Why Hillary Worries Me

Thursday, 5th June 2008 at 13:57 UTC 5 comments

Hillary Clinton worries me. In fact, she worries me now more than ever. I keep seeing things that she’s doing or saying, and finding myself trying to work out whether she’s being a shrewed politician, fighting for ideal end with little regard to the effects of her means, or whether she’s become somehow power-obsessed.

First, there’s the way she often seems to look anywhere but at people. Sure, the president of a country with over 250 million citizens isn’t going to be able to look every single person in the eye, and being able to look a well paid news reporter in the eye is completely different to looking those on the margins in the eye. But I keep noting, either from camera shots or people’s comments, that she doesn’t seem to be very focused on those right in front of her, either physically or, perhaps, figuratively.

I spent quite a while trying to convince myself that there wasn’t some kind of conspiracy going on involving her family and those in power within the Democratic Party, but I’ve come to a conclussion, mostly because of just how long she’s hung on, that she has become, very willingly, the last line of defence within the Democratic party, and the second last line of defence (the other being McCain) for the Washington clique, worried that the cabal of government and lobbyists might be interupted if Obama ascends the throne next January.

It is perhaps this one aspect of his campaign that endears him to me the most: the belief that if anyone should be funding presidential candidates, it should be actual people, and not ‘special interest’ hacks that should be the more numerically and fiscally significant: indeed, that cash-lobbying through funding of electoral candidates is inherently anti-democratic.

But lobbying is big business, and not only does it line the pockets of the lobby companies in Washington, who have made access to power a mutli-million dollar industry, but also those who are in power, and also, (and yes, Bill, I’m talking about you) those who have left office. The Clintons have personally benefited from Cash Lobbying. The leaders of the party, and many of the super-delegates themselves, have benefited from it. Barack Obama, much as he might lead a victory in November, is a threat to all of that, and they all know it.

There was a time a few weeks ago when people started to think it was all over and that Hillary was about to withdraw, and then she suddenly did an about turn. Who was talking to her? Ordinarily, those higher up the party would have wanted the contesting to stop and the unity to start, but if they have ever had a reason to fear a candidate, Obama is that candidate.

I’d like to say its just her determination and stamina that keeps her in this race, but given what it is doing to the party, I’m surprised she hasn’t been given more of a push from on high to get out of the way. And even if she isn’t the most popular person inside the inner Democratic circles, she has been on the gravy train for 16 years, so maybe its “better the devil we know, and who isn’t trying to stir things up too much”.

Then there’s the whole 16, or should I say 20, years issue. Should Hillary win, it will be 24 of rule by just two families. Should she win in 2012, Jeb win in 16 and 20, then the bi-dynastic status-quo will be very difficult to shift: two families in just 36 years. Who would then follow from the Clintons?

One of the people we’ve seen a little more of than I’d like to think we should is Chelsea Clinton. We’re all rather too used to politicians using their kids for political mileage (Cameron’s reality TV week and Blair’s doorstep family photo-ops). But what we don’t see quite so often is grown up kids being pushed into the spotlight to undertake visible aspects of their parents campaigns. Is the idea on the back of Hillary and Bill’s minds that she will follow in the family trade? What does this tell us about their commitment to widening prospects for those who’s parents can’t give them such priveleges?

Much as I respect people’s choice to support Hillary, and I do think that without Obama I’d have been pulled round to supporting her, the battle beneath the surface may have been even more interesting than the battle over-ground, and even if she represents strong leadership on a few areas of devlopment, her leadership in democratic (lower-case d) terms would be disasterous for anyone seeking to keep the unwashed and their collective money, from taking over Washington.

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Entry filed under: Barack Obama, democracy, Hillary Clinton, News, Participation, Politics.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jonathan  |  Saturday, 7th June 2008 at 12:35 UTC

    “It is perhaps this one aspect of his campaign that endears him to me the most: the belief that if anyone should be funding presidential candidates, it should be actual people, and not ’special interest’ hacks that should be the more numerically and fiscally significant: indeed, that cash-lobbying through funding of electoral candidates is inherently anti-democratic.”

    Figures on Obama’s campaign contributions can be found at http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.php?id=N00009638

    He doesn’t seem to be much less industry- or special interest-funded than the rest of them…

    Reply
  • 2. Jonathan  |  Saturday, 7th June 2008 at 13:32 UTC

    “It is perhaps this one aspect of his campaign that endears him to me the most: the belief that if anyone should be funding presidential candidates, it should be actual people, and not ’special interest’ hacks that should be the more numerically and fiscally significant: indeed, that cash-lobbying through funding of electoral candidates is inherently anti-democratic.”

    You may find this of interest: http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.php?id=N00009638

    It contains info on Obama’s fundraising. Broken down by sector (on the Industries page), while “Other” (which may include individual contributions – it’s not clear) tops the list at over $25 million, the next lot are Finance, Insurance & Real Estate ($19 million), Lawyers and Lobbyists ($17 million), and Miscallaneous business ($13 million).

    By comparison, Clinton’s top four are Finance, Insurance & Real Estate ($20 million), Other ($18 million), Lawyers and Lobbyists ($17 million), and Misc Business ($13 million.) In other words, pretty much identical.

    There doesn’t seem to be as much difference between the two, at least in this respect, as you’re implying. Obama is no threat to corporate power, simply a nicer face for it.

    Reply
  • 3. Steve  |  Sunday, 8th June 2008 at 5:31 UTC

    Hillary doesn’t worry me nearly as much as Barack, whose attitude seems to be that satirised in the song

    The working class can kiss my arse
    I’ve got the foreman’s job at last.

    No sooner does he seem certain of the nomination than he’s abandoned the “change you can believe in” and signalled no change at all, but the same old same old — capitualtion to the Israel lobby, won’t talk to Hamas etc.

    Come back Jimmy Carter, all is forgiven.

    Reply
  • 4. brainduck  |  Monday, 23rd June 2008 at 13:13 UTC

    Poor eye contact on TV cameras is a reason not to vote for someone?
    No wonder politicians need to spend so much on PR & media and all sorts of shiny glossy nonsense, if that’s what you judge them on.
    Honestly, I’m disappointed.

    Reply
  • 5. Graham Martin  |  Monday, 23rd June 2008 at 16:07 UTC

    Wasn’t meaning with the cameras, actually. Its something I’ve heard people observe from the campaign; when she was out and about she often seemed to lack any real interest in the people 4 feet from her nose.

    If anything, she always seemed a bit too interested in the camera stood a few feet further back, and the next big speech she’d be making. When I’ve campaigned in elections, sure its been hard, but I’ve always tried to stay focused on the people I’m chatting to no matter what else happens around me, because I know there’ll be distractions whilst in office, and campaign time is a good time to start focusing. She seems really bad in this area.

    Reply

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