What’s different about Hillary Clinton this time

Where's Waldo -- I mean, Hillary? When I shot this way back in May 2015, she was surrounded by the usual suspects, from the SC Democratic Women's Council.

Where’s Waldo — I mean, Hillary? When I shot this way back in May 2015, she was surrounded by the usual suspects, from the SC Democratic Women’s Council.

Today, our good friend Doug (who for some reason is calling himself “Douglas” this week) Ross got me going when he said this about Hillary Clinton:

She is running to win the votes of her faithful followers…

Which made me say no, not this time…

I think that was true in 2008 — very much so. It’s one of the things that made Sen. Barack Obama look so good by contrast. At that time, her support base seemed made up of:

  • Diehard loyal Clintonistas who, for instance, still saw Bill’s impeachment as something that the “vast right-wing conspiracy” had done to THEM, rather than arising from Bill’s actions.
  • 1970s-style feminists who were just excited as all get-out because she was a woman, pure and simple.
  • The Democratic Party’s angriest partisan warriors who were hyper-anxious to “take the country back” after the Republicans holding the White House for 8 years.

By contrast, Barack Obama ran as not only the post-racial, but post-partisan candidate who wanted to lead us beyond the bitter sniping of the Clinton and Bush years.

This time, though, it’s different. Not necessarily because she, Hillary Clinton, is different, but because of the overall political environment in which this campaign is occurring. It’s pushed her into an entirely different role.

Now, she’s not the representative of an old ’60s-’70s “New Left” — she in fact spent most of the past year fighting to  survive a huge challenge from someone who represented that far more than she ever had.

But nothing recast her role as much as the way Trumpism took over the GOP.

Circumstances have conspired to make her the sole representative remaining from either party of the broad, moderate governing consensus of the post-1945 America. There’s a category into which you can fit every president (and most if not all major-party nominees, but especially the presidents) we’ve had since FDR, regardless of party. And she is the only person left — now that the likes of Jeb Bush and John Kasich are long departed from the scene — who fits into that category, or even lives in the same universe as that category.

So yeah, you’ve got the standard Clintonista hangers-on, sure. But you’ve also got independents like me, and you’ve got pretty much the entire Republican national security Establishment, all rooting for her to win this.

Because she’s all that’s left for any of us…

hillary-dwc

20 thoughts on “What’s different about Hillary Clinton this time

  1. Bart

    “Because she’s all that’s left for any of us…” This one line pretty well sums up the situation voters are facing with the choices before us. It is pathetic when this is the eulogy for politics of sensible and responsible people in this country.

    Not much more to say about Clinton or Trump and the sad state of the quality of candidates on the ballot. As I have said before, I will vote my conscience and what I believe is best whether anyone thinks I am wasting my vote or not, I could care less. Voting for either one would be a violation of my conscience and core belief that we could do so much better.

    About the only thing left to do is sit back and watch the clowns entertain the faithful.

    Reply
    1. Bart

      How bad does one have to be over the other to invoke your claim that equivalency is a falsehood? It may be a falsehood in your opinion but as it is with so many others, I/we are not obligated to agree with you. Bad choices are bad choices and equivalency has nothing to do with it at all. Personally, I find one as offensive as the other and in my estimation, that is enough for me to find Clinton and Trump to be equivalent.

      Reply
      1. Bob Amundson

        I heard the Washington Bureau Chief from the Chicago Sun-Times state that comparing how Trump and Clinton manipulate the media is like comparing a felony versus a misdemeanor. The context was discussing Trump’s “press conference” this past Friday.

        Reply
      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        The choice here isn’t a matter of degree. It’s not between a misdemeanor and a felony.

        It’s more like ones and zeroes.

        As I wrote on Friday, Hillary Clinton is “the sole representative remaining from either party of the broad, moderate governing consensus of both parties in the post-1945 world. There’s a category into which you can fit every president (and most if not all major-party nominees, but especially the presidents) we’ve had since FDR, regardless of party. And she is the only person left — now that the likes of Jeb Bush and John Kasich are long departed from the scene — who fits into that category.”

        Donald Trump is so far outside that category that he might as well be in a different solar system.

        Now within that category of qualified people whom a serious voter might consider, there is a wide range of different levels of acceptability. In a choice between Kennedy and Nixon, Nixon and Humphrey, Carter and Ford, Bush and Clinton, Gore and Bush one can have strong preferences and set out forceful arguments for why someone should consider one and not the other. You can offer even starker contrasts if the choice is between Johnson and Goldwater, Nixon and McGovern, or Carter and Reagan.

        But all of those candidates, with the possible exception of Goldwater (I say “possible exception” because I was out of the country during the 1964 campaign and far too young to vote anyway, and I haven’t made a close study of the campaign) were within the bounds. They were all in the electable category.

        Nixon, for instance, had quite a few objectionable characteristics. He shares some of those with Hillary. But he was firmly within the category.

        That’s why I say it’s ones and zeroes, on and off. Wherever you place Hillary Clinton in the category of qualified people, she is in it and Trump is not. Period.

        Reply
    2. Kathryn Fenner

      But Hillary is hardly a “bad” choice. No rational person can believe she is not smart enough or experienced enough or tough enough to govern effectively. We may disagree on her policies, but she is not a thin-skinned bully who Tweets too much and stiff not only his lenders, which is fair enough, but small vendors and service providers, etc. Someone who should not have the nuclear codes ever.

      Reply
      1. Bart

        I don’t disagree with your description of Trump but I still believe Hillary is a “bad” choice. Guess I am not a rational person because I do not believe she can be effective.

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          Agree, Bart. I am also a rational person and see nothing but bad times coming out if a Hillary presidency. She lacks vision and leadership skills. She is the most packaged candidate in history and her presidency would be uninspired and acrimonious.

          Reply
      2. Claus

        You calling me irrational? Liberals are starting to run scared. It’s crunch time and Hillary is going backwards in the polls. I suspect there will be a lot more Trump voters behind the curtain than in front of the curtain.

        Reply
  2. Doug Ross

    The first debate is one week from today. 90 minutes long. My one hope is that it is held in a venue where no cheering will be allowed. Trump’s advantage is that all he has to do is act Presidential for those 90 minutes.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Of course, the standard of “act Presidential” has been lowered to an alarming degree for him. As long as Trump doesn’t drop trou or do something else on that approximate level, he’s “acting presidential”…

      Reply
  3. Bart

    I could care less what anyone has to say about how I view the candidates. I draw my own conclusions about their qualifications and whether I believe either will be effective as a leader no matter what their background may or may not be. Neither one can or will be an effective leader. Both simply have too much excess baggage to close the divide so prevalent between so many divergent interest groups that make up a large percentage of the population in this. We are a divided nation politically, socially, and economically based on the various media outlets, pundit commentaries, and countless special interest groups who like the squeaky wheel, garner more than their fair share of media coverage. I am not a conspiracy theorist but after watching and reading the news, reading reports on the internet from various sources, everyone has a complaint or gripe about something and the portrait being painted of this country is not positive or conducive to unity at all.

    When it comes to being rational, I am convinced that neither candidate can bring us together as a nation and therefore the equivalency conclusion. If anything, in my opinion only, anyone who believes Clinton can achieve unity is not being rational because of the obvious truth about her high negatives and the fact that she is very slightly less divisive than Trump is. Trying to rationalize voting for her because she is “slightly less divisive” is not sufficient reason to cast my vote for her or at least it is not for me. Trump is no better.

    Reply
  4. Doug Ross

    A smart, strategic move by Trump at Monday’s debate would be to go in for a hug with her when they greet each other on the stage before the debate begins. The internet would break. If she hugs him, she immediately defuses her attacks on him. If she doesn’t, she comes across as cold. It’s a no lose move for Trump. It’s not like they haven’t hugged before, either. I bet they have.

    Reply

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