It’s amusing to watch Hillary in her new populist role, touring in her Scooby bus, first in Iowa and now (recently) in New Hampshire, chumming it up with “regular” people in folksy everyday settings like a college campus, a pizzeria or a coffee shop. Is this the “real” Hillary, the one we’ve all been waiting to meet? I’m not so sure. This will no doubt help improve her image with some voters, but there are still those who believe that she is really an out-of-touch elitist. And that is how Republicans will be trying to portray her.
This new, down-to-earth (regular gal) Hillary character will last for awhile, more than likely all the way through the run-up to the convention. This will be true probably even if she doesn’t have a Democrat challenger for the party’s nomination—which every day appears less and less likely. Martin O Malley and Jim Webb are in the wings right now waiting, and that’s probably where they’ll stay. Neither has the current “right-stuff” to be an inspiring candidate for Progressives. Webb, if anything, is maybe more naturally conservative than Hillary. Sherrod Brown (and particularly Bernie Sanders) would be a welcome breath of fresh air.
But once Hillary has more or less secured the nomination, she’ll start to do what campaign strategist call a “re-set”; that is, she’ll start to walk-back some of her more Progressive positions (move back to the center of the political spectrum) because that’s where her heart really lies, and that’s where she’ll need to go to woo independents and Republican moderates (does such an animal really exist anymore?)–especially women.
Hillary is like Bill, essentially I think they share the same basic political philosophy, and he was never really a liberal democrat—except when he was campaigning. He was, to my mind, always just a Republican (minus the conservative social values) in liberal drag paraphernalia masquerading as a Democrat, and that’s how he governed. Remember, he brought in the whole Wall Street crew—Robert Rubin (past chairman of Goldman Sachs and later to be chairman of Citi Corp), and Larry Summers, the always obfuscating (and basically conservative) misogynist Harvard professor, and who can forget “the Maestro” Alan “Bubbles” Greenspan at the Fed (a hold-over from the Reagan era) —to be his new economic team. Hardly a bunch of wild-eyed Keynesian radicals. This is the team that with Bill’s capable assistance (connivance?) deregulated Wall Street and repealed the venerable Glass-Steagal Act, setting up the housing bubble which (thanks to the Fed and Greenspan’s policy of low interest rates) produced all the shenanigans on Wall Street that ultimately led to the collapse of home prices and the financial crisis in 2008.
If Hillary Gets elected President, the Scooby bus will disappear, her folksy new friends in Iowa and New Hampshire will be forgotten…
To give Bill his credit, his eight years in office were a period of strong economic growth that produced more than twenty million new jobs in the economy. He also, however, was a strong proponent of NAFTA, the comprehensive trade agreement that essentially eviscerated the country’s manufacturing sector and caused many good paying jobs to be out-sourced and sent overseas. And let’s not forget how he worked with New Gingrich on welfare reform to craft what the Republicans called their “Contract with America”, legislation that hurt millions of the poorest and most vulnerable Americans at a time when the country was thriving economically. This is hardly what you’d call real liberalism—progressive politics.
If Hillary Gets elected President, the Scooby bus will disappear, her folksy new friends in Iowa and New Hampshire will be forgotten, and she’ll govern as President like her husband Bill. There will be a new and tougher, more aggressive (more dangerous) defense posture, with probably some reform (cuts) to entitlement programs and more money going to the military/industrial complex. This will be Hillary practicing her bi-partisanship, ability to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans. Conservatives should stand up and cheer. It will be better (different) than a Republican presidency—but not much. Progressive Democrats need and deserve something better.
So, will the real Hillary . . . please stand up?
The Money Trader