Sunday, January 21, 2007

So Hillary's Running for President.

The media was abuzz with the news of Hillary Clinton's announcement that she will run for president next year. In announcing her bid, the senator from New York will be joining Democratic candidates including Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, former senator and vice presidential candidate John Edwards, and U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio (another former presidential candidate).

Clinton's candidacy represents an attempt by the Democratic Leadership Council to regain its lost influence in the Democratic Party, after DNC chairman Howard Dean's 50-state strategy brought lay voters increased say in how their party's platform will be shaped.

The DLC is embodied by such politicians as Clinton, Democrat-turned-Republican Joe Lieberman (who officially caucuses with Democrats in the Senate but votes GOP on every critical issue), and disgraced former political strategist James Carville.

Carville's only claim to victory as a political strategist was having a charismatic Democratic candidate for president and a split conservative vote in two consecutive presidential elections. The strategy he and the DLC helped convince the Democratic Party to run with ultimately became ignoring the "red" states altogether; dismissing the "blue" states as "safe" ones, meaning not as much effort would need to be made to retain them; and focus on "swing" states whose electorate could go either way. The Progressive platform of the New Deal era were dropped, under the DLC's conservative thinking that liberal policies would not be embraced by socially conservative voters in the swing states.

But this strategy was a failure from Day One. It cost Democrats control of Congress for twelve years, allowing the GOP to abuse its power in the Legislature to stifle Democratic participation culminating in one-party rule that weakened then-president Bill Clinton with witch-hunt hearings leading to impeachment in the House of Representatives. Worse, the DLC's cowardice in failing to confront Republicans led to six years of a rubber stamp Congress that failed utterly to check the abuses of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their gang of thugs.

When Howard Dean, an early contender who was hyped as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president in 2004 only to flame out after the Iowa Caucuses, ran for the position of Democratic National Committee chairman against incumbent Terry McAulliffe (another DLCer). Dean won handily, after Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts failed to stop Bush from stealing another election.

Promising to create a winning strategy for future elections, Dean did what was, to the DLC, the unthinkable: he actually delivered. Organizing the Democratic Party on the same grassroots level that reached out and spoke to people on the meat-and-potatoes issues of health care, jobs and the war in Iraq -- and gifted with a string of scandals and failures by the GOP between January 2005 and November 2006 -- Dean's leadership, and voter outrage at the excesses of neoconservative Republicans, accomplished what the DLC hadn't been able to do for twelve years; Democrats won back control of Congress.

But despite the victories of Democratic candidates who ran opposed to the war in Iraq, and on a platform of health care and jobs, the DLC's influence still exists. Convinced that impeachment of Bush and Cheney would only hurt them in 2008, in the way an abused spouse or child is convinced that resisting endless beatings and verbal bullying will only result in more of the same, but on a greater scale than before, DLC stooges had Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers take that option off the table.

And in that act of utter cowardice, the DLC gave a green light to Bush and Cheney to continue breaking the law, to make any investigations of executive wrongdoing toothless. To make the next two years one bing stalemate of vetoes and illegal signing statements.

This is what is embodied in the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Waffling to the opposition, letting the other side kill all hope of America being able to recover from the horrendous abuses of power and ownership of the government by large corporations whose only motivation is profit at any cost -- as long as the Little Guy pays it.

There are candidates for president who stand a much better chance of winning in 2008 than Hillary.

John Edwards is an economic populist who realized the mistake he made in voting to authorize George W. Bush to use military force against Iraq. He now opposes the insane escalation of the war, and is -- like the rest of America -- mortified at the prospect that the war will be widened to include Iran and Syria. Dennis Kucinich is another economic populist, a Progressive dedicated to the working poor with a history of standing up to the corporate giants. And Barack Obama shows promise as a potentially fresh candidate unsullied by years of cynicism from long years in Washington, D.C.

All of them oppose keeping America mired in Iraq. And they will help shape the national discussion toward finally ending the war. Alas, the same cannot be said for Hillary Clinton, who as a member of the DLC lacks even the courage to stick her moistened thumb in the air to see which way the wind is blowing.

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