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"But Jane’s site stayed neutral."

Every word a gem.

Setting the record straight -- as opposed to rewriting history in time for the next fundraiser -- is like that. It's good for the soul.

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cwaltz's picture
Submitted by cwaltz on

Saying Obama and Clinton were the same during the primaries is akin to calling Ben Nelson and Bernie Sanders the same. Which part of "poor people choosing between rent and health care" and the Harry and Louise ads did she not understand?

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

but they were not equals. Obama had absolutely no history of accomplishment on behalf of anyone besides himself. He had no history whatsoever of identifying a problem, developing a solution and using his considerable resources to execute the solution. As a state senator, he had no legislation ready to go when a Democrat won the governor's seat. They had to steal legislation from other legislators to give him a resume when he ran for the US senate. As an attorney at a civil rights law firm, he never led on a single case. The only client of his on whose behalf we know he worked is now convicted on federal corruption charges. There is nothing that Obama has ever done for anyone else. Literally. That's as illuminatory as it gets.

Clinton's background is full of examples of her going to work for ordinary people = whether she's opening a legal aid clinic, successfully lobbying Reagan to expand the budget rather than cut it for the Legal Aid Services Corporation, or getting healthcare clinics built in rural areas. That's just three examples. It goes on and on.

If Obama was the fuckin' lightbringer, how come he was in his mid-forties and had never done anything for anyone?

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

There is romantic myth out there that he finished law school and went to work as a community organizer. That's not true. He did finish law school and run a big voter reg drive but that's as far as it went. He got his appointment at the University who gave him an office to write his book - Dreams of My Father. But he couldn't write at the university, and no he went to Bali for several months to finish the book. He came back and went to work at the law firm as well, but he never led on any law suits.

Big zero all the way around.

Pacific John's picture
Submitted by Pacific John on

Instead of Clinton III, we got Bush III. Tell me, Jane, which one would have been worse?

The Janes of the world know they are having problems admitting their sins. In terms of policy, the base knew that the Hillary health reform platform, where everyone was guaranteed access to a public plan, was greatly superior to whatever pro-industry bamboozle BHO was selling with Harry and Louise. It's not that the base is brilliant, but that the "prog"-osphere was made dumb by a marketing campaign. Let's break it down: women and most workers voted for Hillary by about 70/30 on concrete promises. African Americans did not vote based on superior policy merit like their brethren of the same class, so they really aren't wrong, and didn't pretend that Obama was the superior candidate to deliver Democratic legislation.

That leaves the 30% or so of the party, the Janes and the the MoveOn demo, that advanced elaborate, specific promises that BHO, the con. law prof. would be the anti-Bush, that he was the singular hope for reform of the financial system, and that the cherry-picked prog wishlist on his website would be delivered in the saddle bags of unicorns.

I argued strenuously that our *only* hope for a guaranteed public option was flowcharted on Hillary's platform document, and swamped by what can only be likened to religious fanaticism. The kind Jane encouraged.

Here's the thing: we knew this was Bush III a long time ago, when Wall St. and big money backed a nobody from Il over two hometown powerhouses, Rudy and Hillary. That *should* have set off alarm bells, but instead, the party gleefully raked in more cash than it could figure out how to spend. Overwhelming media bias, never a friend to real Democrats, should have set off bells. Absence of moral definition should have set off alarm bells. Caucus and party games that trumped state run primaries should have set off alarm bells among the very same Michael Moore demo that was obsessed with far smaller vote theft in 2000.

The thing is, the Jane of 2006 and earlier was right. For '08, she, and all the other Janes, dismissed everything they said they stood for.

In stark terms, they are the 1/3 of the party who was wrong, and bear the sort of blame that Ralph Nader owns for the disasters of the Bush years.

But I believe in redemption, and would welcome back everyone this side of Markos. All it takes is a simple admission - to themselves and to the base of the party - "We were wrong."

It would be cleansing to the soul and the liberation that comes from the truth. Surely a few of the Janes have the integrity to utter those three words.

Submitted by gmanedit on

I like it. (Needs a glossary entry and link.)

Ian Welsh's picture
Submitted by Ian Welsh on

I'll defend Jane on this one. Clinton's vote record was only marginally better than Obama's (it was better, but marginally.) Her domestic policy proposals were better, enough to matter, but she was hardly Kucinik or even as good as Edwards on policy. Most of the worst people in Obama's circle, like Summers and Rahm, are Clinton retreads and the financial policies they are defending started in the 90s, not the 00's (Bush just put them on steroids and Greenspan added a housing bubble.

I think Clinton would have been better. But she wouldn't have been the second coming, either.

Submitted by lambert on

... who thought Clinton was the second coming. I don't know how many times I had to say that the differences between the two were marginal, but marginal was not the same as insignificant. To put this another way, would Clinton have made life materially better for millions in what used to be called the Democratic base? Though this not knowable, one can certainly argue yes. HOLC; and probably a better starting point, at least, on health care. And if politics is about values and interests, that was the interest part. The campaign that the Obama forces ran -- and this only became clear to me over time -- was deeply repugnant to my values. I think the consquences for people's interests are fading; "the economy" is what it is. But I think the sense of violation of people's values still reverberates, and now it resonates with Obama's failure to deliver in 2008.

Submitted by Anne on

or a perception that the only thing that would be different about an HRC administration and an Obama administration is who sits in the Oval office - that Hillary would have surrounded herself with the identical people that now comprise the Obama administration.

I don't buy that argument. For one, I don't think Obama plucked all those hideous Clinton retreads out of Hillary's inner circle, out of her campaign advisory board, so that might have been a big clue that she was and is her own person and did not and does not share a brain with her husband.

It was always more than just voting records, as basement angel writes, above, but bloggers like Jane chose to ignore not just those important differences, but to remain largely silent, if not defensive, about the horrors perpetrated on the primary process by the party itself.

It's all well and good for anyone to choose a candidate to support, but for Jane to now try to claim that FDL was impartial throughout that process is dishonest enough to make me question her general credibility as well as her motives.

Submitted by hipparchia on

and the democratic party is and has been for some years now all corporatist, all the time. i think hillary would have been better on domestic policy, but it was very likely to have been only a 'kinder, gentler' corporatism than what obama threatens to bring us. a notable example: the health care 'reform' that's been allowed on the table this time around is basically 1990s clintoncare! now with shiny sparkles!

Submitted by Anne on

finance reform in this country, the corporations are going to hold major sway, but...

would Hillary still have in place most of the Bush-appointed US attorneys? Would she have nominated someone to head the OLC and then let that nomination languish until it expired? Would she have rolled most of the Bush policies on civil and privacy rights, state secrets, etc., into her administration? Would she have stood by, silent, while Stupak attempted to impose more restrictions on reproductive rights? Would Rick Fucking Warren have given her inaugural invocation? Was she the one doing campaign fundraisers with Donnie Fucking McLurkin?

More important, do you think "the left" would have spent the last 12 months coming up with contorted justifications (11-dimensional chess? the plan that will soon be made clear?) for why Hillary was not governing like a Democrat?

If we have to be saddled with corporatism, I will take the kinder, gentler variety over Obama's in-our-face kind any day of the week. As to health care, I'd like to think that Hillary learned something from her experience; that the Dems are bringing us warmed-over ClintonCare, and Obama's on board, just tells me they haven't learned and Obama doesn't know jack about the issue beyond bumper-sticker talking points and what will keep the corporate dollars flowing his way.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

"Getting real" means looking at how a politician has behaved and voted in the real world, not just in one's fantasy.

Hillary had more than three decades of solid liberal activism to her credit. Obama had..a speech in 2002, which he then repudiated several times after starting to play with the big boys in national politics.

That is what Bill Clinton was saying when he called Obama's alleged war opposition a "fairy tale." That is why Clinton had to be destroyed with false accusations of racism, which "the first black president" then had to address, ironically, FROM AFRICA.

There is nothing real about rewriting history, Ian.

And stop pretending we don't know what her administration would be like. Yes, we do know. It's all been out there for three decades. There is no guessing, there is no rolling the dice with her. That is the beauty part (for me anyway).

We know she would have done better on health care, because what she came up with in the 90's, while certainly flawed, was better than Obamacare. We know she takes civil liberties seriously, because she voted against telecom/Bushie immunity. When people asked her if she would have Repubs in her Administration, she said no. When people asked her if the "surge" in Iraq worked, she said "no, not until we changed tactics." Her administration would have been very friendly to women and children, as she has been strongly supportive of them her entire life (no S-Chip without her, and no over the counter emergency contraception pill either). And, on the economy, as Anne points out, she was not her husband, and she had called for a new HOLC and regulation of the financial markets years before the housing bubble burst.

Seems to me we were right, and you were wrong, Ian, if you supported Obama.

Is it really that hard to admit that Hillary supporters were not delusional racist emotional cultists? Is it really that difficult to give us credit for being right?

I guess so. I guess that's "real" to some people.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

Coming? Ever?

The preemptive assignment of Bill Clinton's staffers to Hillary Clinton doesn't really hold a lot of water. None of Geithner, Summers or Rahm were part of Clinton's inner circle during the campaign, afaik, nor did I ever read that Hillary particularly kept up ties to them. Although, since I don't keep up with the courtier intrigues, I may have missed it.

Baseline Scenario recently had an interesting piece about Geithner and Summers in particular:

They pushed early and hard for a fiscal stimulus – and this has played the same role in stabilizing spending in the US economy as properly scaled IMF lending does for weaker economies. At this level, the Summers group drew sensible lessons from the experience of the 1990s – listening finally Joe Stiglitz (then chief economist at the World Bank and now at Columbia), who stressed the importance of easing fiscal policy in the face of a financial crisis.

But in terms of their handling of the financial system, the Summers-Geithner-Lipton approach this time around is at odds with their views and actions a decade ago.

In the 1990s, they were completely opposed to unconditional bailouts, i.e., providing money to troubled financial institutions with no strings attached – at one point deriding Madeleine Albright, then Secretary of State, for proposing such an approach to Korea (Blustein, p. 138). The Treasury philosophy was clear and tough: “a healthy financial system cannot be built on the expectation of bailouts” (Summers, 2000, p.13).

....
Presumably, this time around, the Summers-Geithner-Lipton group will argue there was no way to restore financial market confidence other than through the kind of unconditional and implicit bailout guarantees they opposed in the 1990s.

If true, this has a terrible implication. The structure of our financial system has not changed in any way that will reduce reckless risk-taking by banks that are large enough to cause massive damage when they threaten to fail. The logic and 1990s experience of Summers and his colleagues suggest serious problems lie in our future.

Clinton was pushing for greater regulation and a response to (what was then) the coming economic fail long before 2008. Whether Geithner and Summers changed, or the kid-gloves treatment is emanating solely from Obama, it's not at all clear Hillary Clinton would have chosen the Geithner-Summers 2.0 version. Either she's not more than a clone of Bill, in which case she'd likely have rejected 2.0, or she's not, in which case who she would have surrounded herself with is anyone's guess, although based on how she chose her staffers at State, they probably wouldn't have included Obama's best pals.

Submitted by gmanedit on

Do you remember the state the Republican Party was in after the election? She would not have let them revive; she would have put a bullet in their brain (metaphorically) and put them out of their misery. They were in such bad shape, I knew Republicans who were eager to vote for her.

And I don't think she would have given away the store to the banksters without extracting concessions.

Submitted by lambert on

... that Hillary was channelling Bill.

Still, no matter what, we'd be getting a saner Versailles Presidency. Marginal, not insignificant, and after the wreckage and ruin of last year, no longer enough.

selise's picture
Submitted by selise on

we do know what kind of presidency we'd get in the first year of an obama administration (worse than i'd expected and i was not a fan -- refused to even vote for him).

we don't know what kind of presidency we'd get in the first year of a hillary clinton administration.

that's because there is actual evidence for one and not for the other. for experimentalists, it's like an experiment with no control.

there are reasons to expect/predict/etc, but not know.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Than many people are willing to acknowledge to expect/predict, with a high degree of certitude, what Hillary would do. I am not a scientist, so to me it is good enough to use her past and present actions as predictor.

For example, I knew what Obama would do, and I was right in the outlines, if not all the particulars (yes, I agree that he is worse than I expected). It's really not rocket science when a politician telegraphs his/her every intention.

In addition (as someone pointed out), the regressives, and many on the left, dislike her intensely, so if she tried to stray from the liberal domestic platform she ran on, she'd be deluged with emails, calls, faxes and demonstrations from a united, activist left-leaning base. And I'd be one of the delugers!

I understand your caveat about the word "know," selise, and you are technically correct, but people (probably not yourself) used that same argument to an extreme in the primaries. We were told that no one knew what would happen with either candidate, but Obama was far to the left of Hillary (and besides, he shopped at Whole Foods!!!111), so we had to support him. This argument negated mountains of evidence that contradicted their predictions and assertions about Obama's alleged progressivism, and which turned out to be correct.

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