17 February 2016

Today's Must Read

In The Grauniad,* Thomas Frank makes the obvious point about Hillary Clinton.

Specifically, he notes that Hillary is not a corrupt thrall of the malefactors of wealth, she is a malefactor of wealth herself:
Stunned by the rise of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton has been at pains to assure the Democratic rank and file that she too understands their concerns; that just like her rival, she is capable of denouncing wealthy interests, of promising to break up big banks and even of hinting that she might prosecute powerful financiers.

After her landslide defeat in New Hampshire last week, she conceded that “the way too many things were going just wasn’t right”. There was a difference between her and the senator from Vermont, however: she was the candidate who would get things done, who could “actually make the changes that make your lives better”.


These are noble sentiments. Unfortunately, what voters are rejecting is not Hillary the Capable; it is the party whose leadership faction she represents as well as the direction in which our modern Democrats have been travelling for decades.


Among the legions of the respectable at the time, Bill Clinton’s many reversals of Democratic tradition were thought to establish him as a figure of great historic significance. A telling example of this once-common view can be found in an admiring 1996 book by the then Guardian journalist Martin Walker, who asserted that the president’s few failings were “in the end balanced and even outweighed by his part in finally sinking the untenable old consensus of the New Deal, and the crafting of a new one”.

That Clintonian consensus, which slouches on in the bank bailouts and trade deals of recent years, is what deserves to be on the table in 2016, under the bright lights of public scrutiny at last. As we slide ever deeper into the abyss of inequality, it is beginning to dawn on us that sinking the New Deal consensus wasn’t the best idea after all.

Unfortunately, focusing on the money being mustered behind Hillary Clinton by various lobbyists and Wall Street figures misses this point. The problem with establishment Democrats is not that they have been bribed by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and the rest; it’s that many years ago they determined to supplant the GOP as the party of Wall Street – and also to bid for the favor the tech industry, and big pharma, and the telecoms, and the affluent professionals who toil in such places.


In truth, our affluent, establishment Democrats can no more be budged from their core dogmas – that education is the solution to all problems, that professionals deserve to lead, that the downfall of the working class is the inevitable price we pay for globalization – than creationists can be wooed away from the tenets of “intelligent design”. The dogmas are simply too essential to their identity. Changing what the Democratic party stands for may ultimately require nothing less than what a certain Vermonter is calling a “political revolution”.
Notwithstanding her prodigious abilities and accomplishment, Hillary Clinton is part of a package with Bill Clinton, and Bill Clinton was not just a member of the (not thankfully defunct) right wing Democratic Leadership Council, he is one of its founders.

It's not that they are bought and paid for by people like corrupt former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin, it's that they ARE the people like corrupt former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin, and unlike, for instance, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, they are not willing to separate themselves from those people.

*According to the Wiki, The Guardian, formerly the Manchester Guardian in the UK. It's nicknamed the Grauniad because of its penchant for typographical errors, "The nickname The Grauniad for the paper originated with the satirical magazine Private Eye. It came about because of its reputation for frequent and sometimes unintentionally amusing typographical errors, hence the popular myth that the paper once misspelled its own name on the page one masthead as The Gaurdian, though many recall the more inventive The Grauniad."


Post a Comment