I'll support Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, assuming she runs, because she can win, she'll be an okay president, and any Republican opponent would be godawful. If it really seems that another Democrat can beat her and go on to win in November, well, I'm open to that, too. But right now she looks like our best shot.
But it sure doesn't look as if she's going to change the narrative about what's wrong with our politics, not that that should surprise me. It looks as if she's not going to assess blame in the way that it needs to be assessed:
Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday night that excessive partisanship flowing through the nation's political system is causing the U.S. to march "backwards instead of forward" and pointed to fall elections as a sign of how the country might tackle problems.I just want one prominent Democrat to say that our problem isn't "partisanship," it's Republicans. Or it's conservatism. Blaming "partisanship" reinforces the apparently unkillable conventional-wisdom notion that the two parties are equally responsible for our political system's failure because neither one will compromise.
The former secretary of state reflected on her time at the State Department, the U.S. relationship with Russia and the advice she gives to young women during her appearance at the annual Women in the World summit. But when the moderator asked her to address the nation's future, Clinton cited the need to "get back to evidence-based decision-making."
"There is just pure ideology, pure partisanship. We disguise a commercial interest behind a political facade and the result is that we're kind of marching backwards instead of forward" ...
The potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate noted that "we have an election coming up this year. And we ought to be paying attention to that because that will set the parameters for a lot of what can and should be done."
I don't know why it's taboo for Democrats to blame Republicans or conservatives for America's problems. It's routine for Republicans to blame liberalism and the Democratic Party (or the "Democrat" Party). Doing so doesn't even make you a crazy, mouth-breathing Republican extremist by the rules of our political culture -- you can do it and be regarded as an Establishment Republican. But the rules are different for Democrats.
I don't like the bit about "evidence-based decision making," either. Michal Dukakis, a few month before his spectacular flop in November 1988, said, "This election is not about ideology, it's about competence." Hillary seems to be saying a similar thing, with "evidence" substituted for "competence."
Or maybe I'm looking at this all wrong. I suppose Hillary is bashing Republicans in code, invoking attributes we associate with the Republicans -- partisanship, deference to "commercial interest," rejection of what's reality- (or evidence-) based -- without calling the GOP out directly. We're supposed to decode what she's saying. But why bother with the code at all? And if you're going to do it in code, please don't use the word "partisanship," which, to most of the mainstream political world, means "both sides are to blame."
And yes, I know, Hillary Clinton, good friend of Wall Street, is accusing others of being too cozy with "commercial interest[s]." Well, that's the thing about Democrats -- they always believe that they can give the fat cats a lot of what they want while still treating the less well off decently. It never quite works out as neatly as all that, of course -- but there's still a wee bit of regulation and oversight when Democrats are in charge, and there are a few economic sops to the rest of us, whereas, from Republicans, the rest of us get a kick in the teeth. So if the choices are, say, Hillary and a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries like Scott Walker, I'm with Hill 100%.
And if I'm not agitating for an Elizabeth Warren, it's because I can't imagine the election of a true progressive followed by a truly progressive presidency. Here in New York City, we just elected a guy who talks like Warren -- but we're overwhelmingly Democratic (far more so than America), and we'd finally become sick of pro-plutocrat governance. And even so, when Bill de Blasio tried to govern as a progressive, the public didn't turned its wrath on the plutocrats, and the plutocrat bootlicker in the governor's mansion, who set out to cut him off at the knees. You need a population that's truly angry at the powers that be -- actively angry, with a sustained anger. We're not there yet -- not even close. So I can't imagine America voting for Warren and I can't imagine her being able to rally the public behind progressive measures with teeth -- certainly not enough to withstand the pluocrats' wrath.
Which, I guess, gets us back to Hillary's caution. But I'm not asking her to sound like a member of Occupy. I just want her to shine a line on which partisans are more partisan. I'm not even sure she was talking about economics in that reference to "evidence" -- she may have just been talking about fossil-fuel billionaires fomenting climate-change denialism. But if so, she should call them out by name.