Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hillary Clinton Supporters Still Claim Sexism & Sinister Sabotage on Issue of Trustworthiness Cost Her the 2016 Election

A very recent article in the Guardian written by Susan Bordo is, once again, essentially blaming others (namely Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and right wing Republicans in general) for the impression that most Americans (two-thirds, according to most polls) that Hillary Clinton was not trustworthy, and that this question of her trustworthiness ultimately cost her the election, and brought in Donald Trump into the White House.

It is a familiar argument by her supporters, albeit a tired and intellectually dishonest one.

Frankly, the reason that most Americans feel that they cannot trust Hillary Clinton, and the Clinton family more generally, is because the Clintons have a long history of consistently doing things that challenge the trust of Americans, and cast this family in a negative light. For all that Trump can be criticized of, the perception of Hillary Clinton as untrustworthy is not one of them. Neither is it the fault of Bernie Sanders, or even of right wingers who relentlessly attacked the Clintons, and perhaps especially Hillary Clinton.

No, the fault for this perception falls squarely on the Clintons themselves. Why? Because they both lied for political gain, time and time and time again. 

Sanders was the perfect vehicle to revive political passion both among the older left, revitalised by being on the side of “the revolution” again, and a younger generation who had yet to experience the sense of rightness, community, and belief in the possibility of radical change that nourished us in the 60s. Here was this guy who had lived through it all, who looked like a grandfather but spoke like a union organiser, who was making it seem possible again – but in terms that spoke to the present, to their issues. He was fierce, he was uncompromising, and he wasn’t afraid to call out clear enemies, which revolutions always need to rally around. Wall Street. Greed. Big Money. Super PACS. The establishment.

Right. And the thing is, the whole country was feeling that way, to some extent, and not just Bernie Sanders supporters, or lefties. If you don't believe that, then you apparently missed the running theme of the entire election, because Donald Trump, for all his faults, also ran as someone who would not be corrupt by big money donors, while simultaneously blasting other more mainstream Republicans for being too much a part of this corrupt Washington political scene. Remember that he said he could not be corrupted by money, because he had so much of it himself? And remember when he promised he would drain the swamp? Never mind the fact that many of us never believed him, or that time has proven that this was exactly what most of us believed it was, which was a lie to score some political points. The fact of the matter is that people are sick unto death of big money controlling out politics, and you do not have to be a radical or a supporter of Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein to see this. Yes, people are tired of Wall Street and Super PACS, as well they should be. 

As Jonathan Cohn wrote, in May: “If Sanders is the standard by which you’re going to decide whether a politician is a progressive, then almost nobody from the Democratic party would qualify. Take Sanders out of the equation, and suddenly Clinton looks an awful lot like a mainstream progressive.”

No, actually, she does not. She might come across as a mainstream Democrat, but that is not at all the same thing as a mainstream progressive. The truth is that the perception of people like the Clintons and President Obama as true progressives is the result of how skewed American political thinking has become, because these people are not real progressives. They take money from Wall Street and continually champion the cause of corporate America. They are American exceptionalists and chickenhawks, favoring war and American involvement in the affairs of other countries, time and time again. Clinton voted for the Iraq war, for the PATRIOT Act, and for the economic bailout, and Obama voted for the bailout, as well. Obama kept Bush's tax policies favoring the rich and corporations for years into his term, and he favored corporations throughout his presidency. 

Yet, many seemed to feel that Hillary Clinton was a real progressive who would have brought real change to Washington, despite having been a Washington insider for many years. If you listen to their arguments, you would get the impression that she was selflessly pining for what was best for the country as she saw it, but somehow, the sinister arguments of Trump and/or Sanders essentially undermined Clinton so much that it cost her the election. Bordo suggests:

"her longstanding commitments to universal health care, child care, paid sick leave, racial justice, the repeal of the Hyde amendment, and narrowing the wage gap between working men and women apparently evaporated because she’d accepted well-paid invitations to speak at Goldman Sachs."

Okay, let's take a closer look at all that was suggested here. What the author suggests here is that the only reason that Hillary Clinton lost credit in the eyes of progressives is that she accepted speaking fees at Goldman Sachs. But what about her varying and conflicting claims as to her own political stance? She described her politics as "rooted in conservatism" at one point, as "moderate" at another point, and also claimed to be the "real progressive" in the race against Sanders. To some of us, that sounds an awful lot like a politician trying to be all things to all people and, frankly, the fact that her last name is Clinton, a family very well known for trying to pose as all things to all people politically, it will tend to make many people skeptical. 

So, right off the bat, using Hillary's own words, it was difficult to pin exactly where she was politically. When you add to that the fact that her supposedly more moderate tone suddenly began to echo Bernie Sanders, and she started to blast the wealthy and corporations, and promised that she would make them pay their fair share for a change, she was also talking from both sides of her mouth. After all, whether the author likes it or not, Hillary did take a lot of money from Wall Street firms and the healthcare industry, which implied that she was the preferred candidate for corporate values and interests. All Bernie Sanders did was point this out, but the notion that Hillary Clinton maybe should not have made it so easy for him by catering to them and pursuing their money so blatantly could not have helped. Then, when she apparently suggests that she has "both a public and a private position" on Wall Street particularly, and on corporations more generally, adds to that level of skepticism that people had. The fact that she refused to release the transcripts of the speeches that she gave at Goldman Sachs reinforced this notion that she had something to hide, and that she was not being fully honest with the general public. When you add some of the lies, such as her repeated claims to have come under sniper fire in Bosnia, which were soundly refuted by others who were there, it just reinforces the image of Hillary Clinton as untrustworthy and a shameless political opportunist willing to say and do anything to get elected to the office that she seeks. 

Also, since she was not receiving considerable funds on from the healthcare industry, whatever her past activism and positions that she might have had in the past were compromised, and again, this was entirely of her own doing. Where she once advocated for a far better, universal healthcare system for all Americans, the legitimacy of her more measured and overly cautious approach in the present day was indeed compromised by the money that she willingly took, and made her look suspicious, if not outright corrupt, to the general public. Again, the fact that her last name is Clinton probably goes far into that general distrust that people had of her, and that skepticism ran across the political spectrum. 

People who liked and supported Hillary Clinton in this past election, such as the author of this piece, suggest that this skepticism was essentially invented by the right wing Republicans, or by Donald Trump, or even by Bernie Sanders. However, numerous polls consistently suggested that she was not a trusted figure. And when you look at her public record on some of the most defining positions of her career in political office, you begin to understand why people were skeptical. Aside from taking money and laying politically profitable claims that compromised her credibility, she has taken baffling positions on key issues like voting in favor of George W. Bush's Iraq war, voting in favor of the PATRIOT Act, and voting for Bush's economic bailout. And apparently, this perception of her as not fully trustworthy predated Sanders and Trump, and the 2016 election, and was not even limited to Republicans or those on the right wing. Here is a message found in an advertisement put forth by the Obama campaign back in 2008:

“Hillary Clinton. She’ll say anything, and change nothing."

Wow. But her supporters conveniently ignore this, just like they ignore any and all questions about her character and morals, sweeping under the rug all of the evidence that she is, at best, a self-serving politician who at least stretches the truth to try and appeal to as wide an audience as possible and, at worst, someone who outright lies and is blatantly corrupt, and will stop at nothing to obtain the office that she feels she is entitled to. 

Honestly, that seems to be the defining sense of who Hillary Clinton is, and more widely, this also is what many feel about the Clinton family in general. It was true back in 1992, when her husband was known as "Slick Willy" and was one of the least trusted men to ever hold the office of the presidency (and that's saying something!). It was clearly true in 2008, when Obama used these issues of trust against her, and it was obviously true in 2016, when Sanders and Trump both pounded her on this most debilitating question of how trustworthy she is. And it is true now, when all of those who unconditionally and unquestioningly supported Hillary are claiming amazement that she lost the election, and their disingenuous claims that they simply cannot understand how people could not trust her. It is intellectually dishonest to ignore her own record, her history, and her own words, to find out why people did not, and still do not, trust the woman, or the Clintons as a family.

The problem goes well beyond the Clinton family, or even mainstream Democrats. The problem is with people like the author of this Guardian article, Susan Bardo, who make such a point of stretching the truth and making Hillary Clinton to be the victims of brutal and misleading campaign rhetoric, instead of herself being a part of the problem with her misleading campaign rhetoric. The Clintons are a family notorious for such empty promises and blatant corruption, and until Bardo and other supporters of the mainstream Democrats are honest about this, they can expect to keep losing the trust of Americans and, by extension, future elections. 

The destruction of Hillary Clinton: sexism, Sanders and the millennial feminists by Susan Bordo Sunday 2 April 2017:

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