It’s Not Really About “Progressive” or ‘Establishment”

Before i say anything, I will say that I watched the CNN Townhall last night and both candidates did an exemplary job. No doubt both would make responsible, respectable and honorable presidents.  How anybody could look at them and not favor them over any of the GOP is a headshakingly profound conflict with logic and reason.

Boy has Twitter become a minefield.  So much bullshit getting twitted about and at people who essentially agree on almost every topic. Most galling for me is the Bernie bashing by Hillary supporters mimicking nonsense from her camp in their herculean effort to find any sliver of light between them that they can exploit in order to deflect Bernie’s strength.

So he’s not really a Democrat.  Okay.  Well, Hillary was once a Republican, supported Goldwater. Not a great attack.

Bernie is weak on gun control. A D- from the NRA doesn’t make for a very strong argument.

His whole campaign is dishonest. Really? Tell that to those Iowans who said honesty and integrity were important to them and voted for him 83-10.

He’s running against Obama!  Is he saying Obama is a failure? A disappointment? Please. This is the Clinton campaign’s firewall to keep African Americans from sidling up to Bernie. It’s nuts.

And likewise, I have had to step up and defend Hillary from irrational attacks as well. She belongs in jail for crimes against America?  Hm, I’d say “get bent!” but you already are.

And now the mostly silly back and forth about who’s the real progressive. On the very positive side, it’s amazing to see an election, in America, where candidates are fighting for the mantle of “real progressive.” That’s kinda thrilling.

It is a real issue in one respect:  just the day before the battle erupted, Hillary said this (blogged here):

“We’ve got to get back to the middle. We’ve got to get back to the big center & solving problems.”

Big sigh. I so vehemently disagree with this sentiment and I’ve said so. But it’s even more painful that you say this and then try to argue you’re THE real progressive in the race. It hurts.

Yes, Hillary is a progressive, a lot of the time, on social issues, most issues overall.  But she has proven again and again all too willing to make decisions and come down on the side of political expediency. Which is where the “progressive who can get things done” line she uses for herself gets really dicey.

The best example was her vote on use of force in Iraq. She has apologized, said it was a mistake and blamed it, like many others, on the manipulation of intelligence and the Bush cabal. What she’s never admitted, was that it was a completely calculated vote based on her need to be establishment, to be seen as serious, to not have to defend a dovish vote later when running for higher office.  That is the kind of vote that truly illustrates true progressives versus cynical political operators, which she no doubt is. Her husband is too.

The reason Hillary Clinton was late to gay marriage, Wall Street re-regulation, the TPP, the Keystone Pipeline and fracking, is still not really on board with marijuana legalization, is that, like Bill, her first instinct is to suss out which way the wind is blowing. Where’s the bold, brave stance that defines oneself as a people first, labor progressive?  I think I know where her heart is, it’s with us. But her head will get in the way.

And for many people, that’s a good thing.  Fine. We can have that debate. But that’s a moderate by definition. That’s a political operative who will make deals with people who have ill intent in order to get half an inedible loaf and sell it as a victory.

That’s my fear of a Hillary presidency. She’ll protect us against the crazies, sure.  And that’s vital.  But she won’t push the agenda leftward much, not on economic issues, taxation, regulation, inequality. She’ll talk, she won’t do, or more importantly in these gridlocked times, she won’t make it a cri de coeur, a battle cry, a campaign to educate and bring about grassroots change. This is where Obama failed as well.

At least she’ll go into it with no illusion that the GOP are there to govern responsibly. She has that over Obama.

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