Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Clinton Isn't the Issue"

Matt Stoller:
I tend to criticize Hillary Clinton a lot, but it's not because I'm particularly opposed to her as a person. Clinton's personnel choices and general way of doing business reflects a very successful political strategy and is a proxy for the establishment. Her positioning on Iraq is exactly that of elite Democratic orthodoxy, and it's frustrating that we can have one discussion on the supplemental as our various 2008 candidates claim to be against the war while putting forward plans that will require keeping tens of thousands of troops in Iraq. As Matthew Yglesias notes, we need to hear more about this from the other candidates; at least Clinton has been somewhat explicit about the plan for perpetual occupation.
In other arenas, Clinton is moving towards a more economically populist positioning, which is a positive. Here's her letter to Circuit City asking the company to reconsider its layoffsof thousands of workers who were to be replaced with lower paid workers. And here's an article on her shift from a stance as a supporter of Bill Clinton's 1990s corporate trade policies to something of an opponent of CAFTA and now NAFTA.

Now obviously it's not going to surprise you to hear that I don't particularly trust her, as her newfound economic populism is somewhat belied by a key strategist's union-busting chops. But Clinton is a function of the Democratic machine, and the others need to make that case by distinguishing themselves and figuring out ways to make this criticism.
The prime sin of the Democratic Party has been the silence of its members and leaders in the face of betrayal by bad decision-makers at the top. It's what led us into Iraq and fed many of our other sins over the last thirty years. Other candidates need to make this case, and they need to make it directly. That's not happening, which is a shame, and perhaps suggests that the ties to the insiders are still immensely strong within all 2008 Presidential campaigns.

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