Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ready For Hillary, I Guess

The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

So we finally get a moderate Republican in the presidential race. Too bad she’s running as a Democrat.
A week ago today, former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton surprised absolutely no one when she declared that she was seeking the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. As usual, the press and the Republicans immediately ignored the actual problems with Mrs. Clinton as a candidate and a possible president, such as her cozying up with corporate interests and her hawkish and interventionist foreign policy.
No, in deference to the “base,” they went right to the usual trivia, previously refuted tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories (Benghazi, Benghazi, BENGHAZI!!!) and of course, thinly veiled sexism.
Take, for example, the often-voiced criticism that Clinton is “arrogant” or “entitled.” Look, people, it’s a supreme act of arrogance for anyone to put themselves forward as qualified to lead the Free World. As far as I’m concerned, this “arrogance” claim is just a euphemism for the word those on the right really want to use (and occasionally have): “uppity.” They said it about President Obama, they’ll say it about Hillary Clinton, they’ll basically say it about anyone they regard as one of their inferiors who has the effrontery to aspire to political power.
On the “trivia” front, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman took an entire column to break the story of Mrs. Clinton and her assistant dining at a Chipotle restaurant in Maumee, Ohio. Mrs. Clinton, we are told, was “in a bright pink shirt, ordering a chicken burrito bowl — and carrying her own tray.” This, it should be noted, came from a review by Ms. Haberman of the restaurant’s security video after receiving an “anonymous tip.”
But they didn’t stop there. Ms. Haberman delved deeper to bring us the news that “their order also included a Blackberry Izze drink, a soda and a chicken salad, and was filled just after 1 p.m.”
This led to a “what does it all mean?” analysis on, which asked, with no visible trace of irony: “One of the biggest obstacles Hillary has to overcome is the perception that she represents the past. What better way to shed that outdated 1990s stigma than appearing at a hip restaurant of today?”
The real issue, of course, it the cover-up as to whether or not Clinton left a tip or whether she got more guacamole than she deserved. I think a House committee needs to be convened on this, and God help Hillary if she can’t produce the receipt.
I’ve detailed several times in these pages why I’m not naturally a fan of Clinton’s brand of Republican Lite. She seems to have come late to the realization that income inequality exists in this country and that it’s a serious problem. And, lest we forget, she voted for the Iraq War.
I’d much rather see, for example, Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the race. Problem is, Warren’s adamant that she’s not running. The people pushing Sen. Bernie Sanders to declare for the Democratic nomination seem to have forgotten one basic problem: Sanders isn’t a member of the Democratic Party.
As for the other potential Democratic candidates, I like former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb’s positions on criminal justice reform, and he was talking about income inequality before it was cool. But he’s very much a long shot at this point. And who the heck is Martin O’Malley?
All that said, when you look at the current actual and potential GOP slate of candidates, the choice is pretty clear. For example, the day after Hillary announced, Marco Rubio jumped into the race and reminded us of the weakness of the forces against her. Sen. Thirsty, apparently not aware of Mrs. Clinton’s “hip” lunch habits, derided Hillary as “the candidate of the past” before promising to roll back everything that’s happened in the last six years.
You may think it somewhat odd to hear a member of the party that idolizes Ronald Reagan and would like to see us return to the “family values” of the 1950s talking about “the politics of the past,” but as I’ve noted before, no one should expect consistency from these people.
The next president may get to appoint as many as four Supreme Court justices. I want someone in that position who’s pro-choice, pro-science, pro-LGBT rights, and pro-health care reform. And you know what? So do the majority of American people. Even on health care reform, when you ask them about the specifics of the Affordable Care Act and don’t call it “Obamacare,” people are overwhelmingly for it.
So voting for Hillary Clinton is going to be like getting old: annoying and occasionally painful, but not so bad when you consider the alternative.