Liberal Democracy in Question

Hillary Clinton Is a Centrist Liberal and an Establishment Politician: She Is Not the Enemy

To my friends on the Left

I am uncomfortable with political labels, especially as applied to me. But to most people in the world, I would be considered someone on the left. I am a Contributing Editor of Dissent magazine; I recently edited a new edition of The Communist Manifesto to which I contributed a rather sympathetic essay; through the early summer I was a supporter of the Bernie Sanders campaign, and published a number of pieces seeking to explain and to (critically) support this campaign. Only after the Democratic convention did I decide to support Hillary Clinton, which I explained in a July 26 piece entitled “Why I Support Hillary Clinton for President: A Letter to My Friends on the Left.”  Since that time I have been a strong Clinton supporter, because I believe that her centrist liberalism is strongly preferable to the neo-fascism of Donald Trump; because her neoliberal feminism and multiculturalism is strongly preferable to the anti-feminism, racism, and xenophobia of the Republican party; and because I believe it is a good thing, symbolically and practically speaking, for the US, for the first time in over 200 years, to elect an establishment woman who is a feminist to the Presidency rather than an establishment man who is a misogynist. Clinton is not running against Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren — who both strongly support her. She is running against Donald Trump.

I never thought that Sanders could be a viable Democratic candidate for President; I doubted he could win the primary, I doubted that he could survive a red-baiting general election campaign, and I was skeptical of some of the claims to having mobilized a mass movement in support of “political revolution.” But I supported him, and had he won, I would be supporting him now. Alas, he lost. Clinton won. She won because she had more power and money and resources and she used these things to win. That is politics.

I have many friends on the left, and many of them are to my left by any stretch of the imagination. They are smart people and good people, and among them, unsurprisingly, there exists a range of opinion on Clinton and whether to support her. But most of them — most of you — have made clear that they strongly oppose a Trump presidency, and that while they do not like Clinton, they intend to vote for her, even if they have to hold their nose while doing so. This sentiment was perhaps most cleverly and also intelligently summed up in the piece by Adolph Reed bearing the title “Vote for the Lying Liberal Warmonger: It’s Important.” I understand and respect this position. At the same time, this kind of language — “Lying Liberal Warmonger” — has made me uncomfortable, even if it is intended in a tongue-in-cheek manner — and I am not sure that it is. Because it is so excessive. Perhaps some consider this justified. I don’t. And the firestorm that has erupted in the past two days in response to FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress, announcing that the FBI will be evaluating the e-mails of Huma Abedin found on the laptop of her estranged husband Anthony Weiner, underscores why: because in this electoral contest, right now, it is very important for intellectuals on the left to help get out the vote to defeat Trump and elect Clinton, precisely so that, as a recent Nation editorial states, the left can continue to best advocate for greater social justice.

That right-wing witch hunters such as Jason Chaffetz would immediately jump all over this is no surprise.

But I have been taken aback by the responses of some (not all) of my friends on the left, who have basically said “I told you so. We always said that Hillary was flawed and corrupt and that she was vulnerable to these accusations and now it is all coming to pass and her corruption is going to result either in a Trump Presidency or four years of Congressional investigation of her corruption. You should have listened to us when we supported Bernie instead of supporting Clinton. Now you are reaping what you have sown. Your candidate has fucked up everything, like we knew she would.”

I understand this kind of indignation, though I do not share it in this case. But I urge my friends to consider that while moral outrage has its place — and in the end only each individual can decide for themselves what this place is — at this moment, less than two weeks before a very consequential Presidential election, such indignation serves no good consequence. Even if you say “of course I’ll vote for Hillary, because I hate Trump, but she is a Lying Liberal Imperialist and I hate her and she deserves everything she is getting,” what you are doing, it seems to me, is giving credence to all of those young people — who read you, respect you, and learn from you, inside the classroom and outside of it — who cannot bring themselves to vote. At this moment, when it is so important to support Clinton and to encourage others to do so with their votes, your words are conveying a different message.

Behind the reaction that concerns me lay two premises. One is that Sanders would have been a stronger candidate against Trump. I do not believe this is true, but it is also a moot point, because Sanders lost, and conceded his loss, and while the Clinton campaign worked very hard to undermine Sanders and to defeat him — this is what Presidential campaigns do — defeat him they did. Clinton is the candidate of the Democratic party because she was the insider candidate and she had the resources and the organization and she won the primary by getting both more votes and more delegates. It makes perfect sense to keep one’s eyes on the prize of further reforming the Democratic party and supporting the forces of Sanders and Warren. But right now, the Democrats have a candidate, and it is important to support this candidate.

The second premise is that Clinton is a uniquely flawed and corrupt politician whose record cannot stand serious scrutiny, and who has brought these troubles on herself by being such a wheeling, dealing, corrupt individual who plays fast and loose with the rules.

It is this premise that I wish to question here.

And my basic reason is simple: I honestly don’t understand why so many of my friends on the left, who are so adept at employing the powers of critique to challenge conventional wisdoms and to uncover forms of power, are so willing to accept at face-value the version of Hillary Clinton that has so assiduously been developed, purveyed, and prosecuted, for decades, by her right-wing opponents in their pursuit of power.

I do understand the reasons why serious people of the left would oppose much of what Clinton stands for and would struggle for a more left platform — indeed, the current Democratic platform is such a platform! But I urge my friends to reconsider their animus toward Clinton, especially at this moment.

First let’s consider FBI Director Comey’s letter.

Comey’s letter is very disturbing, and many people, myself included, have responded with annoyance and even outrage to this “October surprise.” The immediate response of some of my friends on the left to this outrage has been a kind of defense of Comey. On this view, Comey was compelled to send the letter, and in doing so he was simply following standard procedures of investigating a corrupt and possibly criminal wrongdoing.

Perhaps. But why lend such credence to the self-justification of the Director of the FBI in this case? Why ignore what is known — that Comey has conservative ties; that when he publicly “exonerated” Clinton months ago, he did so in a very awkward and troubling manner that raised questions about his professionalism; that he had clearly placed himself in an odd position with Republicans legislators hoping for a different outcome, and he might clearly have psychological reasons to seek to ingratiate himself with these legislators by sending them a letter like the one he just sent? Such things are part of the political situation that surrounds Comey, his letter, and the way that it was predictably seized upon by the Republic right and the Trump campaign. And yet some seemed inclined to simply take his letter at face value.

Only hours later, it is now clear that the FBI has had access to Weiner’s computer for some time, weeks if not months, and yet still has not analyzed the e-mails in question; that the e-mails in question had nothing to do with Clinton’s e-mail account or her e-mail server, and at most regard the judgment of Clinton’s aide; that the Comey letter itself was very awkward and misleading, because in fact the only information it conveyed is that the FBI has some other e-mails that may or may not have anything to do with Clinton (there is always “something else” that “may or may not” be relevant; how often does the FBI Director send letters to Congress about such things?); that Comey’s letter, like his earlier press conference, was contrary to Justice Department policy; and that Comey had actually been instructed by his superiors at the Justice Department not to send the letter that he sent anyway. This is all quite stunning and suspicious.

One response to the entire e-mail “scandal” is the one offered months ago by Sanders during the primary debates: it is a side issue, and it has been extensively investigated and no criminal wrong-doing has been shown, and while Clinton’s judgment in this case might be questioned, what she did was little different than what her Republic predecessors Condi Rice and Colin Powell did, and it is time to let it drop as a matter of investigation and inquisition, and to focus on the issues at stake in this election, which is not a contest between Clinton and Trump.

A second response is the one adamantly expressed by the Trump campaign and by every Republican elected official: Hillary is “crooked,” and this must be investigated (and litigated) ad infinutum, and the slightest shred of “information” even remotely connected to Clinton ought to be treated as an occasion for further outrage and further scrutiny of Clinton and the matter ought never to be left to rest.

Comey apparently decided to lean toward the second response, and through his own very questionable judgment, he has thrown red meat to the Republican sharks eager to prosecute Clinton and to defeat the Democratic ticket in the upcoming election.

This entire matter is a prime example of the many ways that the Republican leadership continues to play “hardball” with the Obama Administration and with the Clinton campaign — about the Supreme Court, about all legislation, about everything. The Republicans are about attack and obstruction.

This seems obvious. Why treat it as if it is about the corruptions of Clinton when it is primarily a Republican effort to frame Clinton as a criminal? Why treat it as a matter of individual personality when it is clearly a matter of politics?

In this light, let’s give a second thought to Clinton herself, this supposedly corrupt woman whose corruption, it would seem, exceeds all bounds of normal politics and warrants special investigations. I have to confess, it is the animus expressed by some of my friends, including women friends, about this, that most perplexes me. For in almost every way that matters, Hillary Clinton is nothing more and nothing less than a successful professional woman like most successful professional women we all know and that we often like, and that indeed many of us are.

*She preaches and practices a kind of “lean-in” feminism that valorizes meritocracy and the professional success of elite women like herself and her daughter.

Is this really different from the way most professional women, including left academic women, proceed? The university is as much a corporate institution as is a corporate business or a government bureaucracy. Do we fault our colleagues, our friends, for seeking prestigious research grants that give them course release, and for asking their famous friends to write letters of recommendation or to organize book panels promoting their work? Do we fault our colleagues for being preoccupied with publication in the officially sanctioned journals, so that they can build records of accomplishment sufficient to earn tenure and promotion, and the privileges these involve, privileges that are not available to most women in the work force? Do we cast suspicion on our friends who do everything possible to promote the educational performance of their children so that they can be admitted into elite universities? In her pursuit of movement up the career ladder, and her valorization of this approach to success, is Clinton that different than most of us who, honestly, belong to the “professional managerial class” as much as she does, and who work through its institutions in the same way she does?

*She has achieved positions of leadership in hierarchical corporate institutions, where she has traded on connections, and has mixed with members of a power elite with access to money and power.

In this, is she any different than women colleagues who become Distinguished Professors, and department chairs, and Deans and Provosts and College Presidents? I have many friends — feminists, leftists — who have achieved such positions, and who have embraced them. These positions are obtained by “playing the academic game,” by cooperating with others in positions of institutional authority, by compromising on their ideals in order to get something done in a conservative bureaucracy, by agreeing to manage programs and personnel, i.e, colleagues, by agreeing to fundraise from wealthy alumni and corporate donors, and to participate in events that please such alumni and donors so that they will support you and your institution. Is Clinton’s “game” really that different?

*She uses her professional connections for personal advantage, making connections that can benefit her in the future, accepting side payments in exchange for her services. Is this that different than colleagues in the academic bureaucracy, who accept the salary increases and bonuses and research and travel accounts and course release that come with this kind of work? I am a Distinguished Professor at Indiana University. I enjoy these things. Many of us do, including many wonderful scholars to my left who really dislike Clinton. But is she really so different than the rest of us? Really?

In some ways, the differences are obvious. Clinton has succeeded largely through public institutions. She has succeeded on a much larger scale. She has benefited financially on a much larger scale. She is a woman of great power and influence and wealth, who has sought out a degree of power and influence and wealth that greatly exceeds the norm for anyone and especially for any woman. And she is on the public stage, so that every aspect of her action, and her self-promotion — and her e-mailing — is potentially subject to public scrutiny. But is this a sign of her personal corruption, or simply a sign that she has learned how to play the establishment political game and to win at the highest levels? What man who has ever served in the US Senate or been Secretary of State or has been elected President of the US has behaved otherwise than she has?

Hillary Clinton may be more insular, self-protective, awkward in public, etc., than most politicians — but how many of them have been Hillary Clinton, the first woman to endure this level of scrutiny in the history of the United States, and someone who also had to endure eight very public years as the First Lady of a philandering husband, and whose husband was impeached for this philandering? Might this not generate a level of insularity and suspicion in any woman?

She might surround herself with a very insular group of trusted confidants, at the expense of transparency — but don’t all politicians do this?

She might have gained great wealth from her connections — but does this distinguish her from any other powerful person?

In short, Clinton is a successful political leader who is also a woman in a man’s world. And, as Plato taught us millennia ago, political leaders tend to be loved by their friends and hated by their enemies.

And Clinton’s principal enemies are clear: partisans of a Republican party that is led by Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and a cadre of right-wing extremists, that selected Donald Trump as its Presidential candidate, and that seeks to turn back the clock on decades of progress for women’s right, civil rights, the rights of minorities, and the (already very attenuated) rights of workers.

Clinton is a centrist liberal, not a socialist or a social democrat. She is a liberal feminist, not a socialist feminist. She is a foreign policy hawk, but within a bipartisan mainstream. She is an insider and an experienced operative in an oligopolistic two-party system, and not a radical or participatory democrat. These are the reasons she is the Presidential candidate of a major political party in the US, which is not Sweden! It is true, on every one of these dimensions she comes up short when judged from the left. On every one of these dimensions of politics and policy, she deserves criticism. This was true before, it is true now, and it will be true if she wins the White House.

But this does not make her an evil or an irredeemably corruption person, and it does not make her a political enemy.

Her opponents on the right have demonized Clinton for decades. They have succeeded in raising her to a level of distrust and opprobrium in the eyes mass public that exceeds any reasonable sense of proportion. Mike Pence is now saying that she has a “criminal scheme” to take over the US government. Donald Trump calls her a “criminal” and he promises to jail her. The Republican Congressional leadership is pledged to either defeat her or to dedicate four years to a legislative politics of inquisition modeled on the Bengazi hearings.

She is being attacked by the right wing because the right wing hates her, and the right wing hates her because she is a liberal and a feminist and a woman and because she supports the things that most anger the right wing: gender equality, reproductive freedom, equality for gays and lesbians, gun control, racial equality, and civil rights.

These things that she supports are the things that we support.

The things she supports have their limits. She has her limits.

But she is not evil, and she is not an enemy.

In the next ten days leading up to Election Day, Clinton will be subjected to a list-ditch barrage of attacks from the right.

She does not “deserve” these attacks. And while the attackers target her, what they attack is much of what is valuable to you. To us.

Let us not exult in her travails. They are undeserved. And such exultation does no good in any case.

Let us defeat a Republican neofascist by electing a Democratic neoliberal feminist.

And then let us treat that Democratic neoliberal feminist, once in office, the same way that any President ought to be treated: with suspicion and critical scrutiny and a determination to press forward an agenda of greater social justice and political responsibility.

Jeffrey C. Isaac

  • Robyn Ryan

    If she wins, it destroys the male mythology of Superiority of birth gender.
    There is more than one hero’s path.

    • полезные дураки

      How so?

      • Robyn Ryan

        Campbell’s ‘hero with a thousand faces’ defines a strictly male experience. It assumes a series of breaks and denies the continuity of the female experience.
        Clinton’s rise to the ‘throne’ of President proves an alternative path is possible .
        With her election, the male narrative has competition. The power of sacrifice transcends the blood sacrifice.
        That’s what’s making the FBI crazy. A woman will judge them.
        A woman will be their ultimate boss.
        They would rather destroy their world than allow competing narratives.
        That’s why white European males are violent.
        Their god demands blood.

        • полезные дураки

          Perhaps if your feminism is compatible with authoritarian statism. She represents the final consolidation. Molech is their God and they demand our blood and our children’s blood. They profit off of human violence. You’re a pawn in their game. Perhaps you should rethink the narrative.

          • полезные дураки

            (Metaphoric)

        • полезные дураки

          “That’s why white European males are violent.”

          Read a world history book. They don’t have a monopoly on violence.

  • When I think of Clinton’s innumerable victims in Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, and Syria, I find myself incredulous thinking she’s not the enemy.

    When I consider Clinton’s vile anti-immigrant policies that dovetail with her imperialist interventions in Latin American, it’s difficult to comprehend her as anything but the enemy. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/08/immigration-democrats-hillary-clinton-barack-obama/

    In fact, I can’t think of a single issue on the left that the Clintons haven’t been an enemy of. I don’t find this thesis, or its plea, compelling.

    I voted for the Honorable Dr. Cynthia McKinney in 2008, Dr. Jill Stein in 2012, and will vote for Dr. Stein again in this upcoming election. I support feminism, not imperialism, nativism, racism, millitarism, and neoliberalism.

    • Mary Ann Pittman

      Then what you are going to get for your uncompromising beliefs is facism, racism, sexism, wrapped up in gun violence to an extent we have not see in this country since the 60’s and 70’s. So I hope you are content in your self-righteous, high and mighty world, because our nation is going to be destroyed because people like you threw your vote away to make a point. When they are gathering up Muslims, and prosecuting women for their pro choice actions, and bringing out the nooses to string up our black brothers and sisters (as they did today with an effigy of our beautiful President), then you think about how you wasted your vote because you have such high principles.

      • Having any principles at all is not tantamount to having “such high principles.” Given Clinton’s votes for the Patriot Act (which led to wholesale persecution of Muslims), her reckless warmongering in the Near East (which was responsible for hundreds of thousands of Muslim deaths), and her full-throated support for the crime bills that have led to the police openly making extrajudicial killings of our black sister and brothers, you would think you would see that your hyperbole would cut both ways.

        I will not throw a vote away. I will not vote to make a point. I will vote for a person that has a modicum of values and principles. I will not vote for someone who deserves to be frog-marched in shackles to the dock at The Hague for things like ordering the murder of a head of state while they were a prisoner.

        We already live in a country where “facism, racism, sexism, wrapped up in gun violence” are rampant. To suggest that my vote, or even tempering my sober assessment of Clinton’s abject history, are somehow able to change that demonstrates both a misunderstanding of the causes of those issues, and, more importantly, what their solutions are.

      • n_green

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don’t want and get it.

        • Mary Ann Pittman

          If the Republicans were running a ‘normal’ (for them) candidate, I would absolutely agree with you. But Trump and his followers are way too volatile and nihilistic to risk him being elected, in my opinion (and Bernie’s, etc. etc.).

        • Pick234

          You know, I used to believe in that high and mighty attitude as well. Then the radical right would not compromise with Obama, again and again. I said to myself,” What’s WRONG with them? Can’t they compromise?” Then I realized I had to start in the voting booth with MY OWN VOTE or I was as uncompromising as the “do-nothing radical right”.

          • Not so certain that having a modicum of principles is tantamount to a “high and mighty attitude.” In fact, what you’re suggesting—compromising preemptively in anticipation that others will not compromise—is better defined as capitulation, not compromise.

            Knowing the difference between what can be compromised, and what should never be compromised is the essence of nuance and politics. Only individuals who are ideologically compromised are willing to compromise at every opportunity. Many of the crises we are faced with: climate change, endless war, increasing poverty, extrajudicial killings of blacks by the state, etc., are things that we cannot afford to compromise on. We need to take a hard stance and demand change now.

          • skyfish

            some of us, (many in fact) feel that we have ALREADY compromised enough…

            and Enough is Enough.

            we are done playing this game.

          • n_green

            You remember when Obama and the Democrats held all 3 branches of govt from 2008-2010? Obama & Clinton bent over backwards trying to compromise and the the GOP didn’t give an inch. Who won the most out of that battle? The GOP and the health-insurance companies. The Dem’s passed ACA which was already a Republican idea, and the GOP got so much power they took over all of congress. You Clintonistas are the same way- giving away your power just to be nice? Why not use it to demand what you actually want?

          • laslanian

            Perfect. We can wait a lifetime for someone to agree with all of principles and sit on the sideline, or we can get in the game and get to work to change some of the rules of the game.

        • laslanian

          well said. Perfectly said.

      • полезные дураки

        People burn effigies of sitting US presidents around the world for a variety of reasons all the time. Especially Bush when he was in office.

        Obama AND Trump effigies burned in Mexico:

        http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/27/politics/mexico-easter-burning-effigies-trump-obama/

      • roseba

        What are we going to get by continuing to vote status quo? (Not that I am advocating Trump.) But seriously. If we keep putting these same types in office, how do we expect to see change. Obviously they Dems ignored a major referendum that was happening during the primaries and instead, selected a corporatist vice president.

        While I do understand, we won’t get what we want with Trump, how do you convince me that the party that continues to NOT work toward the things I care about is suddenly going to start listening. The 99% are tired of waiting for “the next election cycle.”

        • moduunn

          Vote Jill Stein!

          • roseba

            I believe in the Green platform but I do not believe in Jill Stein. Her temperment is not presidential. Her tweets were vicious in nature and put me over the top.

          • moduunn

            Is Clinton presidential? Not to mention Trump!
            Hillary is said to be acerbic, has a vicious temper (even Bill said that way back!) and not keen on listening to advice.
            You’re right, Jill Stein is a bit lost in the wilderness but at least she won’t be touting for war, money-hungry, insisting on her own way.

          • roseba

            I believe that about Clinton. I don’t hate her, but I know a vote for her is a vote sanctioning status quo. That, and the fact that she completely ignored the message she got loud and clear from we the people during the primaries was telling.

            I will only vote for down ballot candidates. I can’t vote for a single person on any platform. I’m looking for some symbolic write in candidates.

          • roseba

            Who says I am voting for Hillary? Or for Trump?

            Voting for Jill Stein is a symbolic vote. If my vote will be symbolic, it will be for someone who I believe merits my vote.

            In NY state, where I live, this is a list of the valid write-in candidates. I have chosen one.

            Arantxa Aranja – Unknown
            Neer R. Asherie – Professor of Physics and Biology at Yeshiva University
            Mark Blickley – Porfessor of writing at CUNY York College
            Robert L. Buchanan – http://whatsmyoption.com/
            Gary S. Canns – Unknown
            Willie Carter – http://www.williecarterforpresident.com/
            Darrell Castle – http://castle2016.com/
            Ariel Cohen – Not a presidential website http://arielcohen.com/
            William J. Connolly – 16 year old
            “Rocky” Roque De La Fuente – https://www.rocky2016.com/
            Jason Fried – President and co-founder of 37 signals. Ted speaker
            Zoltan Istvan Gyurko – http://www.zoltanistvan.com/
            Ben Hartnell – http://www.electthebeard.com/
            Tom Hoefling – http://www.tomhoefling.com/
            Michael Frederick Ingbar – http://www.michaelingbar.com/
            Lynn Kahn – http://www.vote4lynn2016.com/multiply_solutions
            Chris Keniston – http://chriskeniston2016.com/
            Gloria La Riva – http://www.glorialariva4president.com/
            Jeffrey Mackler – https://www.facebook.com/VoteSA2016/
            Michael A. Maturen – http://www.solidarity-party.org/

          • moduunn

            Well done roseba! I would agree with you there.
            To my way of thinking the two top contenders are not worth anyone’s vote but publicity, propaganda pays (excuse the pun)!!

          • DL2

            Is “said to be acerbic”? You’re a gossip and you’re also wrong on what many have said about HRC–that she LISTENS like mad. (FYI–she’s one of the first who worked on human trafficking issues–see 1994.) . And WE–the entire fucking planet–will be “lost in the wilderness” with Trump’s energy “policy” (“clean” coal, drilling, etc.) out there. Trump doesn’t believe in climate change; his misogyny and racism will doom generations.

          • moduunn

            Well, time will tell, won’t it, DL2?
            Obviously I am not the only one who has doubts about Clinton’s ability to take on the presidency. I agree Trump is totally whacky but then it seems ruthless, dictatorial megalomaniacs are being chosen or otherwise becoming leaders of countries around the Globe.
            The world is already in turmoil, as has been predicted – expect the unexpected!

          • “Vicious” might be understating Clinton’s propensities.

          • In many states Gloria Estela La Riva is the Peace and Freedom candidate, a worthy alternative to Dr. Jill Stein.

            All the talk about temperament ignores the fact that how a politician deports themselves has little to do with their decision making. We currently have an executive who, while very eloquent and composed, possessed the inhumanity to order the bombing of Médecins Sans Frontières trauma hospital full of civilians in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

          • roseba

            Of course what they do matters! But I think comportment is important. In that job (and many others) you set the tone, and the example. We live in a society that has started to adulate boorishness and coarseness.

    • Jimmy

      Thank you oh who is so much holier than thou! Please, just stop troll!

      • Disagreeing with exhortations for the left to vote for a right-of-center politician is hardly trolling. Rather than juvenile accusations, perhaps offer substantive reasons why my analysis isn’t valid. This isn’t a matter of “holier than thou,” it’s a matter of hundreds of thousands, perhaps more, of people whose lives were either lost, or affected in a profound, material way by Clinton’s actions and policy advocacy. To dismiss those peoples’ lives is such a cavalier manner is a stance that provides you little moral authority to make the accusations you have. Having even a modicum of moral standards does not make one holier than thou, it merely establishes some baseline of humanity.

        The Jacobin piece linked above is mine, I doubt that many trolls are published in national magazines—especially a leading left publication. More to the point, it demonstrates that I’ve done my homework on the Clintons. Have you?

        • полезные дураки

          I agree wholeheartedly with you, but we must remember that everyone is scared and doesn’t want to face up to the polical reality we’re in. Nothing but fear mongering from both major parties.

        • TiaLee13

          So you will dismiss all of the lives that Drumpf has ruined by raping and cheating? Just think how many he will kill, as well, if he gets power.

          This isn’t even about the merits or demerits of Hillary. This is about saving our damn democracy and saving lives around the world. So, will you vote to give Drumpf this power-the same way you did with Little Bush and Cheney? See how that worked out, or has everyone really forgotten that?

          Hell, Drumpf makes B&C look like freaking angels. (well, Bush, maybe)

          • Where did I dismiss any of Trump’s actions? I don’t recall doing anything of the sort. I hold Trump in the highest contempt, he is a despicable individual. It’s a false dichotomy to believe opposing Clinton’s abject record of imperialism, nativism, racism, militarism, and neoliberalism somehow indicates support for an individual whose policies are the same or worse.

            If it’s any consolation, Bush supports your right-of-center candidate too. After all, Clinton voted for his and Cheney’s war. In Clinton we have an individual so bellicose, so prone to fetishizing violence, and so willing to mete out death and destruction, that they’ve garnered the endorsement of some of the world’s most notorious war criminals. Clinton is endorsed by Paul Wolfowitz, Madeleine Albright, and John Negroponte, butchers all. Word is that she is still trying to get monster Henry Kissinger on board as well. In a just world the lot of them would be frog-marched in shackles to the dock at The Hague.

          • DL2

            When you vote for ANYONE but Hillary, Robert D. Skeels, you DO “dismiss…Trump’s actions.” Not only that–my guess is you will be able to USE your privilege to escape the consequences of a Trump win. Like many, you will be able to buffer yourself from what Trump could (and probably will) do to the world, from damage to women and girls and men of good conscience and repute (see the many who find his reprehensible misogyny so problematic), to his damage to energy policy (he believes there’s no such thing as climate change AND he believes there’s such a thing as clean coal, etc.). And…find another word other than “frog-marched.” You think you make a point when you spew that out. By the way, read the Holocaust survivors who find that Trump’s language and some of his ideas echo Germany in the late 1930s.

          • Your support for Clinton dismisses her myriad vile actions that had an actual material affect on hundreds of thousand, if not more, lives. It’s astonishing that anyone could be that callous as to ignore Clinton’s murderous record. A passage from one of my favorite feminists (sorry she’s intersectional, not the white bourgeois type that supports Clinton):

            > “Clinton’s policies have had — and will have — horrifically violent consequences for women living in Iraq, Palestine, Iran, and most of the Middle East. If Clinton took the action she talked about at AIPAC, food and basic human needs would become even more inaccessible to huge swaths of their communities, women would have even less access to reproductive health care and autonomy, and violence and militarization would increase. I’ve written this before and think it warrants writing again: when Clinton supporters refuse to apologize for liking her, or refuse to qualify their support of her, they are saying that they do not have to listen to or prioritize the voices of women she has locked up — or blown up — in Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, or Pakistan.” — Mahroh Jahangiri (Source: http://feministing.com/2016/03/23/when-the-feminist-establishment-candidate-is-further-right-than-trump/)

            I despise Trump and what he represents. I will not allow that to justify voting for a war criminal, and let’s be clear, that’s what Clinton is. She should be turned over to the ICCt.

            “In any event, since [Colonel] Qaddafi was a prisoner at the time of his execution, it was a war crime and we trust that in the years of her retirement Mrs Clinton will be detained amid some foreign vacation and handed a subpoena.” — Jeffrey St. Clair (Source: counterpunch.org, link available on request)

    • TiaLee13

      Wow, it’s incredible to me how much power some lefties seem to think that Hillary has always had; that she could unilaterally make every left wing crisis disappear. All while shutting down the neofascist republicans. Let’s not forget the real culprits behind most of the horrors of the last the last 40 years-republicans. Republicans more loyal to their party, more loyal to their paychecks (and all perks) that they will sacrifice We the People to keep those things. I ask you Bernie supporters, why didn’t HE fix all of these things with his decades in office? She only had eight years. As Sec of State, she could not make major policy change. WTH?

      • Because U.S. Senators or Secretaries of State have no power? Because multimillionaires with connections to the majority of world leaders and power brokers have no power? Spare us.

        Sorry, I wasn’t a Sanders supporter, so I’ll pass on your Sanders question.

        I agree that many horrors in the past four decades are attributable to GOP troglodytes. Where we don’t agree is that the Democratic Party is responsible for a host of horrors as well. Case in point, it wasn’t a Republican president who ordered the bombing of the Médecins Sans Frontières Kunduz Trauma Center full of civilians. https://medium.com/the-development-set/i-screamed-as-wires-pinned-me-to-the-ground-dc105d1d761a#.cp1a2cgdo

        • DL2

          You, Skeels, will be voting with the troglodytes when you help Trump win. And, yes, the bombing of DWB was horrific, an example of the horrors possible in this world when good men and women (DWB) put their lives on the line for the most vulnerable while those who should protect the most vulnerable merely cover their own ass. HOWEVER, voting for Trump (enabling him in any way) will make hordes and hordes WAY more vulnerable.

          • Clinton’s myriad victims have a right to hate her and her reactionary politics
            https://medium.com/@rdsathene/clintons-myriad-victims-have-a-right-to-hate-her-and-her-reactionary-politics-ee5eefb314a5#.u7fn5tac6

            I hope someday Clinton’s victims have an opportunity to confront her. She has caused so much pain and suffering in this world. When I need inspiration to keep struggling against the neoliberal consensus, I look to Berta Cáceres’ daughters, who, despite knowing they are targeted by Clinton’s allies in Honduras, still stand courageously and speak truth to power.

            One day Clinton may be held accountable for her crimes against humanity, but it’s more than likely that she’ll be like Pinochet or Kissinger, and get away with her horrific actions.

      • moduunn

        And Israel.

    • DL2

      Robert D. Skeels–you will be voting against one of the first elected officials who worked on human trafficking issues (in 1994) before anyone. HRC has worked on behalf of women and children (Children’s Defense Fund) etc. If we get Trump–because of Trump supporters AND Stein supporters (check out Stein’s investment portfolio while you’re at it)–you will have helped misogyny and racism have the day. Oh, sorry, I forgot that Trump’s energy “policy” (drill, go for “clean” coal, etc.) will also win the day AND harm the planet.

      • Will right-of-center Clinton Liberals stop citing the few years Clinton did some white tourism at Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) many decades ago? Her subsequent, full-throated support for the Clinton administration’s racist crime bills (“Superpredators”, “bring them to heel” anyone?), welfare reform, and nativist policies like Operation Gatekeeper exponentially outweighed (any) good she may have done while at CDF. CDF’s founder, Marian Wright Edelman, is quite explicit about how she feels about Hillary Rodham Clinton:

        > “Well, you know, Hillary Clinton is an old friend, but they are not friends in politics.” — Marian Wright Edelman (Children’s Defense Fund) (Source: http://www.democracynow.org/2007/7/24/childrens_defense_funds_marian_wright_edelman)

        Stein’s investment portfolio, while certainly deserving of criticism, represents a tiny fraction of the multiple millions that the Clinton’s possess, much of which is from the most reactionary governments and corporations around the globe.

        Agree that Trump is terrible on energy and global warming. Your candidate’s record is essentially no different. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/hillary-clinton-fracking-shale-state-department-chevron

        Clinton’s disgusting, equivocating statement on the #NoDAPL situation is further proof that she’s no friend of the environment, and has no respect for people of color.

  • Phaedrus

    Clinton represents a continuation and expansion of the current neoliberal trainwreck that has eroded our rights and standard of living over the last few decades. Trump is terrible, that’s true, but I won’t eat the smallest plate of shit offered anymore. I’ll be voting for Stein. But I can appreciate why others would rather have the devil they know than a wildcard like The Donald. HilClin is going to win big I suppose. Best case she doesn’t fuck things up much worse than they already are and we get a real liberal in four years.

    • Pick234

      Foolish. You probably voted for Ralph Nader, too. What did that get you???

      • полезные дураки

        Why do you blame otherwise powerless voters instead of holding politicians and decision makers accountable?

        You and I have no real influence in policy formation in the grand scheme of things. You pick the face you find most pleasant and happily eat the cake they throw at you.

        • Phaedrus

          If voting makes no difference then how do you propose to “hold politicians accountable”? Are you saying it’s up to the 2nd amendment people?

          • полезные дураки

            No. I mean blame the criminals in office and not people who voted for Nader. I’ve seen multiple people blame Nader voters for the crimes of the Bush administration. Don’t blame the populace for any administration to which they are victims. Especially if they did not vote for that administration.

            “You probably voted for Nader…. What did that get you??”

            I bet you’re ready to blame Stein voters for anything Trump does. Most of which is pure speculation generated from fear of being uncomfortable by being principled. If there’s anything positive about him, it’s that he’s a proper mouthpiece for the US government, considering we already do most of what he says.

            There are other legal and peaceful ways to challenge authority. Occupy, despite some shortcomings, was one. This ought to be everyone’s preferred method.

            As for the Second Amendment smear, I bet you don’t even know how to operate a firearm and proud of it. Perhaps we should disarm the idiot working class while we militarize police, defend economic inequality, consolidate power, and overlook government corruption. Is this closer to you’re outlook? Help me to understand.

            Sorry if you’re daily routine may be disrupted. You’re a very good worker and great asset to the company. But whoever wins, keep writing to your Congressman or local Representative–you can make change by writing letters!

          • Phaedrus

            Nope. I would be a Stein voter if she was on the ballot but she didn’t make it in my state. As for you inane comments about the 2nd Amendment I’m not sure where you’re getting that. You have said that voting doesn’t help so the clear implication is that you’re advocating for another means. I have at least a dozen firearms, mostly all of the type you’d generally see in military use, but I have them for defense and because shooting is fun. I don’t see them as an alternative to voting and I hope that’s now what you’re advocating. Your word salad was hard to parse.

          • полезные дураки

            *I’m not advocating gun violence as an alternative political means.* All I’m saying is that voting every four years isn’t the high-point of democracy and we have little control over policy.

            I confused you with Pick234. couldn’t delete the comment because I post anomalously. Sorry for making assumptions about you. Regardless, my hostility was unwarranted and I was being hot headed.

            Good luck

          • Phaedrus

            No problem. This is a wacky election and tempers are running high. Personally I voted for Bernie in the primaries. Stein would be my next choice but she didn’t make the ballot. Personally I think her lack of experience is a negative but I agree with all of her policy positions except guns.

            You make an excellent point. Every four years we get wrapped around the axle about who’s president, then we go back to forgetting they all exist. You’re also right about policy and voting. According to the academic research and study, the actions politicians take reflect the wishes of their donors more than the feelings of the voters. Which makes sense. We need to get the money out of politics and find a better way to hold politicians accountable than buying them.

          • полезные дураки

            Well said.

            Many of us are scared of the political reality we’re in and the fear mongering from both camps does not help. (Neither does becoming aggressive with anonymous people online, which I am just guilty of!) It has also become increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction, which is very concerning.

            Hopefully, whatever happens in the next four years, diverse people will find common cause to fight corruption and money in politics.

      • Phaedrus

        I did not. You likely voted for Bush- what did that get you?

    • полезные дураки

      This situation is entirely the fault of the DNC for colluding with the Clinton campaign, as well as the media for giving Trump free advertising while almost ignoring or belittling Sanders. Most of the media is now having a hard time keeping up the charade by propping up Clinton. This situation was entirely predictable.

      Now self professed liberals are blaming voters and shaming them because Clinton isn’t skating free as expected. Now they’ll blame you for any negative consequences of this election.

    • DL2

      Phaedrus–you and others who will probably be able to buffer yourself from the consequences of a Trump win make me sick.

      • Phaedrus

        No one will have to worry about Trump except the people unfortunate enough to work for the cocksucker. Clinton sucks but hopefully she won’t such as much as I expect her to.

  • n_green

    Nope. Voting for Clinton means endorsing her war-mongering, NSA spying, war on drugs, deportation of refugee Children, poisoning of drinking water via fracking, and demolition of worker’s power via TPP.

    Democrats will have zero incentive to work for your vote, if at each turn they can just say “the GOP is worse!” Over time they just get closer and closer the GOP’s policies and there’s nothing you Clinton-shills will ever do to stop it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eofJagcbyUI

  • Mike

    I didn’t vote for her or Donald Trump. I voted for Jill Stein.

  • Victoria Hawes

    If we get Trump and people are dying in the streets in huge numbers it is gonna be ALL my fault. I get it.

  • DannyJane

    I’m so sick of Hillary-bashing for things she not only DIDN’T do, but COULDN’T do by law or statute. As Secretary of State she did not have any power to affect a difference in any foreign embassy, not when the Republican congress cut the security budgets by millions of dollars over a period of years–and against her warnings that those places were vulnerable.

    Neither is she responsible for the problems in Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, or Syria. Left or Right, those are responsibilities she could not have either as First lady, Senator, or Secretary of State.

    So what did she do? She screwed up her emails.

    By comparison, Trump admitted committing sexual assault.
    The Trump Foundation under New York State investigation for charity fraud.
    Trump calls for nuclear proliferation
    Trump calls for national stop and frisk even though the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.
    Trump violated trade embargo with Cuba.
    Trump is being sued over the Trump University fraud.
    Trump has paid no taxes for 20 years.
    Trump employs a campaign manager who is involved in illegal corruption with Russia.
    Trump calls for ban of an entire religion from entering the United States.
    Trump lied about support for Iraq War over and over during the debates.
    Trump is going to court in December for rape of a minor.
    Trump has shown he is unaware of Russia’s occupation of the Crimea.
    Trump is also unaware of situation in Syria.
    Trump was penalized for racist housing discrimination.
    Trump files for bankruptcy six times.
    Trump proves in debates his ignorance of world politics.
    Trump slams people for being POWs.
    Trump sneers at Islamic Gold Star Family.
    Trump calls Mexicans rapists.
    Trump questions a judge’s integrity because of the judge’s parent’s heritage.
    Trump commits insurance fraud after Florida hurricane.
    Trump has been accused by a dozen women of sexual assault.
    Trump attacks former a Miss USA for being overweight.
    Trump verbally attacks women for disagreeing with him, calling them vile names.
    Trump tweets about sex tapes and many other rants at 3am.
    Trump calls for US citizens to be sent to Guantanamo Bay Detention Center violating the laws of habeas corpus.
    Trump calls for extreme forms of torture to be used on POWs in violation of International Law.
    Trump favors the use of nuclear weapons and has no concept why it is inadvisable.
    Trump calls for offensive bombing of sovereign nations in the event their citizens insult US sailors. Trump favors killing non-combatant wives and children of suspected terrorists.
    Trump says women should be punished for having abortions.
    Trump makes fun of disabled people.
    Trump calls for abolishing the First Amendment, thereby ending of freedom of the press.
    Trump calls global warming a Chinese hoax.
    Trump praises Putin and Kim Jong Un and Vladmir Putin as strong leaders.
    Trump openly admits to not paying his employees.
    Trump calls for violence if he loses the election.
    Trump uses campaign donations and donations to the Trump Foundation to enrich his own businesses.
    Trump says laziness is an inherent trait in black people.

    And Hillary? Hillary Clinton screwed up her email.

    • For brevity, I’ll address one of your misrepresentations in hopes that single impeachment will suffice. You say, without any substantiation, that:

      > “Neither is [Clinton] responsible for the problems in … Honduras”

      This is an astonishing statement inasmuch as it is well documented and indisputable that Secretary Clinton was directly responsible for aiding and abetting the golpistas in Honduras, and she did so in violation of U.S. law. The distinguished Professor Dana Frank addresses this quite eloquently:

      > “Section 7008 of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for that year very clearly says that if it’s a coup significantly involving the military, the U.S. has to immediately suspend all aid. So she — they decided to have this interpretation that it was a coup, but not a military coup. So, she, Hillary Clinton — and Obama, for that matter, I want to make clear — in violation of U.S. law, that very clearly said if there’s a coup, they have to cut the military aid and that — all other aid to the country, she violated the law, decided, well, it wasn’t a military coup, when of course it was. It was the military that put him on the plane, which she says in her statement.” [http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35623-she-s-baldly-lying-human-rights-expert-responds-to-hillary-clinton-s-defense-of-her-role-in-honduras-coup]

      Let’s be very clear on this point, as Secretary of State she didn’t just have the power to have defined the events that occurred in Honduras as a military coup, she had a legal obligation to do so. She did not follow the law, nor did she follow any sort of moral compass in allowing the extreme-right in Honduras consolidate power and begin liquidating their opposition.

      Dozens of indigenous rights activists, including the internationally recognized Berta Cáceres, have been murdered by Clinton’s allies post-coup. Not that any of that matters to Liberals, because the lives of brown women, particularly those in the Global South, are of no consequence to the establishment elite. It would seem, in your rush to absolve Clinton of these types of actions, that you don’t hold these peoples’ lives as valuable either. Otherwise, you’d stop intentionally misrepresenting Clinton’s record.

      Your list of Trump’s issues, unlike your misrepresentations of Clinton, is seemingly accurate. Too bad your ability to examine individual shortcomings is limited to that. Neither Trump, nor Clinton should be in a position to do further harm.

    • Phaedrus

      Cut cut-n-paste job cribbed from the Slate article is as wrong now as it was when Slate posted it a day or two ago. Much of the stuff attributed to Trump is wrong, consists of half truths and/or includes things Clinton is also guilty of. For example, Trump has no more called for the abolition of the 1st Amendment than Clinton has called for abolition of the 2nd. And is Trump “lying about supporting the gulf war” substantially worse than Clinton’s real and enthusiastic support for it? Clinton supports drone strikes that routinely kill the families of terrorists, and sometimes unrelated families that just happen to live in the same province as terrorists. Are you criticising Trump for supporting things that Clinton also supports?

      Trump is ‘accused of sexual assaults’? Clinton is accused of everything but faking the moon landings- what does that have to do with anything? In America you’re innocent until proven guilty. If mere accusations are enough then Clinton has much to answer for as well.

      Why does the list not include Clinton’s actions to suppress wages while she was on the board of Wal-Mart? Is that not as bad as sending silly tweets?

    • Robyn Ryan

      They are afraid of women.

  • skyfish

    TL;DR: you have to vote for her because Trump.

    yeah, yeah… this has been beaten to DEATH.

    the answer for many of us is NO

    and NO means NO.

  • Whitfield McRory Palmer

    She is well right of center and she is very much not on the side of the people.

    • DL2

      Wrong: See her record as early as 1994: she worked on human trafficking issues almost before anyone knew.

  • moduunn

    Sorry Jeffrey C Issac, you had better listen to your friends. They have a far better handle on Hillary Clinton than you do.
    It appears in your emotive, garbled rantings about Clinton, you are using your heart not your head!
    Clinton is not an ‘ordinary’ woman, she is power hungry, power driven and powered by money.
    Unfortunately Trump is a chump but at least he has not alluded to being the first to press the nuclear button in the blind, unfounded hate of Putin and the Russians.
    Read Craig Paul Roberts, Michael Hudson or Robert Fisk for a clear view of Clinton and Trump.

  • I sent the following email to Professor Isaac:

    Excerpt from: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/publicseminar/to_my_friends_on_the_left_hillary_clinton_is_a_centrist_liberal_and_an_establishment_politician_but_/#comment-2979872181

    “I don’t find [your] thesis, or its plea, compelling”

    Your ongoing narrative that neoliberalism married to a very superficial form of identity politics (i.e. white bourgeois feminism) somehow advances feminist causes, runs counter to any reasonable understanding of intersectional feminism. Who better to frame this argument than one the pioneers in the topic—Professor bell hooks: https://youtu.be/8w4PQvfrw1E

    Profound and powerful. Professor bell hooks reminds us that we should support feminism, not imperialism. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s actions in Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, and Syria alone are an indictment of what “she stands for,” and it’s not compatible with the tenets of feminism.

Previous post

#PSLiveDebate 3

Next post

Adulterous Patriarchs and Nasty Women