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Is Hillary Clinton a Bad Politician?

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton

First, she was outmaneuvered by a Black man with a Muslim middle name. Now struggling mightily with an elderly, Socialist Jew from Brooklyn. Let’s explore.

Hillary Rodham Clinton exploded on the national scene like a force of nature. A brilliant and confident First Lady. She was not going to be the silent, fade-to-the-background type. Not at all. She was often seen as Chief Confidant, even co-President. Let’s take a moment to review before we move on.

During her formative years, she spent time working on the campaign of horrid Republican Barry Goldwater. She also campaigned for Richard Nixon. Doesn’t say much for her political leanings at the time. We all have things in our past that are extremely embarrassing. We grow, and we learn. At the same time, this also offers a window into the type of politics that may inform her thinking to this day. The operatives surrounding Nixon & Goldwater were not touchy-feely types. These were some of the most ruthless players in our political history. The leading edge of “wedge issue” politics that continues to wreak havoc on our discourse and the nation. This lineage reads like a poli sci rogues gallery- WeyrichAtwater, Phillips, Rove, Schlafly, Mitchell, Ailes, et al. This is not to say she was in smokey rooms drinking scotch with the power players of the era. She did, however, have a front row seat & that matters.

She attended Wellesley and Yale. She spent some time as a Congressional staffer in DC. She later married her long time friend & intellectual equal- William Jefferson Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar and up-and-coming politician. Bill would become Governor of Arkansas and Hillary the First Lady. She was active in improving state education while working as a lawyer and mother.

After a fierce campaign against war president Poppy Bush, the Clintons entered the White House in January 1993. Hillary soon established herself as a force. The Clintons were known to wield political power ruthlessly behind the scenes- carrot and BIG STICK. Hillary would use that power to influence both the Senate & the House. While professing to be Liberal, The Clintons dragged policy to the right on domestic issues- DOMA, NAFTA, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the 1994 crime bill & welfare reform. Hillary was ride-or-die the entire time. It seems their Arkansas roots were showing, and America missed it.

After leaving the White House, Hillary Clinton became a Senator from the great State of New York. She won two terms though she never lived in New York. I won’t insult your intelligence trying to make you believe this accomplishment was all that hard. She had the money, power, connections, the right-leaning Democratic Leadership Council and name recognition. This was not a test of her political acumen in any way. It was a pit stop, in any case. Her objective was “Hill & Bill: the Return”. Becoming POTUS was her one and only political goal. In 2007, she saddled up the old gang for her first shot at the White House in the 2008 race. She was billed as a sure thing. With the most popular president in recent American history at her side, what could possibly go wrong?

Enter one Barack Hussein Obama, Jackson Five nostrils and all. A Black, first-termer in the Senate. Senator Obama was brilliant, charming and a great orator. However, at the time, he was a DC neophyte. There was no apparent reason for the Clintons to see him as any more than a stumbling block at the time. The Clintons, along with the rest of the DC political elite, were sadly mistaken. Senator Obama ran a strategic, data-driven campaign unlike anything ever seen before. It is still being taught in Political Science courses all over the world. The Clintons soon found themselves in the fight of their political lives.

Since the 60’s, the Democratic party could depend on one group of votes above all- Black people. That voting block was suddenly in play. For the Clinton camp, this was a staggering realization. It’s often said that people cling to what they know best when they’re under pressure. The Clintons turned to xenophobia (Muslim smear), subtle racism (wait your turn) & sexism accusations. In the face of “hopeful change”, soaring oratory & an ultra modern political campaign, Team Hillary seemed out of step and out of touch. As brilliant as Bill Clinton is, he is likely to put his foot in his mouth more often than not when under pressure. That didn’t help. Their choices of surrogates were questionable at best, and a liability at worst. We all know how that ended. The campaign was wooden, and they got caught flat-footed by a more agile new jack. Not a sign of a good politician. Coronation postponed.

Even after the 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama graciously reached out to HRC to run the Department of State. Eyeing a 2016 campaign, she accepted the opportunity to beef up her resume and the challenge of international diplomacy. This move reunited the Democratic Party for the coming fight with recalcitrant Republicans. Since Henry Kissinger is a hero only in Opposite World, I will let his endorsement of Hillary’s performance stand on its own. She left the DoS after the first Obama term.

Since the 2008 loss, Hillary has made it clear that she wanted another shot at the White House. However, she has made decisions that will negatively impact her political aspirations. This brings her judgment into question. To name a few: 1) Blurring the lines between the Clinton Foundation and Department of State, 2) taking money from Wall Street, 3) accepting money from the prison industry & 4) speeches for fists full of cash. These activities are not wrong or illegal. But, they are moves that display a tone deafness to the realities of everyday Americans- the voters.

Now in 2016, the Democratic field was allegedly cleared of candidates from within the Beltway and Governor’s Mansions around the country by the DNC. This was done to help Hillary become the Democratic Party standard bearer. The campaign begins and the coast is clear except for average Martin O’Malley and crazy old coot Bernie Sanders. No worries. 

Hillary 2016 started off well enough with the frontrunner status. However, it seems to be straining under the pressure of #FeelTheBern. They seem to be falling into old bad habits. It seems that Hillary’s campaigns seem only to have three modes: glide path, feigned outrage or flailing character/record attacks. Please review paragraph 3 of this article.

They are still being caught flat-footed. Something that is also shocking is her campaign’s inability to come up with their own message despite their overflowing war chest and access to the “best minds” among the New York & DC elite. They are literally remixing tweets from the Sanders campaign. (Hat Tip: The Progressive Mind):

Speaking of Bernie Sanders, he has come out of the gate with a brand of populism that no one saw coming. His campaign is impacting the entire field. Didn’t want big money nor did he care about the establishment’s acceptance. He is beating the same drum he has beaten for 40 years. Unafraid to voice his opinion and with no superdelegates. That is the type of purity that Americans have been craving for decades. But, it seems he was the only one that knew. Maybe. THAT guy is neck-and-neck with the most powerful political machine on the field.

Martin O’Malley is gone. Now it’s 1-on-1. Can Hillary pull this out or be revealed as a bad politician? With everything stacked in her favor, she may just watch it slip away again. Coronation delayed.

I’m starting to think she is simply not good at this.

For more, follow me here at ProgressiveArmy.com or follow me on Twitter- @BLUpfront.

 

Written by Michael Graham

Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Veteran, Social Justice Warrior. City by birth, Country by default. Follow Michael on Twitter @BLUpfront.

Michael Graham is a Senior Writer for Progressive Army.

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