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Saturday, November 08, 2014

Hillary

It's sad to see stuff like this coming from Riverdaughter, a blogger I've always admired. In 2008, she pulled off the damnedest trick in the recent history of grass-roots American politics. Picture it: A single mother who holds an important and demanding job starts a movement in her spare time that nearly derails the best-laid plans of all the DC insiders. That, friends, is a movie. Seriously. If I still lived in L.A., I could pitch Riverdaughter: The Movie.

Riverdaughter's quasi-worshipful attitude toward Hillary Clinton never really bothered me. In fact, I'm envious. In 1968, my idealistic elders felt similarly about RFK, and, though just a tyke, I caught some of their enthusiasm. Back then, people did not fear heroes -- people expected heroes.

Alas, the American political system has, over the course of more than four decades, given us no-one else to believe in -- at least, not to that extent. Every cynic secretly longs to be a romantic. I do. I long to be an acolyte, an idolator, a fan. But over the course of the past four decades, who was there to be a fan of?

"Cometh the moment, cometh the man," as the old saying has it -- but those old sayers lied. The man did not arrive. Neither did the woman.

At least not in this country. Foreign lands have provided some genuine heroes. Petra Kelly, for one. Aung San Suu Kyi, for another. I love them. I'm in awe of them -- perhaps because I've always been a sucker for the Joan of Arc story, and they lived the myth.

Maybe that's why I remain fixated on Maram Susli, a.k.a. Syrian Girl, a.k.a. The Closest Thing To St. Joan This Miserable Modern World Has To Offer. If you'd like to know more about her, this profile of Susli lets her speak her mind, and every word lands like an uppercut.

(This blog has not used Syrian Girl's real name in previous posts due to a suspicion that those who first revealed it online worked for an unfriendly government. Not mentioning any names, but...you know Lebanon? Keep heading south.)  

(File this revelation under "you read it here first": A Cannonfire reader who lives down under has passed along the informtion that Maram Susli already has a boyfriend. Stop dreaming your silly dreams, guys. And start paying attention to what this important woman is saying.)

We've rambled away from the topic, haven't we?

Let's get back on track: Throughout the past forty years, I've had no American heroes -- just "better thans." Vote for A because A is better than B. Yay. And let's try not to think about the fact that A is the kind of politician one tolerates rather than adores. With the possible exception of 1988 (when I cast a vote for Jesse Jackson), that's been the story of every stupid election of my whole stupid life. Blehhhhh.

In 2008, Hillary was better than Obama. She did not thrill me. She thrilled Riverdaughter and a lot of other Confluence writers: Fine. But nobody running for office in that year gave me that proverbial tingle-up-the-leg.

Neither has any other presidential aspirant in any other election year. Not since that hideous night in the Ambassador Hotel.

Here, in part (and do read the whole), is Riverdaughter's argument for Hillary in 2016:
And there will be some Democrats who will never accept her even while they grudgingly admit there is no one else who has her cachet. They’re still convinced that she’s a corporatist and a neoliberal.

Can I just say right here that I will be very disappointed if bloggers and their audiences continue to use these words?
She then goes on to defend the concept of the corporation, which is not really germane to our present argument. Let's concede much of what she says...
It’s the same with the word “neoliberal”. What exactly does that mean or is it a catch all for anything you don’t like? In other words, stop using these labels and think through your issues with any candidate, not just Hillary.
Look, I don’t care if you personally like Hillary Clinton. All I’m interested in is if you can judge fairly. Right now, I can’t see how that is going to happen. Is she corrupt? If not, will she make a good president? Those are the only two questions I am asking right now.

I’m not expecting her to save the party’s bacon. It seems to me that the Obama administration and it’s supporters have asked the Clintons to do this one too many times over the past six years and then they turn around and continue to beat the s^&* out of both of them in the comments section of every blog continuing to divide us up into two camps. This is exactly what I would love to see if I were a selfish, narcissistic power addict. No one is getting along. The scapegoat always tries to do the right thing for the party and then gets trashed.
And so on. It's all very well written and it makes some good points. But...something is missing.

That something is called Hillary's record as Secretary of State.

Riverdaughter doen 't seem to enjoy talking about that. I don't think she cares to argue about recent foreign policy. But we can't ignore that topic: Foreign policy has been the true horror of the Obama years, and Hillary helped to construct that policy.

The problem with Hillary isn't neoliberalism, it's neoconservatism.

(Let's not pretend that the term "neoconservative" is devoid of meaning. If you need a definition, here's a good start. The Urban dictionary entry is cute. But if you really want to understand this ideology, watch Adam Curtis's still-significant documentary The Power of Nightmares.)

In 2008, I would have defended Hillary to the death against the oft-heard charge that she was a neocon in sheep's clothing. (There were, in fact, a few death threats at that time.) But since then, she has revealed either her true colors or her new colors.

Persuasive insider accounts inform us that she has been the primary force pushing Obama toward neoconservatism.

One of those insider accounts, as noted in an earlier post, can be found in former CIA Director Leon Panetta's new book. Panetta, obviously not a big Obama fan, is very close to the Clintons, and he probably wrote this book to help Hillary attain the presidency. But for many readers, the volume will have the opposite of its intended effect.

Hillary's neoconservatism is not just a meme. It's not one of those ridiculous smears that used to appear all over Daily Kos and HuffPo. Writers across the political spectrum now feel comfortable applying that label to her.

Here's Forbes.
Hillary Clinton has begun maneuvering for 2016 by running to Obama’s right. Most dramatically, she turned on the Syria policy that she articulated and implemented, declaring that Washington should have armed the opposition much earlier. We are to believe that if only the people who brought us the Libyan imbroglio had the chance in Syria they would have given the right weapons to the right insurgents at the right time. The result would have been a united, democratic Syria with Islamists staying home and accepting the new order. It sounds like a Hollywood fantasy.

She consistently promoted a militarist policy in the Balkans and Middle East. She advocated war against Serbia, backed the Iraq invasion (a vote she repudiated only under political pressure in the 2008 campaign), and took a hawkish position on virtually every issue within the Obama administration: more troops for Afghanistan, continued military presence in Iraq, little compromise with Iran, war in Libya. While she mocked the president’s mantra of “Don’t do stupid stuff,” she spent her career doing just that.
The Iraq vote bit is the only unfair item in this list. (Readers, puh-leeze: can we avoid the exchange of predictabilities just this once?) The rest is more or less spot on. In truth, we did arm the Syrian opposition, if we stretch the definition of "we" to include our allies in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. The creation of an anti-Assad proxy army could not have happened without the help of Hillary Clinton.

And here's Bob Parry:
Then, in his first months in office, as Obama grappled with what to do about the worsening security situation in Afghanistan, [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates and Clinton teamed up with Gen. David Petraeus, a neocon favorite, to maneuver the President into another 30,000-troop “surge” – to wage a counterinsurgency war across large swaths of Afghanistan.

In Duty, Gates cites his collaboration with Clinton as crucial to his success in getting Obama to agree to the troop escalation and the expanded goal of counterinsurgency. Referring to Clinton, Gates wrote, “we would develop a very strong partnership, in part because it turned out we agreed on almost every important issue.”

The hawkish Gates-Clinton tandem helped counter the move dovish team including Vice President Joe Biden, several members of the National Security Council staff and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, who tried to steer President Obama away from this deeper involvement.

Gates wrote, “I was confident that Hillary and I would be able to work closely together. Indeed, before too long, commentators were observing that in an administration where all power and decision making were gravitating to the White House, Clinton and I represented the only independent ‘power center,’ not least because, for very different reasons, we were both seen as ‘un-fireable.’”

When General Stanley McChrystal proposed the expanded counterinsurgency war for Afghanistan, Gates wrote that he and “Hillary strongly supported McChrystal’s approach” along with UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Petraeus. On the other side were Biden, NSC aide Tom Donilon and intelligence adviser John Brennan, with Eikenberry supporting more troops but skeptical of the counterinsurgency plan because of weaknesses in the Afghan government, Gates wrote.
To top it off, Hillary Clinton has -- quite insanely -- likened Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.

Sorry, but a Secretary of State will inevitably compile a record, and that record matters. It's very easy to make fun of Joe Biden, but he has been a voice for moderation throughout the past six years. Hillary? Just the opposite.

Yes, Hillary is female, and yes, it is about damned time for this country to elect a female president -- in fact, it was about damned time two hundred years ago. But is Hillary really the right person to rectify this historical injustice? As Glenn Greenwald said:
Opposition to her is going to be depicted as misogynistic, like opposition to Obama has been depicted as racist. It’s going to be this completely symbolic messaging that’s going to overshadow the fact that she’ll do nothing but continue everything in pursuit of her own power. They’ll probably have a gay person after Hillary who’s just going to do the same thing.
The only problem with this passage is the phrase "pursuit of her own power." Those words apply to all politicians: It's an easy insult. What bothers me is not the pursuit of power but the pursuit of detestable foreign policies.

If you are now itching to call me a sexist -- well, look at it this way: In this post, I have framed the very important issue of Syria as a kind of battle between Maram Susli and Hillary Clinton. Both are women. Both of them have been subjected to unfair, sexist attacks. But when the story of the Syrian civil war is told a hundred years from now, only one of those two women will be vindicated by history -- and that one won't be Hillary Clinton.
Comments:
Neoconservative is an unfortunate term. I much prefer imperialist, because that's the most important and damning part of being either a neoconservative or neoliberal. If people, like Riverdaughter, are going to quibble over terms, then lets step back a bit and use an older, time-tested one. The imperial mentality turns whole regions of the world and parts of every nation, their populations, and their ecosystems into sacrifice zones for a special group's or nation's fictional right to prosperity over all others. Continued economic growth and superiority can never be assured without empire and bloodshed. Sooner or later that means foreign invasions and regime changes and all the related atrocities no matter the political philosophy of those chosen to run it. That's what Hillary Clinton would be, a choice to the run the empire or at least what's left of it.
 
Martin Luther King was running for President in 1968. So was Bobby Kennedy. Both were killed. Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich might have made presidencies of a far different mold than Obama made. It seems that only certified cowards have a chance to make a viable try on the November ballot.
 
Two people I once respected have soiled their reputations in their roles as Secretary of State under Obama. Both now warmongers for the machine.
 
"Can anything good come out of Nazareth" referring to the eminent Nazarene, could be used in conjunction with Western political structure. The system has been broken for some time and shows it's Humpty Dumptiness with each regime change. Paper or plastic is not a choice and democratic republic might just as well be the Roman Circus for all the flaccid attempts at reform. Such 'reforms' are always incremental going forward and are easily taken back two steps when it suits. Riverdaughter is just another pie-eyed enabler, as though a female war-monger will be better than any male counterpoint.

Ben
 
If Syrian Girl would do an impression of Jaan Pehechaan Ho in the youtube clip below, and give it to you to post here on your blog, I will forgive her for all past, present and future misdeeds, assuming of course she has any? ;) j


 
Mr. C, further to my last comment, I told a female friend of mine about the offer I made to Syrian Girl, and I was called a bunch of animal-type names that sounded something like rabid or rabbit or maybe even rabbi – I don’t know, so on behalf of all the rabbis I offer succor to Syrian Girl.

rabbi j
 
I will attempt to defend Hillary although I am still mad at her. Before Isis everyone who has knowledge about what Bashar really is would have welcome his removal by any means necessary. A lot of people in the left(including myself) agreed. Again before ISIS there were a legitimate opposition to him compromised of professionals, military and different groups. Hillary was targeting those groups. It seemed good in paper but things get out of hand because the arrogance of Americans makes them think they know every thing. With Isis in the picture removal of Basshar suddenly is not a good idea. The same goes for Lybia. Gazafy was a vile brutal beast. if you listen to anyone who knows how he ruled you would come to the same conclusion. one apparent evidence is what is going on now. He was able to control all that, ask your self how. Again the way Nato did it of course is criminal but I don't see Hillary's fault there.
 
I was a 19 year old college student when Bobby died. I was preparing to volunteer when his campaign headquarters was established. I would have run for coffee,posted signs, whatever I could to be a part of an effort that I thought would really make a difference in our lives and that of our country. When it was not to be, even though I was still to young to vote (in those days), I had the feeling that I would never be voting in my lifetime for someone I had truly believed in. That belief has not changed;I liked some more than others, a few because they had'D' afetr their name, but none I really, really gave my heart to. In the spirit of Riverdaughter, I was for Hillary and I agreeded with most of what she has written about the 2007-2008 election process. If I were Hillary, I would not run. "Fix your own messes, I should have been the nominee in 2008." I would never have taken SOS. However, here we are and who knows what kind of mischief Barry will perpetrate in the next two years. The one thing that does intrigue me about a Hillary presidency is the idea of a co-presidency. I can't imagine that not being the case.
 
I don't recall Al Gore or John Kerry having their foreign policy examined the way that Hillary Clinton's has been.

And it's a damned no matter what she does path Hillary Clinton has to cross. If she doesn't have the experience, then she's a woman out of her realm, if she gets the experience, than no matter what she had done, it too would have been excoriated by different media factions.

Kind of like being a male blogger who likes Hillary Clinton, the vast majority of the pro Hillary Clinton lesbian bloggers either ignore the male bloggers or find them offensive for horning in, as if men haven't horned in enough elsewhere, now Hillary too! But I digress.

What conveniently doesn't get noted enough is that Hillary Clinton has never really been the president and therefore to imply her past votes and actions determine how she would be as president is somewhat ludicrous.

My biggest concern is she is getting old and out of shape and science and medicine has shown that the brain works better when it receives regular cardiovascular exercise. Run Hillary, Run, literally, on an elliptical so you look the part of president.
 
Also as the corporatist thing is that a conjecture, prediction or just a way to pile up stuff to justify not voting for her. Because from my end I don't recall she was ever a president or in charge of the federal or sponsored a bill in favour of Corp or financial institutions. Actually in 2008 they gave more money to Obama and helped him steal the nomination from her. He was their guy, and still she is the corporatist.
 
Anonymous, and I wish you had not been anonymous, you are correct to point out that Obama received Wall Street funding to a degree equal to or greater than Hillary's Wall Street funding, back in 2008. But my argument here concerns Hillary's record AFTER 2008. And I'm also talking about foreign policy, not domestic matters.

I'm sorry, but those things are worrisome.
 
Joseph, I also have reservations about Hillary. I supported Bobby Kennedy, ignoring the "bad Bobby" reservations of my political allies. Bobby, like his brother, was always a work in progress and the progression was generally for the better. The Kennedy brothers were democrats (small "d" intended), usually seeking to expand their values at home and in the world. Although Bill Clinton often compromised, I had the feeling that there was a core that would not compromise and that he would work to turn his compromises into victories for those same democratic values. His political enemies sensed it, too. When he raised that crooked index finger, it was like a sword pointed at the heart of elite privilege. I rallied to Hillary in 2008 because she, unlike Obama, often articulated an understanding (like FDR) that there were reactionary forces at work in our political system with which there could be no real compromise. Hopefully, she still believes that, but I am concerned that she has imperialist leanings, demonstrated by her record with respect to the Middle East, the Ukraine, and Latin America, that go beyond and even counter to a pragmatic foreign policy that truly promotes American democratic values and interests.
 
I'll be voting Green I really don't care about hillabilly.
 
I don't care for hillbilly.
That's as pedestrian a sentence as it is, it sums up most of her criticism. Most it doesnt stand to rigorous testing if any is applied. They just don't like her. Grow up
 
I'm more than a little tired of political dynasties in America. With the prospect of Jeb Bush running, I'd say the farce that it is national elections in the USA would be made plain for all to see (if it isn't already obvious). I think Clinton has a lot more wrong than just foreign policy, but that is the big one.

Alessandro mentions that with Gore and Kerry, their foreign policy was not examined the way Hillary's has been. I think with Kerry, that's hardly true. With Gore, maybe, I don't remember. It should have been in both cases. Sadly, most Americans have little to no understanding of foreign policy and are only concerned with their immediate surroundings. This needs to change. Hillary certainly won't be the one to change it, that's for sure. If anything, the mainstream media will view her foreign policy as right and correct, so she certainly won't be attacked for it by them or those on the right (since she does what they agree with at all times, in that area).

 
I'm a hillbilly. Clinton is a flatlander and not a member of the club. That said, unless you want President Cruz or worse then you should support Clinton. She's the only person guaranteed to beat all challengers and we could get a Democratic wave on her coattails. Don't waste your vote on candidates who can't win, else you get Thom Tillis in NC (the independent pulled 4% of the vote from Hagen) and Bush instead of Gore.
 
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