Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Clinton Legacy

Hi - most of you are probably aware of Hillary Clinton's comments reported yesterday regarding race, and how she is more electable than Obama because whites support her more than they do Obama. The story is here. It's difficult for me to get my mind around these comments coming from a Clinton; during Bill Clinton's presidency, and after it, I was and remained one of his biggest supporters. Bryer and Ginsberg were confirmed to the Court, the Family Medical Leave Act and the Brady Bill were passed, an increase to the minimum wage was passed, he balanced a budget, and, if memory serves, quite a few national parks were created and the EPA was active. He solicited and received support from the African American community. Shut down the government to stop the GOP, and of course fought off impeachment. All good stuff for a liberal like me.

However, Hillary's campaign and Bill's role in it has made me question for some time her commitment to the Democratic party and progressive principles in general. Her comments on race, however, have left me quite stunned, and confirmed this is just a Quixotic effort to reach for power for power's sake. It's also made me re-think the legacy of Bill's administration - and reminds me of other legislation that also passed during the Clinton administration, such as DOMA, "don't ask, don't tell", Welfare "reform", expansion of the death penalty in federal cases, large reductions in the capital gains tax; there are others. Price of progress?

To me, it's looking like a sad end to a candidacy that could have chosen to bow out with dignity and grace, leaving the door open for wide influence in the next administration. Biden and Dodd, certainly, showed how to do it. As it stands, it is my belief that Hillary's campaign has tarnished the image of the Clinton presidency as well as her own, and the Democratic Party as a whole. It certainly feels like a campaign a Republican would run.

For those who are afraid of Barack Obama, I don't really know what to say; I've made my points in a couple of earlier e-mails, and won't repeat them here. But I will say that it does seem to me that he's the best shot at bringing the Democratic Party back to the progressive principles most of us claim to believe in.

2 comments:

Vigilante said...

Good piece. Good to see you out and around!

Stella said...

Eloquently and accurately stated, Schmog.

According to NDTV.com: Obama is 188 delegates ahead of Clinton and 117 delegates short of the 2,026 needed to clinch the nomination, while only 103 delegates are at stake in the Kentucky and Oregon primaries.

It's going to be a neck in neck or maybe a nose in nose finish.