Article originally published on the Thom Hartmann forum. Video of article summary at the bottom.
I have been following politics since I was 13 years of age, and I’m almost 34 years old now. I actually remember watching Clinton’s Presidential Campaign when I was 11 or so. I was allowed to stay up and watch him win the election, but the importance of it all didn’t quite sink in until about 2 years after that.
I liked Bill Clinton as a child – granted, my mother loved Clinton so much of my love for him came from things she would say – her rhetoric, so-to-speak.
Fast-forward 6 years to when I was 19 and able to participate in my first Presidential election – Gore v Bush. I watched my countrymen vote for Al Gore, but then watched the Supreme Court deny the popular vote and appoint George Bush President.
Sickened by this revelation, I scoured books, history, Constitutional Law, and politics in general, only to discover that we haven’t had a President actually move away from Reagan’s policies since Reagan was elected before I was even born.
I’m certain I’ll have some of those on the left attempt to paint Clinton as some kind of progressive, or justify his signing of NAFTA as it not being “his” policy (because he didn’t write it, but instead was written by Republicans before he was elected President). I’m certain many on the left hold Clinton up as those on the right hold Reagan.
There are many issues with anyone claiming Clinton isn’t also responsible for the disastrous trade policies implemented during his Presidency, but I won’t get into them all here; it is sufficient enough to bring them up in order to present the continuation of Reagan policies (after all, I believe him to be the first to legitimately push for a free trade agreement between the US and Mexico – the Heritage foundation ran with this one back in 1980).
After Clinton, there was, of course, the disastrous Presidency of George Bush who brought us into the most expensive, longest running, and most costly war of our history – costly in terms of money, time, and reputation, arguably.
Then we had a candidate rally the masses. This candidate promised great reform of our policies, of our trade deals, of our love affair with big banks and Wall Street. This candidate promised hope, change, and many other progressive changes. Young people showed up in droves to support the first half-black, half-white President.
Barack Obama took to the White House in historic fashion and had his work cut out for him. But instead of getting to work, we witnessed Barack Obama continue many Bush policies, which are also policies that would have been accepted by Ronald Reagan. We watched as Barack Obama pulled a 180 and hand insurance companies the biggest payday they’ve ever seen in the history of this nation.
We watched this alleged ‘progressive’ President roll over on nearly every issue brought to the floor, then we watched him pass these Republican-tainted policies into law. We then watched him take this nation’s Constitution and rip it to shreds, as we also witnessed under George “Dubya” Bush.
We watched the erosion of the term “Democrat.” Barack Obama was/is the catalyst of the destruction of what it meant to be a Democrat, at least from where I’m sitting. Being a registered Democrat, having many of my own ideologies in line with the Democratic party of 10 years ago, I was appalled. I was disgusted. I stopped aligning myself with the Democratic party because I realized that Oligarchs have taken over this nation, and it matters not whether these politicians call themselves a Democrat or a Republican.
Since before Reagan came into office, there hasn’t been one single progressive candidate take office since (no, this isn’t implying Reagan was a progressive). Bill Clinton was not a progressive candidate. Barack Obama is not a progressive candidate. One can even argue that Barack Obama is as Conservative, and as harmful to the Constitution, as George W Bush.
Fast-forward to now and we have Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. They call themselves something of a ‘progressive’. Sanders, much the Socialist Democrat, and Clinton, the self-proclaimed ‘progressive’. But which of these two candidates is actually progressive?
Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate running that has the ideology, the drive, the conviction, and the willingness to stand up against this 30 year reign of Reaganomics and Conservative politics. He is the only candidate that can, to near 100% certainty, say he maintains the same views he has had since the beginning of his political career. But this article isn’t about Bernie Sanders; it is about Hillary Clinton, so let’s talk about Hillary.
She isn’t Bill Clinton, to be fair, but she is not a progressive, to be fairer. She is part of the political establishment, and has been, arguably, since she and her husband took the political realm by storm. She is mired in controversy and scandal. She has a complete willingness to bend, and even break, the rules in order to get the outcome she desires.
Hillary Clinton is also a liar, or at the very least dishonest. She is willing to switch her positions when it is politically expedient for her to do so ( a trait, by the way, that is why Obama isn’t well received by true progressives that do not simply vote the party line).
1) Gay Marriage:
She has changed her mind on gay marriage. One can argue she changed based on her constituents’ changing opinion, but this list will address a pattern of politically expedient flip-floppery.
In 2003, on the John Gambling Show, she openly stated her push against illegal immigrants and that we should do more to combat illegal immigration. She said: ” I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants. . . We’ve got to do more at our borders. And people have to stop employing illegal immigrants.” Back then, she talked about the disasters illegal immigration has brought to the US economy. She even invited people to come up where she was and watch as day laborers, all illegals (an implication she made), are trucked to and from work for various jobs that hard-working Americans can do.
But now? She wants basic amnesty for those here (another Reagan policy). She has also switched her tune on illegal immigrant detention facilities that have been exploiting illegal immigrants that are caught. Her campaign has been taking money from these private, for profit, prison systems, and only recently did she announce she would no longer accept money from them – why? Political expedience – again.
She has changed her overall stance, albeit subtly, on gun control: she advocated for the Brady Bill, which implemented background checks for firearm purchases, but in 2008 advocated the same position that Sanders has today. But where is she today? She advocates a plethora of gun-bans for various individuals throughout the nation based largely upon emotional, knee-jerk responses of certain types of crime. She advocates for the inability of people to obtain a firearm who are on, the equally arbitrary, no-fly list.
4) Trans-Pacific Partnership
She has changed her stance on the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership, a disastrous trade deal that makes NAFTA look like a barter system and includes provisions that essentially neuter American’s ability to pass laws that restrict business). She initially called for the “need” of a free and/or fair trade agreement (again, these are Reagan policies that are being pushed by Obama, supported only by Republicans, but is being rammed through by the top Democrats). She supported it as Secretary of State. But after her campaign began to really kick into gear, she has come out against it.
She and Obama pushed for changes in the S. Korean trade agreement, which she thought was great, until she started running for President and now says it hasn’t had the desired effect – which is quite odd given that no free trade/fair trade agreement has done anything beneficial for this nation that I can see, and most economists agree with me on this stance.
5) Mandatory Minimum Sentencing:
She has changed her stance on mandatory minimums. In 2008, while running against Obama, she called him ‘too liberal to be elected President’ (paraphrased) because of his opposition to mandatory minimum sentencing laws. She was in favor of them in 2008.
But now? Her rhetoric has turned a 180 and she released a head-scratching quote when she said this at Columbia University: “Measures that I and so many others have championed to reform arbitrary mandatory minimum sentences are long overdue.”
We have since witnessed a reduction in mandatory minimum sentences, but Eric Holder, and appointee of Obama, did not actively endorse granting retroactive changes in sentencing, and even offered up a plan that did LESS than what the sentencing commission actually ended up with. Obama did not champion retroactive reduction in mandatory minimums for those already convicted, but instead pushed for future drug charges to be reduced. Clinton is now claiming to be more liberal than Obama on the mandatory minimums when, not 8 years ago, she exclaimed he was too liberal on the issue.
The Keystone Pipeline. Clinton argues this obvious switch in ideology, but she did switch her stance. At the Commonwealth Country Club in San Francisco, back in 2010, she stated that she was inclined to approve the pipeline so that we might continue importing much needed oil from a “friendly” nation [Canada]. When that got out, she backtracked and said she took no position on it until she takes a position on it, and now? She’s against the pipeline.
I will stop there. I could go on all day about the changes in ideology that we’ve seen from Hillary Clinton, but I believe this list to be sufficient evidence of her extreme ability to switch issues based on whichever is politically expedient, which is precisely what we witnessed with Obama.
Obama campaigned on one platform, but immediately after becoming President, he stepped off of that platform, and did a hop, skip, jump, and clap as he ran to another, more Conservative, more Reagan/Bush-like platform. Why would he do that?
Because he, along with Hillary Clinton, George Bush, Bill Clinton, Bush Sr., and Ronald Reagan are all part of the upper echelon of government; they aren’t there because they are/were President: they became President because they were willing to play the game and were selected by the oligarchs as corporate spokespeople to push corporate agendas.
Guess who else is part of that group of speakeasy, backdoor, closed door individuals? Hillary Clinton. Who is not? Bernie Sanders. This is why the media has shut Bernie Sanders out, for all intents and purposes, and is why we see media bias towards Hillary Clinton. This is also mostly why we see over half of the superdelegates having already placed temporary support for Hillary Clinton.
Knowing what I know about Hillary Clinton and knowing that, without a shadow of a doubt, she will immediately pull away from progressive policies and push for Reagan/Bush-like policies, I cannot in good conscience vote for Hillary Clinton. I will not cast a vote for her, because she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
She says whatever she thinks she needs to say in order to gain support of those on the left-end of the political spectrum. When it comes down to it, however, the people she truly supports are the ones filling her pockets with millions of campaign donations.
The precise reason I will vote Republican if Bernie Sanders loses the primary (or gets screwed by the superdelegates, which is possible…it would be historic, but is still possible) is that if this nation is going to crumble, and I believe that one more Presidential term of conservative politics will lead to our demise, I’d much prefer it be under the watch of a Republican – not someone claiming to be a Democrat.
I have witnessed Republicans scold Obama for pushing policies that are more conservative than even Bush could muster. I have witnessed Republicans call him a socialist when he [Obama] is more conservative in his Presidency than some Republicans. Why do they do this when he pushes and continues Bush policies?
Because they are playing party-politics. To them, it doesn’t matter what his ideology is – he has a ‘D’ beside his name and they are trying to protect the ‘R’ beside their name. They will never acknowledge things they agree with coming from a ‘D’, because on paper, it’s still a ‘D’ in the White House and not an ‘R’ (this is true for most, not all, issues where Obama and the Republicans see eye-to-eye…the TPP comes to mind).
A vote for Hillary is NOT a vote for the Democratic party; it is not a vote for Progressivism; it is not a vote for socialistic tendencies; a vote for Hillary is a vote for Reagan/Bush-like ideologies that have brought this country to its knees over the last 30 years.
This nation cannot afford another Bush, Reagan, or Obama. Let’s stop pretending Hillary Clinton is a progressive and let’s call her out for exactly what she is: a liar (or at least a dishonest person), a politician of expedience, and someone more than willing to change positions at the drop of a hat, which leads me to believe she will lie to get into office, then turn around and push the Reagan/Bush agendas.
It is for these reasons I will never cast a vote for Hillary Clinton, even if she is the Democratic nominee.