2.05.2007

on supposedly liberal people supporting hillary clinton

I've always said that a woman will be elected President of the United States during my lifetime, and it will kill me, drive me insane, because I won't be able to vote for her. I've always assumed the first female US President will be the American Margaret Thatcher. How would a woman break through the sexist stereotypes, prove she was tough enough, "man enough" to be President? By being a hardcore conservative Republican.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's hat in the presidential-hopeful ring doesn't change this assessment, for two reasons. One, she can't win, and the Democrats are even bigger fools than I think they are if they nominate her. And two, she doesn't deserve to win, because she's not liberal: she's a hawk.

First: she can't win. Just as people around the world loved Bill Clinton, his international popularity far outstripping what he enjoyed in the US, here in Canada, people imagine that Hillary Clinton will sail into office. Most Canadians I speak with have no idea that a large percentage of the American public views Hillary Clinton as a filthy, slimy She-Devil. I can't remember a politician who is loathed as deeply as H. R. Clinton is. Liberals' and progressives' hatred of George W. Bush pales in comparison to conservative and reactionary hatred of Clinton. They're so much better at hate than we are.

This hatred, of course, isn't warranted. I only wish it were! If Clinton was even a fraction of the radical leftist the reactionary media makes her out to be, I'd be thrilled. Their hatred is misguided, and it's sexist. But it exists, and Clinton's campaign and the media distortions that are sure to accompany it will only fuel the fire. Nothing Clinton can say or do on the campaign trail will change that, because, after all, the right's hatred of Hillary Clinton is based on fantasy. The woman those people love to bash doesn't even exist.

Dyed-in-the-wool Democrats will vote for Clinton, but they'll vote for any donkey versus any elephant. So if we assume the Democrats must go after the swing voter, and the Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton, we should all just save our time and money and put the Republican in office right now. (We can do that anyway, since 2008 will be as stolen as 2004 was, but that's another story...)

Second: she shouldn't win. I'm frankly amazed - and disgusted - by how many supposedly liberal Americans support Hillary Clinton. People, have you all forgotten?? She supported the war on Iraq! She supported the invasion, she supported the war, she supported the occupation. She changed her position only recently, when it was politically safe to do so.

How can anyone who opposes the US war on Iraq vote for someone who supported it?

Although Clinton has since backed away from her support of the war (and lies about her former support), now that it's politically expedient to do so, she continues to support the occupation - and says "no option can be taken off the table" when dealing with Iran.

If you haven't followed Clinton's backpedaling path when on Iraq, it's understandable, as she was purposely pretty quiet on this divisive issue. To get you up to speed, here are some primers: Code Pink has been bird-dogging Clinton on the war, and you can listen to the results here. From AntiWar.Com, here's a story called "Hillary May Be Presidential Material, After All - On Iraq and Israel, she's a perfect neocon" and another go from the bird-doggers.

Writer and blogger Bob Harris puts it as well as I've seen it anywhere:
...the Iraq war is one of the deadliest, stupidest, and most criminal foreign policy mistakes of our lifetimes. (Just making that list is a major accomplishment, btw, considering Guatemala, East Timor, Cambodia, etc.) And Hillary, despite her recent weaseling -- sorry, triangulation is the term of art -- vigorously supported Bush's Iraq adventure from the start.

In the wake of 9-11, it wasn't just George W. Bush telling the world "every nation has to be either with us or against us." It was Hillary, as you can hear for yourself.

In October 2002, during the debate about giving Bush authorization to invade Iraq, it wasn't just Dick Cheney telling the world in that Saddam Hussein had links to Al-Qaeda. It was Hillary, from the floor of Congress.

And in February 2005, it wasn't just John McCain claiming that democracy was taking root in Iraq, and that the insurgency was in its last throes. It was Hillary, standing right at John McCain's side. . . .

If this were a just world, not one person who authorized Bush to invade Iraq would ever be re-elected to anything, and the prime engineers of this mess would be going to jail instead of Fox News desks. And if this were a just world, Hillary would be held in almost as much contempt by people opposed to this war as Bush, Cheney, and the rest of Team Chimpy.
There are Democratic faithful who say that Clinton is only doing what any viable candidate for President has to do, because no one with too strong an anti-war stance could get elected. If that's what you're going to settle for, how can we hope to end the war? If that's what you're going to settle for, how can the Democratic party ever be anything but a slightly more moderate Republican party?

Let me put it another way. If Hillary Clinton had the exact same record, had made the exact same statements, but had the letter (R) beside her name instead of a (D), would you vote for her? And would you vote for her because she's a woman?

I'd be willing to bet that we could find a Republican with the exact same voting record as Hillary Clinton. I admit I haven't done this - I have no intentions of spending my time combing through US Senate voting records - but anyone who wants to bet and do the work, you're on.

Another enlightening exercise is to compare US Senator Hillary Clinton to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. You know, the Harper that some Canadians claim is a baby Bush? The Harper that some people fear will hand Canada over to the neocons, lock, stock and privatized health care? Many people on both sides of the 49th would be surprised to learn that Clinton and Harper have similar stances on most issues, and on some, Clinton is further to the right. You don't have to take my word for it, the great NDP Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist has done the homework.

Some progressive bloggers who I really like are supporting Clinton's candidacy. I've responded that we need progressive people first. If they can also be women, great, but peace and justice must take priority over any feminist or gender solidarity. But we need women, they say. And at what cost, I ask. Will US soldiers (and Iraqi civilians) be any less dead if a woman orders the killing than if a man does?

Others have suggested that if progressive people put Clinton in office, she will be obligated to listen to us. I ask: how's that been working out for you so far? Have the Democrats you've helped put in office felt obligated to listen to you recently? Ever? In your lifetime? If Clinton were elected, it would be the so-called centre - the conservative swing voters - she would owe, not us.

And is there any evidence that she'd feel obligated to the voters at all? Or just to the corporate money that financed her campaign? During the run-up to the war, Clinton's office was flooded with calls and faxes urging, begging and demanding that she vote no to authorizing Resident's war powers. It was estimated that callers against the war outnumbered those for the war by 3 to 1. She voted yes.

Still, Clinton continues to draw the rage of the neocons (even though she is often indistinguishable from them) and the gushing admiration of liberals. She continues on a hawkish path that she thinks will win her votes, while allowing the right's hatred of her to fool liberals into thinking she is one of them. Now that is the work of a brilliant politician.

I want to see a female US President so badly that I see stars. I salivate over it. I yearn for it down to my chewed-up fingernails.

But a woman in the White House is less important than the direction the US takes. A woman in the White House is less important than ending this terrible war, than freeing the prisoners at Guantanamo, than not launching a war against Iraq.

If the choice was between, say, Katherine Harris and Dennis Kucinich, who would you vote for?

29 comments:

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

"great NDP blogger Idealistic Pragmatist"

Okay, I can't tell whether you haven't been reading me lately, or you're deliberately trying to rile me up with that particular phrasing... :-)

Good post, though. Clinton has sacrificed way too many of her supposed principles for me to feel like she could adequately represent what I stand for.

L-girl said...

Okay, I can't tell whether you haven't been reading me lately, or you're deliberately trying to rile me up with that particular phrasing... :-)

Oops. Missed that one. :)

I was basing the phrase on "Blogging Dippers" and how another blogger referred to you in your "why vote Liberal or NDP" dialogue.

Yeah, principles are not her forte, sad to say. And thanks.

M@ said...

I am not fan of Clinton by any means, and I would find it difficult to vote for her, too. (If she were running in Canada, I wouldn't even consider it.)

I don't really know how it works in the USA, though. I guess it's partly because I have a hard time empathising to the politically disengaged segment of the population, and more so when it's in another country. But one would think that if there is a significant population of swing voters, and if that population is even slightly aware of how failed the current administration is, then Hilary could be elected in 08.

I guess what it boils down to is that -- if the election system were not tragically broken, which I absolutely understand it is -- Tala should be able to win the election for the Democrats next year. (Not that I wish that on Tala, but she sounds like a smart and charming candidate.)

Then again, enough people wanted to re-elect that drunk coke-head frat boy in 04 that, really, I have no hope of understanding that place. It's surprising more people aren't following you and Allan here, when I think about it.

L-girl said...

Tala for President! Ta-la! Ta-la!

Ahem...

You're right, M@. If the system were not completely bankrupt, the next president would be any Democrat, it would hardly matter who.

And there's no doubt that, despite election fraud, millions of Americans did vote for the Resident in 2004. That's an inescapable fact that I can never quite come to terms with.

L-girl said...

And btw, Tala was born in the US, so she's eligible.

She's originally from Tennessee. The Dems always need a Southerner on the ticket...

M@ said...

Unfortunately she doesn't meet the age requirement -- don't presidential candidates have to be at least 36 years old? Maybe this rule has gone by the wayside? (Hell, the running mate residency requirements went by the wayside in '00, so why not?) Anyhow, sign me up for the Tala-Cody ticket any time.

As for the millions who voted for Bush twice... I guess in a way I'd like to be able to come to terms with that. But I think what I'd learn in the process would be utterly terrifying and depressing.

L-girl said...

The age requirement! Foiled again. :)

Seriously though, Tala is entirely too sweet - and too intelligent - to run for president. Cody is too shy. It won't work.

Depressing and terrifying, I agree. I so agree.

Chuck said...

Hi Laura,

Good to see that your URL Forwarding is still working.

Here's my favourite story about Hillary.

I think she's a couple levels above "filthy, slimy". But I don't trust her in charge of this country. Nor do I trust Nancy Pelosi, who is too San Franciscan for my tastes.

I do expect that there are various women watching the two of them, who will learn from their mistakes.

L-girl said...

Hi Chuck, nice to see you here.

Just to be clear, I don't think Hillary is filthy and slimy either. I just think she's a Republican.

who is too San Franciscan

What does that mean?

West End Bound said...

I've always said that a woman will be elected President of the United States during my lifetime, and it will kill me, drive me insane, because I won't be able to vote for her.

It's my assumption that this is because you choose not to vote for Hillary, correct? It's not that you wouldn't be able to vote for her legally as I believe you are maintaining your US citizenship. Correct me if I'm wrong on this . . .

L-girl said...

It's my assumption that this is because you choose not to vote for Hillary, correct?

I'm assuming that when a woman is finally US President, I won't be able to bring myself to vote for her, because she'll be very far to the right. My conscience and values would not allow me to vote for her. That's been my assumption, not about Hillary Clinton, about whatever woman breaks the barrier in the US.

It's not that you wouldn't be able to vote for her legally as I believe you are maintaining your US citizenship. Correct me if I'm wrong on this . . .

I don't know if I'm maintaining my citizenship or not. I don't want to keep it, but I haven't made a final decision yet, since I'm a few years away from that.

However, I'm not voting in US elections now anyway.

The first paragraph of this post refers to how I always felt when I lived in the US, long before I ever dreamed I'd emigrate.

Hope that clarifies.

L-girl said...

I don't trust her in charge of this country. Nor do I trust Nancy Pelosi, who is too San Franciscan for my tastes.

I also meant to ask, how do you usually vote?

donna said...

Then again, HRC may just be lying to get in office - like Dubya did....

I believe AIPAC had as much to do with the Iraq war as the neocons, and you pretty much have to be in bed with them to get elected president in this country. Hillary may not have much choice in what she says - but what she does may be a different thing.

But then why anoyone wants to take on Dumbya's mess is beyond me. I really don't think most of those who voted for the war really had a clue as to how badly he would fuck it up - even though so many of us were screaming at them at the time. But then that's been true since his campaign in 2000.

redsock said...

I really don't think most of those who voted for the war really had a clue as to how badly he would fuck it up

As Laura has said many times, he has NOT fucked it up. Not in any way, shape or form.

Maybe those voters didn't understand what the actual goal was, but what the Cheney Gang wanted to happen in Iraq is EXACTLY WHAT HAS HAPPENED/IS HAPPENING.

You don't think they really wanted to bring democracy there, do you? Or that they went to all this trouble (and expense) to help the Iraqi people and improve their lot in life, out of the kindness of their hearts?

If they could somehow keep the news of all those dead American women and men completely out of the news, everything would be perfect.

L-girl said...

Hillary may not have much choice in what she says - but what she does may be a different thing.

This sounds like magical thinking to me. We have no reason to think she'll be anything but what she's been so far - a hawk.

L-girl said...

You don't think they really wanted to bring democracy there, do you? Or that they went to all this trouble (and expense) to help the Iraqi people and improve their lot in life, out of the kindness of their hearts?

This (or something like it) is what I should start saying when people talk about how "they've fucked it up" in Iraq. What was the mission in the first place? To find WMDs? To spread democracy? Or to bomb the shit out of it, rebuild it, build a permanent presence there, and install a govt friendly to US business interests?

Which sounds most like the US to you?

Crabbi said...

But a woman in the White House is less important than the direction the US takes.

I couldn't agree more. Hillary equivocates on choice, too. Wouldn't it be ironic to elect a woman based solely on her gender, only to find that she sets us back 30+ years?

IMHO, Hillary could be a little more "San Franciscan."

Crabbi said...

My take on the "fucking it up" question is that they didn't think they'd end up looking so bad. The nonexistent WMDs, the dead Iraqis and coalition (whatever that means) soldiers? Eh. The sad thing is that no one threw rose petals at our feet. Image is everything you know.

orc said...

««I really don't think most of those who voted for the war really had a clue as to how badly he would fuck it up»

«As Laura has said many times, he has NOT fucked it up. Not in any way, shape or form.»

Whether or not it was accidental or by design, it's still the mother of all fuckups. Iraq isn't any better off because Maximum Leader Genius and his merry band of sociopaths _intended_ to convert the near east into a hobbesian state from the Great Wall of Israel all the way to the border of Pakistan (can't do farther east than that, because Pakistan has nukes and if there's one constant about the United States, it's that we're a bunch of mewling cowards when it comes to dictatorships that possess the Bomb.)

*ahem* But I digress. Iraq is still a fuckup, even if it's a very profitable one.

David Cho said...

Very good post.

Democrats chose Kerry over Dean because of Kerry's "electability" which largely stemmed from his vote in favor of the war resolution. It seemed like a safe thing to do because when the New Hampshire primary came around, Hussein had been captured and the whole outlook on the war looked positive.

As the war went into the toilet in the months leading to the election, many people were left to wonder how Dean would have fared against Bush while Kerry was fumbling around to explain his vote for the war resolution.

Now looks like Democrats are looking to do this AGAIN.

And I hate it when people like Hillary say that had they known how badly Bush was going to manage the war, they would have voted against the resolution.

I think we had more than enough data to point to Bush's incompetence when the war resolution came around.

L-girl said...

My take on the "fucking it up" question is that they didn't think they'd end up looking so bad. The nonexistent WMDs, the dead Iraqis and coalition (whatever that means) soldiers? Eh. The sad thing is that no one threw rose petals at our feet. Image is everything you know.

Yes! In that sense, they have certainly screwed up.

. Iraq is still a fuckup, even if it's a very profitable one.

And my point is that as long as it's profitable, they did not fuck up, in terms of their own goals. They are achieving their own objectives.

Iraq isn't any better off

How could an invasion and an occupation by a foreign power ever make any country better off???

Of course I agree with your view on what's happening in Iraq, Orc. But didn't we know that would be the case before the invasion? And wasn't that the only outcome possible?

But from the point of view of the architects and implementers of the war, it's sailing along very nicely. KBR is still there, Dynacorp is still there, Brown & Root is still there...

L-girl said...

Now looks like Democrats are looking to do this AGAIN.

Amazing, ain't it? They never learn.

And I hate it when people like Hillary say that had they known how badly Bush was going to manage the war, they would have voted against the resolution.

I think we had more than enough data to point to Bush's incompetence when the war resolution came around.


Right. Everyone else did, why didn't she?

redsock said...

Amazing, ain't it? They never learn.

At some point, you have to look back over recent decades, see that they have done the exact same thing in almost every political race, and assume it is deliberate.

They are not dumb. They can learn. They are doing this on purpose. It is the only answer.

And I hate it when people like Hillary say that had they known how badly Bush was going to manage the war, they would have voted against the resolution.

I hate this soooo much. It is complete and utter bullshit. They stand there and toss up their hands, and say, gosh, who could ever have know this would happen, if I'd only been able to see the future?

Tens of millions of ordinary people -- with access to far less information than someone like Clinton -- could tell the future (and explain why it would unfold that way) and they took to the streets of the world to say so.

And what they said would happen is exactly what happened. It was common sense.

If someone actually is being honest when he or she says "If I had only know then", they should be immediately removed from office for being a moron.

L-girl said...

If someone actually is being honest when he or she says "If I had only know then", they should be immediately removed from office for being a moron.

Heh. Very true.

At some point, you have to look back over recent decades, see that they have done the exact same thing in almost every political race, and assume it is deliberate.

They are not dumb. They can learn. They are doing this on purpose. It is the only answer.


I don't know. I don't discount that view, it makes sense on many levels - but they are also following a lot of standard political advice.

Just like voters keep voting Democrat hoping the Dems will grow spines, become truly liberal, etc., despite all evidence that this is not going to happen, the Democrats - different advisers over the years - keep approaching campaigns with the same conventional "wisdom".

There are lots of examples of societies following the same supposed "wisdom" over and over and over - even though it never works, even though it ends up killing them - and refusing to change - even though the need to change seems so obvious from afar.

It's not necessarily a conspiracy. It can be the incredible obstinacy of human beings.

(Thank you, Jared Diamond.)

orc said...

[Me]
«Iraq isn't any better off»

[L-girl]
«How could an invasion and an occupation by a foreign power ever make any country better off???»

I'm sure there are some cases where an invasion and occupation has made a country better off. Perhaps Kosovo, not that I'd ever know it from reading the english-language news. But that's not really what I was talking about. I wasn't talking about whether Iraq is better off now than it was before Maximum Leader Genius's Excellent Adventure; I was saying Iraq is no better off than it would have been if the Bush junta had really and truly invaded it for (don't laugh now) humanitarian reasons, but wrecked it due to incompetence.

Anne alias Purrceyz said...

I used to really want a female prime minister...then we got Kim Campbell. :( I consider the person's views and track record first.

Although I'd like to see more women in politics, I agree Hilary has shown she's too much an opportunist for me to support. (Although for me, the question is moot. Even though I hold dual Canadian/US citizenship, I've never had US residency and I'm not eligible to vote there..)

L-girl said...

I was saying Iraq is no better off than it would have been if the Bush junta had really and truly invaded it for (don't laugh now) humanitarian reasons, but wrecked it due to incompetence.

Oh yes, absolutely.

I'll try not to laugh. :)

redsock said...

Anyone still reading this?

Hillary Clinton, speaking today on her 2002 vote for a resolution authorizing an invasion of Iraq:

"When I set forth my reasons for giving the President that authority, I said that it was not a vote for pre-emptive war."

L-girl said...

Anyone still reading this?

Well, I am...