Hillary Clinton’s Remarkable Record of Accomplishments

Actual conversation I just had with a Clinton supporter about Clinton’s accomplishments; names changed to protect the guilty.

ME:  I don’t doubt she works her butt off. But what has she actually accomplished? Except a few ineffectual tweaks here and there?

JANE DOE: From US News & World Report of all places


 ME: //Although her major initiative, the Clinton health care plan failed, it certainly set the groundwork for the health care law we have today, the Affordable Care Act.// Stopped reading there. Absolute crap. Her initiative didn’t lay the groundwork for anything except many years of not being able to even talk about health care reform. So no, her accomplishments don’t “speak for themselves.” Talk about resume padding.

JANE DOE: You should have continues reading

ME: Don’t waste my time with resume padding. Give me one real accomplishment. Something really impressive.

JANE DOE: I know it is hard to read. But you should try

ME:  I read very well. I am a writer. You’re the one who wants to persuade me. So give me one real accomplishment. Just one. How hard is that?

ME:  (Waiting while Jane Doe picks through the padding to find something that will stand up to scrutiny.)


Answer (1 of 12): As a young woman: * Hillary Rodham became engaged in politics from an…

JANE DOE:  And after you go through that you may google it for yourself as I have actual work to do

ME: I have actual work to do, too. And I asked you for just one accomplishment. You give me more resume padding. Obviously, you don’t know what she’s accomplished, either.

JANE DOE: it is not padding dear it is what she has accomplished/not accomplished/attempted to accomplish. Not my fault you simply cannot understand or accept.

ME: I’m seeing a lot of things that she took part in, such as playing “a leading role in investigating the health issues that 9/11 first responders were facing.” (I did read it, you see.) But that is not an “accomplishment.” That was an “effort” that went on long after she left the Senate, and which we’re still having to fight. Show me an “accomplishment.” Something she did that actually was, you know, “accomplished.”

ME: She did take part in getting some helpful legislation passed, but it’s all relatively picayune stuff for a senator.

SOMEBODY ELSE: one accomplishment, something impressive: she survived, she thrived, it takes a great deal of strength, character, fortitude, gratitude, love, (for a start) to thrive when you are both one of the most admired women in the world and the most hated in this country.

ME: I survived, too, but I’d make a crappy POTUS.
This is classic “cult of personality” stuff, folks. I acknowledge that Sanders as a Senator wouldn’t look that good if put to the same test, but Sanders supporters on the whole don’t harbor illusions that he could have “accomplished” much as a liberal independent in today’s Washington.  He did have some good and actual accomplishments as Mayor of Burlington, and I think his record of getting progressive amendments added to bills makes his legislative record look damn good compared to Clinton’s.

But I think that if you’re going to march around proclaiming that so-and-so has fought hard for her constituents and gotten stuff done, you ought have half a clue of what she actually did.

47 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton’s Remarkable Record of Accomplishments

  1. “fight for’ has beome as meaningless as “countless hours” of work or volunteering. It is good fodder for the masses, but no more. Amendments, introductions, blocks, etc are all part of the job and worth a mention.

  2. To me it’s a job-interview-from-hell question, which I don’t think Sanders could answer that convincingly either or, more to the point, Barack Obama. You could say of Clinton in the Senate that she cultivated the eulogy virtues rather than the résumé virtues, or is it the other way around, by being really attentive and studious and a facilitator of meetings, and doing a lot of old-fashioned constituent work upstate. Cute examples. She was really a very well-liked senator in the way Gillebrand is now (a big surprise, we were prepared to hate her because of her gun-rights reputation), not because of big-project triumphs but day-to-day showing up and being effective all the time and listening really hard. FWIW.

    • Yas — I don’t doubt that most of her legislative record is pretty good, and most of it is stuff I support. At the same time, she was my senator for more than six years, and I can’t point to a single thing she did on domestic issues that made any visible difference. And her record in foreign policy is frightening. So all this “fighting for you” stuff seems like nothing but an empty slogan to me.

  3. She helped give W the AUMF, and helped get us into Iraq.
    Not exactly “accomplishments,” though…

  4. I’m in agreement with somebody else..It might not seem like it, but thriving in a den of vipers, cutthroats and scallywags is somewhat of an accomplishment. I don’t necessarily agree with the virtues that somebody else has attributed to Hillary’s ability to thrive, but in any environment of personal interaction whether good or bad obstacles have to be overcome…hence the accomplishment.

  5. One negative for Hillary that I sensed was the fact that she had Bill Clinton out on the campaign trail stumping for her. I can’t explain it, but on a gut level it’s a big turn off. Probably because I associate Bill Clinton as being a consummate politician and it detracts from any ability of Hillary to come off as being sincere or genuine.And it also adds to that unsettling feeling of a dynasty at work.
    It’s important to me to think that whoever gets elected as President has at least a glimmer of concern for the people who find themselves in the same economic situation as me. I need to feel a connection.

    • I like Bill just as a person, and he is indeed an awesome natural politician, but seems to me that in this election cycle he’s been losing his touch.

  6. Disappointed to say the least, to see this here. I support Sanders, and would love to see him as President, but do we really need to do Karl Rove’s work for him. This line of questioning would never be aimed at anyone else with Clinton’s record, why is it OK?

    • charluckles — on the contrary; this line of questioning usually IS aimed at people running for President. For some reason, people think that Her Majesty Queen Hillary is to be allowed a pass. Well, she doesn’t. She gets the same treatment as any other candidate, I say.

  7. Hmm. Seems like your argument is “We can’t expect Bernie to have accomplished fuck-all because he is a precious man who is pure of heart who would not compromise his principles, but Hillary, being a whore, should at least have fucked Putin!”

    Yeah. That’s persuasive.

    This is what you’re going with? At least Putin would return her calls.

  8. Only one?

    No, there are several, but I intend to dispense them sparingly like pearls of wisdom.

  9. Well hell, if surviving crap thrown by Republicans (and a good few Democrats!) is the big new must-have qualification for any aspiring liberal POTUS, we might as well go ahead and nominate Monica Lewinsky.

    Of course, she does lack the “Survived the snipers at Tuszla” badge, but hey, so does someone else!

  10. “At the same time, she was my senator for more than six years, and I can’t point to a single thing she did on domestic issues that made any visible difference.”

    This has been my dilemma. I have at least two acquaintances who are staunch Hillary supporters. They tell me that Sanders is essentially a “fad” and that Hillary is a serious candidate, and of course, *only* she can win in the general election.

    And yet, when I ask, for the sake of us Sanders supporters who have pledged to vote for Hillary in the general if she is the nominee, which is likely, what can you give me in terms of past accomplishments, policy ideas, associations, e.g. a reason to be enthusiastic about her as the party standard bearer going into the election, the typical responses are:

    – Sanders can’t win because he is a “socialist.”
    – The “Bermie Bros” are alienating democratic voters, especially women.
    – Sanders also supported the Crime Bill.
    – The young voters who support Sanders will not turn out in the general.
    – If Sanders is elected, the republicans will fight him on his “far left” agenda.
    – Voters will reject an avowed “socialist.”

    And when I point out that negative attacks on Sanders, imagined or otherwise, are not the same as positive accomplishments for Clinton, then its wash, rinse, repeat. Essentially what they are saying is what I have pointed out to them, that based on your typical responses then, unwittingly, for you this is also a “lesser of evils” election.

    Hillary will be a damn sight better than anything that crawls out from the right side of the political spectrum to face her in the general election, but if elected what we will be getting is a play to pay politician in the mold of what democratic party leadership has been producing of late, whose priority is taking care of those who donate the millions of dollars to ensure the furtherance of their political careers. That’s not a slam, but the reality.

  11. I actually look at HRC’s record – with all its resume padding weasel phrases – as a positive, given that Trump will try to kick everything over. She’s the status quo candidate, for all the good and bad that implies. Bernie represents a possible future, if the young people he’s energized don’t turn away in disillusionment after this cycle.

  12. HRC shares deserves a share of the “credit” for staving off what appeared (in the early 1990’s) to be the impending death of the Democratic Party. Labor Unions were dying, and the money they had previously donated to Democrats was drying up. Campaigns were getting more expensive (Television ads, direct mail, etc), and Republicans were often able to spend twice as much as their opponents.

    The Clintons (and the DNC/Centrists) found a way to get SOME Wall Street money back on their side. And luckily, Ross Perot helped hand Bill the presidency twice, or we could easily be seeing 9-0 Supreme Court decisions.

    In the last decade, Hillary cemented her position in the Democratic Party by continuing to raise millions of $, much (or at least some) of which got spread around to various Congressional campaigns (mostly incumbents, maybe?). Many of those people are now Superdelegates, and their loyalty was purchased honestly (mutual back-scratching).

    This has been a mixed blessing. Without that money, many Democrats might have lost elections; but the Faustian bargain is rarely a good bet in the long run.

    I really hope that Bernie can get enough money to spread some around. I urge people to contribute to the few Democrats who have endorsed him. That would go a long way towards helping the party repurchase it’s “soul”.

  13. I’ll point out one impressive achievement. Getting Russia and China to cooperate in the economic sanctions against Iran. That was the heavy lifting that led to the treaty.

    I wouldn’t be so dismissive of Hillary’s healthcare involvement. Her efforts scared the GOP enough to get them to come up with Romneycare which is essentially what we have nationwide in the ACA.

  14. Here’s the problem (and I don’t accept your premise, but whatever): Bernie will get nothing done. He is not particularly respected either as a legislator or someone anyone can work with. There are damned few down-ballot candidates and office holders who are going to want to campaign with him. And if, by some shifting of the tides, we get a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate, they are not going to redo health care to single-payer, they are not going to pass free college tuition, they are not going to pass just about anything he claims he can do. And what will he do? Harangue them from the front porch? Heck, assuming he lives long enough, he will never get a second term. He does not have the institutional loyalty that is needed to accomplish his programs, and in fact, no one really wants them. Should he get the nod, you are going to learn a lot about the personal income tax rates of Denmark and Sweden and some very wild interpretations of “socialism”. And you’re also going to realize that, in fact, the market for “socialism” is pretty tiny. And those are the “fair” attacks he’ll get. Once the Atwater/Rove heirs start in he’ll be lucky to carry Vermont. And we’ll also see just how much appetite there is for “Revolution”. Which is damned little.

    • Jeff Ryan: Thank you so much for repeating the tired conventional wisdom that one sees plastered all over news and social media. One wonders what we would have done without your telling us the same thing for the several-thousandth time. Of course, given the current Congress, none of Sanders reforms can be accomplished. And if Clinton is elected, she won’t get anything done either, but at least she won’t try, so there’s that.

      Believe it or not, a lot of us have thought this out and (in addition to electing Sanders) we want to take some other measures.

      The most important thing to do is to clean out the DNC and DCCC that have squelched progressive candidates in state elections and given us the same tired Republican Lite centrists that don’t win lo these many years. Then, begin to aggressively recruit and support genuinely progressive candidates who provide a real alternative to centrism. (You might remember — well, probably you don’t — the last time there was a Dem majority in the Senate and House a lot of the Dems were Blue Dogs who voted with Republicans. Few of them were re-elected. Big fat lot of help that was.)

      Note that as long as the Clintons own the party, there will be no progressive reform within the Democratic Party, and we will continue to lose state contests that might be win-able.

  15. I think her transparent insincerity is a plus. The R’s lies sound true; her lies sound false, which is a kind of involuntary honesty. She has _tells_. If elected, then she will be an even better leaker than Snowden. Good!

  16. For one thing, she’s a Democrat, Bernie isn’t. The party is not his plaything, though he seems to believe he’s entitled to use it as his bank.

    I’ve been voting for over 40 years, so there’s not much I don’t remember. You assume facts not in evidence and then patronize me with them. Best to get them right in the first place.

    But at any rate, there are two things that over 40 years of voting and working elections has taught me: First, progressives never are serious about actual governing. Look at how quickly they walked away from Obama. The second a politician starts to actually do the things it takes to accomplish something, progressives abandon him or her. Unfortunately, someone has to do the actual work, and survive in a political context, and I’ve never seen progressives demonstrate they have any interest in a reality-based system.

    And second, I hate to break it to you, but the electorate doesn’t really want a “progressive” party or candidate. They never have, and they aren’t about to now. As an example, FDR came from a moderate tradition, not a progressive one. And in order to achieve what he did, he had to accept some conditions that no one these days would call progressive, or even acceptable. Screwing blacks out of social security, for example.

    Another post above really, though unintentionally, demonstrates the problem by cheering Snowden. You think the majority of voters think Snowden is admirable? I’ll wager they think he’s a traitor. Particularly after he showed up in Russia lobbing softballs at a press conference.

    If that is the kind of thinking you believe is progressive (and I understand you didn’t post the Snowden comment – I only use it as an example of progressive tone-deafness in general), then get ready for heartbreak. I remember 1972 quite well, thanks. Marching off a cliff may be exhilarating, but once was enough.

    • //For one thing, she’s a Democrat, Bernie isn’t.// In a sane world, that would be reversed. Yes, I remember 1972 also; I voted for McGovern. But I’m reasonably certain it isn’t 1972 any more.

      Well, goodbye. Have a nice life.

  17. I’ve been a Registered Independent voting primarily for Repuglican candidates for over 40 years and Bernie has managed to bring me into the Registered Democrat’s fold..So he must be doing something right for the Democratic Party.

    Paraphrasing a line from Bobby Kennedy’s eulogy…Some men see things that are and ask why, while other men see things that never were and ask why not.

    Don’t let fear and political trepidation dim the light of hope.. Feel the Bern!

  18. You know on second thought I think I will vote for Clinton..After all we don’t want to get the economic bends. Rising from the depths of a sinking middle class we should take pragmatic baby steps so that in another 40 years we’ll be back to the good old days and we’ll have made America great again.
    Kinda makes me feel like Martin Luther King in his vision of seeing the promised land..Only in the sense that like King I might not get there with you if Hillary’s vision for progress is implemented.

  19. You know on second thought I think I will vote for Clinton..After all we don’t want to get the economic bends. Rising from the depths of a sinking middle class we should take pragmatic baby steps so that in another 40 years we’ll be back to the good old days and we’ll have made America great again.
    Kinda makes me feel like Martin Luther King in his vision of seeing the promised land..Only in the sense that like King I might not get there with you if Hillary’s vision for progress is implemented.

  20. Oh, another twofer..what I win? It could be divine intervention wanting to magnify my glorious posting. 🙂

    Pop Quiz…For 5 points who famously said…”Loosen up, Sandy baby!” , and in what context?

  21. Oh, another twofer..what I win? It could be divine intervention wanting to magnify my glorious posting. 🙂

    Pop Quiz…For 5 points who famously said…”Loosen up, Sandy baby!” , and in what context?

  22. Swami,
    That’s an easy one!:
    Washington Racist Redskins running back, John Riggins!!!

  23. Oh, and it was made at some dinner where he got drunk, and directed that comment to SC Justice Sandra Day O’Conner.

  24. “I hate to break it to you, but the electorate doesn’t really want a “progressive” party or candidate. They never have, and they aren’t about to now. ”

    It doesn’t seem to me that the electorate wants a Wall Street shill either. Clinton looks like Mitt Romney in a pantsuit – just as arrogant, weaselly and clueless, but with the difference that one of them actually achieved real healthcare reform, the other lost the Democrats the House by bungling her shot at it.

    • There are all kinds of arguments out there saying the U.S. is or is not a center-right nation. All I can say is that I’ve been going to liberal/progressive conventions and other events for years and hearing people sit around and bitch about why can’t we have cool stuff like universal health care and paid family leave and stronger unions and finance reform, etc., for years, and along comes a guy pushing for that stuff, and a sizable portion of the people I know from the conventions get cold feet and say, oh, but we have to take the safe course and vote for Hillary. I’m done with them.

      I also think the younger voters have spoken loudly and clearly and said they want what’s Sanders is selling. McGovern 1972 is ancient history to them, as it should be. My sense of things is that the Reagan Revolution (which, IMO, really dates to the 1970s, and wasn’t really just about Reagan) has finally run its course, as everything does. The current Republican Party is still dangerous, but they are far from the unified, well-oiled machine they were a decade ago. They’ve entered their last act, which is farce.

      And as the Reagan Republican Party passes into history, the Clinton Neoliberal Democratic Party that arose in response to it will seem to be a museum piece soon enough.

  25. One has to ask, since we seem to have attracted the team, how do you get paid for being a Clinton troll – and how well does it pay?

    I’m not saying everyone who posts for HRC is a paid shill, but when you get a gang of strangers in the election season pedaling tripe, ya’ gotta wonder.

    I don’t vote for anyone based on their age, gender, religion or complexion. I find the suggestion we vote for Clinton because she’s a woman intellectually equivalent to saying one should not vote for Obama because he’s black. They’re both boneheaded motives.

    My quarrel with Clinton is that she’s been in bed with Wall Street types so long, she’s forgotten that as president, her first allegiance is supposed to be with the people. Bernie gets it. ‘Pragmatic’ in political circles is invariably code for selling out the interests of the people in exchange for a rise in individual political stock.

    Yep, politicians have to compromise. That’s different from pimping your spouse. Sometimes you get a good deal in political negotiating – sometimes you get stuck with a deal that sucks. But JC got it right when he said no one can have two masters – if yoou are working for corporate America, you aren’t gonna represent the people of America, excerpt with the permission of your corporate masters. That’s HRC.

    Now when the primary is over, if I have a choice between a corporatist and a fascist corporatist, HRC has my vote. But while we’re in the primary season, I’m calling her out for what she is.

  26. @militantly:

    This one I just have to say something, not necesssarily about Clinton:

    Romney did not achieve healthcare reform, it was forced on him by the Democratic legislature, with Teddy Kennedy pushing behind the scenes. He vetoed eight important provisions, including the essential employer mandate, and was overridden. Then, seeing it was popular, he decided to take credit for it. While consistently denying, afterwards, falsely, that ObamaCare (also largely Kennedy-designed) had any relation. Romney is an asshole.

    It’s true that Hillary Clinton blew health care reform, but so did FDR/Frances Perkins, Truman, and John Kennedy. Lyndon Johnson succeeded in bringing a single payer system to part of the population, but it has been subject to right-wing attack (restriction as in keeping immigrants out of Medicaid, insidious privatization as with Medicare Part D). Similar problems are occurring with Britain’s beloved National Health, where the number of privately insured citizens has gone up from practically nothing a few years ago to the richest ten percent today. Hopefully the ACA, by cutting in insurance companies from the start and putting them (in return) under extremely strong regulation, will be more durable and more easily improved.

    Hillary Clinton (more by her proposals in the 2008 presidential campaign than her work as First Lady) influenced that a lot (her plan was better than Obama’s), in exactly the same way Bernie Sanders is influencing her now. That’s kind of cool!

  27. OT – Today hundreds – I got that number from an eyewitness – met in Philadelphia to begin a march to DC on demands to Congress to end corruption. There’s four pieces of legislation they have identified that they want action on. The right wing machine has responded – Breitbart and Alan Jones, labeling this a Soros- funded anti-Trump sham.

    There are thousands who have pledged to participate in DC in sit-down actions which will lead to mass arrests at the Capitol. And from the progressive blogs – cricket chips, as far as I can tell. I am disappointed.

  28. Geez Louise, I’m trying to compare Hillary Clinton’s achievements to some other past presidents at the time of campaigning for office, and it’s sure not obvious to me that she falls so short. Not intending to be argumentative, but here are some random musings:

    –Dwight Eisenhower’s entire military career was one of organizing stuff. He graduated from West Point shortly before the US entered the 1st World War, but never saw combat. Evidently he was quite talented at organizing stuff, but if you want to talk about cults of personality, well, I offer you Dwight David Eisenhower.

    –I tried to find out about JFK’s congressional accomplishments and came up blank. He spent a fair amount of time during his House service recuperating from back surgeries. He was elected to the Senate at a time that the GOP took control. He never publicly opposed Joseph McCarthy. (FYI RFK worked for McCarthy.) And here from Wikipedia:

    “One of the matters demanding Kennedy’s attention in the Senate was President Eisenhower’s bill for the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Kennedy cast a procedural vote on this, which was considered by some as an appeasement of Southern Democratic opponents of the bill. Kennedy did vote for Title III of the act, which would have given the Attorney General powers to enjoin, but Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson agreed to let the provision die as a compromise measure. Kennedy also voted for Title IV, termed the ‘Jury Trial Amendment’. Many civil rights advocates at the time criticized that vote as one which would weaken the act.”

    He won the Pulitzer Prize for a book that was ghost written by Theodore Sorensen.

    Oh, he was a war hero. His actions after his boat was sunk by the Japanese were legitimately deemed heroic.

    Can we say “cult of personality” again?

    Of the people actually elected president since JFK: LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Bill Clinton, Bush II, Obama–only LBJ had a long Congressional career. Mostly these guys had been governors.Anyone want to argue for the amazing gubernatorial accomplishments of Carter, Reagan, and Bush II? What about the Resume President, Bush I?

    I found this on Bill Clinton’s Wikipedia page:

    “In the early 1980s, Clinton made reform of the Arkansas education system a top priority. Chaired by Clinton’s wife Hillary Rodham Clinton, also an attorney and chair of the Legal Services Corporation, the Arkansas Education Standards Committee transformed Arkansas’s education system from the worst in the United States to one of the best. Proposed reforms included more spending for schools (supported by a sales-tax increase), better opportunities for gifted children, vocational education, higher teachers’ salaries, more course variety, and compulsory teacher competency exams. The reforms passed in September 1983 after Clinton called a special legislative session—the longest in Arkansas history. Many have considered this the greatest achievement of the Clinton governorship. [my emphasis]”

    You can decide whether that qualified Bill Clinton to be president. Note that Hillary Clinton’s name appeared in that passage.

    Barack Obama legislative accomplishments? His service in the Illinois legislature was mostly during a period of GOP control. He had some modest successes there and also in the US Senate. (Remember he began running for president after only 3 years as a senator.) With all due respect, he was elected president because of his oratorical skills and because HRC refused to back down from her record of supporting Bush I’s invasion of Iraq. (The latter is what determined my own vote in my state’s primary.) His campaign platform in 2008 was barely distinguishable from Hillary Clinton’s.

    People vote for candidates for all sorts of reasons, but from what I can tell, the candidates’ resumes do not factor strongly into voters’ decision making. Personality and ideology seem to be key factors. I’m going to vote for Bernie Sanders in my state’s primary on ideological grounds. Then I’m going to swallow really hard and vote for Hillary Clinton in November.

    • Joel — I would say Clinton’s record in the Senate is not bad — on domestic issues, anyway — and probably better than most. I’m just saying that if you are going to brag about your candidate’s *accomplishments* you should know what they are.

  29. My Bad, Uncledad. It’s Alex Jones. He had an online interview posted with one dipsh*t who had a picture of Soros who was counter-protesting in Philly. Naturally the clown had all his facts wrong. They never provided a camera angle that showed that hundreds showed up to send off over a hundred walkers.

    Amazingly, Breitbart has been even-handed (not supportive) in their coverage.

  30. @Joel–also, unlike JFK, Obama wrote his own book. (On the literary metric, either Clinton or Sanders will represent a sad decline from what we have now.)

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