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An exchange...

I'm pulling this exchange out of comments at The Confluence, as a form of "pre-dread" for 2012, since it bears on issues we've discussed here, and I'd like to hear what readers have to say:

lambert strether, on December 1, 2010 at 10:07 am said:

Hillary should have resigned long ago, loudly and on principle, like the Brits do when there are policies they don’t agree with, and gawd knows The Big O has got plenty of those.

Then she could have gone home, and sat on her front porch until the draft announcement.



  • I think that may be a luxury of male pols. It seems like women who resign for any reason get painted as weak, uncommitted quitters, and women who stay get painted as complacent co-conspirators.



    • This strikes me as being completely equivalent to the OFB talking point “He had to say it.”

      Personally, I have more respect for Hillary than that. I’m with Carville, who said “If she gave Obama one of her balls, she’d still have two.”

      Anything that’s grounded in policy has stopping points and limits, based on the nature of the policy itself. We’ve seen that, with Obama, there are no stopping points — as OFA appeals to its members to cut the Federal workforce, for example (some hope and change!)

      So where’s the stopping point here? Not Afghanistan, obviously. Not drone strikes, obviously. Not torture, obviously. And not the empire, obvioulsy. So, where?

      When, exactly, will the claim NOT get made that “she has to do that because she’s a woman”? If surviving the fires of hell in the 2008 primaries doesn’t show she’s strong enough, what will?

      Hillary’s supporters do her no service by defending her on the grounds that she does what she does because otherwise she might appear weak. They should hold her accountable for not doing what her strengths obviously empower her to do.

      NOTE As a prophylactic, I’m not saying that women, in general, don’t face such obstacles; of course they do. So, which course of action, by an elite policy maker like Hillary, strengthens all women more? Acting on principle? Or acting “because she had to do that”?


    What would be nice is if we, on the left, didn't make the same mistakes that the OFB, Obama supporters, and "progressives" generally (including such honest Ds as there may be) did, 2008-2010. Two such mistakes:

    1. Not hold our candidate's feet to the fire. "Progressives" never did that, and look where it got them. Sure, the career "progressives" got a little funding, but the Ds tanked in 2010 because they deeply sucked, and the "progressives" enabled them to suck, by giving The Big O cover whenever he needed it. Our candidates are big boys and girls, plus they're rich. They can take a little criticism from their supporters.

    2. Not build a layered architecture. The right knows how to do this. They leverage their "crazies," and they fund them. "Progressives" -- meaning anybody to the left of Rahm Emmanuel, don't do that. Instead, they marginalize and censor anyone to their left (prime example: single payer). For the smart people, they sure act stupid.

    Those who don't learn from history are the ones to be dreaded, eh? Readers?

No votes yet


DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

will never admit they were wrong, so Hillary could not win.

I have written off the 2012 election. It is either Obama, Scary Sarah, or Mittens. If we use the 2011 elections as an opportunity, then by 2016, 2020 by the latest, we will be able to elect a truly liberal 3rd party fusion candidate.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

so she picked a way to weather through BO's reign in a place that she could do good.
Hillary, I think, is a reformer but she basically believes in the USA's role to be the cop of the world. The USA holds power and has to wield it responsibly; not doing so creates a vacuum that promotes anarchy.
Also we can see that she has managed to stay in the public eye and be viewed very favorably; so it is a smart career move.

As to the other woman who did quit; basically it is also working out well for her career to be focused full-time on being "voice of the opposition."

If we think of the one high profile person who basically did quit politics to go crusading, Gore, that Draft campaign did not work out so well. He's been taken down.

Submitted by hipparchia on

this task of raising the consciousness of others is never-ending [and it's pretty darned fatiguing too].

let's get the despicable out of the way first. funny how men think that women having almost-equality should be enough for us grrrls for now, and that we should just stfu and quit whining about that last few percent that we don't yet have.

srsly, dude, don't turn into another ross douthat or will saletan.

internalize this [and don't raise this red herring ever again]: yes, in male-dominated systems [eg, us politics] anything that would be a setback for a man is even more of setback if you're a woman.

i'm guessing that us politics in its present incarnation is cut-throat enough that 'principled resignation' is not an option for either men or women if they want to continue to wield power in the political sphere.

and now a question for you: what transgression do you want to hold hillary's feet to fire for? i'm leaning toward agreeing with anglachel on this particular round of 'leaks':

This smells like a rather large rat-fucking operation with information on so many fronts being made public all at once. What I see is fairly conventional politics of states, but it is sure to enrage the purists on the left and the nationalists on the right in about equal measure. The first group will wring their ineffectual hands over the evil of the government while the latter will rage at their screens over the release of state secrets.

Who is benefiting from this, really? This is designed to embarrass and compromise people, force resignations, undermine conduct of policy.

remember, as sec of state, hillary has moved from the sphere of us domestic politics into world politics, and while i deplore the empire-building, the king-making, the secrecy, the idiocy, all of the rest of the things that you hate too, the us cannot go all isolationist, just taking its toys and going home because we don't like the rules of the [international] game.

one last point: you've harped repeatedly [and correctly] on others' tendency to exculpate obama and blame all his bad policies and decisions on those evil advisors leading him astray from his own pure intentions. not sure why you now want to abandon that frame and hold hillary responsible for obama's evils.

yes, it's true that we don't want to hate on condi and then turn around and forgive hillary for committing the same evils, but first make very, very sure they are in fact the same evils.

Submitted by lambert on

You write:

you've harped repeatedly [and correctly] on others' tendency to exculpate obama and blame all his bad policies and decisions on those evil advisors leading him astray from his own pure intentions. not sure why you now want to abandon that frame and hold hillary responsible for obama's evils.

You don't regard the empire as a systemic issue, then? One beyond personalities and candidates? Perhaps you are "not sure" because what you're reading into the post isn't there?

Suppose I accept your argument. Then it should be easy for you either to answer the question I'm asking, or explain why it's the wrong question to ask:

When, exactly, will the claim NOT get made that “she has to do that because she’s a woman”?

To answer the main point in your post:

....'principled resignation' is not an option for either men or women if they want to continue to wield power in the political sphere.

Leaders lead, as Atrios was fond of saying. Especially insurgent leaders, no? (Insurgents like Eugene McCarthy and Howard Dean, for example.)

NOTE "Despicable" is a harsh word from somebody who doesn't read all the way to the end of the post:

NOTE As a prophylactic, I’m not saying that women, in general, don’t face such obstacles; of course they do. So, which course of action, by an elite policy maker like Hillary, strengthens all women more? Acting on principle? Or acting “because she had to do that”?

Again, it should be easy for you either to answer the question I'm asking, or explain why it's the wrong question to ask.

UPDATE Sure, Anglachel could be right and not wearing the foil on the ratfucking concept. I don't know SoS content and issues well enough to examine the primary sources (the leaks) and make a judgment, as opposed to going meta and speculating and theorizing, at many others are doing (and donning their various jerseys into the bargain). That's why I'm looking forward so much to the bankster leaks, where I can examine the primary sources with some idea of what to assess. Until then, I don't have a dog in the fight.

Submitted by hipparchia on

Again, it should be easy for you either to answer the question I'm asking, or explain why it's the wrong question to ask.

heh. and i'm not even sure which question you want me to answer, so first off, what anglachel said:

Why is it the GIRL Scouts who are handing back the line that leaders are liars and that they don't want to be compromised by being one? Why is the answer they give back to eschew power rather than sully their purity. Why not say "And I intend to bring my ethical convictions into that area and clean it up!" or "And when I am there I will not stand for that kind of behavior!" or something that involves engagement and change? One of the cultural tropes used to discourage women from advancing into positions of authority is that decision-making, authority-wielding positions are "dirty", compromised, nasty places that nice girls don't want to be.

this dichotomy is deeply embedded in our discourse and culture, and i see your framing [ Acting on principle? Or acting “because she had to do that”?], and bringing this up here at corrente, as furthering that either/or, with no in-between.

next, When, exactly, will the claim NOT get made that “she has to do that because she’s a woman”?

i won't pretend to speak for anybody else, but i'll consider not claiming that it's a contributing factor once we reach hipparchia's 30% solution.

Submitted by jawbone on

strongly, that Manning is not behind the State Dept leaks. He thought it was too complex for the young man to have done. He came close to saying Cheney or deeply planted Cheney supporters in State or close enough to get access were behind this. He thought there were some things which could be damaging, altho he'd not read everything as of the interview I saw him give (can't recall where, but on the teebee). It was quite intriguing, but he's also of old school complex gamesmanship.

Submitted by hipparchia on

anybody remember climategate?

somebody hacked into, stole, selectively edited, and then released into the wild [a la wikileaks] the emails of several prominent climate scientists. global warming deniers claimed that this was irrefutable proof that anthropogenic global warming was a giant elaborate hoax, blahblahblah, and there was a huge rightwing outcry. the scientists were eventually exonerated of any wrongdoing btw, so i'm going to wait awhile before deciding whether or not to hail julian assange as a folk hero.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

The OFB never held BO's feet to the fire even during the primaries, that's why he was never vetted.
By contrast, CDS was rampant then and completely derailed Hillary's campaign.
So therefore, I think the biggest danger when it comes to Hillary is not that we don't hold her feet to the fire, but that we allow CDS to prevent her from doing good. Because CDS never dies -- there will always be people signing up to criticize Hillary for fun & profit. I just want to give her enough space to work her wonk.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

first and foremost. And to have someone as SOS with that framework as their guiding principle is a golden and rare thing. She can get far more done that she wants to get done in that position that she can any other way. She won't leave.

I guess the question is whether it is a legitimate course of action for a genuine liberal to stay in a position of power, where they have the ability to impact the course of human progress, even if the administration for which they work is corrupt. Hillary, apparently, believes the answer is yes.

"Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. When you stumble, keep faith. When you?re knocked down, get right back up. And NEVER listen to anyone who says you can't or shouldn't go on."
Hillary Clinton - June 7, 2008

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

I don't think that sandress was offering an excuse, but a statement of fact that goes to an explanation.

Sadly, I have a lot of thoughts about this but am technically supposed to be working (oops), so for now I'll just say I find your formulation a bit off -- seems like you're saying she should bow out now, based on principle, but then join back in later (to the same system, with the same Empire and other systemic pressures and internally-regulating mechanisms) later -- what's the difference, really? Yeah, she'd be more powerful as President than SoS, but not all that much more. She would still have to participate in the Empire etc in order to a) ever be president; and b) be even minimally effective as president. So where's the dividing line? If you want to condemn her for playing the game at all, ok; but if you think it's ok to play the game because there is some positive change she might be able to effect, then where does the cost/benefit ratio* fall out?

Hell, one of the reasons Versailles backed Obama over Clinton was that Clinton showed signs of being marginally less Empire- and Versailles-friendly than he did. (as you often say, and with which I agree, marginal is not insignificant!). But there's no getting drafted if she goes outside that margin -- that's quite clear.

* I'm not saying I have the answer to this myself.

Submitted by lambert on

... if this were a post I was writing from scratch. But the context was the Confluence, so that's my starting point. Worse, I'm super-overloaded in RL. So....

1. IIRC, and I hope I do, I always thought that Obama and Hillary were pretty much a wash on the war, hence the empire (despite all the yammering about Obama's Iraq speech, whose antecedents were dubious to say the least).

2. From that perspective, it doesn't make any sense to ask Hillary to resign. There are plenty of other people who should resign if she should, and be prosecuted at the Hague tribunal, too. The empire is part of conventional wisdom in Versailles; everybody who is anybody supports it. And IIRC, that's the position I've taken consistently.

3. So I've gotten sloppy in my arguments, here; I do like to win, and that's a character flaw. Let me revise and extend my remarks. What I should have written here is along the lines of "If Hillary should resign now, she should have resigned long before. And there would have been political benefits to her, for having done so" (like my vote, maybe, if that's a benefit). But that's not what I wrote. So I retract what I wrote.

* * *

What I'm trying to get at, though, is that I'm seeing exactly the same talking points used to support Obama used to support Hillary (here, "[s]he has to say that"). I find that pretty frightening, and it doesn't do Hillary any good, either. What next? "Wait 'til [s]he does something?" "You're a racsexist?" Not that the latter, in both cases, wasn't often true, but when it's the first cudgel out of the bag, it often isn't true.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

in those cables, rather Hillary -- I don't get the "resign". Resign for what?
Letting the leak occur?
The UN spying -- (I am shocked, shocked, that spying is happening where diplomats & ambassadors meet.)
Did Hillary make any public promises about how she would manage the SoS that have been proven broken by these documents?
I think, speaking as a Hillary supporter, we have gotten so used to Hillary being told she should quit whenever she starts to shine that we are very jaded about it.

Submitted by lambert on

If it's lawbreaking.... Well, I guess that's a wash too, given that our elite acts with impunity. I don't think the issue is promises. It certainly isn't for me. This is diplomacy, breaking promises is what that's all about.

UPDATE And see, again, what I wrote (emphasis added):

"If Hillary should resign now, she should have resigned long before. And there would have been political benefits to her, for having done so"

Afghanistan is wrong to the core. Ditto Iraq. The wikileaks stuff is a pimple on the ass of the world beside them. Plenty of real reasons to resign there.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

that I was reacting to, rather than your post.
I got what you were saying, that the point for HRC to distance herself from BO would have been before now.
No, the media is trying to use this wikileaks dump to take HRC down. They practically fed the question to Assange.

Submitted by lambert on

The press sucks. Assange may suck, but may do so in a different way, assuming that the foil theories are not true.

Submitted by jawbone on

on Hillary and her possible responsibiity for ordering spying on UN officials. When news of that came out, I cringed, because I knew that she would be held accountable, by the left and by the right if they saw political gain in doing so. I would hold her accountable.

Anyway, Glenn closes with this:

...collect passwords, emails, and biometric data in order to spy on top U.N. officials and others, likely in violation of the Vienna Treaty of 1961 (see Articles 27 and 30; and, believe me, I know: it's just "law," nothing any Serious person believes should constrain our great leaders). (My emphasis)

I know very well that I would hammer Bush over this, had I known about it. That little thing called "law" and the resulting "rule of law." I hammered Bush about his flouting of the law of the Geneva Conventions and the understood laws of war.

Aside from wanting Hillary to remain in the Senate and become the Lioness* of Liberalism, I feared she would be tainted by having to do the work of this president.

I also warned that Obama would not be held accountable by much of the left, while Hillary would have had her feet held to the fire. I saw that as a good thing. Of course, I also thought she would be more than marginally a better president. I worried about her as a woman "having" to prove she was strong enough to be president, leader of the free world, and commander in chief. No problem with the first two, but CIC might put her in the position of "having" to be more Catholic than the pope. Had 9/11 even happened on his watch, Gore would have been in a simlar position, just as a Democrat.

*Lioness -- I just love the sound of the word, altho it does bespeak gender.

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

It's SOP in diplomatic circles. It's hardly illegal, and if it were, then I would guess every UN member were breaking the law.

If this were an area I would bash Bush about then I would be an equal opportunity basher, but this is much ado about nothing. There is no there there.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

of taking stands and going to bat for ordinary people. Obama doesn't. That is a very, very big difference. Obama had more opportunities than Clinton to do things for ordinary people - as a civil rights lawyer and as a state senator - and yet, he consistently failed to even ATTEMPT to do things to improve the lives of average people.

I'm not willing to wait for someone capable of turning the ship of state onto a completely different journey to have improvements in the lives of ordinary people. Even if we have a president that simply saves social security, expands health care into Medicare for all, and finds a way to increase employment and wages, and bring down the cost of schooling, that's significant. I don't know that anyone can end our era of empire, but I don't want to give up on ordinary people.

I don't know that anyone can move the country to the left without being a genius politician. Our national discourse is completely corrupted by conservative dominance. The question is how does someone succeed within the discourse that's allowed within this country. I think the thing to remember is that the health insurance industry spent $300m in 1993 to destroy Clinton's first attempt at health care reform. I read that they had $600m set aside to destroy it this time out. When corporate America can afford to spend that much on lobbying congress and American citizens and when their message will be positively echoed in every media conversation, how does a politician who wants to move forward talk? And is there only one path forward or will the path be unique to each politician? And can we and will we recognize it when we see it?

Submitted by lambert on

I think it's there for her if she wants it, and if she has the imagination to seize it. I wish I thought both conditionals were true, but I don't.

* * *

As far as "can we and will we recognize it when we see it"? Well, we never will unless we invest ourselves in policies and not personalities. It's "falling in love" with politicians that blinds us, I would argue.

Submitted by Hugh on

Obama and Clinton are both neocons abroad and neoliberals at home. If Obama thought even for an instant that Clinton was some kind of closet progressive he would never have appointed her to anything. What few progressives slipped through early on, he got rid of a long time ago.

The defenses of Clinton are on par with those of Obama by the OFB. We all want effective leadership. We all want real change. But we will never get either from the Democrats, or any Democrat. To say no to Obama and yes to Clinton is to change faces but not agendas. Neither is progressive. Neither is remotely progressive. We really need to drop these sentimental attachments to politicians. We need to stop making excuses for them. As the saying goes around here, I don't fall in love with politicians, I'm not that desperate. Clearly, many are. And that's understandable. We have been disappointed so many times. We have experienced a dearth in leadership, and an explosion of anti-leadership, which goes back what? 30, 50, 70 years. For most of us, that's our entire lives. The result is that we tend to see leadership even when it isn't really there. That's what happened with Obama. It's the same way with Clinton. Words are nice but the real test of leadership is what people do, what they fight for, the price they are willing to pay to take a stand. I actually see some of this leadership on the web, but I can't remember the last time I saw it in politics.

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

and their votes over the years. Not the same, not even close. I think it's ridiculous to assert that if Hillary were president right now rather than Obama that things would be the same. Uh, no, she has a spine and she has principles. Obama lacks both. This is not just rabid fan talk - look at the history. Do I agree with everything HClinton would do if she were president? Probably I would not and would say so.

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

can she be effective in her current position?

She's in the most powerful position in government a woman has ever attained. To look at resigning from that would take more than a dispute over one particular policy position. So the issue is - does she still have influence over the agency she's nominally the head of? If so, stay. If she leaves, how would that be helpful to anyone?

'Sitting on her front porch' isn't the image I have of her at all. If she can have a positive influence in the current work she's doing, she'll keep doing it. I also don't see her as a 'complacent co-conspirator.' There's probably a lot more to running the State Department than carrying out whatever whim comes from Obama's advisors. And how those whims get implemented (and how fast) can be orchestrated as well.

I don't defend HClinton's positions - she's more hawkish, more of a team player than I'd like to see. But those issues don't make me not want to support her. In general, she's a liberal and a competent politician. I don't blindly follow Hillary any more than I'd be part of the Obama fan base.

It's not clear to me what it is you think she needs to be defended from/for. In the comment snippet it starts with Lambert asserting that HClinton should resign. Why? And what is it you think that her supporters are defender her about? Perhaps you think merely being a part of the Obama administration is the problem. I'd think someone who is the Secretary of State would want to stay in that position as long as they are effective at it. I don't see her as a rubber stamp Obama follower so I don't know what the issue is here. What prompted all this?

Submitted by lambert on

1. Sitting on the front porch is a classic strategy for being drafted as a candidate. It's not "baking cookies," if that's the implication.

2. See here on the resignation talking point.

Yeah, on the more hawkish and more team player than I'd like. Pretty much where I am, with the addition that I think the situation has deteriorated so badly since 2008 that no legacy party candidate can make a difference. We could do a lot worse than Hillary, but then we're going to do a lot worse no matter what, so...

Submitted by Hugh on

Obama = Clinton = Democrats generally. We see everyday how bankrupt, corporatist, and anti-progressive the Democrats are. For progressives to have any credibility, they must be opposed. But what happens at the first opportunity? You go running back to these very same Democrats, saying oh, but Hillary is different. No, she isn't. You just want her to be. A Clinton Presidency might have been a little different in its atmospherics from Obama's, but in its substance it would have been indistinguishable. The Democrats are not the answer. Not some. None. And that includes Clinton.

What this attachment to Clinton tells me is that you can't let go. You can't move beyond the Democrats, not really. It's still but, but, but this one is different. No, they aren't. Not Clinton, not Feingold, not Kucinich. Where was Clinton on healthcare, not back in 1993, but in 2009. Where were Feingold and Kucinich? As long as you keep holding on these people, you will continue to be played by them. It is actually quite startling, and more than a little depressing, how people read into Clinton what they want to see in her just as the Obamabots do Obama. But in either case, it is just your hope and desires you are seeing, not the real person and politician. There is no arguing with that. You will believe until something causes you stop believing. But it is belief, not evidence or logic which is driving this.

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

"It's the same way with Clinton. Words are nice but the real test of leadership is what people do, what they fight for, the price they are willing to pay to take a stand."
And on this score you find no difference? Even incremental?  Seems I recall you had this exchange with Lambert already. 

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

let go of Obama talking points to us. You have yet to acknowledge that she has a strong, liberal voting record, and that her personal record of accomplishment, outside of office, demonstrates that she is an actual liberal. You can't admit those things. If your argument is that the very fact of her being part of the system means that she's too compromised to succeed, then you must understand, whether you agree or not, that not everyone views working within the system the same way you do. Lots of really, really smart people with lots of experience getting things done, don't agree with you.

I'm a liberal - at least as liberal as you. I'd run for office and work within this system, if I thought that I could flourish in that environment - but I've worked on enough campaigns to know that I'd hate being in a legislature.

Hugh, honestly, I don't think you'd recognize a leader if you saw one. I'm sure you would have been having conniptions over FDR getting the nomination - I mean, look how that came about.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

to repeat what Lambert said above. I don't agree with you that all Democrats are equal. There are marginal differences, and, to quote again, marginal is not insignificant. So, if the choice is to vote for Obama or Clinton or Feingold or Kucinich or Mittens or Palin, it makes a lot of sense to look at the differences in their words and actions. And to argue for the one who offers the best chance of good, effective policies, however marginal.

But I think your advice is important right now. Two years before the election, at a time when the terms from the most recent election haven't even started, to invest time, money, or energy in the one that we hope will bring us good policies has too great an opportunity cost. Instead, we should be building the movement for the policies. In our hero-worshiping society (where hero usually just means celebrity), the temptation to focus hope on the next savior threatens to blind us. And the blindness enables the continuation of very bad policies.

We should hold the politicians, including those who we think are marginally better, to the standard we're looking for. When Clinton is wrong, I don't want to hear about all the reasons that I should ignore or mitigate my opinion of what she did. Not of her, but of what she did. I've noted in several comments here at Correntewire that I'm not as down on Kucinich as most of you, but I'll excoriate him with the best of you for his betrayal on health care. That's not to be explained away. Same thing with Clinton -- I can overall think she's done good things without the need to try to explain away the bad stuff she does. It's that attempt to mitigate everything she does that's producing the worry about an Obamabot type fan club.

Submitted by gob on

I'm so late to this party that nihil obstet has said most of what I wanted to say. I will just add that, looking within my own thought processes, I detect a strong desire to make excuses for Hillary Clinton. This is a bit embarassing, like so many other aspects of being human.

But -- whether emotionally attached to Clinton or not -- the important thing is what we say and do right now. Making those excuses, putting on tinfoil hats, etc., doesn't get us any closer to a clear view of that. And neither does calling for her resignation, or talking about how many things she would have done as president that we would disagree with. (I would classify both those things as mostly-harmless entertainment.)

Yes, right now we need to be working on policy, not looking for the next candidate. Because that person, no matter how good they are relative to the others, is guaranteed to disappoint, either by losing, or by their behavior in office.

And if you really need a warning about attachment to candidates, remember John Edwards (gah)!

Submitted by jawbone on

during her primary campaign. Then she supported Obama during his general campaign, and he bamboozled the public, many Dems, perhaps Hillary (altho' I doubt that).

Since she was Secty of State during most of 2009, it's unfair to challenge her lack of fighting for her proposals or single payer (altho' I have this vague recollection of her making some statement about domestic social issues which irritated the Obama true believers and caused the MCMers to tsk tsk at her...but I could be wrong).

In areas of substance, she wanted a HOLC type plan to assist people in danger of losing their homes, a plan based on what actually worked during the Great Depression. She had proposed an immediate buy-in to Medicare for people over either 55 or close to that age who no longer had health insurance through work. Those two things alone would have made her presidency far more than atmospherically different; it would be substantially different. Oh, and I seem to recall she saw jobs, jobs, jobs as being of paramount importance.

Would we have been disappointed? Yes, most likely about the foreign wars. Would she be as "berserky" with the air war as Obama has been? I don't know. Would she have been worse? I think not, but cannot know.

I do know that lefties of many difference persuasions would have held her to account, which most have not done with Obama. And I think she would have listened.

But, woulda, shoulda, coulda.... She didn't win, and we did lose. Now we see Democrats seeming to melt away from Democrtic principles before our very eyes. We need something different, a party to represent the people; that's going to take time and effort and more time and more effort.

Oh, yes! She would not have set up a damn Cat Food Commission for Peterson and the Austerians.

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

... Is that she authorized her UN staff to collect info on Ban Ki Moon.
Let that sink in.
That's all he got out of all those cables?

Submitted by Hugh on

Maybe I should have extended my set of equivalences one more step: Obama = Clinton = Democrats = Republicans = corporatists. You are just dwelling in fantasyland if you think you are going to get real change from any of these. In the Bush years, we had the Bushbots. Didn't matter what he fucked up or how badly. He was their guy and they stuck with him to the end. Embarrassingly for progressives, we see the same behavior with Obamabots and Clintonistas. It is political tribalism and has no place in progressivism.

Progressives need not only to break their ties with Democrats but move into active opposition of them. They are anti-progressive and, for us, it is also matter of credibility.

Kneejerk, unreasoned support of Clinton, inventing excuses and a liberal record for her is no different than the kool aid drinking Bushbot. By legitimizing a conservative neocon/neoliberal like Clinton, you are also legitimizing her party. If you can't give up on Clinton, then you can't give up on the Democratic party, and if you can't give up on the Democratic party, then why do you even bother to call yourself a progressive? I am tired of all this Trojan horsedom. It is like Einstein's definition of insanity. You keep backing anti-progressive Democrats and express surprise each time they screw you over. You laugh at those who bought into Obama's secret plans and 11-dimensional chess. Yet with Clinton you say she is a liberal even though, or possibly precisely because, she gives no indication of it as Secretary of State. It is just as demented as the Obamabots. Clinton was a junior Senator from New York with an undistinguished record. In her 8 years in the Senate, she never really led on anything or used her name recognition to any particular end, but because you want a hero suddenly she acquires all of these attributes. There is no evidence for them. There is plenty of evidence they don't exist anywhere but your imaginations. But that doesn't matter. It's the Obama 11-dimensional chess meme all over again. You want a hero. So anything that can be bent and twisted into supporting your point you keep and anything that doesn't accord with your hero-image gets dumped. Clinton was one of the biggest supporters of the Iraq war. That should be disqualifying, right? Of course not, she's your hero. Her support is misunderstood. She voted for the TARP. No matter, she stands up for the little guy. She was silent on healthcare. Doesn't mean a thing. She was for it 17 years ago. And on and on.

Well, Bushbots have their delusions and Obamabots have theirs and you have yours. But just because you have drunk the kool aid, don't expect me to.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

is that you clearly don't know much about Clinton. You think you do, but you clearly don't. Obama had no accomplishments as a state senator, as an attorney at a civil rights law firm or even as a citizen activist involved with various non-profits. He doesn't do anything to help anyone - ever. Not then, not now.

But you can't say that about Clinton - at every stage of her life, she's working on projects that make life better for average people. That's what she focused on as US senator as well - that's why you don't know what she did. I've seen an assessment of her work as a senator, and what bills she authored - whether they went anywhere or not. There is a very consistent arc with Clinton - access to education, access to health care and increased opportunities for small business. It's there from the time she gets out of college until now.

Don't mistake your ignorance for her lack of accomplishment - they are two different things.

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

give me a break, Obama is incompetent, foolish, weak and inexperienced. Put aside the policies for one moment, he simply is an awful leader, and particularly ill suited for the times we are in. On the policies, he was and is consistently to the Right of both Hillary and Bill Clinton on every domestic policy. I mean, there is a record now that supports this. Some of us didn't expect the last Presidential election to completely change the world as we know it. We wanted competence and some adherence to Democratic principles, and yes, I think there is ample evidence Hillary was much better prepared in those terms than Obama.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

although there's a whole lot of stuff in here: this comment may or may not have been aimed at me, but I don't consider myself a "progressive." The career progressives and OFB progbloggers totally and utterly poisoned that well, to the point where I'm automatically suspicious of anyone who still uses it.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

But, first, I'd sure like to see some new people in the mix, or perhaps some old New Deal people who still really believed. I'd love to vote for Elizabeth Warren, or Jamie Galbraith, or Bill Black. But 2012 is probably too soon for any of them. Meanwhile, if O runs again in 2012, I'll vote against him in the primary, and if he still wins I'll vote for a third party candidate.

As for Hillary, if she becomes the candidate of an insurgent progressive movement committed to things like Federal Job Guarantees, Medicare for All, Civil Liberties, Gay Rights, New Energy Foundations, and a Green Economy, I'd probably go for her. On the other hand, maybe by 2012, the IVCS will be a reality, and we'll have a great new candidate committed to the shared Policy Agenda of an IVCS Electoral Coalition.

Submitted by Hugh on

To know Clinton is to love Clinton. Therefore if we do not love Clinton, we must not know her. I note no one seems to want to address Clinton's stance on the Iraq war. I could throw in her bellicosity toward Iran as well but it wouldn't matter. Just like Obamabots and Bushbots you are impervious to anything that doesn't reinforce your beliefs. I'm just surprised you have the gall to criticize them for doing what you do.

I wrote the largest and longest indictment of Bush on the web in my Bush scandals list. My Obama scandals list is the longest and largest critique of the Obama Administration on the web as well. I apply the same standards to all comers. I do not have one standard for Democrats and another for Republicans. I do not have one standard for Obama and another for Clinton. So when you tell me that a RINO like Clinton is some kind of liberal, progressive Second Coming I really have to wonder what you are smoking. All it tells me is that you are still invested in the Democratic party, that you haven't been screwed over by it enough times to really break with it, that you think it is just a question of personalities: Obama didn't deliver change we can believe in but Hillary will. And then, who knows, if Clinton did get the chance to screw you over, then maybe you would just move on to Feingold or Kucinich. Yeah, they [healthcare] wouldn't screw you over [healthcare], would they? Well, whenever you have been sufficiently fucked over by the Democrats, we'll be waiting for you. There is life and politics beyond them.

Submitted by lambert on

There are plenty of 2008 Clinton supporters that your comment doesn't apply to, myself among them, and who fully considered all the points you say we didn't, didn't smoke anything, didn't consider her the second coming, or any of that crap. (This is 2010, of course, not 2008.)

Just as with Obama, there are Clinton supporters and Clinton fans -- the fans treating politics as a form of celebrity worship, with all that entails. One contrast between the two campaigns is that the Obama campaign actually trained its supporters to be fans, via Camp Obama and so forth (links on request), with "check the web site" being the preferred -- actually organized, trained for -- deflection when people would interrupt the preferred conversion narrative with policy questions. I'd argue that's why the proportion of fans to supporters is greater with Obama than with Clinton. I'd argue also that's why the virulence of the fandom is greater -- the training was very well done, evangelical-style. I'd argue finally that's why Clinton supporters are more amenable to policy appeals (in addition to the fact that on average Clinton supporters need government to work for them in a way that on average Obama supporters do not, adding to the policy focus).

Letting your knee jerk like this does no credit to your analytical abilities on display elsewhere. I am a part of the "you" in your statement, and there's literally no part of it that's true. Refighting the 2008 primaries gets old after awhile, but if I have to do with you, I'll do it, and in the end, you'll display adaptability. Or not.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

You saved me a lot of time.

Back to the original point of your post:

I still think it's unfortunate you're using this particular example to raise the hero-worship or excuse question:

1. Rereading the Confluence statement, I think it was much more of a "she's damned if she does, damned if she doesn't" observation, and not an excuse. And if you're damned either way, do what makes you happy...

2. Based on Ambinder's article, I think the WikiLeaks thing is a big non-issue (putting aside general membership in the Empire for the moment). In fact, the directive, and the larger-audience reaction was the usual "Die Hillary Die" crap from the usual suspects. So it's kind of a better example to condemn the opposite.

As a practical matter, I'm not sure much pre-dread is warranted. The problem with the OFB genre is that it so dominated, suffocated, and poisoned the entire political discourse that it delivered him first the nomination and then the presidency, and us to the poorhouse. (I suppose I should say “helped deliver”, since they must share credit with the Dems' RBC). With Clinton, between all the CDS floating around, and the fact that she seems to have the permanent hatred of “progressives” for a big flaming poisonous bag of legit and illegit reasons mixed together, the copy & paste litanies of her sins (real and imagined), plus the non-CDS-sufferers who do judge her actions based on principles, Clinton hero worship is never going to dominate the political conversation. It's not the same danger at all.

That doesn't mean the vileness of the OFB excuses similar behavior from Clinton supporters or fans, just that the disparate effects may influence how much energy you (generic you) put toward combatting either/both.

But taking your original point, there ARE comments floating around that excuse her rather than criticize her. We could come up with a WIODI? as the quick and dirty test. (or we could "triangulate"! with both a WIBDI and a WIODI! Ha, I like that). I'm perfectly happy to use those as the first-threshold analysis, since that's usually how I check myself.

And on the other part of your original post:

The snarky but true answer to your question is "we'll stop bringing up gender discrimination when the gender discrimination stops." Or to flip your own question around:

When, exactly, will the excuse accusation NOT get made when someone observes that Clinton is the subject of gender discrimination? If the fires of hell in the 2008 primaries isn't enough to remove the "excuse" taint for an observation about discrimination, what is?

The answer to both questions is a helluva more complicated than the WIODI-type analysis I'm partial to on your other point. I sure wish I had a bright-line test. Frankly, I could use just such in RL, because it's not just the Clintons of the world who have to face the effectiveness vs participation quandry every day of their lives. (oops, steering into maudlin territory there...).

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

(especially if it involves mental notes! I'm afraid that's a lost cause these days for me) as it is about really wanting to have an answer. I think it has to do with some sort of relative scale. Like, are you doing what you can, when you can?

gizzardboy's picture
Submitted by gizzardboy on

Back in the day, Hubert Humphrey stood for a lot of progressive things, but by becoming LBJ's veep and spouting the LBJ line (as he had to as a team player) made him pretty weak when it came time to stand by himself again. Clean Gene or Bobby were not tainted by the Viet Nam war. The progessives were at best, luke warm in their support of Humphrey. Hillary is kind of in that position now, whether or not there is a resignation. Does she say "I didn't mean all that shit I said as SoS"? "Obama made me do it"? For better or for worse, she is tied to Obama.

Submitted by lambert on

Clinton made, I think, a good calculation that SoS would allow her to remain a player and yet stay as far away from Obama as possible (I wanted her to stay as a Senator and work toward HOLC), and I see the logic of it, but everybody who associates with Obama comes out damaged or soiled, with their brand wreckedMR SUBLIMINAL Mission accomplised! and so with Clinton. With Wikileaks those chickens came home to roost, though I'd argue that's fallout, and not the mission. Who knows, though.