTHING has ever been found, let alone proven.

In other words, the steady drumbeat of hysterical, over-the-top animus and accusations that the Right has flung at Hillary Rodham Clinton all these years has inoculated her from criticism from the Left. Because of Darrell Issa’s idiot and dishonest Benghazi!!!! hearings, for example, the Left is closing its eyes to a real issue, which is that Secretary of State Clinton sold President Obama on policies in Libya that turned out to be disastrous.

After all we have gone through from Vietnam to Iraq, you’d think lefties would be extremely reluctant to support an obvious hawk like Clinton. But leftie groupthink has taken hold that doesn’t allow us to talk about this.

As far as corruption is concerned, I doubt we will ever find clear quid pro quos in her record. She’s not one to cross the line toward doing anything clearly criminal. However, that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to be concerned.  I’ve quoted this before, but I think Jeffrey Feldman clearly spells out what the real issue is:

While not guilty of corruption in the explicit sense of quid pro quo, Clinton not only participates in, but actively cultivates patron-client relationships with Wall Street. In the clientelism that Clinton embraces and defends, she claims the American public to be the sole beneficiary via her representation, but she refuses to acknowledge how Wall St. benefits.  And yet, in a patron-client system, both the patron and the client always benefit. Always. That is how it works. In this case: Clinton gets resources to run for office, while Wall Street gets the guarantee that the candidate they gave so much money in one place (e.g., a speech) will tacitly if not explicitly support their views of economic reality in another place (e.g., The White House). It is a long term strategy for both.

Suffice it to say that if an industry seeks to play the long game–seeks to control the rule governing financial sector for the benefit of their firm–then they are much better off seeking to build as many patron-client relationships with government as possible, rather than a few risky acts of corruption.

Do read the whole thing.

And this is why Clinton will never promote far-reaching reform in the financial sector. She’s likely to give us a few tweaks to keep the worst of the vampire squid impulses at bay, but she won’t try to change The System itself.  But if it doesn’t change, and substantially, we’re all screwed. The young folks especially.

And, of course, there’s the gender card. I said something pro-Bernie on Facebook last night and was accused of sexism. She accuser refused to believe me when I said I was a woman, and a feminist. Because, apparently, the only reason to oppose a Clinton presidency is misogyny.

I wrote last week:

Hillary Clinton has some utterly and passionately devoted supporters, many of them older women, who appear to devoutly wish for a Clinton win because, in their heads, that would be paypack for all the sleights and obstacles and disrespect they’ve suffered through the years.

And that’s why they want her to win. Issues? Income inequality? Election reform? The corruption (or, as Jeffrey Feldman calls it, “clientelism“) in government? Nope, not on their radar. She’s going to do so much for women! they gush. (If you point out that Sanders is a feminist, also, they don’t want to hear about it. A Sanders win would deny them their symbolic victory.)

I submit that a Clinton presidency would reduce sexism about as much as the Barack Obama presidency reduced racism. But it would give many women a few hours of glorious gloating, so I guess that’s all they care about.

Let’s talk about the Democratic Party. I wrote back on February 8 about the sentiment among many that we must support Hillary Clinton because she’s a real Democrat, and Bernie Sanders isn’t. Sometimes I feel that with all my years of voting for Dems and $5 I could get a 20-piece Chicken McNuggets. The Obama Administration has made a real difference, of course, and I certainly don’t want to turn the keys of the White House over to Donald Trump. And there are some genuinely progressive Dems, of course.

But the party as a whole, going back decades, time and time again hasn’t given us what we need from them. We vote for them mostly because the alternative is worse.

Yet this is the party we’re supposed to support, just because it’s Our Home Team? Or something? There are people I have personally heard badmouth wishy-washy Dems for years who suddenly think Hillary Clinton can do no wrong and we must be loyal to her because she is a real Democrat, and Sanders is not.

Well, bleep that.

It is because of corruption in the Dem Party that Clinton is Miss Invincibility. Back in August Martin O’Malley accused the DNC of rigging the primary system in Hillary Clinton’s favor. And now we can see at least one reason why — obviously, Clinton worked out a deal with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz that helped solve the DNC’s financial crunch while it funneled PAC money to Clinton that she has been able to count as direct donations.

With inept news media that does nothing to inform voters about candidates — except who is winning, and who isn’t — we’ve got a perfect storm of derp going on. Voters support Hillary, yes, but for the wrong reasons.

In other words, Dem voters have not been real allowed input into the process of choosing our candidate. And we’re all just supposed to support the candidate we’re told to support.

One more time — bleep that.

Sanders isn’t done yet; he’s saying he will stay in the race until all states have voted, or until he stops getting donations, whichever comes first. I’ve said earlier that the primary calendar in April and may gets friendlier for him, and if I were him I wouldn’t quit yet either.

But I acknowledge there is very little hope that Hillary Rodham Clinton won’t be the Dem nominee for the presidency. Between her and Trump, it’s like a choice between a quick death or a slow one.

Update: One more thought — it occurs to me that, given the lack of analysis and debate actual issues, American voters are viewing the presidential campaigns as morality plays. Your perspective of who is the hero and who is the villain rests on your own social-psychological wiring, of course.  The fact that HRC has been the victim of many lunatic witch hunts has given her a veneer of innocent righteousness in the eyes of many people who are not wingnuts. But the real world isn’t that simple, and just because she isn’t the evil bitch queen the Right thinks she is doesn’t mean she deserves your vote for President.

Also, too  — the Apartment Fund fundraiser is close to the halfway mark! Just because you are reading this post doesn’t mean I deserve donations, but I’ll leave that to your judgment.

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26 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Doug  •  Mar 2, 2016 @1:44 pm

    Soon after DWS made the comment that superdelegates exist as a firewall to ‘grassroots candidates’ (I wonder who she was thinking of?) she corrected that on Rachael Madow…

    “Unpledged delegates can change their mind up until the convention,” the DNC Chair reinforced.

    OK. SO let’s take DWS for what she said and deduct all the suprdelegates from the calculation UNTIL the convention. That knocks off 400 votes Clinton claims to have in her pocket and DWS says aren’t real until the convention.

  2. Ed  •  Mar 2, 2016 @1:57 pm

    Militarism can be countered with the help of people like Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D, Hawaii) who can argue convincingly about the human costs of war. When she resigned from the DNC to support Sanders, she gave a compelling argument in support of her decision as a veteran of two tours in Iraq and who, when in uniform, sports a Combat Medical Badge as well as other decorations. The substance is much the same as that which Andrew Bacevich has been arguing for years now, and her delivery has the same air of gravitas and credibility. It has been frustrating never to have Prof. Bacevich as a national media presence when he so clearly states the obvious (but never heeded) point that when Clinton and other mainstream political leaders assert the need for American “leadership,” the latter is nothing more than a euphemism for the use of threatened use of military power. Perhaps if he had been a beautiful woman, he would have had more of a media presence. Well, now he is one, and there is a chance that there will be an articulate voice for sanity in a forum to which tens of millions of citizens can be exposed.

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 2, 2016 @2:28 pm

    I’m 58 – today, oy… – and since I was 18, and first eligible to vote in ’76, I have been voting for Democrats in presidential elections because, “Well, he, now she, is better than _______________, the Republican.”

    I obviously missed ’68 and ’72, so I never had the chance to vote for RFK, or McGovern.
    And since then, by the time the NY State primaries came, the Lib’s were out, and the “Centrist’s,” in.

    The only consequential primary/general elections I’ve been involved with and really active in – and by that, I mean with real passion about the candidate, and not just helping in some office, to GOTV – was for Obama in ’08. Not because I hated Hillary, or I thought he was a flaming Libtard like me, but that he was against W & Dick’s folly, and Hillary took the easy way out, and supported it.

    And right before the NC primary, I was on a conference call with Obama the cadidate, and his team, and we actvist’s in our part of SE NC, and other teams across the state, were told that if we lost to Hillary, he would stop his campaign, to save the party from having a civil war.
    That took guts.

    And now, 8 years later, I have to say that in the NY primary, my Mom and I will vote for Bernie – even if Bernie stops his campaign by then – just to send the message that we’d prefer someone else.

    Sure, our two piddly votes won’t mean jack-shit!
    But I want Hillary to be reminded that, if Bernie won’t be POTUS, and she will, then we Democrats expect more than her husband’s “Triangulation,” and something besides just focusing on women’s issues – important as they may be – and do what she can to do something for the people below the top 2%.

    I don’t hold out too much hope for that…
    So, it’s back to, “Well, she’s FAR better than Trump/Rubio/Cruz, the Republican!”
    And she will be!
    FSM help us all…
    She will be.
    Oy…

  4. Swami  •  Mar 2, 2016 @3:23 pm

    Happy Birthday, Gulag.

    Now start acting your age! 🙂

  5. joanr16  •  Mar 2, 2016 @3:43 pm

    Happy Birthday, you youngster!

    I also voted for the first time in the 1976 election. Jerry Brown in the primary and Eugene McCarthy in the general (or was it the other way around?). Little Miss Throw Your Vote Away!

    Still, if it’s Hillary vs The Donald in November, I know what I must do, even if I hate doing it. (If it were Hillary vs Kasich, would I just stay home? Probably not even then.)

  6. Doug  •  Mar 2, 2016 @4:47 pm

    Swami – If you think (or want) Gulag to start acting responsible, I want what you’re smoking.

  7. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 2, 2016 @5:34 pm

    Acting my age?
    Which?

    Physically, I feel 80.
    Mentally, I feel like an emotionally challenged male teenager!
    Not a good combo…

  8. Swami  •  Mar 2, 2016 @5:35 pm

    In other words, Dem voters have not been real allowed input into the process of choosing our candidate

    You ever have the thought that Hillary was chosen as the candidate by the GOP? The GOP started targeting Hillary back when Romney campaigning for president. A lot of effort has gone into destroying Hillary and not just for the fact that she was a part of team Obama. The GOP knew from way back that Hillary was waiting in the wings for Obama to pass the torch, and their attacks on her aided in positioning her to assume the position she is in now.
    I know that I’ve been guilty of viewing her favorably only because of the attacks launched against her by the GOP. It’s that common experience of being able to say anything about one of your own, but if an outsider offers a criticism then they’ll have a fight on their hands.

  9. joanr16  •  Mar 2, 2016 @6:06 pm

    (Eventually my Happy Birthday comment will escape from moderation….)

    Meantime– WA HA HA– apparently there is a hashtag “Free Chris Christie” going wild on the Intertweets, because he has been kidnapped by a big ugly alien and is not happy about it, or something.

  10. Swami  •  Mar 2, 2016 @6:48 pm

    Yeah, Christie ended up in Trump’s stable..Maybe Donald will buy him a nice opal studded belly chain.
    Sheherazade Christie?

  11. Annie  •  Mar 2, 2016 @7:36 pm

    Gee, Maha, tell us how you really feel. :>)

    As for a candidate being the lesser of two evils, I don’t know anybody, including my two closest friends, who agrees with me on every political issue. Why should I expect that of a candidate of a major political party who has to appeal to a wide range of voters?

  12. maha  •  Mar 2, 2016 @8:33 pm

    Annie — I do not trust the judgments of a wide range of voters. Most of ’em are not paying attention. I am.

  13. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 2, 2016 @8:12 pm

    Swami,
    ‘Krispy Kreme’ Christie, or piss- boy, if you prefer, has his head so fsr up Trump’s @ass, if Trump sneezes, he’s likely to get a concussion!!!

  14. moonbat  •  Mar 2, 2016 @9:33 pm

    LA Times editorial: Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States.

    What I hate(d) about the whole wingnut demonization of any Democrat is that you could no longer have an adult discussion about their good and bad points. I would end up having to defend “the home team”, as if talking to a child who can only think in terms of black and white.

  15. Doug  •  Mar 2, 2016 @11:48 pm

    moonbat – you said a mouthful. Both sides are locked in a black and white ‘morality play’ as Maha said. Reporting is poll-driven with guesses about trends, most of which reflects the spin they want to put on the superficial deception of the day.

    Barbara covered the fact (if you aren’t familiar with the word ‘fact’, look it up.) that the DNC abandoned the prohibition on lobbyist money – she showed how it’s financing the convention and ‘progressive’ blogs ignored it. Nobody wants to notice that lobbyist cash distributed to democrats stinks just like lobbyist money given to the GOP.

  16. Swami  •  Mar 3, 2016 @2:28 am

    Maha, just wondering…I noticed that you included the “Rodham” in mentioning Hillary’s name. I know she’s tried to shed that Rodham attachment for whatever reason, probably to distance herself from her past or to create an image being hip and modern.. But I’m wondering whether you included it just to counter the very reasons she’s trying to shed it.

  17. maha  •  Mar 3, 2016 @10:10 am

    Swami — middle name thing doesn’t mean anything. I just like the rhythm of it.

  18. Sondra  •  Mar 3, 2016 @10:03 am

    Yep. There are many negatives about Hillary that we know about because her career has been public property for 30 years. Had we known more about President Obama’s policies/practices in 2004 maybe we would have had reservations about him too.

    The reason some of us prefer her to Bernie is because we feel that we do know her and we do know that she has done a lot of good in her 30 years too. We know that no candidate will be perfect and we take the good with the bad.

    In Hillary we see a woman of great accomplishment. We are proud of her and we know what a struggle it has been for her to get where she is now. We want to see her become the first woman President and we are amazed that it is a possibility in our own lifetime.

    That’s it really. Am I passionate about her? Maybe not so much. Do I want to see her succeed? Absolutely.

  19. maha  •  Mar 3, 2016 @11:20 am

    Sondra: I know Hillary, too. She’s a neoliberal hawk who will get us into more wars and leave the corrupt political/financial system in place. I’m not proud of her.

  20. joanr16  •  Mar 3, 2016 @2:39 pm

    Wow, Bernie Sanders is speaking just down the street from me in about 20 minutes! 🙂

    And here I am trapped at the cubicle farm. 🙁

  21. Ed  •  Mar 3, 2016 @3:20 pm

    FWIW, there is an online petition to have Hillary’s victory in the Massachusetts primary revoked due to violations of election law, in which there were Clinton campaign materials within 150 feet of polling places and Bill Clinton was within 150 feet of some polling places. Can’t hurt to try.

  22. goatherd  •  Mar 3, 2016 @5:55 pm

    Happy birthday, CUNDgulag. I am sorry that I didn’t notice earlier. Aaahhh, to be 58 again.

  23. Joel Dan Walls  •  Mar 3, 2016 @7:25 pm

    I read a comment on another blog recently that Hillary Clinton has an 80% approval rating among Democrats, a fact that seems to be unknown or unappreciated by the 20% who loathe her and comment on blogs such as this one.

    I prefer Sanders to Clinton, and will vote for Sanders in my state’s primary, but I don’t loathe Clinton. I think she has made a lot of mistakes and I worry about her foreign policy proclivities. But let me ask this: if someone told you that you were incapable of learning from your mistakes, you’d insist the accuser was wrong…so why treat Hillary Clinton as incapable of learning from her mistakes? Do you treat Bernie Sanders that way? Just one example of where I find so much political discourse to involve simplistic formulations grounded in rigid ideology or just plain personal animosities.

    I will vote Democratic in November. Sanders or Clinton, I will not hesitate to mark the ballot next to the capital D. If this declaration makes me a sellout then I can deal with comments telling me that. I’m already hearing the “sellout” nonsense from people in my non-blogospheric existence.

  24. maha  •  Mar 3, 2016 @11:13 pm

    “so why treat Hillary Clinton as incapable of learning from her mistakes?” Because she has a long and well-established pattern of not learning from mistakes.

  25. grannyeagle  •  Mar 3, 2016 @8:37 pm

    Gulag: Happy belated BD.

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