Hillary Clinton Is Not My Feminist Hero

An article has been making the rounds that shares a self-described “all-caps explosion of feelings” about the how the left has failed to support Hillary Clinton’s run for president. Amid important points about how Clinton criticism can often be sexist and Clinton’s gender makes her presidential campaign all the more challenging, there’s a troubling refrain: We all make mistakes. Give Hillary Clinton a break. She’s the first woman doing what she’s doing and feminists should recognize that.


Setting aside the bizarre assumption that the author’s readers are cis, white, able-bodied, and in all ways personally unaffected by Clinton’s “now-unacceptable” policies, there’s a deeper theme here. It’s not a new idea, either. It’s the foundation of white feminism. The advancement of women—always women already in power, women with privilege—is more important than any other struggle, so pipe down with your other causes and support women even as they step on the shoulders of more vulnerable groups to get where they’re going. You see it with every oppression “middle man”: white queers who don’t want Black Lives Matter protests ruining their Pride parade; TERFs who think their experience of misogyny gives them a license to attack trans women; middle-class racists who claim white privilege doesn’t exist because they “never asked for anything.” They’re the Bill Lumberghs of social justice: pathetic, impotent middle management getting off on lording it over a more disadvantaged group than themselves.

Is Hillary the literal worst? Of course not. But her politics should give feminists pause—as women of color have been pointing out since the 2008 Clinton/Obama rivalry. Here are just a few examples.

She’s supported the school-to-prison pipeline and the War on Drugs.

It’s well documented that the prison industrial complex swelled under Bill Clinton’s administration. Was Hillary secretly plotting to subvert it? Not likely—she’s made her active role as First Lady a key talking point in her “experience”-focused bid, and private prison lobbying groups are lining her pockets during her current campaign (as are Exxon Mobil and Texas pipeline company Cheniere). She’s even reluctant to take a stand against the death penalty, one of the most sobering icons of racial bias in the American justice system.

She’s among the most right-wing Democrats when it comes to war in the Middle East.

Supporting the United States’ illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 (vowing that “those terrorists” would “feel the wrath” of the U.S.) wasn’t the last time Clinton showed her hawkish side. As Senator she opposed any restrictions on U.S. arms transfers and police training to governments that charged with human rights violations. She pushed to veto a 2011 UN security council resolution calling for a settlement freeze in Israel and attempted to block any action resulting from a 2009 UN fact-finding report documenting war crimes by both Israel and Hamas. In a 2014 interview with The Atlantic, she waved off the topic of war crimes blithely: “It’s impossible to know what happens in the fog of war.”

The experience of sexism alone should not earn anyone automatic support.

Ann Coulter has experienced sexism, but I don’t want her in the White House. It is possible to condemn gendered criticisms of Hillary Clinton and her supporters while also opposing her as a presidential candidate. Will Hillary Clinton be held to a higher standard of excellence (among other things) because she’s a woman? Of course. But telling her good-faith critics to sit down and shut up in the name of feminism isn’t solving that problem. 


I will never ask another person to suck it up and take one for the team in the name of feminism by voting against their interests. If that makes me a bad feminist, so be it—I hear there’s a book about us.


Julia Burke

Julia is a wine educator with an interest in labor and politics in the wine industry. She has also written about fitness and exercise science, mental health, beer, and a variety of other topics for Skepchick. She has been known to drink Amaro Montenegro with PB&J.

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  1. You had me until you said “by voting against their interests”. That’s exactly the problem you’re pointing out with the original post. Who’s best interests? How do you know? I’ve seen enough black women complaining about this very thing. Sanders supporters telling them by voting for Clinton they are voting against their best interests.

    Last Canadian election I mentioned that to someone and was rightfully called out for it. That’s a privileged position. There there Hun, trust me you’ll be better off under so and so.

    I promised myself I would never tell anyone how to vote.

    But I do see there being two issues. If the two candidates are close together in policy as a woman it’s more beneficial to have a woman in the leadership position. I don’t know how far about or close they are too be honest. I haven’t been paying attention And honestly I don’t care as long as whoever wins can beat Trump or Cruz lol

    I will also mention the issue of our gender parity cabinet. Some argued that they can’t possibly be the best choices because there is a forced gender split. However people on this site applauded it and ad our PM said when asked why it’s because it’s 2015.

    You are long overdue for a female president. And she is qualified. I can understand why this woman argued for it. As women we haven’t seen enough women in power.

    Bottom line though why the heck didn’t Elizabeth Warren run?!?!

  2. Sorry, I should clarify–the feelings-dump article made me feel like *I* was being told to vote against my interests in the name of feminism, and I’m pushing back against that type of “solidarity.”

    I wish Elizabeth Warren would run, too.

  3. Gah, I am a Hillary supporter and don’t really like that all-caps explosion either. But she feels what she feels I guess.

    I think this post from Melissa McEwan (who is often times very critical of Clinton) does a better job of making the argument that many people’s impressions of Clinton as corrupt, untrustworthy, etc. etc. are based on right-wing smears that started well before many young voters were born. I don’t want people to vote for Clinton just because she’s a woman (in a hypothetical race between Sanders and Fiorino, I would back Sanders in a heartbeat), but I do think a lot of people are wary of her because of right-wing attacks that they’ve been hearing their whole lives, and that’s disappointing, too.

    Also, I think we have to be careful to hold Sanders to the same standard that we hold Clinton. Some of his past votes do not align with his current position statements, either.

  4. I am excited about a woman presidential candidate, but the dogwhistling from the obama campaign really annoyed me and even if it’s pragmatic I’m tired of voting for the conservative-lite version of democrat that we have here in the states.
    I don’t think Benie can deliver on the things he’s campaigning on, but I do hope he can start moving the “middle” to the left a bit.

  5. This kind of stuff comes up a lot when people discuss Clinton vs. Sanders.

    I’ll throw out a few other reasons I am not thrilled with Clinton: her health care plan back in the 90s was basically “save the insurance providers.” There are a lot of ways to organize universal health insurance or care (the two are NOT the same) from the French system of doctors being effectively government employees, to single payer, (a la Canada) to price controls (Switzerland, Germany). All have their pros and cons.

    But Clinton in particular was instrumental (along with Harry Reid and Obama himself) in taking any option that put a slight burden on insurance companies off the table. No price controls. No single-payer. Obamacare will make a difference at the margins, but it isn’t much.

    Clinton is also not just hawkish on Israel. She did a Corleone consigliere visit to Egypt when she was Secretary of State. The point? Let them know that if it was a choice between some democracy and maybe someone you didn’t like getting elected and the generals, the US would support the generals. Oh, and make sure the Egyptian left — which led the revolution in the first place — was marginalized if they wanted to keep getting aid. (No, the Egyptian uprising was not led by connected urbanites who Tweeted in English; it was started by textile workers, but that’s another discussion).

    And shall we forget that she and her husband were instrumental in repealing Glass-Steagall, and she has resisted calls to simply reinstate it? Glass-Steagall was a really smart piece of regulation — during it’s lifetime there weer several financial crises, and the provisions of the Act helped basically contain them. (the TL;DR version is that the various pieces of the financial system were firewalled from each other and a collapse in one wasn’t so easily able to collapse the rest).

    Clinton is a conservative Democrat. The woman worked for Barry F-ing Goldwater. Hello!

    On to Sanders: what I find interesting here is that while he has his problems — mostly around acknowledging race issues — he’s at least proven able to come around a bit (if his web site is any indication). About the only thing I can think of that he was to the right of Clinton on was gun control, and he since changed that calling for a ban on straw man purchases, for instance. I don’t see politicians changing positions as necessarily bad; people do grow and change.

    In any case what interests me is what concrete steps people have taken. In that respect I was thinking Sanders over Clinton, at least from my end, but I also recognize that Sanders hasn’t been in a position to do a whole lot as a Senator, ironically enough. (To me his bigger accomplishments came as Mayor and a Rep).

    I don’t disagree that a lot of right wing people went after Clinton — for all the wrong things, IMO. But the existence of a right wing narrative that’s wrong doesn’t make the stuff she is responsible for (especially as secretary of State) disappear.

    As for Sanders my biggest issue with him is that he needs to reach out to nonwhite voters in a bigger way and get control over his political organization. (eg He’s done near-zero outreach in Spanish, as far as I know– I haven’t seen any Spanish-language ads for him, and I just don’t get the sense he really understands the dynamics of social media w/r/t sexism and racism). He also needs to work in the issues of race-specific problems more, he’s gotten better, but he’s still got a ways to go.

    Clinton has taken an unapologetic stance in favor of Planned Parenthood and access to reproductive health, so that’s a plus. Sanders is annoyed that PP endorsed Clinton, but whatever his gaffes his actions in the Senate say to me that he is a supporter (as the saying goes show me your budget and I’ll show you what you value). So neither of them can really claim to be better or worse than the other on that score, AFAICT. If anyone knows different I’d be open to hearing it though.

    So for issues affecting women in particular, I give a slight edge to Sanders because many of the economic issues he is interested in disproportionately affect women. But I also am not going to get all “Sanders is the best thing EVAR” either.

    I’m coming at this, by the way, as someone who recalls that the Democratic Party elites have been pushing conservative Democrats for 20+ years. (Anyone remember a certain 2006 Senate race with Joe Lieberman?) The Party wants Clinton, as her endorsements show. If Sanders were to actually win the primary voters (not necessarily delegates) there would be a brokered convention or the Democrats would pull a McGovern or Lamont on Sanders — i.e. walk away and leave him hanging in the wind to get clobbered in the general election. Electoral success in one race is sometimes not as important to party leaders.

    But none of that has much to do with feminism or Clinton’s lack/ surfeit thereof, not directly.

    And I’d still vote for Clinton over the GOP candidate in a general election, though I’d not love it.

    1. You raise many excellent points against Clinton’s record (and wise critique of Sanders which I agree with), but just one small quibble I have is with the “Goldwater Girl” critique. I think it’s an unnecessary and somewhat unfair swipe considering her age and environment.

      Remember that Hillary grew up with a very conservative Republican father, and Goldwater’s rise was when she wasn’t even out of high school. I really can’t fault someone for their political beliefs as a teenager when they haven’t even moved away from home yet. To her credit she and Bill become McGovern supporters in their college days.

      Plenty of ammo against Clinton in recent years, her support for a GOP candidate as a 16 year old is pretty far down the chamber IMO.

    2. How in the hell does the Egyptian revolution have anything to do with Israel? (Hint: Not all MENA conflicts are related to Israel.)

      Regarding those nonwhite voters…

      You forgot that a lot of Clinton supporters are defending Human Rights Campaign, bi- and trans-exclusionary as it is (and unconcerned with issues like teen homelessness, obviously LGBT issues and obviously ones where you could get plenty of support because parents who kick out their kids are no better than honor killing).

  6. It doesn’t seem fair to me to tar Clinton with actions her husband took in office that weren’t part of her First Lady platform. She wants credit for the parts that she worked on, and criticizing her universal health care plan for being too pro-insurance companies is a far criticism. Criticisms to CHiP and her other First Lady initiations would also be fair. But I don’t really see any evidence that she had a hand in the repeal of Glass-Steagall, and from what I remember the Clinton White House tried very hard to make it clear that she was not involved in the decisions of her husband. Criticising her current opinions on Glass-Steagall is fair game, but tarring her with the actions of her husband implies that they are the same person. Hillary Clinton deserves to be considered on her own merits, and Bill Clinton on his.

    This also comes up when we talk about the 1994 crime bill. Why does Hillary Clinton have to answer for her husband’s tough-on-crime campaign? Why not Sanders, who was serving in the House and actually voted YES for that bill?

    1. And more directly to my earlier point, the idea that Hillary Clinton was partially responsible for all of Bill Clinton’s actions was an popular complaint/conspiracy theory made by right-wing pundits in the 90s. They claimed that she wanted to be an unelected co-president. And now after 20 years of repetition we see that allegation turn into an axiom.

    2. Can we still criticize her for the AUMF vote, for ‘superpredators’, for ‘working, hard-working Americans, white Americans’, for TPP (which she would know about, being Secretary of State at the time), for her being forgainst Keystone, for hiring David Brock to head her superPAC…

      She’s DLC either way, and the DLC may be ‘officially’ gone (They now call themselves the New Democrats.), but they will be the death of our party.

    3. I’ll agree she didn’t have a hand in repealing Glass-Steagall, btu every time anyone brings up reinstating it she has stood with the people who shoot that down on the logic that you can’t break up financial institutions as they currently exist. AT&T would beg to differ, and that was 30+ years ago.

      I don’t think Bill’s policies were entirely her fault. But I do blame her for the stuff that she aided and abetted once she was a Senator and a lot of that dates from her husband’s administration.

      There’s a whole other discussion about issues of racial and economic justice here as well, and Hillary Clinton fails on multiple fronts there for me. (I am not one who thinks Socialism magically makes racism disappear — and I know no serious Socialist who thinks that, not since 1960 anyway).

      1. What sort of airy-fairy theoretical world are you people living in? Her insurance plan was too pro-insurance company! Yet somehow it was crushed by intense, expensive opposition from the ingrates at the insurance companies (Google “Harry and Louise”). Of course, if she’s against single-payer she must be in the pay of the insurance companies (like Paul Krugman). I’m old enough, barely, to remember the left fracturing into ever-more-purist fragments that were at war with each other (or see “Life of Brian”). Go with Bernie or go with Hillary– but don’t start deceiving yourself that she’s no different from the Republicans, because she’s a lot different.

        1. Understand that from the get-go single payer was off the table, but as I said in the post I wrote there are plenty of other ways to do it. That said, Clinton’s plans back in the 90s contained not one of those ideas.

          What Clinton was proposing then — as near as anyone can figure out — was trying to preserve private insurance while disconnecting insurance from being at a given employer. On it’s face that’s not terrible.

          Problem is, she was absolutely uninterested in anything that would radically alter the status quo — and possibly gain any kind of grassroots support. Simply put her plan was so complex that there was no way to build political backing (go ahead, try explaining it to someone in a way that they could put in a letter to a Congressperson).

          Insurance companies were not interested in any change (why would they be when the status quo is pretty good for them?).

          The combination was enough to make it darn near impossible to build support for any changes at all. But what bothers me about Clinton was that she was completely unwilling to even consider anything as simple as “you must cover everyone, no matter what. You will charge the same price for the same coverage. If you want to make money than compete on customer service” This is what is done in Germany and Switzerland. We did it in the US (to a point) with AT&T. This is one reason why everyone in the US has wireline phone service. It’s why the Internet cold even be built here. It’s why cell phone usage was relatively slow to take off n the United States compared to Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

          Nobody ever said she was no different from the Republicans either. Sure there are differences — the issue of women’s health is one. But there are plenty of areas where she agrees with them, primarily in foreign policy where she only differs in how much she wants to bomb and by what method.

    4. I think first ladies are best understood as unpaid white house staffers. They even have staff. (It is actually rather disgusting if you think about it, a formalization of unpaid wifely duties.)

      So I kind of get what you are saying, that certainly her husband’s policies aren’t her policies. Rather we should discuss her role in the Bill Clinton administration in a similar way we discuss her role in the Obama administration. We have enough tell-all books about the 90s that we can say informed things about her role in the various policies in the Clinton administration.

  7. Sorry to trespass here, but I saw this post on Facebook and was so pissed off I had to say something. Hillary Clinton, wanting power for the privileged and stepping on the less fortunate?? One might suspect you weren’t reading the New York Times twenty years ago. If you like Bernie better then vote for him, but if she’s not your feminist hero, then she damn well should be.

      1. eean, I have no idea what you mean. It was Julia’s piece that characterized white feminism (and I suppose HRC herself) as saying, “pipe down… and support women even as they step on the shoulders of more vulnerable groups to get where they’re going.” And I’m saying that HRC has spoken up more for vulnerable groups than Julia ever will. You followed my link, right?

  8. The private prison thing is especially…

    We’ve seen where DLC-style ‘gradual evolution’ gets us. It gets us staring down the possibility of a President Trump. Martin Luther King actually said white moderates were worse than the Ku Klux Klan.

  9. And a couple more things after rereading Julia’s piece:

    1. Julia, you mention, discussing her vote on Iraq, that she had said those terrorists would feel the “wrath” of the US. Following your link, I see that she made that remark *the day after 9/11*. Seems relevant to an evaluation of her hawkishness, wouldn’t you say?

    2. If you really can’t see the difference between her and Ann Coulter, try harder.

    1. We get it, you think Hillary is above reproach.

      But misconstruing what Julia has said and trying to discredit her because she hasn’t done as much as Secretary Clinton is not a very truthful way to go about defending Hillary’s record. Unfortunately it’s a troubling aspect to Ms. Clinton and those around her that seems to come forward each time she starts to get the slightest bit desperate.

      Ask Bill Clinton about South Carolina 2008, or Ms. Clinton’s increasingly thrashing attempts to discredit Mr. Sanders with lies about him taking PAC money, or misconstruing his health care plan, or her surrogates impugning the judgment of the young women who Hillary has so much trouble connecting with if they dare to not fall in line.

      Hillary is perfectly good candidate, and if she is nominated she will receive my vote, however she is no longer seen as a shoe-in and it makes those higher ups in the party who were readying her coronation panicky. Quite frankly I’m glad she didn’t have a cakewalk because there are real issues about her ties to big money, her speaking fees, and past votes that she is all too ready to wave away with a shrug.

      Personally, her vote on Iraq bothers me as it always has, her change of heart on the bankruptcy law makes me wonder if all those wall street bucks started smelling a bit too sweet to her, and while I don’t think that her changing her stance on gay marriage is a problem in and of itself (after all she’s hardly the only one to change their mind on that) her triangulation on how DOMA was just a way to forestall worse options seems disingenuous at best.

      So yeah, she’s miles ahead of any Republican running but she is not unassailable and defending her against relatively mild criticism like what is in this post makes her supporters seem a bit frantic.

      Oh, and Julia didn’t compare Hillary Clinton to Ann Coulter other than to say they have both suffered gendered criticism and that it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) garner either automatic support (for anything but against the genderedness of said criticism). But nice try.

      I have to go, I think I hear Bill Clinton out there beating the misogyny drum again. When will he ever learn?

      1. I do not think Hillary is above reproach. In fact, I haven’t even decided who to vote for in the primary. But I am very troubled by the tone of the anti-Hillary comments. Please don’t pull one of those stunts like where right-wingers say, “I know you think Obama is The One.” Just stick to my comments and don’t tell me what I think.

        Now, please explain how I misconstrued what Julia said. Here it is: “Supporting the United States’ illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 (vowing that “those terrorists” would “feel the wrath” of the U.S.)…” But if you follow the link she provided, H did not say that. In fact, she used the word “wrath” (the only one in quotes, as I recall) *two years earlier* about a rather different situation, 9/11.

        I am not trying to “discredit” Julia for not having done as much as Secretary Clinton, and would you take it amiss if I made a comment about how incredibly thin-skinned Bernie people tend to be? Or how you seem to have a habit of calling people who disagree with you liars? I was responding to Julia’s apparent assertion that HRC had stepped on the less fortunate to advance her own career. That’s something one might think if one knew nothing about her career.

        Again, I am not a supporter, and I am not a bit frantic, but I would like to see criticism based more on facts. And another favorite claim of Bernie people: that”higher ups in the party” are “panicky” in the face of the Revolution. Really? Do you think Nancy Pelosi is saying, “Heavens! I’m going to be swept away by an irresistible tide!” If Pelosi is panicked by Bernie, it’s because she’s afraid of Democrats losing seats in the election. Ask yourself: have you seen *any* sign that Republicans are panicky about Bernie? Have you seen *any* sign that the billionaires are? If they’re not panicking and Pelosi is, then maybe you should be too.

        And please stop impugning other people’s motives.

        1. You want me to stick to your comments? OK

          And I’m saying that HRC has spoken up more for vulnerable groups than Julia ever will.

          Your words, implying that Ms. Clinton is better for vulnerable groups than Julia.

          It was Julia’s piece that characterized white feminism (and I suppose HRC herself) as saying, “pipe down… and support women even as they step on the shoulders of more vulnerable groups to get where they’re going.”

          Did you not say that? This is the part you misconstrued by the way, by adding the implied (but not inferred) parenthetical part.

          Pointing out the very real problems I have with the career and especially the campaigns of Hillary Clinton is not the same as being anti-Hillary. I like Senator Clinton, I just have a problem with her triangulation, I see her husband’s triangulation as part of the reason we are where we are. I have issues with Bernie as well, his stance on guns doesn’t particularly thrill me, but he is not attacking Hillary with incorrect information to smear her.

          Who did I call a liar? Certainly not you, if I mistook you for a Hillary supporter you will have to forgive me, I took it from your defense of her against mild criticism. If you say you haven’t decided who to vote for then I guess you haven’t, although I have my doubts that someone who has not decided would get this troubled by reading a mild rebuke on Facebook. It couldn’t be that you are trying to look impartial? Nah.

          It’s not like Julia was using right-wing talking points, she didn’t say there was no difference between Hill and Republicans, and she didn’t even mention Senator Sanders at all. She was pointing out how Hillary’s surrogates and some of her supporters are echoing the unhelpful tactics of white feminism (this is a feminist blog after all) of caring more about protecting the already advantaged within the group rather than raising all boats.

          And another favorite claim of Bernie people: that”higher ups in the party” are “panicky” in the face of the Revolution.

          Is Debbie Wasserman Shultz a higher up in the party? I would think the chairman of the DNC would be considered as such. What reason did she have to set the debate schedule as she did? Far fewer debates then 2008 and more on weekends and near Holidays when fewer people were likely to watch? Do you think that would help the person with name recognition or somebody that the voters needed to get to know? And how do you feel about the fact that DWS worked for (not just endorsed) Ms. Clinton in 2008? IT PROVES NOTHING! I will give you that, but just like her speaking fees, her campaign contributions, and the convenient “missteps” of her compatriots they give the air of impropriety. Not something I really want in my candidate.

          I just realized who I called a liar, not someone I disagreed with here as it turns out. I called Hillary’s campaign a liar because they have incorrectly said that a PAC that endorses Mr. Sanders constitutes him tacking PAC money, it’s not the same and they know it, but it makes good mud for flinging. Just as her new talking point that Bernie “received $200,000 dollars from Wall Street, but that’s OK” is a big fat fib. The difference being that his money “from” Wall Street came for individuals that work on Wall Street not from the firms that run Wall Street. I believe she knows the difference, but hey, more mud. Then there’s the undisclosed speech transcripts, and her part in silencing the women that accused Bill, and well, I’ll stop there least it be seen as piling on.

          Like I said, I’m not anti-Hillary but as Julia said there is plenty of actual, on-the-record things that Hillary has done and said that should give a feminist pause about giving her an automatic endorsement. That is what you were so upset about, a reminder to just think about it.

          And finally. You give me even more reason to suspect you are indeed a Clinton supporter. You have fallen back on the most recent position she has taken, electability. Bernie’s not electable they say, Bernie’s a socialist they say, Bernie hasn’t been under the microscope they say, and that is all true. But they also fail to mention that his voting record is consistent, and unless he has some major skeletons in his closet the Republicans are going to have a problem doing much more then screaming “old man” or “socialist” over and over. Whereas with Hillary they have tons of talking points old and new that they can bang on against, doesn’t matter if it’s fair they are there. Plus the added Clinton Derangement Syndrome, remember that? Republicans hate the Clintons and will come at her with both barrels.

          The only motive of yours that I mentioned (although I don’t think I exactly impugned it) was that I believe you to be a Hillary supporter. If I was wrong about that (and this comment did nothing to disabuse me of that belief) I apologize. But I’ve got to say, banging on about tone and waving your hands about electability hardly gives the air of impartiality.

          1. Yes, you’re right that it was the author who is implicated by Julia as making that remark. Julia is representing the author as saying, “Support women even if they step on the shoulders of more vulnerable groups to get where they’re going.” But that’s just in general, and Julia certainly doesn’t mean to imply that HRC *is* such a woman? Well, then, I misunderstood, and I apologize, Julia. But surely you can see how I would have such a misunderstanding, given that the whole piece was about HRC. For the record, if you think that HRC *is* such a woman, then I think you are unfamiliar with her history.

            No, mrmisconception, I truly am undecided. If I were a committed HRC supporter, I would just say so. I am finding, however, that I am leaning more toward HRC as a result of coming to her defense so often. I am really astonished by the degree of venom in some of the arguments against her. (Present company excepted, of course.) They remind me of right-wing websites, and I am disturbed that Democrats are adopting and amplifying long-standing right-wing smears.

            I’m a little unclear on the big fat fib. What is this PAC that endorses Bernie but doesn’t give him money? I’ve never heard of such a thing– who wants endorsements from a PAC? HRC did say that Sanders got money from Wall Street indirectly, via the DNC. I think that’s a bit of a stretch, more than a bit, but she made clear that she meant indirectly. I also don’t understand your distinction between firms and individuals. People who get a lot of money from individuals who work on Wall Street are getting money from Wall Street.

            The other thing to keep in mind is that finance employs around half a million people in NY. So just as a Democrat from KY is going to take a strong interest in the coal industry, a Democrat from NY is going to take a strong interest in the finance industry. There are local peculiarities of people’s records that aren’t too relevant when they’re running for national office. I’m not too concerned about Bernie’s flaccid record on guns.

            I am indeed very concerned about Bernie’s electability (and no, you haven’t cleverly unmasked me by noticing that). HRC has survived two decades of Republican attacks, and I don’t think they’re going to get much mileage from bringing up Benghazi, or Whitewater, or Vince Foster. The Republicans haven’t started going yet on Bernie’s honeymoon in the USSR or anything else. It will be ugly if he gets the nomination, and I think you’re dreaming if you think his purity of heart will protect him. I don’t have big problems with him apart from that,but that’s a big one. Well, that and his tendency (and his supporters’) to suggest that anyone who disagrees with him is corrupt.

            There are lots of reasons to dislike DWS, like the debate scheduling and like the inept performance of Democratic candidates in 2014, which I suspect was due to dumb advice from the DNC. But the debate scheduling, while it may have been consciously pro-Hillary, well precedes any possible panic. I repeat, why are Bernie people so happy about panicking the Democrats and so unconcerned about *not* panicking the Republicans and the rich? I haven’t heard a peep from the latter. I think they want nothing more than the nomination of Bernie. They could be wrong, of course.

            Julia, I apologized for intruding on your blog, and I would be sorry to have you join Red State in booting me (I wasn’t rude; they just detected I wasn’t their sort). But really, the way you worded that statement about “wrath” was extremely misleading, creating the impression that she had used those words at the time of the invasion of Iraq. I don’t think you can wave it away by saying the war was “packaged” that way. It was packaged about five different ways; many people were confused into thinking there was a connection with 9/11, but that was rarely explicitly stated. So I don’t think she’s “complicit” in that. Incidentally, this is another example of a local issue that may not have much predictive value. A lot of Jews were very concerned about the threat to Israel of Iraqi WMD; Iraq had already tried poison gas attacks on Israel during the first Gulf War. So it was a lot easier politically to vote no if you were representing Vermont than if you were representing New York.

          2. I agree that there is a lot of unfair criticism of Hillary, and no doubt much of that is based on misogyny. And I don’t believe that Hillary would agree with that all-caps sentiment, but she hasn’t tried to stop it (like Bernie did to his BernieBros just recently) and she has a history of not stopping these types of accusations before (remember Geraldine Ferraro in 2008).

            I also agree that Sanders will not have a walk in the park to the White House, granted a lot of the difference between the two is owed to Hillary’s more high-profile career and her marriage to a president that reviled by his opponents. But, while it’s too early to tell for sure there seem (at this time) to be far more Republicans willing to cross to vote for Bernie then for Hillary, and given how hideous the GOP field is that crossover could be significant and it could have coattails down-ticket.

            There are a couple of PACs that have run Pro-Bernie ads that are not coordinated with the campaign including union organizations that are technically super-PACs (per FEC rules) but don’t have billionaire money behind them. That is decidedly different from straight super-PAC money that can be contributed straight to candidate’s coffers. Bernie has rejected all of those types of donations while Hillary has not, again this doesn’t prove that she’s corrupt, it just shows the perniciousness of big money in our current system.

            As for her getting finance money, OK fair enough point that she is from NY where she is near finance. But she also gets lots of communications company money, and pharmaceuticals money, and retail money. Each of these things is like a grain of sand in my shoe when it comes to Hillary and the abrasion gets a bit uncomfortable after a while.

            Sure, the debate schedule was set up before Sanders started doing well, Sanders was also ignored when he complained about it early on (as was O’Malley). That was until Sanders started polling well in Iowa and New Hampshire, when it would be in Clinton’s interest to have more debates then DWS wanted to talk about more debates. The number of super-delegates deciding before Iowa was unusually high as well.

            Look, I realize that Iowa and New Hampshire are in Sanders’ wheelhouse and that South Carolina is his first real big test, but remember how inevitable Clinton seemed early in 2008, until she wasn’t and she needed a big win on Super Tuesday. And how her campaign became erratic and basically shook itself apart as the undeserving upstart held steady and pulled ahead. I see the same thing happening again, I see the campaign becoming rattled and these types of gaffes by her supports are not being addressed well. It’s hard to tell if Bernie broke too late to catch her, I suspect he did, but if you notice the Republicans have been taking shots at him lately as well. I thinks that tells us something.

            Oh, and I do apologize for assuming you were a supporter, after hearing you were defending her on Red State I can certainly understand how you would be in defense “beast-mode”. I wouldn’t go near that place myself. Yuck

          3. Actually, my experience with Red State was a while ago, and I was somewhat quieter about my true views. I think I just did it to let some air into the hermetic chamber. This was right at the time of the BP blowout, and there was a posting from a guy about a move to remove liability caps on oil companies. He said we would soon be seeing $8/gal gasoline as a result. I said that an efficient free-market solution would be to make oil companies bear the cost of their damage (which is true), and the next thing I knew, I had a fake Microsoft error message on my screen. This, I learned, was something RS did at the time, and it became a small Internet scandal.

        2. Howard, we both know that even though Iraq and 9/11 are different things, the Iraq invasion of 2003 was packaged and sold to the American people as retribution for 9/11. Hillary Clinton and every politician who voted for the invasion are complicit in that. This and the other concerns I mentioned above should, as I said, give feminists pause. Your choice to interpret that as anything more is beyond the scope of my control and, frankly, my interest.

          You’re free to support HRC, but you won’t win over many fans here with this series of incoherent strawmen. If you continue to lower the quality of otherwise-excellent discourse in these comments, I reserve the right to boot you.

          1. Howard, I’m aware of the timing of her quote, and my point that it reflects hawkishness stands; she said something very hard to walk back, voted accordingly, and based on the other examples I mentioned that gives me reason for concern that she’d do it again.

          2. Julia, can’t you just admit you got a little carried away on this one and got caught? HRC was the senator from New York. It was thousands her constituents who died on 9/11. Talking about terrorists and wrath two days after 9/11 is not a sign of hawkishness, or anything that she would need to walk back. Nor would it somehow commit her to anything about Iraq. Let’s move on.

          3. I admit to mistakes on here all the time. On this point, however, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  10. By the way, for anyone reading downthread — a bit of definition on what a PAC is and does.

    Unaffiliated PACs can be set up by anyone anywhere. Campaigns don’t control or coordinate with them (that’s the law). Affiliated PACs are different — they are more like extensions of the campaign.

    PACs generally don’t always give money to campaigns directly. They just spend money in support thereof.

    PACs of all stripes can collect as much money as they want.

    Another kind of PAC is a “conduit” which is like ActBlue.com. They put money to the candidate of your choice and pool donations. When you download FEC data it means a lot of contributors get counted twice.

    Sanders has politely asked PACs to support him in other ways. The closest thing he has is some unions (NNU and CWA). He even sent a cease and desist to a guy who wanted to start a PAC in California to support him.

    And by the way the FEC has a whole excel file of donors. Most of Bernie’s donors are retirees, as are Clinton’s. But if you’re that interested the “Itemized Donations” has people listed by occupation. It is not clear how much Wall Street support Sanders might have; the unitemized donations don’t say. But there certainly isn’t a lot of support in the way there is for Clinton, who got $24 million form the 10106 zip code, which happens to be a PO Box code in NYC and home to a few hedge funds.

    (Sanders’ best ZIP code is in California, and his 3rd-best is Burlington).

    Al this is just to throw a little knowledge about what PACs are and what they actually do. So before you get all over who has PAC money or not it’s never a bad idea to know what you’re describing.

    (And yes, I have the excel sheets of contributions. Some interesting patterns, to be sure — evidently not many people in South Carolina or Nevada are giving to Bernie. New Mexico seems a better fit, if the money is any indicator).

    1. BTW should add that Sanders has asked potential PACs to do anything except collect and spend money unless its plain old contributions to the campaign committee, which is different from a PAC and operates under more stringent rules. That’s what I mean by support in other ways.

      1. When I said super-PAC money could be contributed straight to candidate’s coffers, I meant to their campaign committees as you have stated here.

        I didn’t mean to suggest it was going into their actual pockets, I hope nobody took it that way.

        Thank you for making that distinction.

  11. I don’t think people have really thought through the implications of an obvious fact: Clinton was a senator from New York, Sanders is a senator from Vermont.

    1. Finance employs 3-400,000 people in New York. Not toomany in Vermont. So yeah, she’s going to be concerned about the health of the financial sector; that’s part of her job. Yeah, she’s going to get more contributions from people on Wall Street; they were her constituents. It doesn’t mean they own her.

    2. New York has a lot of people who worry about the security of Israel. Vermont, not too many. If you worry about the security of Israel, then you worry about Saddam Hussein having WMD; during the Gulf War Saddam had fired missiles at Israel. Notice that the other VT senator voted against the AUMF and the other NY senator voted for it.

    So a lot of what people see as ideological differences could also be seen as two politicians doing politically expedient things. At a minimum, Bernie did not have to pay a price for ideological purity. When he did, as with guns, he got a little wobbly. So I find his sanctimony about his “good judgment” a little irritating.

    1. Hillary is hawkish. You can write off her vote on Iraq a expedience but it doesn’t change the other areas where she has pushed for military action.

      What constituents was she trying to appease when she pushed for regime change in Libya? Wait, she was SOS at the time.

      And while Daesh (ISIS) needs to be dealt with, her current push for boots on the ground (including her “you’re either with us or against us moment”) troubles me. You can’t fight terror that way, especially while coddling Saudi Arabia which has the same sorts of policies as Daesh.

      She’s far from Cruz or even Trump, but she is hawkish, especially for a Democrat.

      1. OK, let’s agree on this: Bernie and Hillary both sometimes do what is politically expedient, and are not above criticizing it in others.

        Libya: Serious possibility of massive slaughter by truly deranged and hated dictator. Possible US involvement with allies w/*no* US combat forces. Take it? Do nothing?

        I’ve been looking for her YEWUOAU moment with Daesh. All I’ve found so far is a remark from 2007 when she said that those who harbor terrorists, or finance them are going to pay a price. Sounds reasonable to me.

        She is a little more hawkish than Obama. Obama’s hands-off policy in Syria possibly contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths. Should we have taken a hands-off policy in Rwanda like Bill did? I’d say no.

        There is a huge difference between her and *any* Republican. She doesn’t want to go around invading countries. She just doesn’t.

        1. “Turkey and the Gulf States are going to have to make up their minds: Are they going to stand with us to [confront] this jihadi terrorism, or not?”

          That is from the second Democratic debate.

          The problem is, Libya was that way because of our previous military actions. In fact, Daesh has the power it has because of us. I see unwarranted military (and covert military) involvement as asking for trouble just as Mosaddegh in Iran and Al-Qaede in Afghanistan prove.

          As for Rwanda, the situation there was quite different and actual involvement could have stopped a tragedy. It is one of the reasons I think less highly of President Clinton.

          Perhaps I see our position in the world differently, but with just a fraction of the money we spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we could have funded real initiatives to help (not to try to remake others in our image) with disease and poverty and education and had a much bigger (and a positive) effect on reducing terrorism. Our current reluctance to help the Syrian refugees is proof to me that we no longer are the shining light on the hill, of we ever really were.

          But war means money and those with the money want the wars. As Vonnegut said, and so it goes.

          1. Boy, I am so unappalled that quote. She’s telling some fairly repressive states that they’re going to have to stop turning a blind eye to terrorism if they want to be friends with us. What’s the problem? You feel that’s a violation of Saudi self-determination?

            I don’t understand how Libya was that way because of previous US actions, unless you mean decades ago, in which case it doesn’t seem relevant. There was an Arab Spring, there was a revolt. Qaddhafi was threatening to crush it.

            ISIS has the power it does because of incredibly ignorant and stupid policy by the Bush administration, which alienated the Iraqi Sunnis and created the civil war. Then, after things had calmed down a little, mainly by buying off the Sunnis, Maliki (whom Bush backed to the hilt) gave the finger to the Sunnis again. ISIS is an offshoot of that. It’s so sophisticated militarily partly because of the presence of Iraqi ex-generals.

            Reagan’s aid to the mujahaddin in Afghanistan had nothing to do with Afghanistan, and everything to do with bleeding the Soviets. Which it did pretty effectively. Unfortunately the US decided to overlook the issue of whom the Pakistanis were giving the help to. We also ignored Afghanistan once the Soviets were out.

            Mossadegh was the deliberate overthrow of an elected government in the 1950s. Unlike Bernie, I really don’t think that’s too relevant.

            As for Rwanda, it’s also one of the reasons President Clinton thinks less highly of President Clinton. But was this obvious to everyone at the time? Was the left clamoring for US involvement? Maybe so; I don’t remember. Very likely our involvement in Libya, limited though it was, *did* stop a tragedy. And what about Bosnia? Too much US involvement or too little? Isn’t ISIS trying its best to commit genocide? Does the fact that we in some sense created ISIS mean that we shouldn’t get involved, or does it mean that we should?

            Yes, obviously instead of invading Iraq we should have spent the money, and effort, on helping people in Afghanistan.

            I think everyone agrees by now that we shouldn’t get involved militarily just for the sake of regime change. On the other hand, we should if it’s to prevent humanitarian tragedies. But we don’t get condemn people with hindsight about which was which..

          2. Here’s my more general point: the absurd pretzels that many on the left bend themselves into in their ceaseless effort to demonstrate Hillary’s depravity. Thus, Julia thinks that Hillary’s use of the word “wrath” two days after 2,000 of her constituents were murdered by terrorists indicates a militarism that is connected to the invasion of Iraq, and indeed foreshadows the attempts by Cheney to link the two. (Wrath doesn’t come close to describing the feelings of New Yorkers at the time. ) Thus, Albert thinks that the causes she has spoken out for make her all the more culpable for not speaking out for other causes. And, of course, Hillary represents the Establishment, which is an undifferentiated malign mass running from the DNC to the Koch brothers. Give it a rest, people.

          3. And you seem to be twisting yourself into a pretzel to excuse Hillary’s hawkishness.

            My general point is that unintended consequences are a bitch, no matter the initial intentions. It does not matter what Reagan’s aim was in Afghanistan, the end result was to arm our eventual enemies.

            And please with the ridiculous notion that Reagan bled the USSR dry. It’s a notion put forward to deify St. Ronnie, but the Soviet Union was going to collapse under is own bureaucracy no matter what we did.

            Our interventionist foreign policy is constantly creating as many problems as they cause and are used to excuse the unnecessary military industrial complex. I tend to go for the one who is least likely to use intervention as anything but a last resort. In the primary that’s Bernie, in the general it will be the Democratic nominee even if it’s Hillary.

            If you are truly unappalled by that quote then I guess we disagree. She was saying that Turkey (not Saudi Arabia, never Saudi Arabia) has to decide whether to fight the jihadist or not, the only thing missing was an ultimatum. You think the only consequence would be not being our friends, I doubt that. We will overlook the sins of our friends (Saudi Arabia, China, Israel, ect.) as long as we get something out of friendship, as soon as that advantage goes away we forget about what we’ve done there.

            What help do we give to Chile, Nicaragua, or any of the other place we’ve decided that we needed to intervene? None is what, but then they don’t have dead dinosaurs or vocal lobbyists helping us decide.

          4. Actually, I think that George Soros (the evil George Soros, per Bernie Sanders and Glenn Beck) had as much to do with the fall of the Berlin Wall as Reagan. But Afghanistan was a humiliating defeat for the Soviet Union, and probably contributed to the collapse.

            Some context on Turkey: They have become an increasingly repressive regime that is now carrying out what some friends of mine consider genocide. They did nothing to stop thousands of jihadis crossing their border to join ISIS, or to help the Kurds who were fighting them– in fact they bombed them. And they were probably profiting from smuggled oil. They’re a member of NATO, for crying out loud. I fail to see why I should feel bad that mean Hillary is bullying them. And yes, she also addressed it to the Gulf states (who are not members of NATO).

            Sorry, but I don’t think Chile and Nicaragua are comparable. I quite confused by what you said about friendship.

            The fact is, we created the mess. I don’t see how we can now say, “Gee, I’d love to help you, but I’m a non-interventionist.” We broke it; we own it.

          5. Bernie Sanders called George Soros evil? When? How do you expect me to take anything you say seriously after that?

            I don’t expect you to feel bad about anything Hillary says. You asked where she said it, I told you, you weren’t bothered by it. OK, I think your bias is showing. If one of the GOP candidates had said the same exact thing you would probably see it as an ultimatum, but since it’s Hillary and she is a Democrat and they are supposed to be the less warlike party she gets the benefit of the doubt. No, I won’t grant her that benefit. Sorry. I also do not think that context excuses why the biggest violator (and the country closest to Daesh in policy), Saudi Arabia is always excluded.

            I am going by her past actions which show her to be hawkish for a Democrat. Past performance is not proof of future action but it sure is indicative. Judging by your replies here it appears that you may be less bothered by those actions then I am because you are more hawkish then I am. Fair enough, you also are probably less bothered by the money flowing our electoral system, the current state of the judicial system, the incompleteness of the medical system, the expenses of the educational system, and all the other areas that Ms. Clinton talks Mr. Sanders. That’s not even to mention the biggest difference, income quality. Our perhaps you are just less worried about those then some unproven point about electability.

            So you’re a moderate who wants a moderate candidate. That’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t make anything Julia said unfair or wrong.

          6. No, of course he didn’t literally call George Soros evil. I had thought he brought him up in the debate, but apparently that was Judy Woodruff, so never mind.

            But Bernie said (I don’t remember where) that he didn’t know any progressives who had SuperPACs– so the question is, can a progressive accept millions of dollars from George Soros? Bernie’s general line, which I am finding increasingly offensive, is that it doesn’t matter what you think, what you’ve done or what you plan to do– if you take big contributions, you are not a progressive but a corrupt tool of the rigged system. For all the media praise about how substantive the debate was, I don’t recall any moments in which they argued about which of them had the better policy. It was all about how pure Bernie was relative to Hillary.

            Turkey is a NATO ally. It let thousands of ISIS fighters go through its borders to Syria, without making an effort to stop them. It bombed the people who are fighting ISIS, the Kurds, and did nothing to help civilians, Kurdish and Yazidi, who were facing genocide from ISIS. It profited from smuggled ISIS oil. Hillary says, “Hey, Turkey, you’re with us or you’re against us.” You say, “Golly! That sounds like an ultimatum! How hawkish of her!” Huh? And yes, the resonance of a statement like that would be different if it came from someone who had talked about making the sand glow, don’t you think?

            The statement was actually directed at Turkey *and* the Gulf states. But let’s say that Hillary was ignoring the Gulf states, because she is corrupt and couldn’t really have meant it.

            Actually, on the list of horrible violators of human rights, Saudi Arabia is not as bad as ISIS. They flog and behead people, but they don’t kill people for being the wrong religion, or even the wrong branch of Islam. They don’t set fire to prisoners of war and film it. They don’t say that it’s OK, in fact a perk, to make sexual slaves out of infidel women. And they’re not trying to take over the entire region militarily. But let’s say that they’re just as bad because that gives us a chance to feel superior about the hypocrisy of US policy.

            I don’t know if you were politically sentient when 9/11 happened, but it was, you know, a pretty big deal. Particularly if you were a New Yorker. But even for average Americans, it pretty much changed everything. Julia took a statement that Hillary made two days after that about Al Qaeda, a statement that still seems completely reasonable to me, and passed it off as a hawkish statement that she made about the invasion of Iraq. Then she defended that by saying the justification for the invasion of Iraq was 9/11, which is both irrelevant and flatly untrue. So yes, what Julia said is unfair and wrong, to say the least.

            Finally we have a quick slide into the moral arrogance of the Bernie people: that if I am less enamored of him than you are, it can’t because, say, I am afraid of a Republican victory, or I am skeptical of how he will keep his promises, but because I am “probably less bothered by the money flowing our electoral system, the current state of the judicial system, the incompleteness of the medical system, the expenses of the educational system…” No, actually I am bothered by all those things, though I can’t say which of us is more bothered. On many things, I prefer Bernie’s position’s to Hillary’s, and in general I wish she would be a little bolder. I wish even Bernie would be bolder on the estate tax.

            But I am bothered by the constant denigration of Clinton, the fury and venom that many of the Bernie people direct at her, the fact that “progressives” uncritically accept lies that the Republicans have been telling about her for decades, the fact that she is accused of being not a “real” feminist, the fact that she is accused of being a tool of insurance companies even though Hillarycare was defeated by massive spending by the insurance companies, the fact that Pelosi and Wasserman Schulz are lumped together with the Koch brothers as “the Establishment” (so that if Bernie scares P and WS we can ignore the fact that he doesn’t scare the Koch brothers), and in general by the fact that the left seems to be once again spending its energies on internecine warfare and doctrinal purity.

  12. I’d also note that while Hillary had been fairly vocal about supporting women’s rights in China and India, e.g., she has been much more muted in her criticism of, say, trans-vaginal probe requirements in Virginia, or the legislation and domestic terrorism against reproductive health clinics in many American states. She has also, to my knowledge, never said one damn word about the femicide epidemic in Juarez and other NAFTA slave-towns. Nor NAFTA in general, which has been an unmitigated disaster for Latina women. It’s easy to play the reverse of that Soviet game, “you still have lynchings” when it comes to countries that don’t really concern the voters in swing states. But when it comes to the U.S. and Mexico (and Latinas in the U.S.), Hillary hasn’t been any sort of women’s rights activist. Just crickets.

  13. Sorry, Albert, but this is not serious. “I hate that Hillary Clinton! Why, there are literally *hundreds* of injustices in the world she has said nothing about! What about the shrimp fishermen in Thailand who are virtual slaves? And she’s obviously in the pocket of Governor Ultrasound.”

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